Sunday, December 22, 2013

You Did Not Get the Corazón, I Assume??

So that’s how Marcano gets greeted by his first mate after surviving a bullet wound to the arm? Well, this is no ordinary piece of treasure…

The Corazón is based on an object from a tale I read years and years ago. During one of my visits to Puerto Rico in my 20’s, I bought a book at a gift shop in the San Juan airport on Puerto Rican legends (still apparently in print.) The book contains the story Marcano tells Jolie at dinner, about two Spaniards named Orozco and Guilarte, explorers in Puerto Rico who found an enormous gold nugget together. Orozco died attempting to cheat Guilarte out of the nugget, but repented and apologized to his friend just before expiring. Guilarte, so goes the legend, donated the nugget to the Cathedral at Seville rather than cash in on his friend’s death.

In Caribbean Jewel, I took the story from there, inventing a title for the nugget, “El Corazón de Isabela” or Isabel’s Heart, and commandeering it as a national treasure of Spain, the treasure Marcano and his first mate Guillarte are looking for on Crab Island (Vieques, Puerto Rico.) I also pretended “Guilarte,” the Spaniard of legend, has a descendent named Luis, Marcano’s rather cocky first mate.  (I don’t remember why I changed the spelling of Guilarte to Guillarte, but “Guillarte” has a better ring to it, since two “lls” sound like a “y” in Spanish.)

While I was writing Caribbean Jewel, I even thought about naming the novel “Corazón”-something, but I was worried it wasn’t mainstream-romancey-enough to catch the eye of potential readers.

Anyway, there you have it - the history of the history of the Corazón in Caribbean Jewel. Happy reading!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Damn if His Pillows Weren't Going To Be Scented With Heather-Rose Soap!

When I read Caribbean Jewel again after all those years, I was really curious about Jolie's "Heather-Rose" scented soap. I honestly have no idea where that idea came from; I don't think I've ever owned any toiletries with that fragrance. (More than likely, I chose it because it just sounded so old-fashioned.) I Googled it and came up with little to nothing, until I came across this site: http://www.berrysweetstuff.com/welcome.html. They were offering a "Heather & Rose" scented soap as a limited-time special, so I ordered a bar. I just HAD to feel like Jolie in that tin tub lathering up with Marcano's gift of French soap. :-)

(By the way, I don't see Heather & Rose on Berry Sweet Stuff's site at the moment, but I'm sure she'll make it for you if you ask.)

What came in the mail was this large homemade pink bar of intense-smelling heather and rose delight. You definitely have to be a fan of the scent of roses (which I totally am) to like it, but the fragrance completely won me over.  (I approve, Captain Marcano.)

Of course, the question could come up, where did Marcano get that sweet-smelling French soap in the first place, to have it available to give Jolie the night she escaped Crab Island on his brigantine? Well, he's a privateer, constantly moving goods and costly cargo back and forth between Europe and the Caribbean, so I think it's safe to assume he could have had it somewhere in the cargo hold on this particular trip from Europe to the New World.  Let's hope it's that and not a gift he bought for some tavern wench in Santo Domingo.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Caribbean Jewel Release Date

Pirate Romance Novel Caribbean Jewel Jayla Jasso

Caribbean Jewel should be up and running on Amazon by November 30, and I'm in shock. This is the book I've been calling "my pirate novel" for the past (mumble) years, because I couldn't remember if, or what, I had titled it so long ago. I wrote it in my 20's and thought I would never see it again because my one or two hard copies had been loaned out to friends who were reading it and the electronic manuscript was written in an MS-DOS program called "Spinnaker," stored on 5 1/4 inch floppies. (Remember when floppies were actually floppy?) Those floppy disks have moved with me from town to town over the years, and it scares me to admit they came close to getting tossed a couple of times because I thought the files were irretrievable.

When a tekkie friend of mine figured out a way to retrieve my pirate novel manuscript two years ago, I remember holding my breath and watching as Word actually opened the file. Across the top and down the sides were a lot of random characters from formatting confusion. He scrolled down to see if the text were even readable, and the title appeared before my eyes:

CARIBBEAN JEWEL

"That's what I titled it?" I stared at it in amazement.  "Hmm, it kind of works."


I settled in that night to look at the file more closely. I couldn't remember for sure if I had finished the novel or not or if it was even close to being long enough for a standard historical romance novel (between 90,000 and 100K words.) The manuscript came off those floppies with 115,000 words, complete with 25 chapters and an epilogue. Good news to me - it was definitely long enough to be a romance novel, and had plenty of room for trimming and shaping up.  (It now weighs in at 94,408 words by the way.)


Then I started reading it. I couldn't remember much of the plot, so it was truly like reading someone else's book. You're not supposed to brag on your own book, but I'll just tell you honestly, by the time I got to the first pirate attack in chapter 8, I was hanging on every word; by chapter 22 I was sobbing my head off; and by the end I knew I was going to publish this novel. And that if no one ever reads it, or if they read it and hate it, it doesn't matter--I love this story with all my heart.

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