Thursday, May 28, 2015

My Icelandic Adventure

Yes, I missed my last post. Thing is, it was the day we were leaving for Iceland and I got caught up in making sure the house, kids, dog, packing were all set before we boarded our plane. Um, I forgot. However, I do have some fab pics to post now!

This trip was a reward through Stud's work, and everything was planned and taken care of by his company. There were 45 of us, so that's no easy feat on their part. The itinerary was pretty intense, starting out with us boarding a plane in Boston at 10pm and arriving in Iceland for a 6:30 am breakfast the next morning. Except Icelandic time is 4 hours ahead, so really, we were having breakfast at 2:30 in the morning before hitting the deck running. It didn't help that our first impression flying in and after an hour bus ride to that breakfast was flat, rainy, and cold.


Our first stop was that private breakfast at the Blue Lagoon, a famous geothermal spa. The breakfast was surprisingly good and the coffee in Iceland superb. Then we suited up and chased warm spots in the lagoon while our faces felt like being pelted with ice (from cold wind and rain), but it was pretty cool. I swear my skin is still soft from it. We also got to know our 2 guides who picked us up from the airport, and they were our guides for the entire trip.

After a few hours at the Blue Lagoon, we finally got into Reykjavík for a private group lunch. It cleared a bit at that point, and this was the view from the window of the restaurant.


After lunch, we were finally able to get into our hotel rooms for our first rest in over 24 hours. This was the view from our hotel room.












It was a short rest before we had to get ready for dinner, which was amazing. In fact, the food at every restaurant was 4-star all the way. This one was 2 blocks from our hotel. Uh-huh. Turns out everywhere is 2 blocks from where you want to be, no matter where you're going! None of our dinners ended until at least 11pm, but it didn't matter. It was still light out. 

The next morning, after a great buffet breakfast at the hotel, we boarded our bus for a trip to the glaciers for snowmobiling and highlights of the Golden Circle Tour. Despite that first observation, Iceland isn't flat after all. Duh. Famous for volcanoes and glaciers, but take another look at that first impression pic. Iceland is also bigger than expected, and each expedition took at least an hour and a half to get to, but the bus was luxury and the terrain beautiful. 

Our first stop was at a remote outpost to switch buses to a bigger one with bigger tires to get us farther up the mountain.

About 1/2 hr later, we had to switch buses again for the last 20 min or so. This monstrosity took us the rest of the way, and they let a lot of air out of the tires to glide on the hard ice and snow.
Unfortunately, as you can see in the pic, it started to snow a bit at that point. We were supposed to snowmobile our way to lunch, served on an ice table carved into the glacier. Instead, after snowmobiling, we wound our way back down just as the snow got worse. That kinda sucked, but we had it way better than the group coming in as we were leaving!

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at an incredibly beautiful waterfall where I snapped some of my fave pics of the trip. 







And then we went to the geysers. It is incredible what they do here with harvesting steam, etc, to have all of the energy they need - and then some. Have a video of a geyser eruption right in front of me, but can't get it to post. :(
Dinner that night was "2 blocks" from the hotel, and awesome.

Next morning was a super jeep expedition up to the volcanoes. Wasn't sure what to expect, and about 5 or 6 of these  jeeps showed up at the hotel. When we got to the bottom of the volcanoes, they let air out of the tires, this time to glide over ice and rocks.




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Love this pic because it shows on the gps that we are driving through what used to be a lagoon before the big volcano eruption of 2010 changed the landscape. Funniest part was seeing the line of super jeeps with Go-Pros hanging out the windows! 
For lunch, we stopped at a remote outpost where our guides bbq'd lunch while we hiked. Wish I could say that meal was good, but I'm pretty sure we ate horse.
On the way back to the city, we stopped at a gorgeous waterfall that you could walk/hike behind. 

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We also stopped at a cool cliff area, but I didn't get off the bus. A lot of us didn't. We were cold, hungry, tired, and wet from the waterfall. Turns out it was The Wall from Game of Thrones! Yeah, I'm still kicking myself.

Guess what? Dinner that night was awesome, and "2 blocks from the hotel!"

The next day we actually had a few hours to ourselves in Reykjavík before our flight home to Boston. Oh yeah! Our luggage came in on the same carousel as one from Panama. I was sniffed by a DEA dog! When we arrived home, the house was still standing, our dog still alive, and the twins hadn't killed each other, though apparently that was a close call. 





















Friday, May 22, 2015

RT 2015 Memories

Hello Lovely Readers and Writers!

I just returned from 2015 Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Dallas, Texas. As with every RT hoo-rah, this one was a blast, as well. Loved seeing old friends and meeting new ones. My Developing Brand You marketing workshop and Pitch Perfect workshop went great. WHEW! And the annual Shooting Stars Gala hosted by the Seymour Agency and Bent Agency was packed with readers and bloggers! Here's a few of shots:

Cover model, professional actor and red carpet host Billy Freda. We've known each other for years and huge shout to Billy for assisting with "Red Carpet" Interviews in my branding workshop!

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My table at the Shooting Stars Gala giving away a "Southern Summer" basket.

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Some of the Seymour Agency authors meeting with Elle Asher, winner of our "meet the authors" contest with proceeds going to literacy charity. Pictures are Asher, me, Terri Stanton, Reese Monroe, Julie Ann Walker, and Kate Meador.

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My fabulous agent Nicole Resciniti.
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Literary agent at The Seymour Agency - Lane Heymont
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My dear friend I've known since my first RT three years ago, Dennis Pozzessere (Heather Graham's hubby). He has the coolest stories.
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Yeah that's me on a bull! Sooo much harder than it looks!
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Giving a copy of my children's picture book to cover model Mark Johnson's daughter. Such a cutie.
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Hope to see everyone in Vegas next year!

Southern Smiles,
Casey Crow

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Kindle Scout and my Civil War Time Travel Romance...



The clock is ticking...I have only a few days left to go through my 140,000+ word Kindle Scout manuscript LOVE ME FOREVER before I hand it in to the KS editors.

My book was chosen for publication (thank you to everyone who nominated my story!), then you have 30 days to check it over...

I'm fact checking again, looking for lost words...and yes, adding bits of stuff, which is how I got to over 140,000 words.

So please forgive me if this is a short post...I'll be back next time with a post about the Kindle Scout experience!

Till then...back to checking my story...



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LOVE ME FOREVER

She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.
And time.

LOVE ME FOREVER is on Kindle Scout — you can read the first 5,000 words HERE. You’ll meet both my heroines and both my heroes in the excerpt. It’s a saga of love and romance and war. Believe me, I walked every road, fought every battle with my characters, even walked around in a hoop skirt to “get it right.”

This is a book of the heart…any questions? Please ask!!
 Thanks for stopping by.

~Jina

Friday, May 8, 2015

RT Booklover's Conference next week with the yummy Billy Freda!


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Home

The Romantic Times Booklovers Convention is next week in Dallas. I'm excited to announce that my good friend (and incredibly yummy male specimen) Billy Freda will be participating in my "Developing Brand You" Marketing workshop on Thursday at 4:00. The wonderful erotic author Sparrow Beckett will also be joining us. 

As you may know from his 200+ book covers, Billy is a legend in the romance world. He's also a professional actor and red carpet host who'll be interviewing members of the audience. Sparrow and I will then critique the interview so authors can learn how to better market themselves. 

The other workshop is I'm presenting is "Pitch Perfect" with some serious star power. (Not me! LOL). YA author Brenda Drake, Agent Louise Fury and Entangled Publishing CEO Liz Pelletier. That's on Friday at 11:15. 

If you're at RT, please look me up. Would love to see you and just because Billy is so delicious (and smart and nice and witty) here's another pic. And little known fact, his dad looks exactly like Kasey Kasem! Totally freaked me out when I met him!  
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                                                                                                           Southern Smiles,


                                                                                                                Casey Crow