Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Cover Reveal for River's Bend!

I'm deep in writing mode on YOU AGAIN, my Shelter Bay Christmas story, which will be out November 11th, but I HAD to share this new cover for RIVER'S BEND, which is currently available in both print and ebook and should be ready for audio downloads next month.

 Although it's a spin-off from my Shelter Bay series, when I decided to make RIVER'S BEND the first book in a Murphy Brothers trilogy set in Southern Oregon ranching country where Sweetie and I grew up, I belatedly realized that -- duh -- maybe I should focus on the brothers!  

So, here's Cooper Murphy.  Enjoy! 



xo,

JoAnn 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Fun Video: Country Music Role Reversal

Happy Monday! 

I've always liked country music.  Not only does it tell a story, those stories often echo many of the themes in my own books: loyalty, family, love, romance, breakups, make-ups, redemption, and yes, there are often even dogs.  

But while it's grand escapist fun watching, say, Kenny Chesney driving his green John Deere tractor, sometimes music videos and song lyrics, get, shall we just admit it?  Sexist.  Really, really sexist.  

Which is why I love (!!!) this video switching out the roles.  Enjoy.



Have a great week!  

xo,
JoAnn




Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday photo: Shelter Bay

We've just returned from Shelter Bay, aka the Oregon Coast, where Sweetie bought me a bag of salt water taffy, then proposed at the sea wall when I was eighteen. (Back then the girl could be had for taffy, lol.) 

We ate lots of yummy Dungeness crab and other local seafood, walked on the beach, and enjoyed a lovely dinner with writer friends. I also sat at the dining room table overlooking the ocean while writing SLOW DANCING IN SHELTER BAY, a holiday novella that will be published November 11th.  Views like this always prove inspiring! 



Have a wonderful weekend! 

xo, 

JoAnn

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tangled Hearts is now on sale and the newsletter's online!

Happy Monday! 

It's always an exciting time when a book I've been working on so many months is finally available to readers, so I'm so happy to announce that TANGLED HEARTS is now on sale for Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.  iBooks and print editions are coming in the next week or so.  You can read the back cover copy and an excerpt here.  There are also sales links to the various booksellers. 

Although I always advise subscribing to my newsletter to keep up with publication schedules and other news, I also share the newsletter online.  This issue has breaking news of my upcoming  holiday novel,  SLOW DANCING IN SHELTER BAY (publication date November 11th) in a Duet set with fab author and Iraq war vet Jessica Scott.  This is a project I'm really excited about and I hope everyone enjoys the story.   There are also updated publication dates for BRIARWOOD COTTAGE and Sedona's story. 

Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful week! 

xo,

JoAnn 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Photo: CAT bookshelf



I hope everyone had a lovely week!  Ours was spent mostly running around town choosing the major items for the house we're building so we can have -- here's an idea!! -- an actual construction budget before we break ground.  Yesterday's bathroom granite choices negated Tuesday's bathroom tile choices, but I think we finally have everything pretty much settled. 

All that unplanned activity did put me a little, okay, a lot, behind schedule, but I'm back to waking up at four in the morning thinking about stories instead of tile and flooring. So, that's a plus.

These days it seems everyone in the book business is talking about metadata.  Which basically, is just info about your book. Data about data, essentially.  So, while doing the final checks before Tangled Hearts goes on sale, hopefully by the end of next week, I've been thinking a LOT about how important book CATegories can be. 

Thus this week's photo:





Have a great weekend everyone, and happy reading!

xo,
JoAnn 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New House!

Three years after building this house while living three thousand miles away, we're doing it again! Though this time only five minutes away, which should make it much easier.  While I LOVE this area and the idea of downsizing in theory was appealing, it just didn't work for either of us or the dogs. 

 Those of you who've read this blog for a while may remember that mulch was once my life.  I miss my office, but I mostly miss my gardens.  And while he's no longer building his beautiful wooden boats, Sweetie misses having his own shop space instead of being in the corner of the garage, having to set things up every day, then putting them all away again to get the cars in. Then there's the wood dust all over everything. 

So,  a new adventure begins. . .

We've been spending the past weeks trying to decide on all the stuff that actually goes into a house.  Although we haven't broken ground on our lot yet, a construction contract has to be written up, so we need to have some idea of what we're doing so we'll know the cost ahead of time. Which is always a good idea.  :)

Yesterday, after spending way too many hours on pinterest these past weeks looking at hundreds of kitchens, we pretty much chose the floor (all hardwood except in the baths).  It's finally been nailed down to two choices and nothing like what I first started thinking about.  Also, we think we have the kitchen counters (will probably make decision on that tomorrow), we DO have the bath and kitchen styles and colors of cabinets picked out, the bath and shower surrounds,and the bathroom floors.  The bathroom floors are actually one of my first wants for the entire house, so now I have the best of both. 

I also have my paint colors.  I think. Sweetie's picking up a gallon after exercise at the gym today and I'm going to paint a wall here and live with it a while.  It's very close to the colors I have here, so all our furniture and accessories should work.  We're going with a single, uniting color at first because I like living in a house at least a year to watch the light through the seasons before deciding on individual room and accent colors. 

Meanwhile, I found this sink I really like for the Master, office, and guest baths.  It comes with either the three holes or one (haven't decided about that, but there's plenty of time) and the pretty sloped sides are actually functional, supposedly keeping the water from splashing out.  


For those of you waiting for new books, yes, this has admittedly gotten me behind. BUT, the important house things have been chosen, or will be tomorrow, so now I can buckle down and instead of waking up at four in the morning thinking about shower floors, I can wake up  at four thinking of characters and plot points! I hope to be caught up soon, but I also don't want to rush a story and not give you my best work.  

Thanks for visiting and happy reading!  I hope you'll come back for Friday's photo! 

xo,

JoAnn 



Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Photo: I left my heart...


Today's Friday Photo is of a city where I spent my Flower Child days and one Sweetie and I love bunches. (It's true... you do leave at least a bit of your heart in this City by the Bay!)  San Francisco is truly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, which is why I set Tangled Hearts, which is coming out next week in all ebook formats and print, there.  



Here's a sneak peak at Tangled Heart's cover. Designer Syd Gill created a different look for this story and I think it's so romantic! 


Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend!  

xo,

JoAnn 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

OWH VCMP Winner!


Thanks to all who participated in my Christmas/Winter challenge during Operation Write Home's gala Independence Day weekend Virtual Card Making Party!  Your cards were so special and it was grand fun seeing them all. 

The winner of this shiny new wooden Penny Black stamp, chose by Random Dot Org, is #15, Diane W!!!  Diane, if you'll email your post office mailing address to JoAnn AT JoAnnRoss DOT com, I'll get your stamp off to you!



I hope everyone had as much fun as I did playing along with the challenges, although I'm STILL running behind.  Hopefully tomorrow's Midweek Throwndown will work with one of them so I can pull off a two-fer.

Have a great rest of your week!  Tonight's cooking class at the waterfront is an Italian seafood dinner.  One of the best meals Sweetie and I ever ate was a seafood dinner on an island in Italy's Lake Como (I suspect George Clooney must not have heard  we were there, because we never received an invitation to his house, lol), so we're really looking forward to this one.  I'll undoubtedly be sharing at least one recipe from the class here on the blog.

xo,

JoAnn 



Sunday, July 6, 2014

Operation Write Home Virtual Card Making Challenge Cards

So, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! Mine was kind of crazy since along with hosting a Bring on Winter challenge for Operation Write Home's Virtual Cardmaking Party, Friday was also a full writing day, except for the time spent grilling Sweetie some ribs. (The 4th is the one day a year I make them.) Then I stayed up way too late putting pics on my Pinterest page, second guessing the hardwood floors and kitchen counters I chose on Thursday for the new house we're building a mile away. And yes, I did change them, but fortunately before the budget meeting with the builder on Tuesday.

In case you didn't catch them, here are three cards I made for my challenge, which was to make two cards, one using Christmas colors, the other using winter colors. (I meant to add to use the same image, but it worked out well, because everyone made wonderful cards and I'm glad for Random Dot Org, because I couldn't choose a favorite to win a brand new one of these cute stamps. Winner to be announced here Tuesday.)




Although I was a day behind, Saturday I began making cards for the other challenges.  Which tended to mess up my card making room, because unlike when I can plan a card ahead and get out the supplies out, these presented surprises every two hours, so I started taking stuff off shelves and spreading them over my table: 


Sybrina's was one of my personal favorite things to do: to make his and her cards using an OWH sketch.  I used #168, which is one of my favorites, but this time I changed the squares to rectangles. 



Since I don't have any spray inks -- okay, I have a couple, but I've never tried them -- I originally skipped Michelle's challenge, then later noticed that, oops, that was a bonus part of the challenge. The actual challenge was to make a Thank You card for one of our heroes, so I CASED one of my own cards from an earlier challenge because although for some reason I usually have trouble with red, white, and blue, I liked the way this turned out. 


Next up was Kelly's Paper Piecing for Kids. Since I mostly make cards for OWH kids and Cards for Hospitalized Kids, this one was right in my wheelhouse.  The body of the girly monster is from a paper set. 


Writing this I just realized I missed Lori's Red, White, and Blue Birthday Card challenge, which was one I really wanted to try. Because, did I mention, I have trouble with those colors?  But I totally forgot it, so I'm going to add it to the mix next week for either the Midweek Throwdown or Sunday Sketch challenge. 

Then came Beth's Colorful Backgrounds, which I was really happy to see because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE making scrappy backgrounds and use them every chance I get. Even if I have to cut up fresh pieces of paper to make scraps to use.  We were supposed to use five colors, but I figure white counts. Right?




So, I'd finally made it to Saturday's cards and next up was Kristie's Our Daily Bread Designs challenge, which was Things with Wings.  Okay, I wandered a bit off on this one, but there is a bee there.  And a ladybug, although the glossy accents I added to her caught the camera flash and doesn't show the pretty red coloring on her wings.


By now, in a hurry to catch up from missing Friday, I wasn't putting things away as I used them, so I'd overrun my craft room and moved on to destroy my kitchen counter.  Oh, and those sea glass and lipstick coral walls don't look as odd when you see that the entire area is the sea glass greenish blue and just the nook is coral.  Did I mention that the reason we're building a new house three years after building this one, is because downsizing just didn't work for our current lives?  Trying to make cards and have a writing office and business space for my new publishing company, just isn't working out.  At. All. 



Anyway, moving on. . . 

I also somehow skipped past Cherie's Miss You circle and two banners challenge, so I'm going to try to catch up on that one next week, too.  

Then I momentarily despaired at Andrea's Vintage for the Boyz masculine card challenge because, although I like making cards for guys, as you can see, I'm pretty much a bright color gal who doesn't do vintage. Then I remembered that -- yay! -- somewhere in that chaos, I had some paper that would work!  



Bobbi's Three Textures challenge had me whimpering again for a moment, because just as I don't do vintage, other than layering, my only texture is usually dry embossing.  However, challenges are all about going outside your comfort zone, right?  So I did my usual dry embossing with my Cricut, then used tape and cloth rick rack for this.  Which is a purer whiter than it looks on the screen. 


After two puzzlers, I was relieved to see Marilyn's Travel challenge because it let me take one of my favorite stamps down off the wall where I keep all my wooden stamps on floating shelves so I don't forget about them. I especially love the image because we're down at our Puget Sound waterfront at least once a week watching the boats, and I bought this at a beach store on the Oregon Coast.  So, traveling was even involved!  lol


By the time I'd worked my way down to Tami's Red, White, and Blue Christmas challenge, I think I was getting brain dead because although I tried and tried to make a snowman card work, it was a total fail. So, that's going on my upcoming challenge list, as well. 

I love Marlene's Sunday Sketch this week, but didn't get to it.  So, my to-do list is growing.  

I'm not sure I'm going to be able to manage Annette's thick and thin challenge, because I also don't really do embellishments, but I do have chipboard, so I figure I can dig some of that out and try it. 

I also had an image already colored that would work for Becca's Teen Time challenge, but somehow forgot to make it.  Maybe because the chaos that had now spread to the breakfast nook was scrambling my brain.  (And, admittedly, I'd begun to rethink the floors yet again, so my mind kept wandering.) 


While we were up at Mt Rainier a couple weeks ago, I colored an an image that worked perfectly for Yvonne's Furry Love challenge, so this one was easy.  Again, the white is brighter than it looks on my screen.


I LOVE making cards with inchies, and wanted to play on Sherry's Inching Toward Christmas, but if we're going to have the steaks I've been marinating all day, I had to start cleaning up.  But I usually start my Christmas cards in July, so hopefully I'll get to that one before the month's out.  Though Monday's choosing cabinets (which I think I already know), then Tuesday is our meeting with the builder and evening Italian seafood cooking class at the waterfront, so this is a short week, especially since I swore to myself I'd finish my book that I've been rewriting the first two-thirds of for weeks.  Sigh.

I'm also going to have to catch up with Kara's Faux Technique card.  Which I can do with my Martha Stewart and Fiskars button punches.  I'll try to combine them with one of the other missed challenges for a two-fer.  :)

So, that was my Independence Day weekend.  Thanks for visiting!  I hope yours was fabulous and that your next week is wonderful! 

xo,

JoAnn 




Friday, July 4, 2014

OWH 4th of July Virtual Cardmaking Party with Giveaway!


Happy Independence Day!!!  I hope you're having a grand day of card making and other festivities.

So, it's been a busy day and there's so much more to come this weekend! This week's Friday Photo is going to be cards I've made for Operation Write Home's gala 4th of July Virtual Card Making Party! 

For those who may be new to OWH, it's a wonderful organization of volunteers who've helped deployed military men and women stay in touch with family, friends, and loved ones by making more than two-and-a-half MILLION greeting cards for them to send back home.  OWH also sends Any Hero cards to thank our heroes for their service.

My challenge, if you choose to accept it, will be to make two winter cards. One in Christmas colors, and another that can be used any time during the season. One lucky person (chosen at random) who  joins in the challenge will win this brand new Penny Black wooden stamp that's just like the one I used.
One of the things I love about OWH sketches is that they give actual measurements. Sometimes I go way off the chart, but other times they serve as a handy guideline.  Sketch #191 is one of my go-to sketches and one I use on the rare occasions when I make multiples because it's pretty straight forward and doesn't use circles, which tend to be my kryptonite.  lol  As you'll see, I flipped this one.

Here's Mimi and her beary best friend in reds and greens:
And in pink and winter blues.  And no, the background isn't pink!  Crazy camera day again. I should've dragged out my lightbox!
And finally, I just had to make one more because I thought these little houses would have people thinking of home.
 I can't wait to see what cards you make!  To share, just click on the link below my name.  To give everyone time to make the cards and enter, I'll keep the link open through Monday night and announce the winner here Tuesday morning.  And since I'm here in the Pacific Northwest, if you live on the East Coast and are an early riser, you may have to be patient.  :)  

Thanks for visiting and have a super and safe holiday weekend!

xo,
JoAnn 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tuesday Tasting on Wednesday: Grilled Prawn Salad with Asparagus, Chilled Tomato Crema, and Strawberry Vinaigrette

First of all, I'm still missing some addresses to send books to the winners of my recent Legends Lake and A Woman's Heart giveaway.  Those winners are: Gretchen, Laura Van Guilden, Bonnie K., Lisa Richardson, and Corduroy7!  If you haven't sent me your post office mailing address, please do .

So, Monday night Sweetie and I went to a cooking class at a school on the waterfront where we had a grand time and amazing Northwest food prepared by Chef Richard Bretana of HG Bistro in Puyallup, WA.  

The first course, and the one I'm sharing with you, is a scrumptious grilled prawn salad with asparagus, charred tomato crema and greens with strawberry vinaigrette.  

Serves four:

Twenty 16-20 size prawns
28 asparagus (I’d cut that down to 4-5 per person unless you were using it as a main course salad)
Charred Tomato Crema salad mix (recipe below)

Peel and devein prawns, season with salt and pepper, a little olive oil, and grill.  Your heat may vary, but when I cook prawns on the grill, I average about two minutes a side, until you can see the pink in the middle when you turn them.

Clean, oil, season and grill asparagus.  
Set aside.

Charred tomato crema salad mix 
1-2 whole tomatoes
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper
Strawberry vinaigrette (recipe below)
Mixed lettuce greens

Char tomatoes on the grill on in a sauté pan, then cool.  Once cooled, place in a blender with sour cream and blend.  (You don’t have to peel off the charred skin; it adds a smoky taste.)  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Strawberry Vinaigrette

1 shallot, chopped
1 teaspon Dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil  (You can use extra virgin or a blend, depending on your personal preference.)
1 1/2 cup champagne vinegar
5 large ripened strawberries
Salt and pepper

Place the chopped shallot, mustard, vinegar, and strawberries in a food processor.  Puree, slowly adding the oil to emulsify.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Toss with the greens, saving a tiny bit back. 


Plate with the crema on the bottom, top with asparagus, then top that with the greens and prawns and dribble a bit more vinaigrette on top.  

Then impress your friends and enjoy the yum!  

Thanks for visiting!  Friday I'll be back with the weekly photo, along with a card challenge for the Operation Write Home gala 4th of July weekend blog hop, along with a wonderful Penny Black wooden stamp giveaway.

Have a great rest of your week and a super and safe holiday!

xo,
JoAnn