Friday, October 24, 2014

Got PRIDE?

No, I'm not talking about Gay Pride. I'm referring to Pride in yourself. This week I attended a conference with the day job where the motivational speaker was Roger Shultz. He play football for my alma mater, the University of Alabama. ROLL TIDE! But he's better known as a runner on The Biggest Loser.


Basically, the gist of his speech was having PRIDE. P stands for Persistence or as my daddy says, "Keep on keepin' on." R is Respect - in yourself and earned from others. I means Impact. You never know who's looking up to you and what kind of influence you have. D is Determination. Hard work pays off. E stands for Effort. Show up on time, do what's asked and have a good attitude. Pretty simple, right?   


Roger Shultz
Roger Sultz
Many of you may know Roger Shultz from the popular reality show "The Biggest Loser" where he finished second losing more weight than any contestant ever lost while on the BL campus. However, he is much more than a guy who lost 164 pound in just five months. Roger has always been the same down to earth person, despite all his many accomplishments beginning in high school.
Roger was All-State in Football, Wrestling, and in Track. He was offered scholarships in all the sports and chose from one of the almost 100 schools that offered him a scholarship in football. He attended the University of Alabama where he played for Ray Perkins, Bill Curry, and Gene Stallings. He started at center for 48 games. He was All-SEC twice, was a freshman All-American, and was an honorable mention All-American his junior and senior year.
After his playing days at UA, Roger moved on to graduate school at Alabama where he completed a Master's in Marketing. This was on top of his Bachelors in Commerce and Business Administration earned earlier. While completing his graduate degree, Roger found time to be a graduate assistant on the 1992 U. of Alabama National Championship football team. Roger has since been named to the Alabama All Decade Team for the 90s and the 50-Year Iron Bowl Team.


Hope you're feeling the PRIDE!
             Southern Smiles,
                          Casey Crow

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Soldier's Italian Christmas won the Novella category in the I Heart Indie Contest


A Soldier's Italian Christmas won the Novella category in the I Heart Indie contest!

I couldn't believe it when I opened up my email on Saturday -- my novella won! This is a great contest for indie pubbed authors. A chance to showcase your cover and back copy blurb. The results are listed here on the Las Vegas Romance Writers website.

Here's my back copy cover:

He is a U.S Army captain, a battle-weary soldier who has lost his faith.
She is a nun, her life dedicated to God.
Together they are going to commit an act the civilized world will not tolerate.
They are about to fall in love.

December 1943
Italy

The ravages of combat have taken a toll on Captain Mack O’Casey, who has lost his faith after seeing the horrors of war as the Nazis fight hard to keep the Allies from reaching Rome. His beliefs are challenged even more when he loses his way and ends up in a mystical place called Monte D'Oro Rose during the cold winter of 1943…and falls in love with the beautiful Sister Angelina.

The young nun has a secret of her own, one she will die trying to protect: the lost Cross of Saint Cecelia. She must find the religious relic first before the brutal Nazi major who will stop at nothing to get it. Even murder. Sister Angelina risks her life to save the cross for the Church, but will she also risk her heart? Falling in love with the handsome American soldier is against the rules, but she can’t deny the stolen moments with him have made her question her vows.

It is Christmas Eve when these two lonely people come together on this holiest of holidays and how faith helps them overcome their greatest fears. A time when the whole world holds its breath as brave men and women fight for freedom.

And a soldier and a nun dare to fall in love…

=============

And here is the cover designed by Romance Book Cover Designs by Ramona. Check out this video excerpt from A Soldier's Italian Christmas


A Soldier's Italian Christmas:  from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.


To celebrate winning the Novella category in the I Heart Indie contest, A Soldier's Italian Christmas is FREE today and tomorrow October 22 and 23!! Grab your copy HERE.

Have a great holiday season!

Best,
Jina

www.facebook.com/JinaBacarr.author
https://twitter.com/JinaBacarr
http://www.pinterest.com/jbacarr 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Romanticon 2014 in Pictures

I give up! My computer is fried. Help is on the way, but for now I will post the pics as is and do the videos when my computer parts arrive. 


Mary E and CJ, a great way to start the conference with my very first pic!











Karaoke Meet & Greet





Fans of the Karaoke Meet and Greet!











It's just mean to say something funny when you're trying to be romance cover material, dammit!

















This really doesn't need a caption...


















Hmmm. Giant lickable Caveman poster, or pose for a pic? I'm not so sure Elle Boone has it wrong! Or maybe this caption should be, "Can you pick out the erotic author?"










Love this pic! Can I go back? I have to say, it felt really good to be able to wear something like this after losing all that weight. Loving Paleo! Next trick will be keeping it off over the holidays for the Wild Wicked Weekend!













Two of my favorite ladies! Always great to see them. Until 2015, ladies!
















My two Roommates. Plus, a fridge full of cheesecake. Seriously good cheesecake. It's not Paleo, and I tried to take one bite. I ate the whole jar.  To check it out, click here: CHEESECAKE




















Caveman Bingo, anyone?

And we all discovered the true way to Rodney's heart. Cheesecake!




Cait's T-shirt. Awesome!





































































Ummm, I'll have what they're having, please.

And last but by far least... Taylor won Alpha Caveman of the year! So deserving. First thing he did was tell them to split the monetary award between all of the guys. I know, huh? All that, and a great guy, too. Definitely Alpha Caveman material.

I will post more on the Best. Show. Ever!! I swear I will get the video to work and post it the minute I can, probably on my FB page, tho I may add it here, too. For now, here are some pics:

There was one huge mar on the week that came right when the conference ended. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that both Axl and Taylor flew home on that plane with the nurse who was diagnosed with ebola the very next day. This is, unfortunately, very true. Not only that, it has been proven that she sat within 3 feet of the guys. God love them, they put themselves on immediate quarantine before it was ever suggested they do so. There has been a GoFundMe site started to cover their expenses for the 21 (possibly +) days they will be in quarantine, as they obviously can't work. No, they did not ask for this. They didn't ask to be exposed to ebola, either. They are simply doing the right thing, and the romance community takes care of its own. If you can lend a hand, please go to http://www.gofundme.com/fw2ja4  Any amount toward the goal is greatly appreciated. For a firsthand account of what they are going through, check out Axl's FB page.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Character Interview and Yummy Cheese Grits

Southern belle Campbell Layne is the rising star of the Manhattan Ballet Theatre, providing she lands an upcoming principal role. The stage heats up, however, when Rod Carrington steps in and teaches her more than she ever expected!
Determined as she is to stay focused on the audition that will push her into stardom, dazzling attorney Rod Carrington still proves to be a major distraction especially when he ends up teaching the college class she’s taking in her spare time. Campbell humiliates herself on their first date, but that doesn’t stop Rod from whisking her off to Italy and turning her into quite the vixen. Too bad he also had to use his powerful influence to secure the lead for her. Now she’ll never know if her talent was real or “bought” by the man she thought was the love of her life.

I'm changing things up  and offering you a character interview with the "Sexy, Sassy & Southern" heroine Campbell Layne. 

Hi Campbell, can you tell our readers a little about DANCE WITH A MILLIONAIRE?
Sure, but first let me say how glad I am to be here! DWAM is about this Southern belle and rising star of the Manhattan Ballet Theatre, providing she lands the upcoming principal role. Um, yeah, that’s me. I’m totally stressing about an audition that could change my life. All I want to do is stay focused on my career, and I’ll be dog-gone, that’s when Rod Carrington steps into the picture. OMG. The man is freakin’ gorgeous and a total ego-maniac. He simply will not go away, though, as proven when he volunteers to substitute this law school class I’m taking in my spare time. (I’m on the nerdy side, and this is how I like to spend my time – don’t judge). Anyway, against my better judgment, we go to dinner. Basically, I drink too much, embarrass the fool out of myself, and assume that’s the end of it. Oh no. Rod then whisks me off to his Italian villa and helps me become quite the vixen. (No complaining here.) I’m completely smitten until I find out he used his powerful influence to secure the lead role for me. Now I’ll never know if my talent was real or “bought” by the man I thought was the love of her life.
 How did you get into ballet?
The story my folks tell is that when I was about two, we were all at my uncle’s horse pasture. (I’m from this tiny town in rural South Alabama.) When Mama wasn’t looking, I climbed up onto the fence and was standing on one of the rails. She knew then that with all that balance I’d either be a ballet dancer or a tight-rope walker. The next week, she enrolled me in dance class.

 What’s your favorite part of dance?
Definitely, my most favorite part is getting lost in the music. It transports me into a world all my own, like I’m in this bubble where I feel nothing but the rhythm of the orchestra. Tchaikovsky is my favorite composer and takes me to that sphere like no other. Yes, there are others, composers who reveled in the uniqueness of their music or intricacies of the composition, but no one does it for me like the great Russian magician. His sound is immediately recognizable, too. The peppy theme of The Nutcracker would put the grumpiest of Scrooges in the Christmas spirit. Sleeping Beauty’s “Waltz of the Flowers” causes me to sway in serenity while Swan Lake’s “Dying Swan” exhausts me with grief.

Tell us about your trip to Italy.
Rod, bless his heart, whisks me off on his private jet to the resort town of Bellagio, Italy, on Lake Como. The Swiss Alp Mountains, the lake, all the yellow and cream stucco buildings with orange terracotta tile roofs, and the cobblestone paths were incredible to see. Rod’s home turns out to be a mansion he’s renovating. I love it because it is warm and welcoming and “him.” Bellagio is known for upscale boutiques, antiques, and art galleries. As great as the shopping was, I have to admit, the best part was seeing how the relaxation Italy offered created this new side of Rod I’d yet to see.

 Rod wine and dines at some pretty fantasy restaurants then you turn the tables and cook him a home-cooked meal. Tell us about that. 
Our first date is at Jean Georges in New York City. I have sea bass and Rod has beef Wellington. Delish! When we are Italy, I think I gain ten pounds from the manicotti, tiramisu, and gelato. Mama taught me how to cook so I finally show off my culinary skills with fried chicken, cornbread, collard greens, grits, mash potatoes, and a carrot casserole. Plus, I bake an apple pie. Rod, I’m proud to say, loved it. In fact, here is my jalapeno grits recipe (as if the book isn’t hot enough):

Jalapeno Cheese Grits

2 cups quick-cooking grits
2 1/2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tablespoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
3 large eggs, well beaten
2 jalapenos, finely diced
1/4 cup canned chopped green chiles
Garlic salt
Directions:    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook the grits according to the directions on the back of the package. Remove from the heat and add next 6 ingredients (Cheddar through chilies). Stir well and season with garlic salt, to taste. Pour into a buttered 9-inch baking dish and bake for 1 hour. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Southern Smiles, 
Casey Crow
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Twitter @caseyecrow and Facebook Casey Crow
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