It’s not too late to join the party! Get all the details about the One More Sunset Cover Reveal Contest to be eligible to win a $10 Amazon gift card at my ONE MORE SUNSET RELEASE BASH. Hope to see you there!!
Write the five correct answers for the blog hop cover reveal on the contact form. Don’t worry, I won’t keep, sell, or distribute your email address that you place on the contact form. Just want to keep the answers private. 🙂 oxo, Jolyse
To me, the joy of romance is all about the little things. Sure, those grand gestures are nice, and we often expect them in our romance novels, but in real life, I’m the kind of girl who prefers the hundred small gestures my hero makes on my behalf. That’s love. If I had a choice between a piece of jewelry for our wedding anniversary or traveling, I’d choose the getaway every time. Spending time together, away from the every-day stresses and interruptions, and enjoying each other’s company are essential to a romantic. The simple act of holding hands, chatting about nothing, strolling along the beach, or cuddling on the couch while you watch a favorite TV show are the moments that make up a lifetime of love.
Those small gestures work both ways, of course, and I’m happy to reciprocate. I’m not thinking just about sex here. Sure, sex is wonderful and is a beautiful extension of the romantic relationship, but we all know that sexual intimacy alone doesn’t define or create a couple.
As a romance reader and writer, I especially appreciate those moments in the story where the hero and heroine each take those emotional next steps to bond more with the other. They discover common interests or join together to achieve a shared goal. You know, they do the little things together and that makes all the difference. Like in real life, the main characters also need to grow or change, overcoming their inner conflicts, such as learning to trust again after past hurts or believing in their worthiness of love if the relationship’s going to last. Achieving those levels of emotional intimacy within the story’s romantic journey are what I believe make reading a romance novel so satisfying and inspiring.
I’ll believe the hero and heroine have earned their forever love when they show, either with that grand gesture or in all those little ways, that they are willing to make that leap of faith and commit to being their best, all while bringing out the best in their loved one. To me, that’s the joy of romance!
When was a moment in your life where you experienced sheer joy?
On our first couple’s getaway to Key West, my husband and I rented Conch Cruisers. I hadn’t ridden a bicycle since high school. I’ll never forget how exhilarating the salty breeze rustling my hair and tickling my face and arms felt as I peddled along quiet side streets of historic Old Town. All the daily worries of adulthood melted away, replaced by a sense of freedom I’d missed since childhood.
What is a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy?
Anyone who has known me for more than ten minutes can answer this one! Key West’s my home-away-from-home. My Honey and I have traveled there on more than a dozen occasions, often staying for only four or five days at a clip, but we always make incredible memories there and I can’t wait to return. I adore the island’s tropical vibe and the town’s accepting attitude, their motto being we’re all part of “One Human Family.”
What sound brings you joy?
The greatest sound to me by far is when my son talks to me and especially when he says, “I love you.” Born with autism, he struggled to learn to speak. After many, many years of hard work on his part and early intervention to build his communication skills, it’s such a joy to just sit and talk with him. I’ll never take that gift for granted.
What book have you read in your life that has brought you so much joy you haven’t forgotten it? Why?
My daughter was in the third grade the year the first book in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series was released. She had always been more of a Daddy’s Girl, but when I bought two copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone–one for her and one for me–our relationship changed from caregiver and child to fellow adventurers. Together, we enjoyed and connected with the characters and their journey of good vs. evil. We eagerly anticipated, read, and discussed all seven books as they were published. When the movies later released, we watched them together. Then, in celebration of her nineteenth birthday, we explored Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, creating even more wonderful memories.
Which Chris (Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans, or Christopher Plummer) brings you joy?
I truly appreciate nature’s art, and that includes the male form. Each of the “Chris” choices are beautiful examples of nature in their own right, as well as men who are talented in their craft. That said, I’d have to choose Christopher Plummer because I’m a die-hard fan of The Sound of Music, and Captain Von Trapp was one of my first celebrity crushes.
To celebrate the joy of romance, I will randomly choose one lucky commenter (Must be 18 or older) to receive a selection of romance books and swag from this year’s Romance Writers of America National Conference in New York City.
I’m an avid reader of romance. I couldn’t possibly list all the incredible authors I enjoy reading so I won’t try here. However, if you’re like me and you enjoy discovering up-and-upcoming authors in the genre, these two woman are two of my recent favorites:
A country girl at heart, I live my own happily-ever-after in Long Island suburbia with my real-life hero, two wonderful children, and a very-furry cat. I’m the author of the contemporary romances, Christmas Lightand His Kiss, as well as the upcoming romantic suspense/magic novel, One More Sunset. I enjoy crafting delicious tales of love for my readers, because I believe that as imperfect as we each are, we all deserve someone perfect for us. Connect with me here on my website and on social media (see links above). I look forward to seeing you there. To receive news of future releases, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. Happy reading!
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 second of four installments about Ernest Hemingway and his legendary life at the Key West property where he resided from 1931-1940. Today’s post highlights interesting facts from the tour of the author’s tropical home.
The carved walnut headboard gracing the Hemingways’ bed was once the gate leading to a 17th-century monastery gate and purchased by Ernest while on tour through Spain.
Hemingway viewed polydactl cats as good luck. Today, there are approximately fifty descendants of his original pets in residence.
Ernest suffered more than two hundred wounds while serving in WWI as a young man. During his long rehabilitation, he is reported to have fallen in love with his nurse, Agnes Von Karowsky, but she declined his proposal. (He’s also said to have gotten his revenge by “killing her off” in Farewell to Arms.)
The house has a full cellar, a rarity on the island of Key West, and was used as a wine cellar by the Hemingway family.
After his ex-wife Pauline died suddenly in 1951, Ernest inherited the house. His sons took over the care of the estate for him until it was sold to the current owner.
This slideshow includes a few of those very famous felines. There’s also a photo of the pet cemetery sign located at the edge of the property.
Next time we’ll focus on the outside of Hemingway’s property, including the legend about his incredible swimming pool.
Giveaway Winner from March 9th Post…
Congratulations to AMANDA GARDNER! You’re the lucky winner of a $20 Amazon gift card I’m giving away today in celebration of literacy. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to give me your email. Thanks to everyone for participating and for your patience waiting for this posting. (I can sometimes be the absent-minded writer with my head in my stories instead of the real-world. Sorry.) If you haven’t signed up for my spam-free newsletter, that’s the easiest way to stay on top of all Jolyse Barnett news. Just scroll down and enter your email address. Simple as that. Wishing you each a wonderful, productive season ahead! oxo Jolyse
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!
Ben Stephens, my geek-turned-hottie hero from my Christmas romance, A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW, knows what he’s talking about when it comes to his upstate New York hometown:
Winter comes early in the Adirondacks.
Three hours from our Long Island home, my family and I were in awe of the pristine beauty greeting us as we traveled north to visit relatives for the Thanksgiving holiday. Later that weekend, we strolled through one of the villages near my childhood home that inspired my fictional town of Starling. Of course, I took some pictures…just for you. Enjoy!
The celebration of my debut novella release continues with another giveaway!! This one will be extra-special, at the Tule Publishing Christmas Party on Facebook tomorrow, Wednesday, December 3rd. I’ll be taking over with Patty Blount 9:00 – 9:30 PM EST, but there are going to be many incredible giveaways and so much holiday cheer I plan to attend as much of the party as humanly possible. You’re all invited…the more the merrier!
Here’s a sneak peek at one of my giveaways, a large festive candle light with changing colors. It’s so adorable I had to buy one for myself too!
And the winner of last week’s giveaway, a $5 Amazon gift card, is…
CINDY JONES. Congratulations, Cindy! You’ve won the $5 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway! Please contact me at email@example.com with your email address within two weeks to receive your prize. (List Randomizer at Random.org was used to select the winner. Thanks to all readers who entered.)
In appreciation of my awesome readers, this week’s giveaway is a $5 Amazon gift card!To enter, simply sign up for my newsletter (I will only email you with news of a book release.) Then leave a comment below to let me know you were here. Easy peasy.
For the adults in the house…
Uncle Johnny’s** Thanksgiving Margarita–with a Hint of Christmas
Rose’s Lime Juice
Slice of Lime
1. Shake Tequila, Tripple Sec, Rose’s Lime Juice, Cranberry Juice in over ice.
KIMBERLY V. Congrats, Kimberly! You’ve won the Ebook &Tule Goodies Giveaway! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your addresses within two weeks to receive your prizes. (List Randomizer at Random.org was used to select the winner. Thanks to all readers who entered.)
Welcome to this week’s Moment! There’s a definite nip in the air and festive anticipation here on Long Island as the late fall and winter holidays quickly approach. I haven’t begun my Christmas shopping, but the weather and calendar are reminding me I better make that list!
During these hectic days, I hope you get a chance to pause and enjoy the little yet important things–those family traditions, friendships, and indulgences you treasure.
One of my favorite holiday indulgences is reading Christmas romances. So when I was given the opportunity to write one for fellow romance readers like you, I jumped at the chance.
Since my most vivid memories of the holiday center around the small village in upstate New York from my childhood, it only felt right to set A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW there. Christmas, like other holidays, includes home and family. I haven’t always had the luxury of returning to the Adirondack region in snowy December, but I do whenever possible and I always miss it when I can’t be there in person.
My heroine Jade’s hometown of Starling, New York is very much a fictional setting, but contains this writer’s wonderful, happy holiday nostalgia all rolled into one. That’s not to say that life in Starling is perfect for Jade’s family or the rest of its residents. The characters in A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW were created to be like people we’d meet on the street, know at work, and have in our families–all with their own adorable idiosyncrasies. But, in spite of their human imperfections, they care and look out for each other year-round.
And especially at Christmas.
If you’ve read A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW, I truly hope you enjoyed it and that it left you “with a smile on (your) face and a warmth in (your) heart,” as an Amazon reviewer said it did for her.
If you haven’t read this Christmas novella yet, or if you have and you’d like to share the gift of reading with a friend, here’s your chance to win it! All you need to do is sign up for my newsletter (I’ll never spam you or give your email to anyone, ever.) and share that you did that in the comment section below. All commenters’ names will be entered into a random drawing. One lucky entrant will win an e-bookof A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW, a Christmas in New York Series collectible bookmark, a festive Tule Publishing pen (green or red), and a few holiday treats. Winner will be announced Tuesday, November 25th. International readers welcome. 🙂
And the winner of last week’s giveaway is…
MARY LAWSON. Congratulations, you’re the winner of last week’s Release Celebration Giveaway–a $10 Amazon gift card and holiday ornament!! Mary, please contact me privately at email@example.com with your email and home addresses within two weeks of this announcement. (List Randomizer at Random.com was used to select the winner. Thanks to all the readers who entered.)
Now, remember… for a chance at winning this week’s giveaway, sign up for my newsletter (scroll to the bottom and there it is!) and let me know in the comments section. For extra fun (optional), share your favorite place to celebrate the holiday and give a reason why.
Music is the soundtrack of our lives. We all have songs we associate with certain memories–good and bad and in-between. As a writer, the right music can immerse me further into the mood or setting of a particular scene. When I wrote a novel set in Key West, Trop Rock ruled. Reggae helped me switch creative gears when I dove into a Jamaican-set romance, and, of course, this past summer was all about the Christmas carol when I crafted A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW.
Although a number of holiday tunes show up in Jade and Ben’s love story, two pop songs defined my heroine’s and hero’s emotions they wrangled with throughout their journey to happily-ever-after.
Jade’s internal struggle…
After a traumatic experience in middle school, Jade became a people-pleaser. Denying her true self had a devastating ripple effect until, years later, she is confused and frustrated with her path, barely recognizing the young woman she sees in the mirror. She makes a bold move, quitting a lucrative yet unfulfilling career, stops dating men who don’t know the woman beneath the clothes and make-up, and returns home to her Adirondack hometown to recharge and refocus.
While in Starling, Jade’s former best friend, Ben, and the miracle of Christmas help her see what really matters…being true to herself. Only then is she able to move forward with her life and find her happily-ever-after.
Ben’s unspoken wish…
I’m a huge Justin Timberlake fan. One of JT’s recent hits reflects the frustration my hero, Ben, feels toward Jade at the beginning of their love story. She still views him as Benji, the little-boy-next-door she played with in the dirt and the geek who mooned after her during their high school years. She sees him as part of her past–one that included more its share of growing pains she’d prefer to forget. Worse, she’s afraid he’s become a man like so many she’s known before, one she cannot afford to trust.
Ben is a confident, successful producer of educational videos. He knows himself and he knows what he wants. He’s not going to beg Jade to love him, but he’s determined to show her all they could be…if she just gives their relationship a chance to grow.
In celebration of A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW’S release, along with its sister books in the Christmas in New York series, one lucky commenter on this post will receive a $10 Amazon gift card. If the winner resides in the US or Canada, s/he will also receive this beautiful Christmas ornament:
What’s one of your favorite songs?
Remember to leave a comment below if you wish to be entered into the gift card and ornament giveaway! The winner will be announced Tuesday, November 18th.