BetterU Challenge – End of Month 1


BetterU Challenge – end of month one

**The BetterU Challenge is an American Heart Association sponsored program where 12 women undergo lifestyle transformations with the assistance of professionals in the areas of wellness, diet, and exercise.

When I first walked into the gym, I thought – whoa.

Body Evolution is not the type of gym I was used to seeing.  I’m no expert, but I have had a fair amount of experience with gym memberships.  Sometimes I even used them.  Walking into this gym, I was taken aback by the lack of typical gym equipment.  You know the ones – large monuments of metal so complicated to use that you have to hang back and watch two or three people use it first before you have the courage to try it for yourself.  But, this gym was different.  There was only one monument and nothing else but bars, bands, straps, and balls.  It was all very “fifty shades” of fitness.

What became readily apparent was that those monuments at the other gyms had made it possible for me to cheat.  I was anonymous at the big box gym, and now I was just one of a few women without any equipment to hide behind.  Now, things like form and actually doing the entire exercise became important (no stopping half way through a rep!).

 Of course with good form comes…not-so-good pain.  I felt muscles I’d never known existed before, let alone know they could hurt.  I found it difficult to get up once I was sitting down, and difficult getting down once I was up.  Instead of sliding into my chair at work, I more or less fell into it.  Needless to say, even a simple trip to the restroom presented quite the challenge.

 It’s been a few weeks now and the exercise has gotten easier.  I don’t hurt quite as much, and I’m starting to get used to the smell of my post-workout self.  And what I find most comforting is that since most of us started together- we’re all in the same boat.  There are a few that exceed my own abilities…I simply don’t stand next to them unless I have too.  But various degrees of capability aside, we all support each other in a way that only women who’ve seen each other at our ugliest – wearing spandex and no make up, can.

Oh, and I’ve lost a couple pounds.  Yay me!

Thursday Threads with Larynn Ford



Title: In My Wildest Dreams

Genre: Light Paranormal

Heat Level: Sensual


When she becomes the victim of several life-threatening incidents all in one week, it seems fate is out to put an end to Lynzi Lancaster. Her close calls with death trigger a series of dreams about a magical place and a certain man who broke her heart twenty years ago, Layne Brady. Could her life get any stranger?

When the star of her dreams announces in person that he had faked his death for twenty years in order to protect her, oh, and that he’s not actually human, the fireworks begin. Does she believe his extraordinary story of another world, the magical world of the Fae? Do fairies really exist? Should she trust her heart? Could her dreams come true?


The feeling of being watched washed over me. I checked over my shoulder to make sure of the gate’s location in case I needed to make a quick getaway. I ran my gaze over the house and froze when I made eye contact with the person standing on the deck . . . Layne.

I didn’t move. He didn’t move. What do I do now? What if he tells me to get lost? Well, then at least I will have heard it straight from the horses’ mouth, so to speak. I took a deep breath, put one foot in front of the other and headed toward the house.

Layne had made his way across the deck and down the steps. Our gazes still locked on each other, we stopped about three feet apart.

I had no idea what to say. My bottom lip quivered and it was difficult to breathe.

Slowly, Layne opened his arms and I knew of no other place in existence for me to be at the moment. We stepped together. His arms wrapped around my shoulders, his right hand cupped my head, and pressed my face into his chest like he always had, before.

“Layne . . .” I exhaled into his chest.

“I’m here. I just knew you’d find me, my brave girl.” He gently stroked my hair as he rocked us in a comforting rhythm.

“I thought you were gone forever.” Trembling, I leaned into his embrace.

“No, I’m here. Just let me hold you. I need to hold you,” he said. “It’s been so long . . . so long. Lynzi, I have missed you so much.”

I wrapped my arms around his waist and clinched both hands into fists full of his shirt, intent to hold on for dear life. Determined I would not let him slip away again. I had to hold on. Hold on tight, even if only in a dream.

We stood clinging to each other as the sun faded behind the horizon and dusk settled around us.

My eyes blinked open. I was alone in my bed, my mind filled memories from my dream. A hint of rose fragrance hung around me. Was I losing my mind?

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Thursday Threads with J.R. Richardson


Cursed be the Wicked, by J.R.Richardson

Genre – Paranormal Mystery Romance

Heat Level – Sensual

Release Date: March 5, 2014


Cooper Shaw lives his life under a pen name and enjoys the anonymity it provides during his journeys across the globe as a seasoned writer for a travel magazine. When his job lands him in his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts to cover the famous Festival of the Dead, he soon realizes that he can’t stay invisible forever as he faces ghosts from a past he’s been trying to forget ever since he left.

The city holds nothing but bad memories for Coop until he meets a quirky young woman with an old soul and curious insights by the name of Finnley Pierce. While she acts as his tour guide through a town he thought he knew, Finn helps him unearth the truth of his childhood and might even begin to open up his heart.

By unraveling the mystery of his father’s murder, Coop may finally accept who he is, where he came from, and perhaps even realize what he wants for his future.



“I came by Geneva’s to see you this morning,” I tell her. She slides her hands inside my jacket, around my waist. She holds us together tighter.

“You did?” There’s a smile in her voice. I grin but she can’t see it.

“I’ve gotten used to starting my days out with you in them.”

“You have?” She leans back to look at me. She’s stunned although I have no idea why. I’ve been so transparent even a bat could see through me the past few days.

“Yeah,” I tell her, “I have.” I brush the hair out of her face. Even through the rainfall I can see the blush in her cheeks. This is the most vulnerable I’ve seen Finn since Geneva’s, when she thanked me for handling Dan.

“Most people don’t like the way I’m so pushy sometimes,” she says. “They find it offensive. Some might even say I’ve got a smart mouth. Too smart for my own good, blah blah blah.”

She trails off at the end there and I laugh at the way she thinks I’m buying that none of it bothers her.

“Come to think of it, you did say something I found offensive yesterday,” I tell her half serious. She looks hurt but I can’t stop the smirk from spreading across my face as I back her up against the nearest tree.

She’s caught off guard by the move, I can hear it in the way her breath hitches. “What was that?”

She tries to recover but she fails.

“I believe the term you used was friends,” I tell her, narrowing my eyes. Her lips part, just barely. She swallows something down then clears her throat.

“Isn’t that what we are?”

I move my head from side to side. “I don’t think so, Finn.”



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About the author:

A writer of stories and lover of life.

Jo grew up in Maryland with four siblings, three parents and an endless number of cousins within the vicinity. Today she lives in Florida with her two girls and a husband that shares her same sense of humor and basic take on life as we know it.

Life is too short to put dreams on the back burner.

She’s always loved writing, and always enjoys a good mystery, so in 2012, Jo wrote a novel that was picked up by the good people at Soul Mate Publishing.

 Where you can find Jo: