Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Paying It Forward

While standing on line at the Dollar Tree this afternoon, there was a young couple checking out that were obviously doing their grocery shopping. They were watching the items go into the bags one at a time and the girl was counting them. The two of them were debating whether they had this amount or that amount of money in the bank. She started worrying that they were going to run out of money so she asked the cashier to remove an item. He said "But it's only a dollar." She responded with a smile, "I know but I don't have the dollar."

Annoyed at the cashier I opened my wallet and pulled out $5. I leaned over and handed it to the girl and said "Will this be enough to get you what you need?" She was shocked but thanked me profusely as did her companion. I just smiled and stepped back to my spot in line pleased that I could do a little something to help someone else. I don't often have money in my wallet and I run a pretty tight budget of my own but the two things I can not stand are people not having food and children not having gifts on Christmas. I honestly didn't think anything of it until my youngest son asked me what I had just done. I started to explain that I had given the girl a little money to help with her groceries when the lady next to us interrupted me and told my son "Your momma was being Jesus today. If you want to know what He looks like, just look at her."

She made me cry. Her words humbled me in a way I simply cannot describe. I did not feel holy and my intentions were not all that just. I just wanted to help a fellow human being and maybe showing my kids a little act of kindness in hopes that one day they might do the same for someone. Children learn by example, right? The woman and I chatted a moment and I discovered she was the daughter of a local pastor before she paid for her purchases and we said our goodbyes. As the boys and I loaded our purchases into the trunk of our little car, the couple found us in the parking lot. The young man said "God Bless You" with tears in his eyes and the girl just kept saying thank you. I smiled and simply replied, "Just pay it forward one day when you can." They assured me they would and you know, I believe them.

One the way to our next errand, one of the kids asked me what "pay it forward" meant. I explained that if someone does something nice for you then you do something nice for someone else and they will hopefully do something for someone else and then eventually you have a whole world of people being kind to each other. They seemed enamored by the idea.

Imagine if every person in this country did one nice thing for someone else tomorrow. The next day those folks would pay it forward and pretty soon instead of evil and unrest we might be surrounded by kindness and love.

Please understand that my initial action of giving them the money was not something I had thought through or planned to do it just hit me that it was the right thing to do. I had no idea that anyone would think anything of it. Really. On my home tonight I kept thinking, "It was only $5." Then I remembered a couple of years ago, around this time of year actually when I was at the supermarket. My two boys were in a tae kwon do class and I was in the store trying to squeeze in some grocery shopping with my fussy one year old nephew whom I was babysitting sat in the cart. I had worked all day and even now I remember how exhausted and stressed I was. The woman in front of me was buying a bottle of wine. She paid for it and then turned to me, handed me the bottle and said, "I think you need this more than I do." She was gone in a flash and I barely got to say thank you but I the gift was something I will never forget. A simple $8 bottle of wine changed my outlook because it reminded that the world was still good and people still care about each other.

I have felt so blessed lately with so many people in my life that love and support me. My dream of being a published writer is being realized, my boys are becoming amazing young men and I have the sort of husband every woman should have. I don't make much money and the house needs a little work but I have a home and food to eat and there will be gifts under the Christmas tree. Our cars aren't fabulous but they start up every day and I do have a sunroof to enjoy the warm southern sun. It is time for me to really start paying attention to the little things in life because those are the things that truly matter.

I would like to offer up one of my challenges to my readers. Find one person that you can do one kind thing for tomorrow. It doesn't matter who or what you do- offer a smile to someone who looks sad or angry, buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you or leave the good parking space for the mother with the two babies. I promise you it will mean something to someone and this world will be just that much brighter for a few seconds.

God Bless.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jewel Of Ramstone- Cover Release and The Book That Is Keeping Me Up At Night

It's finally the weekend!

I can now stay up as late as I want to read this amazing book I have been working on all week.  I was privy to a preview of the soon to be released Jewel of Ramstone by author JM Powers and let me tell you, it has kept me up nights. I can't put it down. I was up until after midnight most nights this week and if I didn't have to go to work I probably wouldn't even have slept until I finished it.

If you are a fan of historical romance you can't miss with this book. I tend to prefer contemporary romance and I'm telling you I was drawn in from the first page. Remember, this amazing story will be available in its entirety on November 14, 2014 from

I'm sure you are dying to know what it's about so here's a little teaser:
           "Ask me anything. Mayhap I can help." His deep voice broke the silence.
          How was he to help? "Pray tell, how did we come to share the forest?"

          "I shall explain." He bent and picked up a twig, then proceeded to peel the bark off. With each curl he tossed aside, she grew more frustrated.

'Twas better to allow mistrust. Stand strong. She gasped. Unexpected, the thought rang with such clarity, it seemed someone else had spoken. "Perchance you should be honest. Did you drug me? Spell me?"
         He tossed the twig aside. Though his eyes remained on her face, her whole body felt his scrutiny. "'Twould do you well to hold your tongue."

"I am beginning to dislike you," she said, knowing full well the opposite was true. She truly wished her insides would cease…prickling? And her head. Damn, it ached so. Tingles and pain aside, she tried to focus. "Do you intend to explain or not?"
           "I seek a means to tell you gently."

 With a slight shrug, she said, "No need for gentleness. You already tossed me about." She grinned despite the truth in her statement.

He sighed. "It appears you are lost."

"God's eyes, knight!" She shook her head. "You must be a great sorcerer to possess such insight."

"Your tongue shall be your undoing. Best you still it."

Twice he attempted to stifle her. She clenched her teeth. "Still it?"

Galeron's jaw twitched and she wondered if he were quelling a smile. "I found you here in the woodlands. I did not hold you captive, drug you, or harm you." He blinked slowly. "Hold to that."

She nodded. "Forgive—"

"Nay need. I understand. You now stand a day's ride from Ramstone. Have you heard of it?"

He pushed off the tree and came to sit beside her, his thigh nearly touching her own. Nearly. It took a moment for her answer. "Nay, I do not recall Ramstone." The fact she did not recall much of anything choked off the rest of her response.

"Odd," he said, more to himself than her.

Sighing, she realized how badly her masquerade of bravery was faltering. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw his hand come toward her. Surprised at the urge to lean into his touch, she remained still and allowed him to brush back the wisps of hair from her brow. His hand lowered in a fist, yet his voice was laced with tenderness.

"It pains me that I cannot give you answers." His gaze strayed from her face, lowering to her neck.

Covering the neckline of her tunic with both hands, she glared at him. "Focus elsewhere." He sees me as a woman after all. She dashed the thought away. Almost.

"I intend nay disrespect. The bruising on your neck concerns me." Gently brushing her hand aside, he took a closer look. "Fingerprints."

It took all she had not to cry out. Who harmed her?

"When we discovered you, there was nay sign of anyone else."

She glanced around. "We?"

"I sent my men home."

She blinked. Then blinked again. "Your men."

"My brother, a healer, assured me your wounds were not serious, so I decided to wait—"

She put up her hand. "Why not leave me under the care of your healer? Or leave me in the nearest village?"

He swallowed hard. "It matters not! Are you always so…so…inquisitive?"

Ah, this man was not used to being questioned. She tried to ease his surly mood. "A shame your men were sent on their way. No one laid witness when I kicked you and bashed your comely face before you so unceremoniously dropped a maiden to the ground."

He blew a long breath. "You insist on repeating that. Had you dressed appropriately, I would not have thought you a lad." His chuckle made her grin. "Although you certainly fight like a maiden."

She swiped her hand through the air. "Carry on."

"Carry on," he muttered. "I fear you shall interrupt again." He looked up through the trees, ignoring her huff. "We still had several days before reaching our destination when we found you. With that in mind, I postponed the journey and sent my men back to Ramstone."

"I see." She studied the frayed edge of her tunic. "How long have I been here?"

"I watched over you a single night. How long you were here remains a mystery. I was only gone a short time for I needed to boil meat into a broth to sustain you. Had I known you were a maiden, I never would have left you alone."

Her head snapped up. "Yet you would a lad? I am not defenseless simply because I am a female."

Galeron's eyes hardened. "Aye, 'tis so. I returned to find you brandishing a dagger. I left it in case you awoke and felt unsafe, not to use against me."

She ran her hands through the leaves and shrugged a silent apology, too stubborn to utter it out loud.

"Fair one?"

Damnation, she hated when he addressed her with those words, and yet it awoke something in her, for he said it with tenderness. She glared at his smiling face. "Why are you calling me that?" To her chagrin, what she'd meant as snide came out as quite curious.

 He splayed his hands in question, "Would you prefer I call you lad?" Two furrows appeared on his brow at her silent glare. "Because, you have yet to give your name."

Disarmed, she swallowed her spiteful attitude. "If I only could." She locked away her tears, her dismay, and did her best to keep her voice steady. "I hoped you would know…would say it by now. Sir Galeron, I…I recall naught before I saw you standing before me."

Seeming to battle with her revelation, Galeron's expression flitted from stunned to confused. Then his gaze bore into her with such tenderness it nearly undid her. "Nay memory?" he finally whispered.

She shook her head. He guided her head to his shoulder. Barely a moment passed before he released her, rose to his feet, and strode away. Unsure of why he left so abruptly, she frowned when he looked back.

"I regret I cannot ease your uncertainty." He stooped to gather twigs. "However, I am able to ease your hunger. After breaking our fast, we shall take leave."

She dabbed her impending tears as soon as his back was turned.

"We should arrive at Ramstone by nightfall."

"I am to stay at your home? What shall your wife think?"

"There is nay wife." He grabbed a branch and added it to his arms. "But there is plentiful family about."

Holding the tree for support, she stood, waiting for the dizziness to subside before she followed. When he turned, she picked up a branch, embarrassed at how silly she looked traipsing on his heels. Gathering an armload of kindling, she stole glances at him, each time wondering how it would feel to remain in his arms. She piled the branches then watched him arrange them.

"Building a fire?" Hark, she was a fool.

"Nay, I am building an abode." And he solidified the fact.

"I want my own chamber then." Several paces away, she sat. Sunlight peeked through the forest canopy. She closed her eyes and raised her face to the warmth. Like a constant itch, she felt his gaze. She slowly peered through her lashes. Aye, he was staring—no—studying her face. Her gash. Her ugly face. She sighed and looked to the sky instead.

"God's eyes," he muttered.

She turned to him. Very well, if he finds a need to gawk, I shall give him a full view of my battered face. "Sir Galeron, what worries you so? Has my plight delayed your duties?"

"Nay." He jammed the skinned carcasses on a sharpened branch.

"I heard your curse. Was it in frustration of not reaching your destination?" Oh, how she wished to smirk at his rudeness, but she kept her poise.

"I was not delayed from anything that could not wait." Keeping his eyes shielded, he placed the meat across the spit before offering a weak smile. "I pray forgiveness for my curse reaching your ears."

Wrapping her arms around her legs, she rested her unscathed cheek on her knees. "Curses are naught. I am simply thankful you helped me, Sir Galeron." Apparently he was too kind to mention her affliction. She hated the pity. 

Seemingly distracted, he arranged kindling then retrieved a piece of hammered steel and flint from a pouch on his belt.

"I pray you can forgive my initial rudeness." When he didn't respond, she added, "Ah, I gather forgiveness shall come with time."

Galeron struck the steel with a bit of flint. "I never held ill will. I understood the reason you lashed out." He blew on the kindling until it caught. "You are forgiven for bashing your head into mine as well."

"Ha!" She rose and strode to the fire. Her gaze flitted over his body. He looked up, catching her stare, and alas, stared back. Heat crept up her neck, spreading to her face. Surely, 'twas the fire's heat causing her flush—she hoped he believed the same lie.

 Galeron grinned. His demeanor was infuriating. And endearing. And more confusing than her loss of memory.

"Sit." He continued to tend the fire.

She paid no heed to his demand, and thrust her hands toward the fire. To her dismay, the sharp smell of the rabbit caused her stomach to roar with hunger.

Galeron's blue eyes sparked with mischievousness. "I gather 'tis been some time since you ate?"

"Apparently." She plunked down on a fallen log, certain her face turned countless shades of crimson.

Taking a seat beside her, Galeron chuckled and poked at the fire. He was so close she could smell the woodsy scent on his skin. She inhaled deeper, tucking the fragrance into her mind to savor when she was left to her own.

He cleared his throat. "Allow me to tend to that cut."

Inwardly cringing, she changed the subject. "How long before we eat?"

With a quick wink, he leaned back and rummaged in his saddle pack. Taking her hand, he placed an apple in it, keeping one for himself. His smile highlighted the dimple in his chin and she found herself offering a genuine smile in return.
"Ah, glorious," she said, grateful he didn't see how his touch affected her. Waving his offer to use his dagger, she bit heartily into the fruit, and moaned, relishing the explosion of juice across her tongue. "Naught could taste sweeter in this moment."

Oh, but she did know one thing that might. Tasting the nectar on his lips would certainly qualify. She sensed his tension when she took a bite. Mayhap he had the same thought? He grunted and crunched into the apple, mumbling something about a damn green-eyed mystery.

Were her eyes green? Damnation. Her mind was truly addled.

J.M. Powers harbors an alter ego of a normal woman named Jeannie. (Her editor is still on the fence about the whole 'normal' thing.) Jeannie's proficient at research, gluten-free cooking and embarrassing her teenagers by wearing her skinny jeans to the grocery store. J.M., the author-ego, plunges so deep into her writing; she forgets life outside her creations still goes on. More often than not, J.M. answers with a glassy stare when her family asks what's for dinner. Despite the craziness between reality and the world of writing, life falls together without broken bones or hearts.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

How His Job Has Changed Me

As the title of this blog includes the three things I am most proud of in my life- raising my sons, being a law enforcement wife and my writing career- I have decided to dedicate one weekly post to each of those three things. Today, Sunday, will be "Badges" day.

When I met my husband all those years ago, he let me know right away that it was his dream to be a municipal police officer. It was a bit of trek down the path but a decade ago he realized his dream and we became a law enforcement family. I never gave any thought as to how his career choice would affect me beyond the fact that he would work nights,weekends and holidays- not so different from the schedule we already kept with his previous job. When I look back now though I see that I am a completely different person.

People often ask me questions about what it is like having a husband work nights. They want to know if I am afraid of something happening to him and someone once asked me if he had a lot of life insurance. Occasionally, someone will comment on how much I have changed over the years and wonder if his job is the reason. I used to get upset over these questions. I mean, of course I worry about him. All night long in fact and life insurance is a necessity for all families. Now though, as a seasoned wife, I understand the sort of curiosity some might have about the job. I guess you could say I have mellowed over the years in a lot of ways. On the other hand, I have become a lot less mellow.

Prior to the job I never worried about where I parked my car. Any old spot would do. Now I look for parking spots near street lights that I can pull through or back into. I wouldn't say I am afraid of the things that lurk in the dark I am just much more aware of them now.

I used to be trusting and rather naïve, I guess. Now, I trust no one. My kids don't hang out in the neighborhood without one of us keeping an eye out and they are forbidden to go in anyone's house that we don't know. I like our neighbors, I feel fairly safe here but I don't trust a soul. That is probably one of the biggest changes.

There is evil in the world. I don't dwell on it but I am overtly aware of it. We don't let the kids hang out online. They don't have gaming systems with internet connections and I view all strangers in the "stranger danger" kind of mode. Like I said above, I trust no one- especially people in the virtual world.

Growing up I can't imagine that we ever really locked our doors. Now, when I go to bed or leave the house our place is locked down like a fortress. There are nights I don't sleep at all because I am listening to the sounds of the dark to make sure the kids are safe and no one is lurking beyond the security lights. I suppose I feel a lot less safe in the world now that I know a little bit more about it.

Sometimes I really miss the innocence of my youth but I know I can't go back, in part because the world is a different place now than when I was young. It was okay to leave the doors unlocked then- home invasions were virtually unheard of. The fact is the world has changed- for the better and for the worse. If I hadn't married a cop, I probably wouldn't be so aware of those changes but the fact is they exist.

So, I guess the answer to that last wondering question if have I changed because I married a cop is yes, I have. I am far more untrusting but twice as empathetic. I won't think twice about helping someone in need nor would I turn a blind eye to a crime being committed. I have a much better understanding of the way a student in my class may act as a result of their home life and I respect life and the law and the property of others far more than I ever did in my youth. I understand the sacrifice of first responders and I honor their memory when they give all where others might not give any. I am the first to admit there are bad cops and there are good cops and even the good ones aren't perfect. I get even angrier than a regular citizen when a cop does something bad because I expect them to live to a higher standard if they intend to enforce the law.

I was once asked if I knew then what I know now would I still have married a cop. Everyone's walk in this life is different and mine just happens to include sleepless nights. It was during these sleepless nights that I started writing and now am beginning an amazing career as a mystery author. So, yes, I would still do exactly the same thing. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Little Surprise For My Readers!

After being away for so long, I have so many things I want to write about today so please forgive this post as I am certain that it is about to become a rambling, mixed bag of stories!

We are finally wrapping up fall baseball. Both of our boys play two games a week and they each have a practice in between the games. That means on a bad week, I am at the ball park six out of seven days. On a good week, we will have two games going on at the same time on two different fields. Our only goal on those days is to be sure to see each of the boys up at bat and catch a couple of good plays. In less than a week we will be done for a few months and I will have time to breath. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing I love more than to watch them play ball. This has been a phenomenal season for both of them with great coaches, supportive teammates and a whole lot of learning and growing going on. My older son is in middle school and catcher is his favorite position. He owns home plate when he puts that gear on and for the first time in many seasons he had coaches who helped him really excell in the position. He also makes a pretty good third baseman. The younger boy struggled a little with moving up from coach pitch to kid pitch. Coaches sort of lob the ball toward the batter, generally in the strike zone and my boy had a reputation for knocking a ball good and hard into the outfield. When kids first learn to pitch, there is no such thing as a strike zone. Those balls fly everywhere and it scared a kid who has never really ever been afraid of anything. He spent half the season jumping out of the way of the ball and the other half swinging and missing. We finally convinced him to stay in the batter's box but his hitting record has frustrated him. I am certain we will spend some time at the cages in the off season.

Life is good. My kids are growing and learning and becoming young men. I couldn't be prouder of either of them. They are so much alike yet so different. One is organized and self motivated and the other is a complete hot mess all the time. Yet they are both smart and talented and athletic. They are kind, appropriately sensitive and they love their mother! Oh, and the oldest one is starting to notice girls.

As I mentioned above, my oldest has started middle school this year. He has also had a huge growth spurt and lost so much weight I can feel his collar bones and shoulder blades when I give him a hug. It's unnerving. Last night a mom at his ball game commented that his uniform was hanging on him. He is also asking alot of questions. Questions about dating and umm...*cough* Only he doesn't yet realize that is what he is asking. I am slowly laying out the necessary information to warm him up to the big "talk". You know, the one we all had at some point with our own parents. I would love to postpone it a bit but the girls have already gone boy crazy. I am not kidding. They giggle and flirt and act all silly around my boy and his friends. I am not ready to share my boy with other girls. Fortunately his interests still linger with baseball, mincraft and legos. For a little while longer anyway.

Now for the surprise. I have been sitting on this for awhile, not quite sure how to share it. I finally decided to just go ahead and do it. Sooo...drumroll please....It's....


I am also excited to announce that my first professionally published novel, Witness Protection is due to be released on or around November 28th in ebook and on January 20, 2015 in paperback. The journey to publication has been long and arduous but the closer I come to that date, the less I remember the journey.  For those of you anxious to put a face to the name, here is my very first professionally crafted cover art:

If you are reading this blog, you are among the very first to see the cover of my first book! Witness Protection is the first in a series. I am currently mid way through the second book, Homeland Security and a third is in the works. The series is a contempory romance series with action packed intrigue.  As we get closer to release day I will post excerpts and links to the Facebook release party here and on my facebook page

When the ebook is released it will be available at (the publisher offers a rewards system sort of like major retailers where you can earn points towards free books), Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. I will have more information on the print version closer to the end of 2014.

I want to take a moment to thank every one of you for supporting me through the years that have led up to this moment. Many of you have read and edited and offered comments on bits and pieces of my stories and I appreciate it more than I can ever say in words. Please feel free to share this blog anywhere you wish.

Thank you readers! Have a very blessed day. I know I feel blessed beyond measure.