Friday, 19 December 2014

SPECIAL CHRISTMAS PRESENT - ONLY 99 CENTS / 77 P

The season is nearly upon us, the tree is up along with baubles, and the Kessel family is about to go skiing - although sadly the snow where we're going in the Austrian Alps doesn't appear to be that great. I watched BBC's snow report last night envious of those who either live in North America or are going on holiday to ski there. The snow looks FABULOUS in the Rockies! Oh well, at least it's set fair in Europe, with plenty of sunshine.
In the meantime, I just wanted to spread some festive cheer and let you know that my latest novel Now is our Time has just been reduced to 99 cents in the US - which translates as a bargain 77 pence in the UK. This reduced price will only last as long as the festive season, so please check it out and spread the word - the links are below:

UK: amzn.to/1rxbw4t 

US: amzn.to/1FCeJFe

Happy Christmas to you all and wishing you a healthy, fulfilling 2015.

 To return to Jo's website please click on the link below:
www.jokessel.com

Monday, 29 September 2014

The story behind the story...

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY

What made me write Now is our Time?

Love never runs smoothly, in real life or in fiction. My first two novels are contemporary romances and their stories are all about the heroine’s first big love. But what happens when the first ‘big’ love gets away? I’ve always wanted to write a second chance love story and this time round I wanted my heroine to have lived a little more - for it to feel a bit more ‘real’.

Now is our Time reflects the lives I see around me. Friends have married, started families and some have sadly divorced. But divorce doesn’t mean it’s all over and that’s what my heroine Claire explores. She found her first love, lost it and years later, whilst she might think it’s too late, perhaps it isn’t…………………no spoilers here!

This story is part set in London (where I live) and part set in San Diego, California, where I holidayed last Easter. I fell so in love with it (as did my children) that it felt like the perfect place for the American hero of the story, Jonah Kennedy, to come from. Heck, I’d like to live there too!

I really hope you all enjoy it and that, if necessary, you get your second chances, third chances, fourth chances………..

Click on the link below to return to Jo's website
www.jokessel.com

Friday, 26 September 2014

Play list: Now is our Time

 I promised to post the playlist from Now is our Time, and here it is. If only I was more technically competent I'd be able to hook it up so that you could click on the title and play the track..........perhaps I'll get my whiz kid eleven year old son onto it later!! Let's see if he's any cleverer than Mummy at that kind of thing.........

In the meantime, here it is on paper, the songs which accompany Claire and Jonah on their second chance journey together. 





  1. Daft Punk – Get Lucky
  2. Lily Allen – Somewhere Only We Know
  3. School of Rock – School of Rock cast
  4. Katy Perry – Roar
  5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Pure Imagination
  6. Pharrell Williams – Happy
  7. Coldplay – Magic
  8. Snow Patrol – Just Say Yes

To return to Jo's website click on the link below: 


Tempt those taste buds: Now is our Time food and drink list!

1.      As a Taurean I’m passionate about food and fine cuisine. Bottom line – I love to eat and I love to include food and drink in my writing. So when I was trying to decide what career the heroine of Now is our Time – Claire de Klerk - would have, it was easy: a Nutritionist! Claire actually started out as an aspiring artist, but like so many of us, after having children she chose to pursue a different path. Claire (like me) had always been a foodie and becoming a Nutritionist felt like a natural step. Food and drink is important in this novel – pivotal even – but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. Suffice to say that Claire puts a lot of thought into her recipes, both for work and for feeding the men (and children) in her life. It gives her a lot of pleasure and I thought it would be fun to share a few of those recipes with you. They are all easy and most don’t even require a set of measuring scales – just trust your judgement.  


Drinks


  1. Chardonnay - Jonah and Claire drink a lot of wine - this is one of their favorites. 
  2. Sauvignon Blanc – this one's from Hawk Watch Winery, a small California winery, one of Jonah's favourites.
  3. California smoothie – a blend of strawberries, lemon yoghurt and orange juice mixed with crushed ice. Jonah makes this drink with great panache and it's a hit with all the ladies!


Recipes

Gooseberry Yoghurt Fool: This is actually the recipe that launches Claire’s career as a TV nutritionist. And she hilariously messes this one up – heck, all cooks can get it wrong!

Serves Four
450 g gooseberries, topped and tailed
1 tbsp custard powder
150ml semi-skimmed milk
150ml plain yoghurt

*Put the prepared gooseberries in a saucepan with enough water to cover the base of the pan. Simmer over a low heat until soft. Puree in a food processor.
*Mix the custard powder to a smooth paste with a little of the milk.
*Heat the remaining milk to just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and slowly stir into the custard powder. Stir in the sugar.
*Return the mixture to the pan and simmer over a low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Allow to cool.
*Mix together the gooseberry puree, yogurt and cold custard. Add more sugar to taste if necessary.
*Pour into a serving bowl or individual dishes and chill before serving.

            Curried Pasta Salad
            
            Serves six – a very easy recipe!
            Boil enough pasta for six people and leave to cool.
            Make a dressing using three tablespoons of mayonnaise and three tablespoons of       
            honey. Add a pinch of curry powder. Mix the dressing with the cooled pasta…..et
            voila!

Potato Salad with Caramelized Onions

             Serves six – another simple recipe.
             Boil new potatoes with skins on and leave to cool.
             Dice a couple of large onions and fry till very brown. Mix the potatoes with a little
             yoghurt and mayonnaise. Put in a serving bowl and sprinkle the caramelized onions         
             on top.

            
            Mackerel Pate
           
            This looks posh but is incredibly easy and healthy too. Soy yoghurt can be used to
            make this a dairy-free dish.  
            Use as a dip or spread on thin toasts.
            Ingredients: small tin mackerel, half a lemon, small pot of plain yoghurt, ketchup.
            Drain the mackerel and put in a bowl. Add the yogurt, lemon juice and a touch of
            Ketchup and blitz it with a hand-whisk.

           And then, of course, there's the BBQ: marinate chicken thighs, sausages and burgers and chill in 
           fridge for two hours. To make marinade, mix olive oil, rosemary, finely chopped garlic and lemon 
          juice and stir. Grill on the barbecue and serve with curried pasta salad and green salad.

Other recipes which feature and which you can try at home are melon smiles, celery boats with cream cheese, American and British cooked breakfasts and pasta with cheese and spinach sauce. My sister Karen who is a superb cook made up the cheese and spinach sauce recipe and at the moment the family secret is being kept under wraps........!!!!


Happy eating........
To return to Jo's website click on the link below:

Friday, 19 September 2014

A titillating excerpt!

A new excerpt from Now is our Time to whet the appetite and make you reach for a bottle of fine champagne!


Jonah approached Claire with sexy, mischievous intent in his eye, snatching her mobile phone from her hand and turning it off. As a quid pro quo she was about to snatch the towel from his body but was interrupted by a knock at the door. “Room service,” a man called. Jonah let the man enter and the waiter wheeled in a trolley loaded with an ice-filled champagne bucket, two crystal flutes and two glass bowls filled with strawberries. “Just leave the trolley outside when you’ve finished with it,” the waiter said before closing their door behind him.

Jonah wasted no time in picking up the champagne and tearing the gold seal off the top of the bottle. Claire quietly watched every movement of his arms at work as he untwisted the wire and pulled at the cork. The honey colour of him, the chiselled contours of him, the height of him, the breadth of him, always made her long for him, to touch him, to feel him. She waited for the cork to pop and for the two glasses to be filled and then she padded towards him, wrapping her arms around him from behind and pulling gently at the towel until it unravelled and fell to the floor. She kissed his back as her hands explored his chest, travelling lower until she found the huge size of him and held its pulsing hardness in her clasp.

“I love this bit of you,” she said, still kissing his back and then sliding her hands slowly round to his tight buttocks, “and this bit of you.”

Jonah whipped around, the sharpness of his movement causing his temporary turban to join his other towel in a heap on the floor. He placed his hands on Claire’s long dress, lifting it in one swift movement until she compliantly raised her arms so he could remove it entirely.

“As usual,” he kissed her neck as he unclasped and took off her bra, “you’re overdressed.”

He pushed her playfully backwards until she fell on the bed.

“Take your panties off,” he commanded as he picked up the champagne bottle. She did as she was told and as she lay naked she watched him pour champagne over the strawberries in the bowl. She couldn’t believe how far she’d come. A fortnight ago she’d been utterly embarrassed by her body and now she felt so free and easy within her skin. He’d done a wonderful job of making every single tiny inch of her feel beautiful. Jonah poured so much champagne onto the strawberries that it was almost sloshing out of the bowl as he climbed onto the bed lying on his side like a Roman and balancing the bowl of strawberries and champagne on her stomach.

“That’s going to spill everywhere,” Claire objected.

“Only if you don’t stay still,” Jonah laughed.

“If you could choose between Kate Middleton and me, who would you pick?” she asked, trying to ignore the strawberry Jonah was teasing her with and most definitely trying to ignore his hand moving across to her breast and the urge she had to pull him on top of her and feel his hardness between her legs. He dipped the strawberry back in the bowl again, leaving a trail of champagne dropping onto her stomach as he brought it back to her lips and finally allowed her to eat it. He carelessly served himself a strawberry, spilling yet more champagne onto Claire’s stomach.

“You ask a lot of stupid questions,” he replied, feeding Claire another strawberry. “I’ve only got room for one Duchess in my life and that, my love, is you. And by the way, this is your punishment for your stupid question.”

Jonah started tickling Claire’s stomach gently with two hands. At first she was able to stay still, but then it became too much and her giggles made the bowl topple a generous helping of champagne onto her, trickling in all directions. She squealed for him to stop and he finally removed the bowl and set it on the bedside table. He then set to licking Claire’s skin clean, his hands never losing contact with her breasts as his mouth lapped at the champagne trailing down towards her belly button and beyond. As his mouth found her mound which was moist from desire and champagne, he slipped a finger inside of her. Claire moaned loudly.

“Duchess,” Jonah whispered, “By the time I’ve finished with you, our neighbours are going to be bashing on the walls to get you to turn down the volume.”
        To return to Jo's website please click on the link below:

Monday, 15 September 2014

GWYNETH PALTROW & CHRIS MARTIN - CONSCIOUSLY UNCOUPLING DOESN'T ALWAYS WORK!



The whole idea for my latest novel Now is our Time came after a friend told me a story. It was a real-life tale about a divorce which became ugly and acrimonious because, let’s face it, not all marriages can end amicably. Not all couples can ‘consciously uncouple’ like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. In this instance a British guy had married a New Zealand girl. They’d had three children and lived in the UK. Ten years later they split up. The New Zealand girl wanted to go back home and take the children with her. The English guy battled to prevent that from happening. He didn’t want his children spirited to what is literally the other side of the world. So began an ugly custody battle.

Now is our Time explores the gritty reality of love, marriage, divorce, children, when it works and when it doesn’t work. And yes, there is a custody battle at the heart of it. Here the relationship is transatlantic, between British Claire and American Jonah Kennedy. As I was writing it Gwyenth and Chris split up. Before I wrote it Madonna and Guy Ritchie split up. There must be hundreds of other less high-profile couples like them. Whilst the adults might find it easy to move on, what about the children? That is also explored in Now is our Time, when multi person POV’s allow the reader to get into several of the different characters’ heads. San Diego and LONDON are not exactly round the corner from each other. It’s a long way for Mom or Dad to go visit for the weekend.

Everyone will have a different opinion on what the final outcome should have been for the New Zealand girl and the English guy – I’m not at liberty to divulge, but in the end a court and Judge did come to a decision. Everyone will have an opinion on what the final outcome should be for Claire and Jonah. Their case also ends up in court, but I’m not going to give any spoilers! If you do read the book, however, I would love to hear your thoughts on how Claire and Jonah’s story does finally end……………

Check it out and let me know your thoughts:

UK link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Now-our-Time-Jo-Kessel-ebook/dp/B00NH20XM8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1410422296&sr=1-1&keywords=Jo+Kessel+now+is+our+time

US link: http://www.amazon.com/Now-our-Time-Jo-Kessel-ebook/dp/B00NH20XM8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1410422557&sr=1-1&keywords=now+is+our+time+jo+kessel

To return to Jo's website please click on the link below:
www.jokessel.com

Friday, 12 September 2014

Be in it to win it - Now really IS our time!

The day has finally arrived - my third novel Now is our Time has been published - I'm very excited! I fell so in love with the hero Jonah Kennedy as I wrote this and I hope you do too.
For your delectation here is a new excerpt: 

Jonah’s back was to her and she took the opportunity to observe him for a couple of minutes transfixed, watching his muscular arms at WORK, picking up the tongs and turning the chicken thighs and burgers over. She’d always loved every glorious inch of his body, warts, scars and all, but if she had to choose her favourite part, it would be his strong, sportsman’s arms. She could feel her breath quicken. She wanted to touch them. She needed to touch them. She tiptoed barefoot towards him and caught him unawares, pinning her stomach against his back as she ran her hands up and down his triceps. Half a minute later he spun round to face her and they stilled, their foreheads touching as the tips of their noses performed a languorous Eskimo kiss.
“Do you know what?” he said, his forehead still glued to hers.
“What?”
“If it’s possible, I think you’re more beautiful now than you were when I last knew you.”
“Rubbish.”
“It’s not ‘rubbish’,” he mocked her accent, wearing a playful smirk on his face. “It’s the truth. I think thirty-seven must be the perfect age for a woman. You’re coming into your sexual and physical peak.”
He trailed his hands to the hem of her black vest t-shirt and wormed his way underneath, stroking her bare back before teasingly slipping his hands towards her front, tickling the sides of her waist as his fingers continued on a northbound trajectory, lightly grazing her breasts. Claire’s breath hitched.
“Do you have any idea what you do to me? What you’ve always done to me?” Jonah asked.
Claire shook her head, but really she did have a very good idea. And if she could have taken her mind off his travelling fingers she might have found the courage to admit that he made her feel as nobody else had done and how her body ached for him. She floated her hands from his biceps to the back of his neck and pulled his mouth urgently to hers, whimpering as he parted her lips with his tongue, her whole body tingling with desire.
“If we wait a bit longer,” Jonah whispered with their mouths still meshed, “it will be even more sensational.”
Claire was pretty sure he wasn’t talking about the chicken. She nodded in agreement, pulling away with a smile.
“I think we should eat then,” she suggested.

Please click on the link below to enter my competition - lots of prizes to be won!

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Monday, 11 August 2014

Not covering up any more.......!!!

The new cover for my next novel - Now is our Time - has finally been revealed. The book is coming out on September 12 - really hope you like the cover!!




Coming soon...................tales about my recent trip to the Baltic, including an exciting stay in Russia. I'm away for a while now, still travelling, but will spill the beans early September!

Please click on the link below to return to Jo's website:
www.jokessel.com

Thursday, 10 July 2014

My baby girl nearly died at birth...............

Nine years ago my darling daughter was severely starved of oxygen at birth. It was, categorically, the worst moment of my life. Happily there was a happy ending.............Here's a film which went out on television yesterday which shows the miracle that came to pass: http://www.aljazeera.com/video/europe/2014/07/uk-finds-cooling-reduces-baby-brain-damage-20147922155960446.html

And if you want to learn more about this story, then here's a story I wrote about it closer to the time of the birth. I've been warned that tissues might be necessary whilst reading!

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2007/apr/07/familyandrelationships.family2

I am thankful for this miracle every day and my story demonstrates that there is always hope, even when it appears that there is none.......................

Please click on the link below to return to Jo's website:
www.jokessel.com

Monday, 23 June 2014

San Diego, California - we want to live there!

I recently took my children on a research trip to San Diego, California. I wanted to part-set my new novel (called Now is our Time and releasing in September 2014) in the US and I picked San Diego because it's one of those places which when people visit, they come back and rave about. Was their raving justified?? Heck, yes!! We all fell in love with San Diego. There is just so much to do there. The tourist board boasts that it has seventy miles of golden coastline, and it really does. We didn't check out all seventy miles of it, but we did check out Mission Beach - where scenes from Top Gun were filmed! First we cycled along the boardwalk:
This was a lot of fun and the cycle trail winds for miles along the coast and is a great place to watch surfers crash and burn in the foam - or to successfully ride the waves! Sorry, I'm not a surfer, so I don't know the jargon. But my children did try their hand at body-surfing later on that day and absolutely loved it!
As you can see, Mum didn't bother to get wet, but preferred to watch them from a horizontal position as she lay in the sand in the sun! But they couldn't get enough..........
and I really couldn't get them out of the water. 
There's the cafe nearby where Tom Cruise chatted up Kelly McGillis in Top Gun. And also, Baywatch was apparently filmed on Mission Beach............it really is California at its finest. We were at a hotel called the Bahia Resort which is also conveniently close to SeaWorld. 
Later in our stay we relocated to Del Mar, which is a seaside resort north of San Diego, which was fabulous and chi chi and also has fabulous beaches. I love a long beach walk, and often my children whine as they accompany me, but here there was lots to keep them amused - from trying to dodge the waves in little coves as the tide came in, to finding seaweed on the beach which resembled microphones: 
A rock star in the making!
There's so much to do in and around San Diego, that is, when you're not chilling out on the beach or by a pool. There's the world famous zoo:
The giant black and white pandas are a star attraction, but we loved the koalas and polar bears even more! The site is vast, so a bit of downtime is always in order: 
And the zoo's sister park, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, set about 40 minutes inland (a hire car is essential for getting around) was even better. Animals roam free here, as they would on the plains in Asia and Africa, plus there is a massive zip line there for adrenaline junkies. It was too windy for the zip line to operate the day we were there, but there was this amazing jungle high ropes course which the children absolutely LOVED!! This isn't a great picture, but it gives the idea: 
And whilst we were there, we saw a temporary butterfly exhibition (my youngest daughter is crazy about butterflies). Their colouring was extraordinary and some of them even landed on us. See if you can spot them!
and: 

We also stayed for a while on Coronado Island (which isn't a real island, but just looks that way because a 2 mile long bridge attaches it to the mainland) and that was a fun place to stay. There's an amazing hotel there called the Hotel Del Coronado - we didn't stay there because it was too expensive, but we went to visit and had an amazing dinner at one of its many restaurants called Sheerwater. Anyway, the hotel building itself is extraordinary. It's got all these red fairytale turrets and is apparently what inspired the author of the Wizard of Oz to create the Emerald City. The film Some Like it Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, was also filmed here......
As I'm writing this, I'm wishing I was back in San Diego. Yes, I love London, but there's a way of living, an easy, outdoor lifestyle about California, which we just couldn't get enough of. Oh well, I'll just have to start saving up for the next trip. If only the long haul flights weren't so expensive!!
Hope you enjoyed this and happy travelling!

Click on the link below to return to Jo's website: 

New man in my life....met him at SeaWorld, California!

I recently got back from a research trip to San Diego, California, where my new novel (coming out in September) will be set. I took the kids and wow, did we have a great time. Nobody wanted to come home. In fact, San Diego was such an awesome place that we all decided it would be the perfect place to live and nobody wanted to come home.
We did so much great stuff (will write more in another post) but SeaWorld topped the list. Days don't come much better than the one we spent there and best of all, we got to take part in a special dolphin interraction program which was amazing.
Meet the new man in my life. He's called Toby and was the best kisser!

And we all got taken on rides by him too....one of the most memorable things we've ever, ever done. 

Not only did we swim with dolphins, we touched sharks, saw penguins galore, watched a couple of magnificent shows - one with legendary Shamu, the Killer Whale, but our favourite was Pet's Rule!, a show which starred a load of domestic pets performing the cutest of stunts. And of course, there were the rides. I normally hate roller coasters and while there were a couple which I let the children ride alone (after I'd tried it out once) there were some tremendous watery rides which I couldn't get enough of. Journey to Atlantis was one of them, which ended in a near vertical drop and a mega splash!! 
This photo was taken of my children before they wound up to the vertical drop, and they were having such fun that I did it another three times with them afterwards!
I think these were ray fish, which my daughter was trying, and later succeeded in touching. Seriously, I could NOT get my children to leave the park. We arrived before it even opened and we were some of the very last people to leave - that's how good it was!

If you haven't yet been to SeaWorld, then I cannot rate it highly enough. My children have been lucky enough to accompany me on many of my travel trips as a journalist, and SeaWorld would definitely rank in their (and mine) top five things to do.

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Monday, 10 February 2014

HILARIOUS AMAZON ERROR!

HILARIOUS PHOTO ALERT! A friend of mine yesterday sent me a screen grab. She'd gone to buy a copy of my novel Weak at the Knees on the amazon UK website, and some error at Amazon meant that the paperback of the book was retailing for a laughable
£1300 (that's approx $2000!!) Thankfully
they appear to have amended the price now.......I mean, how much would a first edition Thomas Hardy go for??!!

To return to Jo's website please click on the link below:
www.jokessel.com

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Money for free? Does't get any better than that.....

If you fancy winning $100 and a French goodie basket which includes a bottle of the divine French red wine Chateauneuf-du-Pape, then TODAY is the LAST day to enter the competition to win, as my virtual book tour for Weak at the Knees draws to an end...........
Enter here now - and enjoy that yummy red wine - best served with EVERYTHING: cheese, grapes, red meat, fish - it's so delicious that it complements any and every food in my opinion....

Click this link to enter: http://www.bibliotica.com/tag/jo-kessel/

GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY WINE SIPPING/BOOK READING/TRAVELING TO FRANCE OR EVEN TO LONDON BY READING WEAK AT THE KNEES AND LOVER IN LAW..........

Click on the link below to return to Jo's website:
www.jokessel.com


Thursday, 9 January 2014

LOVER IN LAW / PINK PANTIES!

I am touring with my novel Lover in Law for a couple of weeks and hooray, it is receiving rave reviews!!!

I so hope you will follow my tour and enter the giveaway, which is available internationally. Click on the link below to see today's stop and the latest review and there's also a sneaky, sexy little excerpt to enjoy:
http://iam-indeed.com/lover-law-jo-kessel-excerpt-giveaway/

Happy reading and I hope this inspires readers (particularly female ones!) to go and buy themselves a pair of pink panties to cheer themselves up!! But hey, if male readers are inspired to get a pair of pink briefs, why not?!

Please click on the link below to return to Jo's website:
www.jokessel.com