Jo Carol Jones Captains the Romantic Times BookLOVERS Convention Ship
Up Close and Unplugged...
What do fans and the like get when they mix sources for publishing romantic stories and coverage of all things romance? Okay – don’t stress! The answer is Arrow Publications plus the
Romantic Times Book Reviews Magazine.
Arrow and the Romantic Times Magazine have been friends for a while. And like any friendship, they have grown an organic relationship – exchanging synergy and supporting each other in the publishing industry. This energy is no different between Arrow
and Jo Carol Jones, Events Director of the
Romantic Times BookLOVERS Convention (a
Romantic Times Book Reviews Magazine signature annual event).
The RT Convention is always an exciting, explosive and exceptional time for authors, independent publishers, fans, agents and other industry who’s who. And, this year is no different as Arrow presents its workshop (Thursday, April 29, 2010 from 10A until
11A) about multi-platform publishing and portable formats. Attendees will learn how to make their books and other content available on the iTunes App Store. Confirmed panelists include: Liz Scheier (Barnes & Noble); Christina Brashear (Samhain Publishing,
Ltd.); Lucy Monroe (Award-Winning Author); and Tom King (Arrow Publications, LLC). Also, Arrow will take questions about its App Program at the eBook and Graphics Expo on Friday. April 30. 2010 from 4P until 6P.
With so much going on, Arrow Publications’ Valencia Wood, Director of Media Development, sat down for an up close and unplugged interview with Jo Carol Jones, who captains the RT Convention’s ship as she finds time for family, fun and her passion for the
Arrow: So Jo Carol, let's talk a little bit about romance. How did you become the event director for the RT BookLOVERS Convention?
JCJ: I had this friend who wanted some help with registration about 11 years ago. Each year we both took on more responsibility. She ditched me and went on to party with her handsome husband.
Arrow: Wow – this is a long time. How long have you been the director for the RT (as the convention is affectionately known) event?
JCJ: This will be my 5th year as director. But it seems like forever.
Arrow: Yes, when you do something that you love and are passionate about, time seems like yesterday when years have passed. Tell us about this year's RT BookLOVERS Convention? Workshops? Events? Headliners?
JCJ: I find this convention to be the best place for readers to meet authors and for authors to shine. We have tracks that are just for readers (parties, games and lots of books as prizes). Bookseller tracks where they learn from each other
and industry professionals give them the latest. And, this year proves to be exciting with so many new and interesting workshops about formats, portability, technology and social media. As you know, Arrow is presenting a workshop on multiplatform publishing
and how to make content available on portable devices on Thursday. Also, you guys are camping out at the eBook and Graphics Expo on Friday.
Arrow: It sounds like the RT convention has really moved forward to make the latest tech information available to writers, fans and anyone interested. In this respect, how have you liked working on the event? And, what is your most memorable RT
JCJ: What I love about the RT convention is meeting the authors, readers and booksellers. It is like one big family reunion and I hope everyone that comes feels at home. My most memorable moment is the first time I met Sharon Sala (New York
Times bestselling author). It was my first convention and the only reason my friend was able to get me to come. She came by the registration table with her bags and only wanted to get her registration packet. At the time, I looked up and immediately looked
down. I put my six books on the counter and asked can you please sign my books? She very kindly asked if she could come back and sign them. I was so nervous to meet one of my favorite authors, I forgot all about etiquette.
Arrow: Starstruck -- I totally understand! Well, you know things move quickly these days. Can you comment about the rapid changes in the publishing industry -- both books and magazines?
JCJ: It has taken me awhile to embrace the electronic age in books. I work on the computer 10 to 14 hours per day. And at the end of the day, I like to relax with a book in hand. But, I'm thinking there are advantages to having a reader. When
I travel, my suitcase is at the max. And then I have to pull three to four books out of the front pockets, which means I have to carry it with my computer.
Arrow: It’s a lot of work to host an event. Tell us -- what do you do to promote the convention?
JCJ: We use the magazine for a majority, partner with other websites like Arrow Publications, place ads in other organization publications and our publicity is handled by Pat Simmons.
Arrow: Also, do you use social media and the web to your promotional and marketing advantage?
JCJ: I don't. But several ladies have taken it on at the magazine and we will be doing more and more for next year.
Arrow: Okay…so here’s a twist of a question – LOL! Being involved with everything romantic, do you read romance novels?
JCJ: Yes. Every one I get at RT and then I hit the stores. I read a wide variety of books from sweet romance, paranormal, mystery, thriller, erotica and suspense.
Arrow: Sounds like you stay caught up on the latest romance reads. Sooooooo – who’s your favorite romance writer other than Sharon Sala?
JCJ: I have so many and it changes according to my mood.
Arrow: Well from having read many romance novels where most things are happily ever after – the man gets his woman, what do you consider to be romantic?
JCJ: Where the man really cares about the woman and has to work at showing her that he cares.
Arrow: Now that we’ve talked about RT unplugged, lets hear about Jo Carol Jones’ world.
JCJ: LOL – my world! I enjoy meeting new people. I like organized chaos. I love to read, and if you can give me the perfect vacation, I have time to read at least 3 hours on any given day, but the rest of the time is spent doing something a
little different than the norm. I love to parasail, ski, scuba dive, snow mobile, or just sit and watch the waves come in. One of my life goals is to go parachuting. Johnny requested that I wait until the girls were grown before I tried this. That time has
approached so the parachuting should happen soon.
Arrow: You mentioned Johnny - - are you married?
Yes, I’ve been married for 30 years going on 31. Johnny is my husband and support system. When things get tough, I can count on him to back me up. I love the time Johnny and I spend together on vacation or sitting at home. He has a slight twist to his humor,
which tends to match mine.
Arrow: Meeting Mr. Right is a journey, how did you meet Johnny?
JCJ: We worked at Kroger Grocery store right after high school. One of the checkers bet me that she could get a date with him first. She went out with him, but I got the first date and the last.
Arrow: You mentioned the girls, what are their names and how old are they?
JCJ: Yes, I have two lovely daughters, Brandy 27 and Brittany 24. Brandy and Brittany both have helped at the convention before and after for the last 10 years. Brandy loves to organize and tell people off, so she does the registration area.
Brittany has an artist view and helps with the background and a few of the graphics around the convention. When they are not helping me, Brandy is an Athletic Trainer at a High School and Brittany works for an organization called Save The Children. Both like
to give back to the community and I think they picked this up from Johnny and me.
Arrow: Most people have pets and consider them as one of the family. Do you have any pets?
JCJ: I don't have pets. Brittany has a pit bull/bulldog mix that lives at my house. His name is Saint. Most people hear his bark and think Satan, but he really is a Saint.
Arrow: And one last thing, you live in the great state of Texas. Have you traveled much?
JCJ: I have been in the Houston area for over 45 years. Love to take at least one or two vacations a year to areas that I haven’t been to. I have been to Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Italy, Scotland and tried to hit every state in the United States.
I believe that we have so much to see in the United States that I could spend years and not see all of it.
Arrow: Okay, this is really the last thing. I know you don’t want to think about any other events until after April? But, I have to ask, are there any other events scheduled for this year? And, where will the next RT BookLOVERS Convention be held?
JCJ: Not at this time, we will be attending a few conventions passing out information about the magazine and the convention. The next convention will be in Los Angeles, California -- April 6, 2011 thru April 10, 2011. I look forward to seeing
you and all of our longtime supporters, fans and writers next year! And thank you for the interview! It was my pleasure.
To find out more about Arrow Publications App Program, go to
http://www.myromancestory.com/arrowPresents.php or email us at
About Arrow Publications App Program
Women's History Month Comes to an End
As March 2010 comes to an end, Arrow would like to thank the many women around the world who lead, create and set trends of change in order that life can be better for men, women and children.
In 1978, the week of March 8, Sonoma County, California began celebrating Women's History Week and in 1979. In 1981, Senators Barbara Mikulsk (Maryland) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) introduced a bill establishing Women's History week nationally. But,
it wasn't until 1987 that congress expanded the recognition of womens' accomplishments to the entire month of March.
Here are some facts about women:
Thank you ladies!
1986: Ann Bancroft of Minnesota was the first woman to walk to the North Pole
1998: Lilith Fair, an all-female music tour, was the most successful musical events of the year
2002: Halle Berry becomes the first African American to win a Best Actress Academy Award, for her role in Monster's Ball
April 1 , 2010
APP OF THE WEEK
|Breast Health Exercises:
Breast Health Exercises. The App focuses on a series of 10-20 minute exercises that have been developed to promote increased circulation in the breast tissues. They can be performed anywhere and at anytime My App includes instructional photos. This App was
designed to provide stress relief, promote circulation and balance through the upper-mid body, breasts and surrounding muscles.
More titles at
Health, Fitness and Lifestyle
Renee Ridgeway Introduces Her
Breast Health Exercises App
Renee Ridgeway, like most fitness professionals, is at the forefront of making fitness routines and information available anywhere and at anytime. Renee has authored an App, which focuses on breast health. She teamed with Arrow Publications
and A2Digital.net to bring her knowledge about fitness, circulation and health to the world via the iTunes App Store.
With her busy schedule including the launch of the Breast Health App and her new studio, Pilates In The Forest, Renee
took a few minutes to chat with Arrow.
Arrow: Let's talk a little bit about your fitness career and what motivated you to begin a career in fitness?
RR: I started my fitness career in the early 80's with the YMCA, working as a corporate fitness instructor. Everything started with my love of music and my dance. I wasn't convinced that I could make a living this way, so I knocked on the fitness
door so that I could dance and choreograph fitness routines. That’s when I found an open door at the YMCA and Denise Manning, the corporate director. Denise helped to train me. With my dance skill and endurance that's really how it all began.
Arrow: Wow – with such varied interests, what aspects of fitness are you focused on?
RR: There are many avenues of fitness that I have tapped into: aerobics; step dance; women and weights; studio cycle; cardio kickboxing; and Yoga Chi. Right now, my primary focus is Pilates and Yoga. My goal is to help full-figured women feel
more comfortable about their bodies and how they feel and fit in their clothes as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle. That seems to go hand-in-hand with my new Breast Health Exercise App. So, I'd say a more mind body approach.
Arrow: This is an interesting mix - your App is distributed by Arrow Publications, how did you get the idea to develop and author an App?
RR: Through a Pilates client, friend and App Developer, Husani Bastien. Husani is the CEO of A2Digital.net, a mobile content App development company. With his expertise and contacts, he introduced me to Arrow Publications and here I am. I realized
that I could make it my business to share what I love doing most and create an App for those in the world who are looking to become more aware of their own health and fitness. I am so grateful for his help so that I can also help others.
Arrow: This is really nice. So, what’s the name of your App?
RR: Breast Health Exercises. The App focuses on a series of 10-20 minute exercises that have been developed to promote increased circulation in the breast tissues. They can be performed anywhere and at anytime My App includes instructional
photos. This App was designed to provide stress relief, promote circulation and balance through the upper-mid body, breasts and surrounding muscles.
Arrow: With so many Apps on the iTunes App Store, why did you decide focus on breast health?
RR: Husani and I thought with all the discomfort that large breasted women face that it might be a comforting solution to have exercises to release tension from the upper body and back. We wanted to include stretching and comforting gentle
exercises that release this tension anytime and anywhere. Also, the interesting thing about this App is that increases the interest of those who are exploring the science of exercise, nutrition and also anyone who has been fighting cancer. The Breast Health
Exercise App brings to light awareness about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and approaching health and fitness from a prevention lifestyle mindset. More than 192,370 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. This is according to American Cancer Society
statistics. We have to get people and things moving.
Arrow: Okay, this is the BIG question, is your App available on the iTunes App Store now?
RR: Oh yes, my App is on iTunes App Store. This fills the gap to make the exercise accessible at anytime or anywhere to release tension in stressed muscles and tissues surrounding.
Arrow: You have very specific knowledge and expertise in fitness and health. Where did you go to school and what are your fitness training credentials?
RR: I went to Montgomery College for Music, Anatomy Physiology and Dance Education. I also, have many certifications that support my fitness career. I have been in the fitness and dance industries for over 28 years. I earned certifications
in personal training and group from the following organizations: Reebok University; the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA); and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) to name a few. I am certified to teach aerobics, step aerobics, cardio kickboxing,
body sculpting, weights with the ball and Yoga and Pilates on the Ball. I also plan to become certified to teach Reiki, Ashtanga and Sivananda Yoga, True Pilates (Romana’s Pilates) and Muscle Activation Technique. Beginning in the Spring 2010, Renee will seek
her degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
Arrow: With your business and other things, what are your future educational plans?
RR: I will most likely finish my education at the University of Maryland working towards a graduate degree in exercise science.
Arrow: This is great. We all need the real life experience to compliment our education. Did you have a career mentor?
RR: Joseph Pilates is one of my career mentors. Pilates developed floor exercises that evolved into what is known today as Pilates mat work. Additionally, he created a series of exercises, which focus on breath awareness, spine alignment and
strengthen the deep torso and abdominal muscles. Also, Martha Graham is another admired mentor. Martha was a choreographer and one of the pioneers of modern dance. I admire many of my students who persevere in trying to stay healthy and any dancer that makes
it in the business. Also, I admire my children for trying to stay alive in the music industry as well. Oh' but the challenges they face and still keep on tickin’!
Arrow: You are certainly one busy person. Lets talk a bit about you and other parts of your life?
RR: I am employed at the Aspen Hill club where I teach Pilates and other types of exercises. I am also the founder of my studio, Pilates In The Forest Studio. I have many interests in addition to my work. l love to study the languages: Norwegian;
French; Spanish and Sanskrit. I also love the arts, dance, all kinds of music, film, food (cooking) and literature, Additionally, I’m interested in Buddhism and comparative religion, animal life biology, psychology, digital photography and some politics --
until it gets to messy.
Arrow: With many interests and a packed life -- are you married?
RR: I am married now going on 20 years. It's an adventure!
Arrow: How did you meet your husband?
RR: I first met my husband, Lindsay Ridgeway, at the Aspen Hill Club. I was an instructor and he was a club member. We became best friends, fell in love and the rest is history. We have four childre (combined from our marriages): Raymond 33;
David 28 (soon to be married to Heather); Eric 26; and Brooke 23.
Arrow: Many people have pets that are a part of the family, do you have any pets?
RR: I have three Golden Retrievers and two are more my husband’s pets and training dogs. Their names are Lumiere and Laddie. Gabriel Garreth RIdgeway is my Golden Retriever, friend and travel companion. He’s the sweetest dog in the world!
Arrow: Alright – tell me how do you find the time to do much else? For instance, have you traveled?
RR: I have traveled abroad and love to travel and will again some day. Some of my favorite places that I've visited so far are: England; Scotland; Iceland; the Colorado Rockies; New Mexico; Utah Mt. Zion National Park; and Montana's National
Glacier Park. I plan to visit all Norway (my grandfather’s country) someday along with the old countries Germany, France, Italy and Spain. I currently live in Maryland.
Arrow: As we wind down this interview, what would you suggest to other fitness and health educators who are thinking about authoring an App?
RR: I would suggest that if you are one of those people who would like to share your knowledge and expertise with others and would like to see that information become a national and international resource for people who are looking for your
product, then your best chance for that to happen is to create an App and contact A2Digital and Arrow.
Arrow: Is there a health series on the horizon?
RR: I would love to release a specialized fitness App for Pilates mat work that reaches the demographic for those who are shy about going to classes and make it feel like a one-on-one experience examples of Pilates exercise work that can be
modified and but maintain authentic form and tradition.
Arrow: Thank you for sitting down with Arrow for a one-on-one about you and your new Breast Health Exercises App. How can you be reached for promotional appearances and other engagements?
RR: First, I would like to thank everyone involved with this project and making it possible. Husani Bastien for technical development, marketing and photography. Pat White, CEO, Arrow Publications for giving me the opportunity and connections
with iTunes. Thank you to Pathways Magazine (Maryland, Virginia and Delaware regional magazine) for the interview and Valencia Wood for setting this up. Thank you all!
For those interested in speaking engagements, etc., I can be reached by email at
email@example.com or by phone at 301-404-7339. Also, there are scheduled appearances coming soon as well as a new web site and social media pages.
And thanks again to Arrow Publications and A2Digital.
Arrow Publications, LLC distributes fiction, non-fiction and graphic novels for the iPhone. Additionally, MyRomanceStory, an imprint of Arrow Publications, is the premier source for romance graphic novels in eBooks, for the iPhone and in paperbacks available
in English and Spanish. Our novels are distributed online, in paperbacks and are available at the iTunes App Store – to locate type in keywords “Arrow Publications” or “romance”.
For licensing, advertising and distribution information, contact Valencia Wood, Director of Media Development at