Jo lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and needy, but lovable, doggo Henrik (Swedish Vallhund—look it up, they’re adorable).
Her favorite season is Fall, though the color change in the PNW isn't quite as beautiful as it is in her home state of Ohio. Jo loves cooking, though her favorite thing to eat (aside from potato chips) is pho, which she's unsuccessfully tried to make three times. Her drink of choice is either a Gibson or a Bloody Mary, though lately she's been experimenting with mezcal. She also loves puzzles, hiking, and karaoke.
Jo's stories feature strong, passionate heroines and draw upon aspects of her life, such as her love of good food and great cocktails, dancing, her Mexican heritage, and her fascination with archaeology which inspired her debut romcom, RAIDERS OF THE LOST HEART, to be released December of 2023 by Berkley Romance.
Jo is represented by Eva Scalzo of the Speilburg Literary Agency.
Jo's Writing Companions
Nov. 6, 2009 - Sep. 11, 2023
Still Writing with Jo in Spirit
LIKES: butt scratches, white rice and plain
nood(le)s, hogging the bed
DISLIKES: getting brushed, baths
LIKES: noogies, rolling in wet grass, naps,
DISLIKES: stopping on walks to talk to
people who aren’t paying attention to him
ARE YOU AN ARCHAEOLOGIST?Sadly, no. I did, however, participate in an archaeological dig in Belize of a Mayan site. We uncovered lots of pottery and even human remains!
IS RAIDERS OF THE LOST HEART YOUR FIRST BOOK?ROTLH is my publishing debut, but it’s not the first book I’ve ever written. I’ve been writing stories for decades and finished my first novel-length manuscript back in 2017, which shall never again see the light of day. Since then, I’ve drafted several other romance manuscripts and always have at least one idea swirling in my head at any given time. I actually wrote ROTLH while I was waiting to hear back from agents on another book I wrote.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR AGENT/BOOK DEAL?After recently finishing a manuscript, I’d heard about a #Pitmad happening that week (a Twitter event where you pitch your manuscript to agents/editors, and if they like your pitch, you can submit to them) and chose to participate. I got several agent “likes” so I resolved to pursue publishing in earnest for a year and if I didn’t make headway, I’d reevaluate. One of those likes was from my eventual agent, Eva Scalzo. But the publishing industry is slow, so while I waited to hear from agents who’d requested my manuscript, I wrote another book—Raiders of the Lost Heart. In the meantime, I received an “R&R” (revise and resubmit) from Eva for that other book—which I did—and then there was another #Pitmad coming up so I pitched Raiders. Eva (and my eventual editor) both “liked” my Raiders pitch, and I heard from Eva the next day asking to set up a call. We clicked right away and agreed to send Raiders out on submission shortly thereafter. Ultimately, Raiders sold to Berkley in a 2-book deal on preempt on the one-year anniversary of my commitment to actively pursue publishing. I know this is not the norm and that it can take years to get a book deal, and so I’m extremely grateful. Much of the publishing industry is about timing and luck.
HAVE YOUR PARENTS/HUSBAND READ YOUR BOOK?At the time of writing this, no, but they seem intent on reading it despite my protests! LOL! I’ll just hope my parents, at least, skip Chapters 12 and 15 (my dad did ask if it would be “too spicy” for them). Fortunately, they are all very supportive of my writing so read it or not, that’s the best I could ask for.
ARE YOU GOING ON A BOOK TOUR?It's not quite a tour, but I will be doing a few events over the next few months, starting with the Raiders of the Lost Heart book launch events in December. Follow me on social media or subscribe to my newsletter for updates!
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW/ASPIRING AUTHORS?Write. If you have an idea and you want to be an author, just write. Maybe you never do anything with it, or maybe it will be terrible (my first full manuscript will never be published, that’s for sure), but you have to start somewhere. Go to writing conferences. Pitch to agents/editors even if you’re nervous. Read writing craft books. Save the Cat Writes a Novel is a great resource on novel structure, but there are so many excellent craft books out there (for example, if you write romance, check out Romancing the Beat). Find a critique group and/or a group of other authors you can just talk about writing with, because I’ll tell you what—your non-writing family and friends do not want to talk about writing and books as much as you do. LOL!
ARE YOU RELATED TO THE COMEDIAN TOM SEGURA?No, but I'd like to think I'm just as funny as he is. 😜