What’s in a title? A lot more than you think, #MFRWauthor

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I’m sure this is an easy feat for most writers, but not for me. I agonize over book titles. Are they too long? Too short? Do they convey the correct theme of the book? Do they even convey the theme of the book? Will it be a memorable title, or one that is easily forgotten in the myriad of published books these days?

Titles can, in all truth, make or break a book. Would you have read any of these books if these were the titles?:

  1. The High-Bouncing Lover
  2. The Last man in Europe
  3. The Dead Un-Dead
  4. Mistress Mary
  5. Nothing New in the West
  6. Wacking Off
  7. The Don’t Build Statues to Businessmen
  8. The Kingdon By The Sea
  9. At this point In time
  10. Private Fleming, His Various Battles

I was a bit surprised at a few of them, and I can in all truthfulness say I wouldn’t have read any one of them except for the Dead Un-Dead, because I think it was a cool, really out-there title. To see the titles these books were actually published as, scroll down when you’re done reading.

You can’t, apparently, trademark a  title. I found this out when I wrote my third book, FIRST IMPRESSIONS ( which, BTW was the original working title of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) and did a  search to see how many books with the same title there were (423). My second book I called THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. 366 other authors also called their works of fiction that. SO, how the heck can I can up with a title that (1) hasn’t been used before, and (2) will make the random reader interested in it enough to pick up the book and check it out? Again, no easy feat.

I used to make lists, pages of lists, with book titles. Even then, choosing just one was torture.

I’m so lame at coming up with my book titles I  left the naming of my second book in the Will Cook For Love Series from Lyrical/Shine to the editors. They came up with A SHOT AT LOVE. When you read the book you’ll know it’s the perfect title, but I didn’t have anything even close to that I was working with! Thank God for the people in the know who really really really know what they are doing.

Naming your book is an awful lot like naming your child. You want to give it something with character, essence, personification, and beauty. And your book, to the writer, is your baby, your child, your creation, so you don’t want to let it down by giving it a crummy moniker; one that will inspire ridicule and laughter. Honestly, I pity the poor children of celebrities who have been named after fruits, compass directions, and astrological projections. Sad.

See? You probably thought the title was the easiest thing to come up with.  I bet you didn’t know how hard it really was to name a book? Well…at least it is for me!

Here’s what the above titles were actually published as, and thank goodness they were!!!

  1. The Great Gatsby
  2. 1984
  3. Dracula
  4. The Secret Garden
  5. All Quiet On the Western Front
  6. Portnoy’s Complaint
  7. Valley of the Dolls
  8. Lolita
  9. All the President’s Men
  10. The Red Badge of Courage

When I’m not agonizing over naming books, you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

Since this is a 52 week blog hop challenge, here are some other authors who are also taking about how they name their books today. Stop by and check out their blogs.

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, First Impressions, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A visit with #author Stacy Gold; #WildRosePress

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February has been an amazeballs month for me to introduce you all to some fabulous new authors. Today I’m hosting writer Stacy Gold, as she talks about her writing life and gives you a peek into her upcoming release JUST FRIENDS. From a writer who writes about strong women, I can tell you I love a writer who says about herself “I write sassy, steamy, contemporary romance novels,  packed with strong, independent women finding love and adventure in the great outdoors.” LOVE THAT!

Sit back and learn a little about Stacy…

Stacy Gold,  The Writer

  1. What drives you to write? I’ve always enjoyed expressing myself on paper (or screen). As a teen, it was mostly essays and poetry. Until a couple years ago, I made a living as a copywriter, journalist and marketing strategist, so all my writing was non-fiction and most was either promotional or educational. However, I did get to write a number of articles for outdoor sports publications over the years, and loved that. Nowadays I have stories and characters in my head just dying to get out. And I relish having the opportunity to change a reader’s life or perspective for the better.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?
    I write steamy, outdoorsy, contemporary romance with strong heroines who kick ass at sports and activities like skiing, mountain biking, kayaking and backpacking. Why? Because these are the kind of women I enjoy hanging out with in real life. And because I believe including these sports adds an extra layer of dynamics to a story. Putting people in tough situations in the outdoors shows you who they really are, deep down inside. It lets me test their mettle in interesting ways. It’s what I want to read, and definitely what I want to spend all day writing.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?
    Steamy contemporary is one of my favorites (go figure), but I also enjoy YA and historical. I’ve read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi over the years, but haven’t dipped into much of it in the romance genre—yet. Basically, if the writing is good, the story interesting, entertaining, or believable, and the characters compelling, I’m in. If it’s got hot sex, even better.
  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?
    My hubby works a 9-5, so I do my best to sync my schedule to his. That means I write pretty much every weekday, but take the weekends off so we can get outdoors and play in the mountains together. Much of my inspiration comes when I’m about as far from a keyboard as I can get, so from a certain perspective you could consider even that writing time. The other day, on a hike with my dog, I figured out a plot issue and some dialogue for the short story I’m working on. So I dictated it into my phone and kept hiking.
  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I have my own office with high ceilings and tall windows that let in plenty of natural light, and includes three different workspaces: my treadmill walkstation, a sit down desk with a yoga ball, and a folding Ikea couch. Though if the weather is nice I like to sit on my porch to work, or take the dog and head to a coffee shop patio.
  1. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? At home I generally prefer silence, though sometimes I’ll play music with no lyrics. When I’m in the right mood though, I can get super inspired in a coffee shop with the hum of conversation and music as background. The sound of birds singing and the wind in the trees also works well for me.
  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?
    For the most part, I find music distracting. Particularly if it has lyrics. My brain just keeps trying to pay attention to what they’re singing because I’m a lyrics-driven music listener. If I do listen to music, it’s most often jazz or Wyndham Hill recordings.
  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?
    Like most of my ideas, it popped into my head one day, fairly fully formed. My brain is a bit like one of those old supercomputers—I put data and information and experiences in, and it works in the background for days or weeks. Then, at some random point, it spits out an idea that I like. Sometimes I start writing immediately. Other times I keep turning it and playing with it in my head for a bit until I’m inspired to write the opening scene and outline. Many of my best story ideas come to me while I’m skiing or mountain biking.
  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? A little of both. When a story idea hits me, it might not be fully formed, but I have a pretty good idea of who my characters are, and who they’re going to become, as well as the major plot points or beats. Usually, the first chapter comes out in one big rush like it’s been stored up behind a dam and I’ve just opened the floodgates.
  2. What 3 words describes you, the writer? Fascinated, dedicated, quirky

Stacy, The Person 

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I speak fluent French, and thanks to my Mom hold dual citizenship with Switzerland.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? Robbie, when I was 17. He was the man that made me realize I was worth loving and deserved to be treated right.
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…. Oh my gosh. Seriously? Just one? My hubby and I have been on so many amazing adventures together on rivers and trails and mountains, I have trouble even picking one season or sport, let alone one day. Okay, maybe the day Mt Baker had about six feet of fresh snow, and we drove for five hours (normally a three hour drive, max) to get there because the roads were as bad as they get in the northwest. At the ski area that day, one of the chairlifts was only open if you had an avalanche beacon, shovel and partner. Lo and behold we did, so we got to ski never-ending bottomless powder together all day long, then enjoyed dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant before heading back to our condo for a relaxing evening. Perfection.
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Boxer-briefs or commando.
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? My awesome Re-Curl curl cream. It allows me to have perfect, scrunch-and-go hair every day and I never have to spend time with a blow dryer or curling iron. Or rollers. I used to do that full head of rollers every morning back in the eighties, but I definitely don’t prioritize anything to do with hair or makeup, and haven’t in thirty years. The sweet southern women I worked with growing up in Atlanta would be appalled.
  6. What three words describes you, the person? Funny, adventurous, caring
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Anything by Neil Young. I love his Neil impersonation, and Neil’s songs are generally in a key I can sing without anyone cringing too much.
  8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? Galadriel from Lord of the Rings because I have always been fascinated by the elves: their long lives, their wisdom, their willingness to sail away to another land. I’d want a tour of Lothlórien and an extended chat over dinner to hear about all the things she’s seen and done in the course of her long life.

Bonus round

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound – My husband’s voice (Peggy here: awwwwwwwwwwwww!)
  2. Least favorite sound-Siren
  3. Best song every written—Suite Judy Blue Eyes by Crosby, Stills & Nash. Gets me every time.
  4. Worst song ever written—Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Sirus. I was a cocktail waitress in a pool hall when this came out, and it got played way too much on the jukebox.
  5. Favorite actor and actress: Daniel Day Lewis and Meryl Streep
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? (It can be anyone living or dead)- Honestly, it’s confusing and difficult enough just being myself, without spending a day as someone else. If I had to pick, I guess I’d choose Misty Copeland. I danced for years but never on pointe, and she makes it look so beautiful and easy.
  7. What turns you on? Laughter
  8. What turns you off? Negativity
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) “Are you my brown-eyed girl?” Nope. My eyes are green.
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? Sleep in until eight or eight thirty, have a morning quickie, enjoy a delicious breakfast of grits and eggs courtesy of my hubby, then, depending on the season, ski two feet of untracked powder or go paddling or mountain biking, followed by a nice soak in a natural hot spring, love making, dinner al fresco and dancing. Yep. That would be perfect.

 

Stacy’s newest release, JUST FRIENDS  is Available for Pre-Order Now (Release Date March 3rd, 2017)

Blurb

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Taya Monroe is trying to pick up the pieces of her failed writing career and broken life after walking out on her cheating fiancé. The last thing she needs is a serious relationship. The last thing she wants is a fling. Then she runs into an old friend and ski partner—the one man she always wanted who never wanted her.

Ski Patroller Jordan Wiley is a single dad with zero time or energy for dating. When he reconnects with Taya, his attraction to her is even stronger than before she left him behind for a career in the city. But with a young son to think about, he’s determined to ignore his feelings. Again.

After a magical day on the slopes, a snow storm traps them in an avalanche of chemistry neither can deny. Will their friendship survive the weight of their passion or will they surface as more than friends?

Excerpt:

My eyes followed the curve of his lips. They weren’t thin, and they weren’t full either. But they had a kissable shape that begged me to trace their subtle contours with the tip of my tongue. To nip. To explore and taste.

Not that it would ever happen. Not again. I had proof of that.

We’d kissed once, on a drunken night years ago, right after he’d split with his long-term girlfriend. It started out toe-curling, but ended when he pulled away and made it clear he wasn’t attracted to me. At least, not in the way I was attracted to him. Mortified, I pretended it was the alcohol and vowed never to let him know how much I wanted him.

A good vow to remember. Especially now, when I needed a friend more than anything else. Definitely more than I needed a romantic distraction.

“It’s great to see you.” His words, and his smile, flowed over me like liquid caramel.

“You too.” The connection between us buzzed in me like high-tension power lines. Same as always. So powerful I couldn’t understand how, or why, he didn’t feel it too.

Our noses were inches apart. I tasted his breath, minty and sweet, and licked my lips in anticipation of a kiss I knew would never come. Some habits die hard. I was determined to choke this one until it gave up the ghost.

Buy Links: Wild Rose Press // Amazon // B&N

A little more about Stacy Gold

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Compulsive tea drinker. Outdoor sports junkie. Lover of good (and bad) puns.

Stacy Gold gave up her day job as Communications Director of a nonprofit mountain biking organization to write sassy, steamy, contemporary romance novels. Her stories are packed with strong, independent women, and the men who can’t resist them, finding love and adventure in the great outdoors. When Stacy’s not busy reading or writing, you can find her dancing, laughing or playing hard in the mountains with her wonderful hubby and happy dog.

 

After a magical day on the slopes, a snow storm traps them in an avalanche of chemistry neither can deny. Will their friendship survive the weight of their passion or will they surface as more than friends?

You can connect with Stacy here:

Facebook // Twitter  // Instagram // Amazon // Goodreads // Website

Special Offer

Enter to Win a $25 REI Gift Card and be the First to Know About Contests, Freebies & Releases by Joining the Gold Club!

http://stacygold.com/goldclub

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A visit with #author DeeDee Lane; #TheWildRosePress

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It’s so much fun for me as a reader – and as a writer – to discover new authors to me, because I can then introduce them to you! Today I’m hosting Seattle-based author DeeDee Lane, one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs. DeeDee writes historical fiction ( love that!), time travel and westerns. Wow! Can you say “prolific?!”  Here’s a gab fest I engaged her in recently. Learn more about this fun writer, and stick around because she’s giving you a little taste of her newest selection, My Traveling Man, which is out TODAY!!

DeeDee Lane, The Writer:

  1. What drives you to write? This changes for me quite often so I’ll answer what is driving me right now. I believe empathy and kindness are a muscle, something each of us has to practice every day. Right now entering someone else’s Point of View is giving me a chance to see the world in a new way, to practice empathy, and how I can be kind to myself, and kind to others. So right now, writing is a pretty selfish past time!
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you write, and why? The Slip in Time series is historical fiction, time travel, and western. I chose to write in this combo genre because it gave me the chance to research the Old West and explore how a contemporary woman would survive/thrive in the past.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Pretty much all. I’ve often been a judge for the RWA Golden Heart contest and I always ask for a different category so I can stay up on what’s going on in the Romance world. I can’t say, “All” because I don’t read erotica which is probably a shame because I know some pretty amazing erotica writers out there!
  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I write best in the morning, by the afternoon I need to switch to things like this blog, updating my web site etc.
  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? The best thing about where I write is I have a huge L shaped desk; which means room for my computer, a pile of books, notes to myself, a stack of binders, and my office supplies. Also, I am addicted to collecting pens when I go to writing conferences so I have three cups jammed full of pens on my desk table top!
  1. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? Not quiet but pretty quiet. I just read about some noise canceling head phones a writer I like uses, might give those a try.
  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? No music, I get too distracted. I often do have a few songs I feel connect to my heroine…something she’d listen too.
  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? I’m super suspicious so don’t talk about my current WIP – I know! Weird huh…even my husband and my besty beta reader don’t know what it’s about. Of course my husband can sort of tell by the stack of research on my desk! (Peggy here – not weird at all! I don’t like to talk about my current works either.)
  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Ohhhh good one. When I really connect to a character she is most often in the middle of some situation, some problem, some conflict so it really happens simultaneously. I know I’m onto something when I have a hard time not thinking about the character!
  1. What 3 words describes you, the writer? These are the three words I WANT to describe me as a writer: Exciting, emotional, satisfying. (Peggy here: I think you hit the nail on the proverbial head with these words – they DO describe you!)

Dee Dee, The Person:

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I have never seen the Giant Tin Foil Rooster but it is on my list of not-to-be-missed-road-side-attractions!
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? Paul (sigh) I was 8 and we wrote notes to each other that said, “I love you, do you love me? Yes, No, or Maybe – circle one.”
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….I just watched two Christmas movies that had the same theme and I wouldn’t do it – no way, no way!
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Briefs!
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? Oil of Olay face moisturizer….I’d cry if I had to give it up.
  6. What three words describes you, the person? Thoughtful, funny, scattered
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? “Suddenly Seymour” from the musical Little Shop of Horrors. (Peggy here: OMG! I lovelovelove that musical!!)
  8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? Sherlock Holmes of course, we’d smoke a pipe, have a spot of tea with Dr. Watson, welcome a mysterious weeping widow wearing a black half veil and telling an improbable tale, then together we’d crack the case!

Bonus round

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound – Kitchen Timer – Baking is done! (Peggy here: Yummo! I’ll be right over)
  2. Least favorite sound– My mother crying
  3. Best song every written– “Summertime” From Porgy and Bess
  4. Worst song ever written “Who let the Dogs Out” (sorry U of Washington Husky fans)
  5. Favorite actor and actress– Meryl Streep and James Spader
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) Barack Obama – I want to know what his world looked like when he was US President. I would want to feel the weight of his responsibilities to our country and the world.
  7. What turns you on? Kind acts done for the sake of kindness
  8. What turns you off? Racial slurs, hate language, hate actions
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) “This won’t take long, right?”
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? Sunny, ocean, my husband, my family coming over for dinner in the evening, singing, sand, lots of laughs.

 

Blurb:

My Traveling Man ( is the fourth installment in the Slip in Time Series)

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Alice Hanstrom prefers books to people, facts over feelings, and in her world, “adventure” is just a word in the dictionary. That is until the night she braves shadowed hallways of the Cowboy and Western Museum in pursuit of a long-lost diary. Her search of an antique covered wagon halts abruptly when the museum slips Alice back in time.

Thomas Bristol is an experienced wagon master. On a daily basis he deals with cholera, exhausted oxen, and river rapids on the treacherous journey to Oregon Territory. But he’s completely flummoxed when a mysterious woman appears in Big Blue River.

On the trail, Alice and Thomas strive to balance his love of roaming adventure and her desire for predictable orderliness. As the wagon train reaches Independence Rock, the sparks between them catch fire. But can such different people become equal partners in love…and can their love survive the slip in time?

Excerpt:

Alice bent her lanky frame forward to squint at the notation scratched in the corner of the diary—scribbled in a different hand, less confident, childish.

I’m hiding Mama’s last diary in our covered wagon’s secret hidey hole ‘til she’s in her right mind.

The wagon mentioned was in the museum’s storage basement, two floors down. Alice’s stomach fluttered and hopped. Every part of her yearned to find the “hidey hole,” be the one to find the diary not just write about it afterwards. Before she could talk herself out it, Alice exited the research library to set off down the darkened corridors of the Cowboy and Western Museum. Her footsteps made soft thwacks on the marble floor. She, Alice Hanstrom, intrepid scaredy-cat, was on an adventure. How thrilling, how positively mind–blowing, how…. Alice flinched away from a creaking noise to her right.

Buy Links: Amazon  // Wild Rose Press //

A word about the author…

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DeeDee Lane is a Seattle author and a member of Romance Writers of America. Her mystery scenarios and characters turn up on boat cruises and many corporate and private events around the Puget Sound. She and her husband love to go on road trips especially if there’s time to check out a tin foil rooster or the largest truck stop in the world. Originally from central Wisconsin, DeeDee was raised on a Century Farm.

DeeDee’s novella MY GAMBLING MAN received third place in the Paranormal Short category of the International Digital Awards (IDA)

Connect with DeeDee here:

Amazon 

Peggy here: This was such a fun interview. DeeDee, it has been such a pleasure getting to know you! Much luck with your continued writing and congrats on release day for My Traveling Man.

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, research, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A little #gift from #Lyrical/Shine to you…

As a promotional gift, my new publisher Kensington/Lyrical Shine is giving you a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to whet your appetite for my 4.4.17 release of COOKING WITH KANDY: the first chapter FREE! Click on the following link and read how Josh and Kandy meet. Then, I’ve given you the link to preorder the entire book!

And if you’re a NETGALLEY reader and honest reviewer, I’ve included the link for you to request, read, and review it as well.

Blurb:

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Sugar and spice and everything sexy make the perfect recipe for romance in this brand-new series by Peggy Jaeger. Look for exclusive recipes in each book!

Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .

Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .

Free chapter COOKING WITH KANDY

Buy Links: Amazon ///Kensington // Nook // i-Tunes //Kobo //Google

Read and Review on Netgalley

And when I’m not out promoting my books, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, female friends, Friends, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

I #write words, but I see images; #Pinterest

Strange blog title, I know. It  kinda reminds me of “I see dead people.LOL But there’s a reason behind it, so let me ‘esplain it to, Lucy.

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I’m a very visual person. I’m one of those people who sometimes think their dreams are real and have actually happened because they are so vivid and fully detailed. (I’m sure a psychiatrist would have a field day with that statement, but I digress.)

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I was actually that (weird) kid who enjoyed going to art museums. I could spend hours – and did – strolling along hallways and chambers chock full of art from every time period, decade, and century. The colors, the way light was used, or the absence of it; the way the artist positioned a hand in a portrait, or the background in a scene. Just looking at those beautiful portrayals and representations of life was awe-inspiring for me. And got my creative storytelling mind revving.

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Images help my writing in ways that are too numerous to describe. Suffice it to say, I see a book in my head before I ever type a word into my laptop. If I wrote science fiction my world-building would the size of a dictionary before I ever got to the plot. So, because I’m such a visual person,  I love PINTEREST. 

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Really, what did we ever do before Pinterest? I do remember saving fashion magazines for months on end when I was working on a story just so I could troll through the pages to find perfect depictions and portraits for my characters and settings. Other than that, I had no place to search.

Pinterest is to a visual person what words are to writers. Both are necessary for creativity to blossom and grow. And you can find anything on Pinterest. Anything.

I use it as a shorthand form of a storyboard for each of my books. Seeing what my hero and heroine, plus the ancillary characters look like, helps me describe them better in the story. I usually have several pictures of my h/h in various setting and with different expressions, just so I can write them vividly enough that you can see them clearly in your reading mind. I do the same thing with settings, buildings, even rooms.

Check out my newest board, Rick and Abby. I’m currently adding to it daily, so it’ll get filled up fairly soon, but I’ve got a good idea of Rick ( boy do I!) and I’m working on Abby. This is a wonderful way for me to make my characters come to life in my mind and on the page. Again, a shrink would go to town with that last statement, but you know what I mean.

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If you don’t know Pinterest, you should. Especially if you’re a writer.

‘Nuff said. Gotta go pinning….

When I’m not trolling through Pinterest, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

And just to see who really reads my posts: The first person to tell me in a comment here who the guy in this picture is will win an e-copy of one of my books of your choice. This should be illuminating…

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#Music to write by…or not. #MFRWauthors

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The topic of this blog is supposed to be the music we, as writers, listen to when we are in the creative mood. I have to be honest about this – I need total silence when I’m in writing mode. If I put on any music – even classical without words(!) music, I will invariably stop what I am doing just to listen. God forbid I put on pop music. Then all I will do is sing along. And believe me – no one wants to hear my rendition of Baby, Baby, or Stop in the Name of Love.

Insert full body shudders here at the thought!

Music is very distracting to me when I write, so I’m going to talk about the music I listen to as  I Prepare to Write.  That, at least, is something I do, do.

Once I have my characters thought out and the storyline plotted, I go back to the characters and insert little idiosyncrasies into their backstories, which include the kinds of books they read and the music they listen to and favor. For my newest release, COOKING WITH KANDY, my heroine Kandy Laine is a total pop/rock-diva listening gal.  If she is alone at home, or driving in her car, she will have Pat Benatar, Madonna, vintage Joan Jett, or the Heart sisters blasting away and she will be singing at the top of her lungs, not caring a whit she can’t carry a tune in a bag! These rock warrior women are her musical soul sistahs. In the privacy of her kitchen she will dance like no one’s looking, a wooden spoon as her microphone as she belts out Heartbreaker or I Love Rock and Roll to her heart’s content. When I was trolling around on Pinterest trying to find the perfect image of Kandy, these were the ladies I listened to in order to find Kandy’s essence.

My hero, Josh Keane is a little more, shall we say, sedate, in his musical tastes. He’s a Jazz and Blues man, pure and simple. He’s got Al Jarreau and Miles Davis CDs by the truckload in his car and when he’s doing corporate computer research, or simply kicking back in his condo with a glass of Glenlivet 21 after a hard day, he’s a man who likes the complex simplicity of a solitary horn or a raspy, tortured voice weaving a tale of love, loss, and redemption. As Josh’s soul and spirit came to me, I had my iTunes opened, listening to jazz and blues by the hour. Those discordant chords and slip-timed keys brought to my mind the man Josh was, through and through.

Listening to music is, like writing, an individualistic endeavor. Whether for inspiration, motivation, or clarification, music helps a writer dig deep down, straight to the heart and soul, to bring forth the crux and core of character and story.

Plus, singing at the top of your lungs like no one’s watching is pretty fun to do!

When I’m not listening to music, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

Stop by the other #MFRW authors participating in this 52 week hop and leave them some love.

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Introducing #author Devon McKay

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Today is a treat for me. Not only do I have a great interview with one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs, DEVON MCKAY  it’s also the release day for her new book BETTING ON KINCADE, a romantic western featuring a feisty redhead ( my favorite kind of heroine!) So sit back, meet Devon, and stick around because she’s giving us a little taste of her western flair in Betting on Kincade.

Devon, The Writer

1. What drives you to write?

Usually it’s a phrase I can’t get out of my head. Or a character I think needs their story told. Mostly at 3 a.m.

2. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?
Contemporary Western. Love those cowboys!
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3. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?

I read anything I can get my hands on. I love to read. However, I prefer to read stories that end with a happy ever after.

4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday?

I try to. Sometimes life gets in the way.

5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

I have a “me” room. The space is dedicated to writing and my stained glass art projects. It’s awesome. I don’t have to share.

6. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision?
Quiet please. Too many things going on will make me lose my mind!

7. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?

No music. I need complete silence. I tend to get distracted easily.

8. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

My current WIP is a historical western about mail order brides. I’m fascinated with the Wild, Wild West, so a story about the era is always in the back of my mind.

9. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?

Character. Always a character first. I’m not sure why. I guess I have to picture the person first.

10. What 3 words describes you, the writer?
Romantic. Passionate. Inquisitive.
Devon, The Person

Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!   

I’m super shy. An introvert. I live vicariously through my characters.


– Who was your first love and what age were you?  

Gavin Montgomery from the Velvet Promise by Jude Deveraux. I was twelve, maybe thirteen, and just discovered the world of romance novels.

– If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….   

I’ve been really blessed in my life. I’ve had many great days. But I guess the one I’d relive would be the day my first story was accepted.

   – Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando?   
Boxer briefs.

– If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?   

Any kind of makeup. I don’t wear much of it. However, I can’t live without Chap Stick.
What three words describes you, the person?   
Kind. Compassionate. Trusting.

– If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?   

Come On Eileen. I think he’d make it even more fun and silly.

– If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together?   

Oh my. This is a tough question. Any one of Stephen King’s characters. And we’d plot a murder, of course.

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

1.     Favorite sound : My Granddaughter’s giggle.

2.     Least favorite sound : The dentist drill.

3.     Best song every written : I will always love you.

4. Worst song ever written :The Mcdonald’s mcpick two jingle.( Peggy here: Now that’s a new one on me!!!!)

5. Favorite actor and actress : At the moment Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia from the tv show This Is Us.

6.     Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) :Elvis

7. What turns you on? : A positive attitude. A smile can go a long way in brightening someone else’s day. It’s contagious.

8.     What turns you off? : Negativity or mean people

9.     Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)
So, what’s wrong with you?

10. What’s your version of a perfect day? : I’m a homebody. The perfect day would be spent in my jammies, drinking coffee, surrounded by my dogs and writing.

Betting On Kincade by Devon McKay

Blurb:

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Everyone Cassie Wilcox loved is gone. And now, thanks to her drunken stepfather, her house and family business will be taken from her, too, unless she can find a way to buy back the ranch from the new owner. With less than two months to come up with money she doesn’t have, her options are running out, and apparently, her common sense as she rents out rooms to an eclectic group of strangers.

Returning home for Dalton Kincade is bittersweet. Not a damn thing has changed. Two years on the rodeo circuit weren’t able to shake free the memory of the feisty redhead who’d broken his heart into a thousand pieces. Nor the sting of her parting words…Never trust a Kincade.

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Winning her beloved ranch in a drunken bet is the last thing he expected to happen, but at least he saved it for her. Now, he has to figure out how to break that news to a woman who never wants to see him again. Renting a room in the house he now owns might be a risk, but it’s nothing compared to betting his heart on winning back the love of his life.

Excerpt:

“Are you going to play or just sit there?” Gary Evans slurred in drunken angst as he kicked back his chair and leaned over the table. Not waiting for a reply, he picked up the crisp piece of paper lodged between them, waved it in the air, and then, slammed the deed to the Wilcox land back down on the hard pressed wood.

Cautiously, Dalton stationed a deadly stare on the intoxicated fool and noted the shimmering of glee highlighting the steel gray of the man’s eyes. Tapping the top card, he slowly trailed his finger along the swirled red print.

He was a loser no matter the outcome. Should’ve just walked away. Ignored Gary’s foolish bet and the taunts that followed once the hook had been set. It wasn’t as if Cassie would appreciate his effort anyway. Regardless, he couldn’t walk away and let her lose it all.

Clenching his jaw, he folded his fingers around the squared edges and paused before picking up the pile.

“Read ‘em and weep,” Gary squealed gleefully as he tossed his cards next to the deed. “Four deuces.” He stumbled from the end of the table, closing the gap between them in one stride, before managing to shove a quadruple of stubby digits in front of Dalton’s face. “Four.”

Dalton studied his hand with guarded fury, then stifled the drunkard’s premature victory with a flick of his wrist.

Buy Links: Amazon // Wild Rose Press  //  B&N

A little more about Devon

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Devon McKay writes contemporary romance with a western flair. If she’s not writing, she’s busy with chores on her small ranch, working on a stained glass project or walking one of her three dogs through the woods. Her greatest joy is putting a smile on a reader’s face and hearing from fans.

You can find Devon here: Website //Facebook // Twitter // Amazon

 

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Filed under Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, Romance, WIld Rose Press AUthor

An #interview with ….me; #Author #RomanceWriter

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I realized the other day that I never answered my own author interview questions, so I figured today would be a good day to do that. You can really know everything about me by just reading my BIO page on the blog, but this is a little more in-depth.

So without further ado…here’s, well,  me!

Peggy Jaeger, The Writer 

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  1. What drives you to write? Writing to me is like breathing. I can’t live without taking in air and I can’t go a day without writing.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? Contemporary romance, a little humorous romance, some romantic suspense. Contemporary because I like the here and now; humor because it’s been said I can be funny at times; suspense because I love to sit on the edge of my seat when I’m being entertained.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Obviously contemporary but I lovelovelove a good regency. All those morality rules. All those ways to break the morality rules! The clothes!!! The dancing. Love it all.
  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday? Every friggin’ day. Usually 6-8 hours. During the week I work on my romance stuff; on the weekends I work on my blog posts for the following week. Even if I am away from home I bring my laptop and write something. I am a life long diarist, so writing everyday was ingrained in me at a very young age.
  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I recently redid my writing office. It’s still on the fourth floor of my house, in a finished attic, but I went to the opposite side of the house because of a pair of annoying and loud dogs who live in the house next door – which is almost a ¼ mile away, but in the woods, so noise carries. Far.
  2. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? Like a tomb, baby, like a tomb. Hence, the office move. Those barking dogs drove me into a funk. If I play music, I can’t write because I want to sing along.    shush
  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? I just realized after doing a gazillion interviews this is the same damn question as the # 6! After today it is eliminated from the interview.
  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? My new series, WILL COOK FOR LOVE, grew out of my love for cooking. I wanted my next batch of heroines to do something in the cooking realm. One is a famous chef, her sister, a food photographer, her cousin the producer on a food show. I have 2 more books trolling around in my brain to add to this series, but these 3 are set to go right now. The first, COOKING WITH KANDY, drops on 4.4.17 from Kensington/Lyrical. I am uberthrilled.
  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Character, always. I am an avid people watcher. No matter where I am – even in church! – I watch people. How the act, interact with others, their mannerisms, etc. It’s like voyeuristic therapy for me. Then I try to make up stories to fit their personalities.

What 3 words describes you, the writer? Dedicated; tortured; prolific

Peg – The Person

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! My left eye is significantly smaller than my right due to numerous ocular surgeries and a childhood trauma where I fell out an apartment building window and landed on my face.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? Don’t laugh at me, but my first love was my husband and I was 24.
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….The first time I met Nora Roberts in person. She was so gracious and funny and all I did was cry from joy at finally meeting her.
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Boxers, baby. Every friggin’ time.
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? The only way I could give up a necessary can’t live without it beauty item would be if you killed me first. So, to answer the question, nothing.
  6. What three words describes you, the person? Nervous, worrier, loyal.
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Imagine, by John Lennon
  8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? I would hang out with Eve Dallas and help her solve a murder because Peabody would be off on vaca with McNabb.        me-and-nora

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound : babies giggling
  2. Least favorite sound :  the breaks squeaking on a car
  3. Best song every written :  Secret Agent Man, by Jonny Rivers
  4. Worst song ever written : You know, I can’t think of one!! I love music – all kinds.
  5. Favorite actor and actress  : Kevin Spacey/Dianne Lane
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead): Of course it would be Nora Roberts just so I could experience what it feels like to be a multi award winning amazeballs author!
  7. What turns you on? :  Funny. Every friggin’ time. Dry wit, sarcasm, self-deprecating humor.
  8. What turns you off? :  Condescension. We’re all the same, folks. No one is better than another because of skin color, financial status, or birth rank and place. God made us all the same inside. Think about that.
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) Well, I told you mine already!!!! The guy thought my curly waist length hair was a wig. Jerk.
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day?:  Every day is my perfect day if I get to write and cook.

So, that’s me.  Sticking to the tried and true formula I’ve used with other interviews, what follows is a blurb and excerpt from my upcoming book release and a small bio.

COOKING WITH  KANDY, Book 1 in the Will Cook For Love series, releases on 4/4/17

Blurb:

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Sugar and spice and everything sexy make the perfect recipe for romance in this brand-new series by Peggy Jaeger. Look for exclusive recipes in each book!

Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .

Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .

Excerpt:

“Hold on to you forks folks, because today I’m making one of Grandma Sophie’s to-die-for layer cakes, guaranteed to make your sweet tooth tingle.” Kandy Laine aimed a wide, dimpled grin at the television camera.

The moment her sexy, heart-stopping smile flashed, Josh Keane knew he was in trouble.

Serious trouble.

He stood on the sidelines of the studio kitchen set where he’d been instructed to wait, visitor badge secured to his jacket, and watched the hostess of EBC’s most popular food show, Cooking with Kandy, film her season premiere.

“She’d discovered the benefit of adding pudding to the batter to increase the cake’s moisture content decades before any of the big commercial baking companies did,” Kandy told the camera.

Josh ran a hand through his thick, black hair and blew out a breath. From his concealed vantage point behind the studio equipment, he was impressed by the practiced ease with which she moved around the set kitchen, talking non-stop, explaining the details of the recipe she was preparing without the use of cue cards or even a glance at the teleprompter.

A little kick of awareness ricocheted through his midsection every time she glanced up, spoke, and looked into the camera. It was as intimate as if she were speaking to him and no one else.

Kandy pulled the baking tins from the oven and turned them upside down to deliver two perfect rounds onto a cooling rack.      “Perfection,” she said, adding with a chuckle, “Grandma sure knew what she was talking about.”

After reading the bio her assistant had faxed to him the night before, Josh had gone to bed, his dreams filled with visions of a tiny, cherub faced, angel soaring around a kitchen.

One look at Kandy Laine in the flesh knocked that ethereal vision to hell.

At five-nine in flats, most of it was leg packed into second skin jeans. Jet-black curls tumbled down to the middle of her back, secured from her face by a flaming red headband.

And that face.

Heart-shaped, its peak descended almost to the middle of a smooth, flawless forehead. Arched eyebrows and thick eyelashes framed her eyes, the outer corners tipped upward at a slight angle, their color a blue rivaling a pale sky.

“Make sure you don’t over-beat the frosting,” Kandy instructed in a throaty voice made for seduction. “If you do, you’ll break it down and your cake will have a flat, metallic taste. Another of Grandma’s helpful hints,” she added with a wink and a devilish grin.

When her dimples emerged, that little kick tackled his insides again.

Maybe he should just forget this whole thing. Leave now while no one was looking.

Buy Links:

amazon   B&N   Kensington/Lyrical

And here’s the official 411:

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Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance author who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Her current titles, available now, include SKATER’S WALTZ and THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, FIRST IMPRESSIONS, and THE VOICES OF ANGELS, books 1,through 4 in her 5-book The MacQuire Women Series, published by The Wild Rose Press. Also from the Wild Rose Press is a Candy Hearts Romance titled 3 WISHES, and A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.
Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.
Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.
In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

And when I’m not talking about myself you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, branding, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Historical Romance, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Lyrical Author, MacQuire Women, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Laine Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, Wild Rose Press Authoe

The #book that changed my life…

The other day I was re-reading ( yes, I do this often!) THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ by  L.Frank Baum.

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Now, the first question you are probably going to ask yourself is, why in the name of all that’s holy is she reading this when she can watch the movie? After all, it’s a classic for a reason and the time involved to watch it is a mere 2.5 hours instead of days to read the book.

Good question. Trust me, I have my reasons.

You all know I lovelovelove Pride and Prejudice

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and Gone With The Wind.

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I’ve written several times in blog posts about how those books literally carved a romance writing career out of the dust for me. But, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the first book I ever remember reading that actually made a difference in my life.

 

Let me ‘splain it you, Lucy.

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Like Dorothy, I was a solitary child, a bit of a misfit ( okay, more than a bit!), and a dreamer. The only child of divorced parents who both had their own issues, I was often left to my own devices and sometimes found it difficult to stay out of trouble. Not bad trouble where the police and child services were needed, but stupid, risk taking stuff that I would absolutely lock my daughter in her room for if I ever found out she did the same things!!

I used to spend every afternoon after school at the local library. Back when I was a kid there were no such things as afterschool care, and my mother couldn’t afford a babysitter to watch her NOT-baby until she came home at 7 after work. So  I would walk each and every day after the dismissal bell to the library. Homework was always ridiculously easy for me so I spent the majority of my time reading through the book selections.

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Now, if you’ve ever actually read the Oz book you know it’s a little different from the movie. I hate spoilers, so I won’t say how. What I will tell you is the moral of the story, There’s No Place Like Home hit me at a time when I was considering doing something really dumb: run away from home.

I won’t bore you with the reasons why I felt this was a viable option for me. Suffice it to say, I had my reasons. And to me, at the time, they were valid and non-negotiable ones. I’d been planning how to run away, what to take with me, where I’d go, etc..everything that was needed for a successful fleeing. Even back then I was a list maker and had filled page after page with my plans and what I needed to accomplish before I could go and start a new life away from…well, my old one.

My plan was sound. I was going to leave Friday after school. When the bell rang I would disappear. Thursday, though, I was sitting in my usual seat in the library, reading the Oz book, when I finished it. That moral I told you about? There’s No Place Like Home? Yeah, it hit me hard. After reading about all the troubles and problems and terrifying situations Dorothy had gone through, only to discover her heart’s desire was to be right back where she belonged – home – I had a tiny breakdown and a big change of plans.

That book quite literally changed the course of my life. As an adult I can see that my plans to run away were stupid, ill-conceived, and could have ended in potential tragedy. As a child, all I could see was heartbreak and depression. Somehow, I connected with Dorothy and her story. True, it was bald fiction, fantasy at that, but Baum made me feel as if Dorothy knew me. And more, got me.

I’ve never told this story before. It always seemed a little, well, to be honest, stupid. But I realize now that it’s not. I realize now, with perspective and the wisdom of age, that reading saved me, in more ways than one. It not only opened a word of imagination and joy to me, it also helped me appreciate the life I had.

So when people ask me what book changed or influenced my life and why, the answer is an easy one on both counts.

There–really–is no place like home.

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‘Nuff said.

I have a home library now, but if you need to find me I can usually be seen hanging out in these places:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Romance, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

A #visit with #author Donna Simonetta

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You all know I lovelovelove introducing you to authors. It’s one of the most fun things about having a blog and a forum for writing. Today I have a real treat. I recently sat down with author Donna Simonetta for a little chat about….stuff. She’s got a new book out TODAY from Wild Rose Press called A SWEETER SPOT, and she graciously allowed me to share a little of it below. SO, sit back and prepare to be dazzled.

Here’s Donna… THE WRITER

  1. What drives you to write?

I have always wanted to write. I remember going to Pequot Library in Southport, Connecticut as a child and looking at the stacks to see where my books would be shelved once I was a published author. However, real life got in the way, and I explored other career options. After a health scare made me evaluate my life, I realized I always wanted to write, and there was no time like the present to try it! So I did. And I love it, in a way I’ve never loved my work before.

  1. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?

I write contemporary romance–some with strong fantasy elements, like in Angels Fly, and some without fantasy, such as A Sweeter Spot.

  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?

The earliest romance books I read were historical. To be specific, Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances. Loved them way back in the day, and still enjoy re-reading them now. However, now I also enjoy contemporary romances with a little humor and a little steaminess. Think Jill Shalvis or Rachel Gibson.

  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?

I try to do something related to my writing every day, but now that I’ve been published, sometimes it’s more promotional in nature, but there’s nothing I love more than sitting down and writing. I work part-time in a school library, which limits my writing time during the school year, but I do try to set aside time every day to work on something related to my writing.

  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

My husband jokingly calls where I write my “Command Center”. I sit in our living room, with everything I need in arms reach. I keep a basket next to me, piled high with papers and notebooks related to my current work-in-progress. Right now, that would be the third book in my Rivers Bend trilogy, which focuses on Jason Braden, the youngest Braden brother. I’m enjoying writing about the woman who can make him leave his playboy ways behind! I’m also working on a ghost story that I’m really excited about!

  1. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision?

I am not someone who does well in total silence! I like to have some sound in the background. Maybe that comes from my years of being a librarian in a boys middle school library. There is always noise there.

  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?

I do like to listen to music when I write. However, when I’m working on editing/revisions, I prefer music without lyrics. I find that they distract me from my own words at that point in the writing process.

  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

The kernel of the idea for my ghost story was a house my Aunt Em lived in for a while in Salem, Massachusetts. She was a social worker and the house was an old sea captain’s home, which housed the agency where she worked on the first two floors. She lived on the top floor, and family lore had it that it was haunted. While visiting when I was a child, my mom had an eerie experience there that I’ve knicked for my ghost story. I’ve transplanted it to Richmond, Virginia, but its’ origins are in Aunt Em’s apartment in spooky Salem!

  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?

The character comes first for me. I start a new notebook for each book, and flesh out my characters right away. I might have an idea for the plot, but I feel that so much of what happens is character-driven, so I like to establish the people first. That way, I know how they’ll respond in any given situation.

  1. What 3 words describes you, the writer?

Happy. Passionate. Organized.

And Donna…the Gal

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!

I met my husband over the telephone before I met him in person. I was working as an Account Executive and he was my client.

2.Who was your first love and what age were you?

I had LOTS of crushes over the years–ask any of my girlfriends from my teenage years. The first one I remember clearly was in fourth grade. But I have to say that, sappy as it sounds, my first and only love was my husband, and I was thirty-one when I met him.

3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….

My husband and I go to St. Pete Beach every year to celebrate the end of the school year. I would happily relive any day there, over and over and over again…white sand beach, tropical cocktails, a good book, my honey?? Who wouldn’t want to relive it every day?

4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando?

Hmm..boxers or briefs…so maybe boxer-briefs! Commando seems like it comes with an inherent risk of harm.

5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?

My best friend lives in Ireland and last year she gave me a gift of a monthly beauty box delivery. Through it I discovered Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm for my hair, which is kindly described as ‘curly’. A more realistic word would be ‘frizzy’. A little dab of this stuff and it calms that frizz right down! Hard to find in the U.S., but…wow!…is it worth it!

6. What three words describes you, the person?

Funny. Loyal. Hardworking.

7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?

Elvis Costello, (What’s So Funny ‘ Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding.

8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together?

Nancy Drew. And we would solve a mystery together. (Peggy here: that is sososo cool!!!)

Why? I had all the Nancy Drew books–passed down from a cousin, and I treasured them. I read, reread, and reread all of them. Again. And again. To have the chance to drive around in her roadster with Nancy, Bess, and George, while we solved a case, would be a dream come to life for me!

Bonus round

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound

The surf. There’s nothing more soothing than the sound of waves.

  1. Least favorite sound

Alarm clock on a weekday morning.

  1. Best song every written

This is a tough one. There are a lot of songs that I really love. Joni Mitchell is a favorite. Her songs were always like short stories, or poems.

  1. Worst song ever written

The Macarena came on at the spa the last time I was getting my hair cut, and it was even more dreadful than I remembered. And really long. My hair stylist and I couldn’t imagine who would pick it for a spa music rotation. At the first chord, she rolled her eyes and said, “Lucky you. You’re here for Macarena o’clock.”

  1. Favorite actor and actress

These are old school answers, but the truth is Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn are my faves. ( Peggy here – love them!!!!! Bringing up Baby, The Philadelphia Story – classics!)

  1. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead)Living or dead? How about imaginary? I would like to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer for one day. Preferably in the Spike years, not Angel. I would love to see how it feels to be so strong, powerful, and totally kick-ass. And a petite blonde.
  2. What turns you on?

As you can probably tell from most of my heroes–I like a man who is intelligent, with a sense of humor. Kind, with a little bit of an Alpha thing happening.

  1. What turns you off?

Arrogance and rudeness.

  1. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)

I can’t really think of an answer for this one, but I have to say that I love yours! Too funny! Peggy here – and it’s true!!!

  1. What’s your version of a perfect day?

I have two versions of a perfect day, but in either case it would have to be summer. I am not a winter person. In my vacation version, I would like to be on a beach somewhere, with a gentle trade wind blowing, a good book, no pressures or responsibilities. In my everyday version of a perfect day, I would get up, have a cup of coffee with a hazelnut flavored creamer, put on some music and write! Not so realistic in this version, would be servants taking care of cooking and laundry! Hey, what’s a perfect day without a little fantasy, right?

Blurb:

donna2-10-17

Magda knows a 28-year-old shouldn’t run away from home, but Rivers Bend is the ideal escape. Helping out her best friend will get her away from her uber-wealthy, controlling grandmother and duplicitous ex. She doesn’t expect the quirky little town to feel so much like home. Add in hotter-than-the-sun Jeff and his daughter, and leaving seems as unthinkable as it is inevitable.

Raising Sam alone, Jeff knew he wanted her to grow up in his supportive hometown. The arrival of a feisty new tenant sends Jeff’s world spinning. Magda fills a void in his life that he’d like to make permanent.

Will love triumph over the most powerful woman in the country, and can they figure out how to make this happy-for-now in Rivers Bend into their happy-ever-after?

Excerpt:

“Being cheated on is no fun. It happened to me once. Up here,” he tapped his forehead. “You know it’s not your fault. But here,” he tapped his chest over his heart. “You feel like it has to be your fault – like you could’ve done something to prevent it. But you couldn’t have. It’s all on him, Maggie. Not you.”

She picked a dandelion, whose flower had turned into a puffball, and blew on it, scattering the fluff to the wind. “Maybe. Maybe not. But thanks for the support.”

She pushed to her feet and took a couple of steps toward the river. Jeff rose and followed.

How could he be so angry at a man he didn’t even know? How could this Pierce jerk have slept around on a woman like Maggie? And the prick had even made her doubt herself in the process. It was written all over her anguished face.

He stood behind her and gently kneaded her shoulders. He turned her to face him and cupped her face in his big hands.

“This Pierce guy is the biggest fool on earth to go to someone else when he had you at home, Maggie.”

She blinked away tears, and he felt his heart constrict. Before he could think it through and decide it was a really bad idea, Jeff dipped his head and captured Magda’s lips in a gentle kiss.

Buy Links: Amazon //TWRP //B&N //

A little more about Donna:

donna2-10-8

After years working in the business world, my love of reading led me to get my MLS, and I currently work part-time in a school library, a job that allows me lots of time to explore my other love – writing romance! I live in Maryland, with my husband, who is my real-life romance hero. We both enjoy traveling to visit our far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.

You can connect with Donna here:

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