Monday, November 5, 2018

Get Ready for Hockey Holidays!

It's November! And while I usually refuse to celebrate the holidays until after Thanksgiving (which is my favorite of the US holidays, and I think it's truly underappreciated!)—but this year is different. Why? Because 'this the season for Hockey Holidays!

He's sooo pretttyyyy...

I've joined a team of hockey romance authors to bring you this epic anthology. And my contribution is "Christmas Crosscheck," which tells the tale of Georgiana and Bryan's first Christmas together. And—spoiler alert!—there's a proposal. You'll have to read it find out the rest!


The anthology, for which all proceeds will be donated to a hockey charity, will release on November 13, so there's still plenty of time to pre-order to make sure you get this book on your eReader ASAP on release day!

And we'll be celebrating like crazy next week. First up, on the 13th, we'll be in the L. Woods PR Romance Room starting at 7. And then the party continues on the 14th in the Reader's Lounge. If you're not already in these Facebook groups, you're gonna wanna join so you can party with us!



It's been a hard week here in Pittsburgh. I was in Squirrel Hill Saturday morning at the time of the Tree of Life congregation shooting, and I've been taking it especially hard. I've had different friends living in the area throughout the years, and my days and nights there were always fun. The best part about Squirrel Hill is the diversity and open-mindedness. I hope we never lose that.

It's not easy choosing to set aside the heartbreak and look toward the good. But it is a choice to celebrate all the good coming down the pipeline, including this anthology.

I'll still need time to grieve and get over this, but we are Pittsburgh Strong, and steel is stronger than hate.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Catching Up

It's been months since I've blogged, and I'm not really sure why. It's not like I haven't started any posts; I have. And it's not like I don't have things to say, either.

I spent the summer working hard on a novella and a short story. The novella is included in the Holiday Hockey Romance Anthology (releases November 13; pre-order now!), and the short story one of the 33 in Shades of Pink, a breast cancer charity anthology, available until the end of the month with a donation. We're so close to hitting our goal! Please consider contributing.




And although I worked hard to meet my deadlines for the anthologies, I had some fun too. In August, I went to D.C. with my cousins for a long weekend, and it was an amazing time. I'd never been before, and I had fun checking out all the monuments, eating so many different (and new to me) things, and had a general blast with my cousins.

Supreme Court
Eating Alligator... tastes like chicken
Shakespeare's First Folio
Fave pic with a fave cuz!
Eating Rabbit.. tastes like chicken

The Int'l Spy Museum



And in September, I went to Authors in the Steel City with some fellow hockey romance authors. Melody and I have been at several events together, and it was great to meet Kat Mizera and Tiffani Lynn, too.

At Authors in the Steel City


And, after stomach issues that still wouldn't stop (even after I had my gallbladder out last year), I had some more tests run and found out that I have dietary fructose intolerance. It's like lactose intolerance, but with fructose instead of lactose. I feel great when I'm #FructoseFree! However, sometimes I forget to read ingredient labels and end up eating some of the bad stuff—and I suffer for it. I'm learning to be diligent, to always ask what's in something and to pass on it if I'm not sure, and that I'm much better off cooking my own meals than gambling on convenience foods.



And now, after all that stuff, it's October, and the season has officially changed. It's time for hockey, hoodies, pumpkin spice lattes, and going back to work on my infinity scarf. Oh, and a baby blanket for a friend's impending bundle of joy! I have plenty of projects on the horizon, as well as (of course) writing Dump and Chase. I trying out a new writing schedule, and today was Day Number One—and I'm chalking it up to a success. I'll be writing and hanging out on social media more. So I'll be seeing you around.

As always, happy reading,

Jay

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Dude. May. WTF.

May has been... an interesting month so far (and we're only one-third of the way through. Phew!).

If you're friends with some authors on Facebook or Twitter,  you've probably seen the insanity and the accompanying hashtags. It's not my intention here to go into the matter; there are plenty of places online to get the details. And while I did a little rage-venting on my own profile, I don't want to publicly feed into this riotous frenzy while the courts and attorneys are working toward a resolution. I do, however, want to take a moment to say that the indie author community is a supportive, close-knit group that I'm proud to be a part of. And it's because of readers like you, who choose to support not only myself but so many authors who work hard and try to give you the best possible books.

Okay, moving on.

So, what have I been up to? Well, I've been buzzing around, prepping for my trip to Philly this weekend. I'll be at Unmask the Romance in Phoenixville on Saturday!


Tickets are still available for any of you latecomers!

What else? I've been enjoying my time with Flynn. Now that he's essentially toothless, he's blossoming into a whole new cat! He's feistier, chasing Anna around in a total role reversal for those two. He's scarfing down his kibble with an appetite I didn't know he had. And while he's filled out and gained back the weight he'd lost when it hurt too bad to eat, I'm not exactly sure where he's putting it all.

I'd wondered how his personality would "change" after his teeth were removed and the pain was gone (or at least mostly gone). I expected him to come out of his shell and become more playful and perhaps more cuddly too. He's not as cuddly as I would have hoped, but he's still my sweet boy—even if he's got a bit of an attitude now!

And of course I've been writing too. I'll be honest and admit I've gotten sidetracked and am way behind on my schedule (I should be writing right now! Doh!), but I'm still in love with this story. Is too soon, and maybe bad luck, to admit that Dump and Chase is my favorite book I've written so far? Because it totally is. And that's just more motivation for me to get back to work and get it out to y'all as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I have to get back to packing. Why does it feel like short trips are so much harder to pack for? I wonder what I'll forget to bring with me....

Friday, April 13, 2018

Autism Awareness Month Blog Hop


Autism Fact:  People from all nationalities and cultural, religious and social backgrounds can be autistic, although it appears to affect more men than women.






I figured I’d be doing a good thing by participating in RJ Scott's Autism blog hop and raising awareness about autism and living with the disability. But then I realized I didn’t know much about autism at all; I’ve never personally encountered someone who I knew was autistic or even on the spectrum. So how could I help raise awareness when I myself was barely aware of the stats and facts about autism?

Realizing my ignorance, I reached out to a friend of mine who has a Masters in special education and has worked hands-on with autistic children—and she had tons to say about the developmental disability and how we approach it.

Autistic individuals often are judged and even pitied. Adults blame meltdowns and tantrums on bad parenting. They are teased by their peers and ridiculed. Strangers stare at them.

During April, autism is brought to the forefront and we are confronted with the reality that autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the world. We are presented with “success stories” of folks who have learned to function in our world despite their (as we see it) shortcomings. We are reminded that we must react with compassion, not pity or irritation.

But unless we personally cope with or encounter autistic people in our daily lives, we forget to be patient and kind. We revert to our ignorance. We begin to look at those with autism as people who are “less than” or “difficult.” However, if you have autism or have a loved one who does, you know that’s not true, and there’s no forgetting or ignoring. People who have autism live with it twelve months of the year—not just one—and they deserve much more from us every single day.

My friend who teaches autistic children taught me that I must always be compassionate toward those who have or live with autism, and it is my hope that everyone with autism encounters nothing but kindness and patience as they live each day in every month.




Giveaway 

Thanks for stopping by my blog for the hop! I'm giving away winner's choice of any eBook in my Dallas Comets series (excluding Dump and Chase, since it's not out yet). 

Just comment below with your e-mail address (so I can contact you if you're the winner). Comments are moderated, so they will not be published or made public. Your e-mail address will be kept confidential, and will not be used beyond entry into this contest. 

I will pick a random winner on May 1st, after Autism Awareness Month is over. 

Good luck to all! And be sure to check out all the blogs on schedule for the blog hop! 

Happy reading, 

Jay

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

My Kind of March Madness

This month has been insane! I can't even believe we've got only a week or so left in March.

We started off with a bang at the Angels & Sirens event. I got to hang out with some amazing hockey romance authors! Sometimes writing can feel very solitary, so it's always a great experience to hang out with other writers. And these ladies are AWESOME! It's been a long time since I'd laughed so hard.


From L to R: Melody Heck Gatto, RJ Scott, Lisa B. Kamps, Katie Kenyhercz, me, V.L. Locey, and Stephanie Julian.


Sitting at my humble table, awaiting the readers!

The next weekend was St. Paddy's Day—and my cousin's wedding day! I had a great time with family, and helping my beautiful cousin get ready for her big day.
I hosted an out-of-town cousin for the weekend, and we had such a blast catching up and growing closer.

Of course, not everything in March was all gold and rainbows. Flynn had another flare-up of his stomatitis, meaning an emergency vet visit and making an appointment for the second round of extractions. Not only were his gums inflamed around his remaining teeth, but his toothless gums were red too. This probably means that he'll have mouth issues for the rest of his life, and we'll have to find ways to manage a lifetime of pain.

Now that he only has two teeth left (his bottom canines), he's acting much happier. He's even trying to eat kibble again already! He's my sweetheart, and I hope that he continues to improve as the days go by.
I'm not having much luck getting pics of his toothlessness.


All the while, my day job is crazy busy right now. It makes writing a little more difficult, but I still have tons of ideas brewing! Be sure to stay tuned for updates, which I'll announce as I have them.

With any spare time I have, I'm burying my nose into my laptop. The writing is slow going, but I am determined to get the best possible story out to you as soon as possible! Stick with me, guys; I'm gonna make sure it's worth the wait!



Monday, February 5, 2018

Dallas Days

I've run out of adjectives to describe my recent trip to Dallas. Amazing. Delicious. Incredible. Fun. Educational. Beautiful.

I'd never been to Texas before—surprising, considering my series is set there, right? But that was a happy accident, that the Comets became a whole unto its own. While I researched locations and vocabulary online, I knew that I needed to experience it in person so my books could be as authentic as possible. I'd thought many times about going, but it never seemed like the time was right.

So when my cousin was getting married outside of Dallas, I knew that the universe was telling me to go!

I bought my plane ticket, booked an Airbnb, and started planning. Of course I had to go see a Stars game! Then I did my research to see what Texas and the south had to offer.
Sightseeing

One of the very first things I knew I needed to do was to hit the Texas School Book Depository, the Sixth Floor Museum, Elm Street, Dealey Plaza, and the grassy knoll: in other words, all the places related to JFK's assassination. I'm not really a history buff, but these particular places were must see on my Dallas bucket list.
X's mark the fatal shots
Dealey Plaza and Book Depository
Where the Zapruder film was shot
Book Depository plaque


Inscription and map




Next up was the Geo Deck on Reunion Tower. The Tower itself is a fun, funky building, but the 360-degree view of Dallas was just as fun. Even better, you could go outside and feel the wind in your hair—and boy, was it windy!
Reunion Tower
Dallas behind me
Sooo windy!




I walked around downtown, seeing some of the sights I'd looked at on Google Maps when setting scenes in my series. I stopped by the Dallas World Aquarium before heading toward the day's big feature, the Stars against the Maple Leafs at American Airlines Center.

Third Rail Lofts
The Joule


Penguins at the Aquarium
The Eyeball
The American Airlines Center

Warm ups
Fight!




 


















The next day was spent at the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, the uptown neighborhood of Deep Ellum, and back downtown to have dinner and drinks with cousins!






























The following day, Saturday, was my cousin's wedding, so I strolled the nearby Bishop Arts District before glamming it up for the evening.












On my last full day in the city, I hit some favorites I'd made along my trip as well as checking out Trinity Groves, the Historic West End, and the Dallas Holocaust Museum (on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.



























Food

I couldn't talk about Texas without talking about the food. This is where America gets its stereotype about huge portions. Even though the food was so good, I could hardly finish my meals. From chicken fried steak at Jonathon's Diner (with Kate Willoughby), pancakes as big as my head at Cafe Brazil, the best pizza at Neo Olivella's (with Stephanie Kay and Samantha Wayland; recommendation from Aven Ellis), the best steak I've ever eaten from Kenny's Wood Fired Grill, hummingbird cake from the Cake Bar, and even the cookies baked for me by my wonderful Airbnb hostess, Jill—I was in heaven from meal one to my last sandwich before boarding the plane for home.





 

Pizza, burgers, steaks, pancakes, beer, cake, British food, German food... it was all incredibly delicious!



So much of what I was able to experience is going to make it into the next book, Dump and Chase, as well as books to come. In fact, Ben's house is going to be in the Bishop Arts District, where my Airbnb was located. I have perfect settings for the upcoming Christmas novella I have planned for the end of 2018, and a great plot brewing for book #6—all because of the experiences I had those five days in Dallas.

I wish I could add more pictures, but I think I'm about to make Blogger explode with everything I've uploaded!

Once I got home, I hit the ground running. I had a freelance project to finish up, taxes to start, and I still haven't even finished unpacking!

I wish you all had a great a January as I've had. Happy reading!