Marcus laughed with delight at Malik’s wit. “I think you’ll have the opportunity to decide for yourself. Now, come to bed.”
Here’s where you can connect with Jo:
“They say if I care about myself
I’ll pay for this product, that gym membership
work hard and burn my candle at both ends to get ahead
oh, and don’t forget my beauty sleep because YOLO!
You. Only. Live. Once.
Is that living?
Same pattern, day after day –
Go to school, get a job, get married, have kids – here’s a box
fit yourself into it and don’t forget to be yourself.
Who am I?
Mother, Wife, Lover, Friend, Performer, personality without end…
Move, Breathe, Heave something so I can feel deeper…
They ask: What do you do?’
How do you put a price on priceless work.
So I devalue myself because I don’t know what I’m worth.”
Full version of the new spoken word piece on YouTube.
Preorder link: Rebound
“This is a powerful and marvelously told story. I never saw the first version, so I have no idea what was missing from Claire’s story/experience, but whatever it was, this full-on revision will knock readers’ socks off. Kudos to you for reaching deep and putting it on the page. Very real and moving.”
**This book was previously published. It has been re-edited, re-formatted, and re-released.**
An award-winning choreographer faces her biggest heartbreak when she’s teamed up to coach with her former lover at a gymnastics camp for Olympic hopefuls.
Claire LeMay is at the top of her game—she’s head coach for a top gymnastics facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her gymnasts winning awards for her outstanding choreography. Now her biggest challenge is to coach alongside the man she’s avoided for three years after rejecting his offer of coaching under his command at his club in Ottawa, Ontario.
After sinking every penny of his inheritance into his state-of-the-art gymnastics facility, Justin Black has achieved his dream. But even with hundreds of members and well-trained coaches, when Claire’s presence invades his space, he realizes she’s the one thing that’s missing. Clueless about why she didn’t accept his earlier job offer, he is determined to discover why she turned him down.
Will they be a rebound romance, destined to repeat the same old routine, or can they choreograph a new one?
“Nice, eh?” Shelley said. “Want to check out the second floor?”
Tamping down on the rising emotion, Claire nodded and turned, following Shelley up the stairs. At the top, they walked straight into a viewing area equipped with enough chairs to seat an army and a bunch of toys in one corner. A small canteen filled the opposite corner, complete with vending machines.
She stroked her chin thoughtfully and smiled. Justin knew the parents and other family members of gymnasts had a place in the gym, and he wanted them comfortable, albeit from a distance. She’d heard he trained his own coaches and made sure they received coaching certification. If the rumor held true, his club had upwards of a thousand members, from preschool to elite.
Tears pricked her eyes. And he did it all without me.
The murmur of voices drew her attention to the left, and she walked down a small hallway with a boardroom and a door marked Dance Studio off of it. Claire blinked her tears away and swallowed the lump in her throat.
I’ve got to pull it together. She moved toward the boardroom, where the coaches were gathering. Some of the coaches were here to observe, like Shelly, while the rest coached the attending athletes. Since almost everyone knew each other, they took turns shaking hands and giving hugs. Everyone greeted her with hearty hellos, and she turned to greet another coach only to find herself face to face with Justin.
Her heart skipped a beat, and she froze on the spot. With a roomful of eyes on her, she did the only sensible thing she could think of—she hugged him.
His surprise registered in the way his body tensed, but to save face, he brought his arms around her and gave her a manly slap on the back that made her cough. “Good to see you,” he said.
“Likewise,” she murmured. “Shall we begin?”
Justin leaned up against a wall, arms crossed over his chest, and watched as Claire led the girls in a warm up. Compassion filled his heart for her. She gave a hundred percent effort into everything she did. Anger flickered in his gut. Why hadn’t she given their relationship just as much effort?
He continued to watch as Claire instructed the girls on a series of still exercises designed to work on their posture, poking and prodding them into position. Then she made them perform successions of leaps across the floor.
He gave an imperceptible shake of his head. None of the gymnasts leaping across the length of the floor had half the grace Claire possessed, nor did they have her presence. A mere five feet one inches tall, when she stood with that impeccable posture and spoke in her clear voice, she could be mistaken for a giant. Too bad she hadn’t been given her chance to shine.
Heat flared in his loins as he watched her perform a leap to demonstrate. Jesus. Fuckin’ perfect. Disgusted with his body’s traitorous response to her, he distanced himself by heading upstairs again.
He snagged a bottle of water from the refrigerator in the canteen and, unable to resist, looked down from the upper level window as Claire led the gymnasts through a short choreographed routine to a pop song. He knew they’d add to it each day, and at the end of the week, the girls would perform it for the coaches. Since the girls had come from all over the country, it provided a good way for them to get to know one another while they did something fun.
He chuckled as they tried to copy Claire’s movements. With the patience of a saint, she went over the steps again and again, watching them intently, giving instruction on arm placement and hip movements. Watching her dance had always captivated him, and it did so now. She had the amazing ability to observe a routine and then perform it near-perfectly.
The grace she possessed spilled into other areas of her life, too. He recalled how she’d accepted defeat that day at the Canada Olympic Trials, never shedding a tear, or swearing, or calling the other girls down as some gymnasts did when they lost. She had made a mistake and accepted it stoically.
The dancing stopped, and the lack of movement on the floor brought Justin back to the moment. Claire stared up at him. He nodded and smiled at her. She tucked a non-existent stray lock of hair back behind her ear and grinned shyly in return. Her cheeks flushed, and she bit her lips together.
His heart thudded in his chest. Ah, shit.
He knew right then he hadn’t succeeded one whit in putting behind him what they had shared. In the past, ignoring her had worked, at least somewhat, because he’d known that once the meet was over, they’d both return to their home provinces. Now that they were working alongside each other they’d be expected to field questions and converse with each other, not to mention everyone else. Time to let bygones be bygones.
How the hell do I do that? So much remained unsaid between them, and he didn’t know where to start—anger at her for walking out on him, anger she hadn’t shared his dream. And if he were honest—pissed at himself for letting things get so far off course.
Staring at her now, his heart pounded hard, like a gymnast sprinting down the vault runway. He heaved a sigh. Could he be man enough to call a truce? Would she believe his intentions were sincere? She had no reason to, and he didn’t blame her, but he’d never be able to move on if he didn’t try.
She gave him another half-smile, her blue eyes shining up at him.
He scrubbed a hand over his face and turned away, expelling the air from his lungs.
She’d be here in his personal space for a week. He wouldn’t be able to ignore her this time, and he knew it. So much for not examining my emotions.
Pondering goodwill gestures, he turned and jogged down the stairs to the gym.
It’s important as an author to have fresh pairs of eyes look over your work once it’s completed. Other people see things you might miss, even though as authors we can be the most critical of our work. When I’m re-writing a book for instance, I have someone beta-read for me to make sure I’m not missing plot points, or to make sure I don’t have parts of the story that should have been deleted still in there!
Beta-readers are important because these are people you trust that are fans of the genre you write. They will be able to tell you what they liked, what they felt fell flat in your book, and give you good suggestions because they read so many books in the genre. If you don’t know any readers of your genre, I’m sure you know someone who loves books. An avid reader will be able to do the same because they know what makes a good story flow for them while they’re reading.
A critique partner differs from a beta-reader in that your critique partner is usually another author you trust to read your work – someone you know will give you good advice on plot points, editing, character development etc.
When I joined a writer’s organization, I met a lot of great authors at a conference and some of them became my critique partners for a time. Now that I’ve been published for a few years, I use beta-readers more often than critique partners, mostly due to the fact that I’m not a new author anymore, my confidence at being able to write a good story has increased, and I have great editors I work with on a regular basis with my publishing house. Nowadays, I want to know if a reader feels anything is missing for them, and I take their feedback and feel out how or if I want to change anything.
I get asked a lot to critique people’s work, and unfortunately these days my answer is ‘no’ for the simple fact that my writing schedule is busy. I do critique samples when I host workshops. My advice to authors is to join groups in-person or online. Be open to constructive feedback. It’s difficult to have someone be critical of your work, but if you’re serious about being good at what you do, you need to be able to hear what others have to say about what you’ve written. Be wary of people who tear down your work. There is a difference in constructive feedback and picking apart everything you’ve done.
I recall the first time I hired an editor to edit one of the first books I’d ever written. It came back with so many red track-changes that at first I cried! Then I saw what she’d done, and I knew I could learn. I encourage everyone to love what you do, but step back and let others help you make your manuscript shine. Be open to how others view your work because there is so much to learn, and another perspective gives you a fresh view of what you’ve done. You do not have to always agree with a beta-reader or critique partner, but more often than not, if these people care about you, they will want you to become better.
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Author Cameron Allie has a special promotion this summer! Check out the post!
For the months of July and August if you purchase one of the novels in the Unexpected Changes series (My Mistletoe Master, Not His Type, The Perfect Fix, or Somewhere to Belong) directly from the publisher (EXtasy Books) and send me proof of purchase, I’ll send you a FREE copy of Neptune’s Passion.
Hot Greek male looking for roommate for tropical vacation. Must be female. Must be sexy brunette, with a passion for reading. Must be Natalie Donovan.
When Griff asked her whether, to cut costs, she’d like to room with him at their friends’ wedding, Natalie should have said no. But now as they sip margaritas on a white sand beach, Natalie finds flirting with her long time crush a little too easy. And finds sleeping next to him, night after night, to be too much temptation.
A few chapters further, Natalie got interrupted when water was dripped onto her legs. Frowning she glanced up and found Griff looming over her. With his Greek ancestry, dark features, and sharp blue gaze he resembled the Roman God Neptune. In the fading daylight, water glistened on his body. The only missing pieces: the big beard, and the trident.
“If you want to keep your book safe I recommend you put it away.”
Confused she asked, “Why?”
She shrieked, when without warning Griff squatted down, placed one hand under her bent legs, the other behind her back, and lifted her into his arms. Natalie struggled to get away from his cold, wet body. “Put me down.”
In the pool, their friends laughed and cheered him on.
“You’re going in the water. You can do it alone or with the book.”
“Fine.” She huffed. “Put me down, though.”
He did as she asked, but suggested, “You might want to lose the cover-up too.”
Natalie growled her displeasure over that, but set her book on the chair and dropped her white beach cover-up over top of it. She went a step further and put her glasses on the table. If she was reading the situation correctly, it would be safer if she left them behind. She stared up at a now slightly fuzzy Griff. “Better?”
His gaze ate her up, and with deep male appreciation he replied, “Much.”
Feeling playful, Natalie crossed her arms under her breasts. “I’m not going in the pool.”
He grinned. “Oh, yes you are.”
Deciding she wouldn’t make it easy, Natalie deked around him and darted away. She wasn’t nearly fast enough. She hadn’t even made it passed the end of the pool before he caught her around the waist. Hoisting her up once more, Griff stood at the deep end of the pool. “In you go.”
She squealed in protest as he stepped off the ledge, dropping them both into the water.
Summer is the perfect season to play.
Samantha Merry is excited her best friend, Jules Foley, will be joining her for a few days out at the country home her Dom, Davis, purchased for her. They’ve turned their country paradise into a playtime heaven for them and their friends, and Samantha has missed Jules something fierce. A little play time is first on the agenda, and she hopes to figure out a way to make Jules a permanent part of her relationship with Davis.
Davis Cathal never imagined himself in love with two women. When he arrives at the country home to find Samantha indulging in playtime with Jules, he quickly plans a scene for the three of them. Jules has chemistry with both him and Samantha. And as an added bonus—she’s a great sub. Unable to avoid the conversation with Samantha, he attempts to find the perfect way to talk to the love of his life about adding Jules as their third.
Will Samantha and Davis be able to communicate their desires, or will they be left begging for more?
Jules planted another kiss on Samantha’s lips. “I’m here for a few more days. I’d love to see what you’ve done with the place, especially the dungeon.”
They broke apart to swim up to the dock. A deep voice made Samantha’s heart skip a beat.
“Well, well, well. What do we have here?”
She looked up to see Davis kneeling at the dock’s edge, the sun glinting off his blond brush cut, making it look as though he had sparkles in his hair. A length of rope dangled from one hand. “Sir!” she exclaimed, excited to see him. “I didn’t hear you.”
His green eyes twinkled at her, and he nodded at Jules. “I’m not surprised you didn’t hear me, with all the fun you’re having.”
He extended a hand, and she took it. He hauled her out of the water, then assisted Jules in the same manner. Once both women were out of the water, Davis held up her collar.
Samantha bowed her head. “I only took it off so I wouldn’t get it wet.”
He lifted her chin with thumb and forefinger. “I know. You love this and never take it off if you don’t have to.”
Samantha beamed up at him and waited while he dried her off with a towel he’d brought, then secured the collar around her neck again.
Beside her, Jules sighed. “I’m sorry I didn’t comment on your collar earlier. It’s beautiful and suits you perfectly.” Another sigh escaped. “I want what you two have.”
Samantha blinked in surprise at her best friend. How could she think she didn’t share in their love? “Do you mean that you want a Dom of your own?” She took the towel from Davis and dried off Jules.
Jules’ cheeks colored, and she looked away. “Yeah… I suppose.” She made a wide sweeping gesture with her arms. “I mean, the parties you have, the play time you freely share with those you care about is…magical. I haven’t found this type of loving openness with anyone else.”
Samantha slung an arm over her shoulders, opened her mouth to speak, but didn’t know what to say, or rather how to best say it. She loved her friend. They enjoyed sex on occasion. She needed to discuss her feelings with Davis first.
Davis cleared his throat to get their attention. She turned her attention to him and saw that he was twirling the rope in his hand. Whatever idea he might have in mind, it made her cunt pulse. “Yes, Sir? How may we be of service to you?”
She heard Jules sigh in acquiescence beside her and knew in her heart that after whatever Davis had planned, she needed to talk to him.
On my Youtube channel, I created a short video with some ideas on how to break creative blocks that authors often face. Even though we are often told to sit our butt in the chair and write, we also have to get out of the chair once in a while to get our bodies moving! Making sure we exercise and eat, help fuel our bodies and keep our creative process flowing. Sometimes we may have other health issues for ourselves or our loved once, or perhaps day job stress is causing us to lose focus with our writing. When we take the time to deal with those things, often our creative flow comes back. It’s important not to lose faith in our writing abilities or creative talents during those times.
People often come to my workshops and ask where I get my ideas from. Most of my ideas come from a “what if?” situation. A situation in my every day life will inspire me to embellish upon it, creating my idea for a book. I have no end to creative ideas at times. This isn’t the case for everyone, and it doesn’t mean you’re not a creative person. We all need a creative boost now and then.
Here is an exercise I give to my workshop participants:
Set a timer for two or three minutes. In that time, writing down as many ideas as you can. It could be anything from what you ate for breakfast, what you saw on your walk to work, or what if I had chocolate cake for lunch? (I use chocolate cake here since I mentioned it twice inadvertently in the video. I guess I really want chocolate cake – Ha!) For example, one book I wrote was inspired by taking my cats to the vet. Not the most exciting thing in real life, but I wrote a humorous romance from the experience. You never know where your ideas will come from.
If you have other ideas to share with authors who are reading the blog, please share them here. We’d love to hear from you.
When Kat gets a new kitty, she asks the vet to play.
Dubbed the Kat Lady by her roommate, Kat Munroe admits to an ulterior motive for rescuing strays—a chance to visit the cute Dr. Evan Cole at the vet clinic. He makes her heart purr as much as her kittens do. Determined to ask him out before he thinks she’s some crazy cat woman, Kat works up her courage for the next visit.
Evan Cole doesn’t see many females other than the animal variety at his veterinary clinic. Always a believer that the right woman will walk into his life someday, he made everything else—vet school, his career—a priority over searching for love. But from the day Kat Munroe walks through the door with a stray feline rescue, his heart beats to see her again. His dilemma—how to create the perfect romantic date when you’re clueless about dating?
When they finally go on a date, disaster strikes at every turn. Will they be able to handle the menagerie? Or will they decide that more isn’t merrier?
The heat from his gaze erupted a solar flare in her gut. Every part of her body tingled. Unsure how she should be feeling, skepticism laced her words when she spoke. “You’ve seriously thought about me?”
“All the damn time.” He sighed. “Kat—I’m not good with women. I make work my life and hope someone will come into it. When you kept bringing animals in to see me, I hoped maybe you were making an excuse to see me.”
She sniffed. “I was. Pathetic, I know.”
He shrugged. “No more pathetic than I was, checking my schedule daily to see if you’d be showing up.”
The corner of her mouth curled up in a half grin. “What a pair we are.”
He nodded. “Indeed. I still want to take you for dinner if you’ll go with me. I know it wasn’t nice to ask such blunt questions, but I wanted a chance to get to know you. If you were already in a relationship of some sort, then I needed to know.”
A smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. “Well, that makes sense and you deserve to know what you’re getting into.” She played with the lapels on his sport coat. “This entire thing is not off to a conventional start. I suppose now that we have a ton of awkwardness out of the way, and you just heard most of my sexual history, and I know how wonderful you are with women—which actually isn’t much now that I think about it considering the way you started the conversation—we could get a bite to eat and see how much more awkward things become. If neither of us die from mortification, we might be able to make a go of this.”
“Sounds delightful.” He tucked her hand into the crook of his arm. “I cordially invite you to the most awkward date in the history of dates. And may I say—I like how flustered you get and when it happens you let every thought flow out. In the spirit of awkwardness, it’s refreshing to talk to a woman who doesn’t hold back or want me to guess. One of the reasons I don’t bother a lot with women is the stress of a woman who refuses to communicate honestly.”
“Well, then,” she said and pressed a quick kiss to his lips. “I shall endeavor not to disappoint. Ask highly inappropriate questions, and I’ll do my best to answer with as much bluntness as you deserve.”
Live narrated excerpt from release day:
Available now at:
Amazon (for Kindle and paperback)
This year I was privileged to be chose to perform at the Girls! Girls! Girls! Superstition – 2018 fundraiser for the Gas Station Arts Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I had so much fun up on stage and enjoyed watching the other talented female performers. I’m looking forward to being in upcoming shows.
Next time, I’ll be more organized and advertise here on my website! Enjoy my satirical performance poetry piece on – Superstition!