Monday, January 7, 2019

Always Forward! Never Straight by Charley Descoteaux


Good day, everyone! I have the privilege of hosting Charley Descoteaux on her blog tour for her newest release Always Forward! Never Straight. Sounds like an amazing read! Can't wait to pick it up and read it myself. :) Continue on with a blurb, excerpt and links where you can pick it up. 



Blurb:

Love isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Baxter Bryan is the nerdy half of BaxCo, a start-up in Portland’s Silicon Forest creating cutting-edge high-tech toys. He’s also a hermit. When BaxCo sponsors the Portland Rock and Roll Half Marathon, Bryan decides to break out of his comfort zone and do more than listen to the music with a beer in hand. The race has barely started when he bumps into a fit, handsome man, causing sparks to fly. But the long hours needed to make BaxCo a success aren’t the only reason Bryan spends most of his time alone in his apartment.

Cay Nissen runs every day to stay in shape. He would love to run away from his job in a Silicon Forest cube farm, but keeps returning to support his teenaged daughter. His true love is music. Cay writes songs for the band he helped form in high school but doesn’t see any way to turn music into a career. The half marathon seemed like a decent way to pass a Saturday, make his boss happy, and catch a performance of his old band all at the same time. When he meets a man who sparks his interest, the safety of his cubicle isn’t the only part of his life that’s in jeopardy of changing.

Buy Always Forward! Never Straight or read free on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon Universal Link:  mybook.to/AlwaysForward


Excerpt:

After the serious runners passed me, I began to run. Okay, jog. I intended to make a real effort to participate in the race. I’d trained and psyched myself up for weeks—promotional opportunity aside. I casually scoped all the runners, not actually looking for anyone, content to do some people-watching. I snickered at myself because secretly I hoped to hook up with one of the men blowing past me, to have their slender, muscled bodies pressed against mine, their lung capacity put to good use—
I almost swallowed my tongue when a tall, striking man pulled up alongside me. His arm brushed against mine, and even though skin didn’t touch skin—he wore a long-sleeved shirt, no doubt a technologically advanced fiber meant to wick the sweat away from his skin, probably as it gave him a massage and helped combat climate change—I felt an electric shock at the contact. It actually crackled.
He turned, one eyebrow raised, and smiled. “Did you feel that?”
“Um, yeah.” I tried to keep up, even though men like him—svelte athletic types who can pull off trendy shaved-on-the-side-and-longer-on-top haircuts—didn’t usually notice plain, out-of-shape nerds like me.
His handsome face creasing in concern. “Sorry. If the spark came from me.”
Fuck, he’s hot.
“N-no problem. No harm done. It was probably me.”
I shocked myself all the time—literally, not figuratively. I led the most boring life imaginable and rarely left my apartment unless forced. Pavement doesn’t exactly possess the same properties that make carpet and wool socks generate static electricity, but it still could have been me. Just looking at this man gave me a charge.
He seemed like he wanted to say something else, but he smiled instead. His blue eyes held as much flash as the actual static that had passed between us.
“Cay.” He held out his hand, and we shook.
“Bryan.” The breathless quality of my voice had little to do with the running. Or at least that’s what it felt like. “Kay, as in Sir Kay, the knight?” I don’t know how I was able to grin at him, but I did.
“No.” He chuckled. The rich sound of his voice set something alight inside me I hadn’t heard from in years. “C-A-Y. As in Cayman. Like the islands.”
He gave me a look, and it took a moment to realize he was serious. Luckily, that happened before I tripped on anything or ran into anyone. “So, is your sister’s name Aruba?”
“No. That’s my brother.” He turned to face forward for a few paces and then shot me a wink.
That wink made me stumble. I’m in trouble.

BIO:

Charley Descoteaux is the author of the Buchanan House Love Stories. Book One was a USA Today Must-Read Romance.

Charley has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through a single day without stories.

Rattle Charley’s cages:










Publisher: CeeTwo Publications
Release Date: January 1, 2019
Pages:  86

Cover Artist: Rainbow Danger Designs



Thursday, November 29, 2018

Blue Christmas Cover Reveal & Excerpt


Happy Holidays, everyone! It’s been an interesting year for me as I am sure it’s been for all of you. Big projects at the EDJ, a stressful break up, migraines, and dealing with the upkeep of my house has kept my attention from being focused on my writing to the extent I would have liked, but I am back on the book scene this year with a novella called Blue Christmas. It is a holiday story about a young man who lost his Christmas spirit after his mother passed away and his need to keep from ever losing anyone ever again causes him to push any attempts to befriend him away. His depression leads him to make a choice which takes him down a path to redemption and learning to love the holiday again as well as allowing himself to let others in once more. 

The story will be available on Smashwords and related retailers on November 30th. Amazon will have it available for purchase December 3rd. It is now able to be pre-ordered on both sites. The links are below if you like the sound of the book. 😊

I’m excited to share the cover and an excerpt with you today and hope you enjoy the story!

Blurb
Christmas used to be a time of joy for me, but since my mother's death three years ago the holiday has lost all meaning, becoming nothing but a harsh reminder of what I've lost. I've become bitter and skeptical of everyone around me, and the cold aloofness has kept me from being hurt that deeply again. But this year the thought of yet another blue Christmas alone sends me on a path that will change my life forever. Trigger Warning: Attempted suicide.





Buy Links



Excerpt

Somehow, I managed to fall into a restless sleep and before I knew it the nurse came in to wake me up and bring me breakfast. I scowled at her as she raised my bed and set the tray on the table before me. I grimaced at the dried out eggs and hard toast. There was no way I'd eat this so I just pushed the table away. "Where are my clothes?" I demanded of her.

"They're in the closet over by the bathroom, dear. Everything you came in with is in there." She made a notation on my chart at the foot of my bed and then left the room.

I wanted to be gone before Carter got there. I slid from the bed, gripping the back of the gown closed. Cold air slipped under the hem and I winced at how chilly the tile felt on my feet. Everything was where she’d said. I bundled my clothes together and headed into the bathroom to get dressed. Maybe I underestimated Carter because when I came back out, he sat in the same chair from last night, a magazine propped open on one knee.

He looked up and smiled. "Ah, good, you're already dressed. I took the liberty of going into your apartment and grabbing a coat for you since you were brought in without one last night. Also the little girl who lives next door to you wanted me to tell you Simba is okay and she'll take care of him until you get home."

I tightened my lips into a flat line. "I'm not going anywhere with you. I'll take a cab home."

"Don't be ridiculous. I'm already here and besides we have to stop at the lot and pick out a tree. Oh, I went by my parents' house and snagged some of their decorations. My mom has so much of them she insisted I take some of hers." Carter stood and held out the jacket. It was my favorite one, the one my mom had given me the year before she started to get sick. Though a little worn in some places, it still provided enough warmth against the chilly winds and snow.

"Thank you," I said stiffly. "But I really don't need a tree or decorations."

Once again, he didn't listen to me and waved away my refusal. "You can make me dinner on Christmas Eve and we'll call it even."

I shook my head and started to tell him no once again when the door opened and one of the orderlies came in with a wheelchair. "I can walk," I protested.

"Hospital policy. Please have a seat, Mr. Lords. You'll be out of here in no time." The orderly gestured to the wheelchair.

With a sigh, I gave in and settled into it, embarrassed once again. Carter just silently followed along, a smile on his face. Once the papers were signed and I was outside of the front doors, I got out of the chair. I stepped in the direction of the nearest taxi, but Carter grabbed my arm and led me toward the parking garage. "I can walk on my own," I said, disturbed at his touch and nearness.

"Of course you can. I just wanted to make sure you were heading the right direction," he soothed. He stopped at a red pickup truck, unlocked the passenger door and opened it, waiting for me to get in. I glared at him, but slipped into the front seat. I breathed a sigh of relief to be out of the cold air, huddling deeper into my jacket.

            Carter loped around the front of the truck and slid into the driver's seat. Christmas music played from the speakers when the engine started. I crossed my arms and turned my head to stare out of the window as he drove.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Breakups Suck

It doesn't matter how unhappy or happy you are in a relationship or how maybe it's a good thing or not, Breakups Suck. There's no two ways about it. It sucks. Point Blank

I am not the most experienced individual when it comes to relationships. In my life I've had two serious relationships. My first one left me extremely broken. It devastated me to the point that I didn't even try to put myself back out there for over ten years. It fueled my writing career though and led me down the path I am on now. So I wouldn't trade it for the world. And of course, looking at it now, I'm glad it's over and we didn't continue. The guy was a bit of a douche.  

My recent relationship... It ended in a way that gave me whiplash. I don't even know what happened. I do know the events that led up to it this past Monday were not the real cause. There was an underlying factor here. 

I know I have not been happy for a while. Everything changed in December last year for me because of the way I was treated over what I had given him for Christmas. He hated it all. I'd never been treated in such a disrespectful way in my entire life. The emotions I was feeling for him began to fade because of it. I didn't find myself investing as much of myself in the relationship. The most likely outcome is he sensed it as time went on. 

Fear of being alone, fear of not finding someone else, and a number of other things kept me with him. But how do you know when it's right and when it's not right? Everyone says you'll just know. But what the hell does that mean? Is there just a big truck that's going to hit you when it's right?  How do you know what's going to happen afterward? There are no certainties in life. And I can't help but fear that the whole breakup was a mistake. 

On the other hand, I know it wasn't the right relationship for me. We truly had almost nothing in common. He liked things I didn't care for, like window shopping, going to Disney regularly, walking just to walk, movies that I found dumb, and so many other differences. He never understood my love of animals. I never understood how he couldn't see what he did with the animals as fear tactics rather than good training. 

This Sunday just before we broke up I had to do something that broke my heart because one of my feral colony cats was really sick and I had to make the decision to put her to sleep. I was devastated, but I never once felt like I could call him and ask him to come be with me because he didn't understand and because I knew he was upset and being moody. To him the cat was just a "wild animal", but to me she was more. He only saw the money it took to get her treatment. I don't care about money. It's not fair to leave her suffering because it cost money to help her. 

He spent so much time looking at my care for my animals as making them more important than him that I think he built it up inside his head to be more than it was. Or maybe his past with his father and how much of a bad person his father was made that more of an issue for him and he couldn't see past it. I don't know. But in something he told me recently about his father it makes me think that maybe that's why. He may never admit it, may never realize it, but I believe it's an underlying factor.

Nothing truer than this... (
https://weheartit.com/entry/115664042)
While all of the issues I feel in my heart combined are a really good reason for the break up to stick and not be together, it still hurts. It still has me ready to cry at the drop of a hat. And I can't understand why. I wasn't happy. He wasn't happy. It still doesn't make it better just knowing that. But he was such a large part of my life for so long... how do I go back to it just being me? How do I not send him a text when something funny happens? Or just to say good morning or good night? I already miss that. 

And most people know every time that it happens, insecurities from the previous break ups come back to haunt you. Was I not good enough? What did I do to make it fail? Am I going to be alone for the rest of my life? Am I simply not loveable? What if no one can ever look past my flaws to the real me and love me anyway? They're ugly thoughts. They're ugly insecurities. Yet many people have felt that way. Everyone tells me "it's good he's gone", "he wasn't right for you", "it's his fault not yours", but those people didn't live it. 

How can they possibly know that? Especially when I don't know that. Was it his fault? Was it mine? Did I not try hard enough? Were his good qualities unable to overcome the bad ones? I know he cared about me. He did a lot of things for me during our relationship. Yet it wasn't enough to outweigh the way he made me feel in my heart that we weren't soulmates. I couldn't get past his constant need to be right, his constant need to argue the "devils advocate point" on everything, or the way I never felt like his girlfriend because the usual things weren't there. We didn't date. I always ended up paying for myself. While I don't think a man should always have to pay, I do think there should be some old school chivalry in there sometimes. He always made it a point to make sure I paid him back if he paid for me during a time when I didn't have cash and the bill was combined. Yet I never did that to him in all the times I paid for food to be delivered to the house for dinner or the time I paid for tickets to a broadway musical. I never asked him for the money because that's not who I am. Maybe it makes me naive or easy to take advantage of, but I think in a relationship its a give and take. I treat, you treat, etc. 
This says it all....   (https://weheartit.com/entry/48765935)





There were just so many mountains we couldn't quite climb, we eventually hit rock bottom. 

I know I don't usually post personal things, but I just needed to put that out there, to show others it's not sunshine and rainbows for everyone, that fairy tale romances take work, and Prince Charming or Princess Charming doesn't just find you and wake you up with a kiss. And to say... Breakups Suck. No matter what the situation is at the end. 

I found a site that does have some decent advice and makes some good points:

Maybe some of this will make it easier in the quiet moments. Those are the hardest. Being alone, being without distractions, it's the hardest times of the day. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Week 1 Almost Over! Progression in a Good Way!




Tomorrow will be one week since I started back on my journey toward a healthier me. I'm very proud of myself. I worked out Wednesday through Saturday and then picked it up again Monday. I also kept to my diet, no cheat day. AND, I know it's only water weight to begin with, but I lost 4.8lbs already!!! So excited! :) 

On the weekend, I always go out to lunch with my parents, but I never choose the lighter/fitter options. I will be making healthier choices at restaurants moving forward. Already started this past weekend by choosing chicken with veggies and rice instead of a hamburger with fries or some such thing. I felt much better about myself for doing that too. My intention is to also cut out red meat, but I have to clear out the few items I still have in my freezer. After that, no red meat. I bought an instant pot this past weekend. Been wanting one of those forever it seems. I have steak chunks, organic, ready to cook tonight!

After three days of working out and eating right I already feel so much better. I don't wake up feeling gross, I don't feel bloated, and my mental state is different as well. I'm happier, less angry at the world, and just overall feeling good. This is why I started it. To feel better. To enjoy life rather than hating it because I'm miserable. 

There's also a new Facebook Group I started with a friend called Fit Force. It's a secret group on FB for now, but we intend on opening it up to those with an open mind looking to join. The group is for support, suggestions, tips, recipes, and sharing our ups and downs on our healthier us movement. Interested in joining?  --->  Fit Force  

Have a wonderful Tuesday! *kisses*

~J.R.~



Friday, June 8, 2018

Day 3 - Doing it for Myself & No One Else

Good Morning, all! Day 3 of my determination to get healthy. I wanted to slip last night, but I forced myself to grab Skinny Pop mini popcorn cakes instead of grabbing something unhealthy and fattening. I can already sense a difference and I've only been doing it for two days. I don't feel anywhere near as bloated as I did before. 

I receive an email newsletter every day from SparkPeople. They have blog posts, recipes, etc. for people who want to be healthy. I found one of the blog posts to be rather inspiring. It touched a chord with me because like most people, I'm afraid to try new things and fail or try them and look dumb. But the blogger is very correct in her statement:

"Remember that everyone isn't watching you the way you think they are. Part of my fear with yoga class was that everyone would be judging me. In reality, no one was paying an ounce of attention to what I was doing. They were there for themselves, just as I was. Do you feel self-conscious when you go to the grocery store and you're stumbling over the labels in the natural foods section? No one is analyzing what goes into your grocery cart. Are you worried your dinner companions will be judging the healthy meal you order at a restaurant? Chances are they're focused only on great conversation and good company. Be confident in your choices because you're doing it for you and no one else."

Original Post Here

She hit a spot with me because I do think about that stuff. I do think people are watching what I'm putting in my cart at the store. I do think that people are watching me eat at a restaurant and thinking about how fat I am. But in reality, most people don't even care that I am there or what I'm doing. I have to remind myself to be confident and to move forward because this is about me, not anyone else.

Unfortunately, I did not make any step toward my writing, and all excuses aside, it was more my lack of energy than anything else. I know the determination to be healthier will impact my writing in a good way. I'll have more energy and be more mentally awake. My journey toward a better me will be a positive in both directions.

Wish me luck to remain strong through Day 3. The popular idea is that after 21 days you're good! Well, I am 2 days and a handful of hours into those 21 days. And I CAN DO THIS!!



~J.R.~

Thursday, June 7, 2018

How Day 1 Went & Day 2 is going... :)





Good Morning, everyone! Hope Thursday is treating you well!  

Day 1 went well for my lifestyle change. Good news, I kept to under my calorie goal and did 45 minutes on the treadmill. Bad news, I ended up with a bad headache after the work out because of the strain on my shoulders, even just holding the bars didn’t seem to stop that from happening. It made it very challenging to stick to the right foods. Chewing crunchy things like animal crackers seems to help some times, but those are added calories. And it kept me from holding true to working on my WIPs for the hour I scheduled.

I woke up and still intend on hitting up the gym, but the headache brewing at the moment may keep that from being a reality. I’m going to push myself to go anyway, but maybe cut down on the time or go as long as I can. I have to try and work out my shoulders to strengthen the muscles there as those are what causes the majority of my migraines. Tension.  

I’m using MyFitnessPal.com to track my calories and exercise, so if you are on there and want to friend me, my username is jrloveless. The more friends, the merrier, and the more support we can provide each other. I’ve been using MFP for years and it’s a great tool with a lot of resources and a lot of support in the forums. If you haven’t, you should check it out.

Anyway, back to work and back to pushing myself to go a step further today!


“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier



~J.R. ~

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

I woke up this morning...



Me right now. 
I have been trying to update at least once a week with relevant information to my writing or the author community. Unfortunately, I got sick a couple weeks back and missed that week and then the next week I went on vacation to MegaCon Orlando and didn't have a chance to write anything. But, here I am. Tired as all get out though as my sleeping pattern hasn't been the best.

I've always been a yo-yo dieter. Jump on the diet, fall off the diet. Mostly due to migraines, but also due to my lack of discipline with myself. I started gaining weight when I was 11 years old and haven't stopped. I hit my heaviest weight ever about five years ago. I've since lost over 66lbs and then gained back 25lbs.

But this morning, I woke up and I felt awful. My lower back hurt, it was rough getting out of bed, and it was hard to catch my breath doing basic things. I knew it was time to stop letting my migraines and my lack of discipline define how I took care of myself. I lost over 50lbs in six months two years ago and managed to keep that off until the last eight months when I just stopped caring about what I ate again and stopped being active.

A friend of mine gave me a motivation calendar for my desk at work for getting fit. Some of the phrases and quotes are quite inspirational. I think the best is: "Discipline is just choosing between what you want NOW and what you want MOST." There is never a truer set of words and they could be applied to many aspects of your life. Including Writing.

My writing hasn't been kept up on either and I need to rectify that. Truly rectify it and not just talk about it. The same for getting myself healthier. I need to make better choices everywhere in my life and I need to stop making excuses. No one is going to do it for me. It's not going to just magically happen. I have to want it and I mean truly want it. There can be no more, "I have a headache so that makes it okay," but it really doesn't.

My first act today was to eat right for breakfast and to start drinking more water. I'm on 7 glasses for the day already. I also brought my gym bag to work and I am going to go walk on the treadmill for as long as I can. I know I felt so much better physically when I was working out and I slept better, too. I went to the gym four to six times a week, depending on my schedule. I know I can do that again. It's an hour a day. One hour. And the same needs to apply to my writing. One hour... it's not a lot to give! There's 24 in a day!!

Nothing is accomplished in life without determination, grit, and desire. I have all three when I truly want something and I want this. I don't want to let another year slip by without having something for my readers. I don't want to continue to wake up every morning exhausted because I couldn't sleep well or my back is screaming. I don't want to go through the day and avoid the stairs because it leaves me out of breath just because I'm so out of shape. I need to do this! I CAN and I WILL do this!




~J.R.~