Island Adventure Romance + Who’s Your Hero

Today I’m hosting Joy Campbell on her Island Adventure Romance Blog Tour. Joy is an award-winning Jamaican writer who is always on the lookout for story-making material. Take it away Joy————

Why Romance?

I’m not sure why I decided to write romance, scratch that, I’ve been a fan of romance for a long time. Before I left primary school, I was reading romance novels that were introduced to me by another girl in my class, Sharon.

In the late 70s in Jamaica, all that was available were Mills & Boon & Harlequin romances. What I remember most about them was mega-rich heroes and timid and intimidated (mostly blonde) females, who were usually whisked off someplace exotic for one reason or another. The writers who come readily to mind are Betty Neels (deceased) who wrote over 130 romances and Anne Mather, who has 160 books to her credit. Anybody remembers Barbara Cartland (deceased)? I don’t know how she did it, but during her career, she wrote over 700 books. Talk about creativity, I’d have run out of things to say long before I got to 100 stories.

I cut my teeth on books by these writers and started my own version of romance writing, such as it was, by the time I got to high school. Back then, my novels were scribbled in exercise books that I taped together for story continuity. These were passed around and devoured by my classmates. One would think I’d have continued writing, but no, I shelved that for twenty years.

Needless to say, the face of romance has changed drastically over the years. No longer do we see the shy virgin, who by the end of the novel has her first foray into sex. These days, it’s right up front on the opening pages in some cases and mainly we see experienced women who know what they want from a man and a relationship.

Still, romance is my genre of choice and I’ve gone the path of the adventurer. Along with romance, my Island Adventure Romance novels feature some kind of intrigue. Blackmail, kidnapping, murder, software piracy, you name it, I’ve got it. The next book in this series, Grudge, features a heroine who is stalked relentlessly. I’m not giving away more than that. You’ll have to wait until December to find out what that story is about, but if you would like a taste of Grudge, feel free to click this link.

Sign up on the Rafflecopter if you’d like a chance to read the books in this series or win a gift card. Also, feel free to download Anya’s Wish, which is a complimentary novella from the Island Adventure Romance series.


Displaying CoverJG - Grudge.jpg

J.L. Campbell lives in Jamaica and writes romantic suspense, women’s fiction and young adult novels. She also writes non-fiction and is a certified editor. Visit her on the web at or at her Amazon page. She’s enjoys good company, so feel free to follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I’m honored to be co-hosting the Who’s Your Hero Blogfest alongside Joy Campbell!
A preliminary thought: it’s easy to underestimate the power of one person’s influence. The truth is that each of us wields far more power than we could possibly imagine. However, most of us have never discovered this—or we have forgotten it.
I’d like to pay tribute to a dedicated teacher who has gone beyond the call of duty.
A trip to any school in Mpumalanga’s Nkomazi region is sure to be bumpy and dusty. And, like most of the houses in the villages, the schools are impoverished.
In a classroom in Magweni, southeast of Malalane, December Mpapane (46) is hard at work with a Grade 12 Nkomazi High School class.

His pupils, clad in yellow shirts and maroon jerseys, sit on plastic chairs with school bags on their laps to press on. Desks or tables are a luxury they do not have.

Sitting in neck-straining positions, they deftly work through the problems with Mpapane and give the correct answers in unison.

At the end of the year, Mpapane is aiming to get no fewer than 10 ­distinctions from this class of 75 pupils.

It’s not an empty boast. Mpapane has an impressive 15-year track record and he doesn’t intend to slack off now.

Mpapane and his enthusiastic pupils are just one part of the success story of the schools situated in the sugar cane and citrus-rich Nkomazi region bordering Mozambique and Swaziland.

The schools are badly under­resourced and Nkomazi is beset by common South African social problems: grinding poverty, joblessness and child-headed households.

But the Nkomazi region’s overall matric pass rate has consistently over the past few years been above 70% and some individual schools consistently achieve above 90%.

When he’s not teaching grades 10, 11 and 12 classes at Nkomazi High school, he traverses villages in his Ford ­Focus or in taxis to help other schools – FOR FREE!

The married father of 10 children spends his OWN MONEY, and clocks in to work on weekends and public holidays too.

“I want the kids to get better jobs and live better lives than myself and their parents,” Mpapane said.

“Every day I work with the children until 6.30pm. When I have money for petrol, I use my car to teach at other schools and when I’m short of cash, I board taxis.”

In a world where the word ‘hero’ is thrown around left and right, Mpapane is evidence that true heroism belongs to those who have pursued their visions against whatever odds the world has thrown up against them.

*                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *

Do you have a hero? You still have time to participate in the bloghop. Add your name to the linky over at Joy’s blog.

Whacky Words will return next week! So watch out for that!

Happy NaNoWriMo to all those participating! Break a pencil! (Maybe I’ll join you guys one of these years….. 🙄 )


  1. Mina B. on November 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Go Joy! Lots of great things happening on her tour. 🙂

    I love that story. Mpapane is indeed a hero! Thanks for sharing.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 5, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Thanks for popping in Mina! 🙂
      I loved the way in which you ‘pieced together’ your hero…

  2. Alex J. Cavanaugh on November 3, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    I’m sure the virgins are few and far between now, Joy.
    That is an amazing teacher you highlighted, Michelle.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 5, 2014 at 9:02 am

      ‘…virgins are few and far between’! It’s a totally different era now…with a totally different mindset, hey?
      Yes, he is truly amazing! Such dedication and selflessness…

  3. Beth on November 3, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    yay Joy! congrats…that story is fantastic.

  4. Margo Kelly on November 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Great post! And great hero choice. 🙂 “In a world where the word ‘hero’ is thrown around left and right, Mpapane is evidence that true heroism belongs to those who have pursued their visions against whatever odds the world has thrown up against them.”

    • Michelle Wallace on November 5, 2014 at 9:04 am

      Thanks Margo!
      I also enjoyed your contribution…your blend of fiction/non-fiction…I need to add your book to my TBR.

  5. Hilary on November 3, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Hi Michelle – Joy has achieved much and pursued her interest and her passion – writing, but writing romance.

    Love the sound of Mpapane – there are thankfully some dedicated people out there .. usually the unsung heroes in the community … somewhere …

    Cheers Hilary

    • Michelle Wallace on November 5, 2014 at 9:05 am

      Thank the Man Above for those thousands of unseen and unsung heroes. 🙂

  6. Bish Denham on November 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Mpapane is a real hero because the cause of education is SO important. And Joy… she is someone to emulate!

    • Michelle Wallace on November 5, 2014 at 9:06 am

      “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela.

  7. J. L. Campbell on November 3, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks so much for co-hosting, Michelle and for being such a great friend.

    Thanks also for everybody’s good wishes and Michelle, that is truly an inspiring piece. Mpapane is indeed a hero. Children heading households? Man sometimes I don’t know how good I’ve had it! And no desks? Yet these children rise above these odds. They are heroes too.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 5, 2014 at 9:08 am

      Joy, child-headed households are on the rise…that’s only the tip of the iceberg…you have no idea… 🙂
      Yes, there are sooooo many of these kids who are heroes!

  8. L. Diane Wolfe on November 3, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Mpapane is setting such a great example for those kids, too.

    I’m also a sucker for romance, Joy.

  9. Huntress on November 3, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    A teacher who instills such great ideals is indeed a hero. So glad you told us about him.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 5, 2014 at 9:09 am

      Thanks Huntress!
      He is a great role model for these children.

  10. Sammy D on November 3, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks, Michelle, for highlighting Joy – i love a well-written romance with some thrills and intrigue tossed on the plot and will add this to my Amazon list. I especially enjoyed hearing Joy wrote copious notebooks in school which were devoured by her friends. I vividly remember waiting impatiently for my friend to finish her scribbling so I could read her tales.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 5, 2014 at 9:10 am

      Joy writes great romance stories…thanks Sammy! 🙂

  11. Crystal Collier on November 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    This last spring I wrote a series of true heroes. I’m always awed and inspired by the people I run across. There are so many out there who make quiet sacrifices to make the world a better place. Thank goodness for these angels, eh?

    • Michelle Wallace on November 5, 2014 at 9:11 am

      I remember your series, Crystal.
      Yes, thank God for these angels… <3

  12. elizabeth seckman on November 3, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Best of luck to Joy! I love romance. Le sigh.

    A good teacher is worth their weight in gold, and he sounds like one of the best!

    • Michelle Wallace on November 5, 2014 at 9:13 am

      If you could see the conditions under which he works, his achievements are nothing short of a miracle….the best, for sure! 🙂

  13. dolorah on November 4, 2014 at 1:49 am

    Giving of your time and expertise to children is heroic. What courage and dedication.

    Joy, how awesome that the authors and stories you read as a child have inspired you to write, and to grow and change with the times too. Well done.

  14. krystal jane on November 4, 2014 at 2:47 am

    Real heroes inspire people. Such a great choice! ^_^
    Best wishes to Joy! Great to meet her. 🙂

  15. Chrys Fey on November 4, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Yay, Joy! Congratulations on your book! I am wishing you the best of luck! 🙂

    And Michelle, you won my contest with your rewrite of “It was a dark and stormy night.” I am emailing you now. 😀

  16. Anna Simpson on November 4, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    I think as readers most of us want a little romance. It makes the heart pound faster, filling with hope or an eye full of our spouse. Which ever. I’d hate to live without it. 🙂

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

    • Michelle Wallace on November 5, 2014 at 9:16 am

      As a teen, romance was the genre I really got stuck into…first it was Mills&Boon, and then I couldn’t get enough of Danielle Steele… 🙂

  17. Julie K Pick on November 4, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Joy’s romance novel sounds wonderful!

    I wish more teachers were as devoted as Mpapane. It’s amazing how much he’s able to accomplish despite so many obstacles. His students must realize what a precious gift he is by continuing to make him proud.

  18. Gary on November 5, 2014 at 12:18 am

    Hey Michelle!

    Hello and no, this is not your imagination. I’m actually leaving a comment after my incredibly notable absence.

    That teacher, Mpapane, the very ethos of a hero. Education and inspiration, precious gifts.

    All the very best to joy. And no, I make no mention of blog hops or blog tours. So, I wont state: “Arggghhhhh! Make them STOP!” LOL

    Gary 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on November 5, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Am I hallucinating? *rubs eyes*
      No, I’m not. It’s Gary!
      Welcome back, my friend! 🙂

  19. Lynda R Young on November 5, 2014 at 4:20 am

    Ha, those romance novels were so different back in those days!

    • Michelle Wallace on November 5, 2014 at 9:19 am

      They were, Lynda.
      I wonder what today’s generation of romance readers would think about the older stuff? It would probably bore them.

  20. Medeia Sharif on November 10, 2014 at 4:35 am

    I love that you picked a teacher…indeed, a hero.

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