Highway Cafe April Blog Tour

I just love a blog tour and hop!

The arrival of April signals–in my neck of the woods–the arrival of Spring. Or as we natives call it, black fly season. You know: those pesky, annoying, pain-in-the-a** noseeums that swarm around your face, ears, eyes and cleavage?

God, I hate those bugs. I really do. Since I live in the woods I typically get inundated from the very first beautiful dry day we have to signify Spring, right up until Memorial day rolls around. Having an outside barbeque becomes aggravating, not to mention dangerous from everyone running into one another armed with cutlery to try and escape the odious little buggers. Gardening is a nightmare unless you are swathed from head to toe like an uber-mummy or rabid beekeeper. Trying to get in a little exercise walk outside becomes an occupation just to make sure you are doused in every bug repellant known to man– and those little PIA’s still swarm!

Every year I hope, pray, and offer up sacrifices to the Gods that this year–this year–we will be spared the invasion. And every year…we aren’t.

I don’t anticipate this year will be any different. Le sigh.

Oh well. At least I can stay inside and read a good book. And speaking of a good book ( shameless plug coming) this is my latest from Kensington/Lyrical. COOKING WITH KANDY

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. . .

Buy Links:  amazon

And…since this is blog tour that means GIVEAWAYS and prizes. I’ll be giving one luck winner an e-copy to COOKING WITH KANDY at the end of the tour. Click here for the link to visit other author blogs and to qualify for prizes and giveaways! And good luck! BLOG TOUR 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Life challenges, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

#Dreaming Big; #MFRWauthors #Blogchallenge

 

OMG! I could so totally take pages and pages and reams of paper to write this one!!! After debating with myself for the entire week about my choices, I narrowed it down to the following:

  1. Meet Matthew MacFadyen ( don’t laugh! Lovelovelove him!!!)
  2. Be a size 4 for the rest of my life no matter what I eat. ( Okay, you can laugh at this one because I don’t have the body frame to be a size 4!!)
  3. Star in a Broadway play ( again, laughter is okay because this is a PIPE dream!!! I can’t act, sing, or emote!)
  4. Make the NYT bestseller list, or the USA Bestseller list, or ANY FRIGGIN’ BOOK LIST!!!!
  5. Get a publishing contract for MMP and/or Hardcover.

After numerous hours of time wasting – er, I mean, debate (!) with myself, I figure 1-3 ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime. 4 is a slim-to-none possibility, especially since the NYTimes has recently changed and only lists HARDBACK books in their list, no more mass market one. ( DOPES! The NYT, that is)

So, number 5 is the winner-winner-chicken dinner!

I can actually SEE myself someday ( hopefully before I die!) getting a mass market paperback book deal, or even a hardcover deal. And I always think that if you can actually SEE your goal in your mind, give it weight, and do something about it, the dream will come true. In fact, because I give such weight to physical things, I actually make book boxes for my book giveaways. Here’s the latest one for Cooking With Kandy:

 

As you can see, it’s Hardback sized, has my picture on the back “cover” and it looks like a book!

There’s an old saying that “seeing is believing.” I’d rather say, “Seeing it makes it happen.”

So that’s my biggest dream!!!

And because this is a blog hop, here are some other authors who are dreaming big. Stop by their blogs today and find out all about they’re big dreams.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Foodie, Friends, Life challenges, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

#Dancetime is upon me

 

Tonight is my last dress rehearsal before tomorrow’s first night of competition for Project Graduations’ DANCING WITH THE KEENE STARS.

The last time I danced in this competition I was the STAR and this is what I looked like:

This time around I am the partner. Just as much responsibility – remember what Ginger Rogers always said? She had to do EVERYTHING Fred Astaire did;  backward and in heels – but not nearly the amount of nerves or anxiety. In fact, this kind of sums up how I’m feeling:

So, if you’re in the area on Friday or Saturday night and are looking for an evening of fun, entertainment, and want to support a worthy cause, hop on down tot he high school, pay your 20 bucks and have a great time.

You won’t be disappointed!

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, New Hampshire, Project Graduation, Strong Women

#Writinglife

Yesterday I worked on a few lines of dialogue for over two hours.

Really.

Did you think all this witty repartee just jumps into my head at will?

No. It doesn’t. Not even close.

Everyone knows writing is a solitary, ofttimes monotonous life and this is why. Creativity, while at times coming in bursts and flames of speed, usually…doesn’t. It’s hours, days, months, sitting at a laptop, playing with phrases, rearranging words, charging emotions with verbs and descriptors, bleeding, spewing, dying and then being reborn until finally FINALLY the perfect sentence or snippet of dialogue that reveals sososososo  much more than is said, is created.

Yeah…it’s just like that.

Every day.

Every. Friggin’. Day.

Can I get an “AMEN” from all my writer friends out in the blogosphere because you know this is true?!

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Life challenges, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Musing on #Siblings

A few days ago, according to my oracle source, Facebook, it was National Siblings day, a day I have never celebrated and will never have the opportunity to.

I am an only child. My parents divorced when I was a little kid, each remarried quickly thereafter, and still I have no siblings, either step, or real. An only child between 4 “parents” and 8 grandparents shouldn’t necessarily be something any child would complain about. After all, you’re it. The only birthday that gets celebrated is yours; you get all the Christmas gifts; you never have to share toys, clothes, food, friends, a room. You never wear hand me downs, and all the school pictures displayed in the house on the walls are of you.

But….

Being an only child also comes with a lot of negative emotions. I never really felt connected to anyone in my family because there was no one around my age to contend or commune with. I was raised with grownups. Parents, grandparents, aunts and very old great-aunts and uncles. I was always the youngest human being in the room. Always. And I was raised in a time where children lived that proverbial seen but not heard edict so common during the era. If I had a problem, I had two choices: take it to a grown up or solve it myself. Since many of the problems I had encountered bullying in school and dealing with my alcoholic relatives, I really couldn’t take it to the adults in my family. Back then, you were taught not to confide in anyone but family, so taking a family problem to a teacher was like committing an act of homicide in my family! There were no safe havens for troubled kids with questions, and the Priests and Nuns in my church were mean with a capital MEAN!!

Being an only child wasn’t a picnic as a kid and as I get older, it only gets worse because as I age, so do my parents. I have four people who I am responsible for as they age, get infirm, and need to have decisions made for them. Decisions I have no one else to bounce off. A sibling would be a lifeline during hard decision-making times. AM I making the right choice? What do you think they would want? What’s easiest for them? All questions you can ask a sibling when dealing with your parents.  I have no one to ask those questions. NO one to help me make the correct decisions. No one to tell me what I’ve done is right, or wrong, or horrible.

Please, I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining and feeling burdened by this. I’m not. I’m simply stating that if I had a sibling, making these decisions would be easier.

So. A little advice to those of you who are and have siblings.

  1. Cherish them. You may fight like wild animals and hate one another at times, but there is truly no one you are closer to than a sibling.
  2. Support them. There have been so many times in my life I needed someone I could go to in order to talk things through to decide if I was doing the right thing. Having a sibling trust your opinion and offer support is a gift from God.
  3. Have fun with them. My husband’s brothers and sisters are all in their 50’s and they still laugh, giggle, and enjoy one another’s company whenever they are together. Their shared history, the similar references they use, the memories, all make them happy to be around one another. Spend time with your siblings.
  4. Love their children. When you – God forbid- die, you’ll want people around your children supporting them, loving them, helping them to remember you. I don’t have that. There’s no one my daughter can turn to when I go who knew me when. Who can tell her what it was like when I was a kid, or what I was like.  Luckily, she has that with my husband and his family.

I didn’t write this to be morose, or give you a woe-is-me view of my life. I simply want people to understand that being an only child isn’t a bed of rosebuds and that having a sibling connection is one of the greatest gifts anyone can have.

If I was going to get a little Psych 101 here, I would tell you that the reason I write so much about large, loving families is because I always dreamed about being in one…yeah…pretty psych 101 profile, indeed.

Find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

My new series is about sisters – the 7 Laine Sisters in the Will Cook For Love books. Book 1, COOKING WITH KANDY is available here: kindle // Apple // Google //  Kobo //Nook

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Friends, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

So, how was your day?

Every evening when my husband comes home from work and we sit down to dinner, he asks me two questions. How was your day, and what did you do today?

My answers are invariably the same. Good. Went to the gym and worked.

By worked, I mean I did writing stuff. It sounds so inconsequential when I just say worked, so I decided to give you ( and hubby) a breakdown of what I do on an average day, so here’s what happened the other  from the moment I woke up until I finally went to bed for a few hours ( chronic insomnia, remember?)

4am, Finally got out of bed after lying there for an hour, wide awake.

405am – 530 am Checked email, answered 6 messages. Wrote 2 blogs, uploaded one then posted on social media outlets and HootSuite for the day. Social media sites included uploads of blog on twitter, Triberr, Tumblr, Linked in, Goodreads, google+ and Pinterest. Hootsuites were posted for every 2 hours.

530-6. Got hubby up, ate breakfast. Got ready for the day.

630-930 am Gym, followed by grocery shopping for the week, Target, the post office and the bank.

930-1030am put the groceries away then started laundry, vacuumed bedrooms and living area. Started dishwasher.

1030-1pm wrote in current wip; worked on Copyedits just received for Book 2 in new cooking series.

1pm-130pm ate lunch then answered emails and checked social media sites. Changed laundry and started another load.

130-500 worked on wip; and worked on Copy edits for book 2 in new cooking series, plus plotted out book 4. ( book 3 is already done!)  Folded dried laundry and put it away.

5-545 walked on treadmill and read current NetGalley book for review. Folded the remainder of done laundry, put it away.

545-630 cooked dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, set table, worked on copy edits.

630-7pm dinner and conversation ( questions!) with Hubby. Cleaned up the dinner dishes.

7-830 worked on wip, answered email, worked on blog posting for the morning. Did a few pages of the copy edits for book 2

830-10 read Netgalley again

10pm-midnight. Slept

Midnight-4 am. wide awake in bed, reliving yesterday, planning today.

So…..how was your day, and what did you do?

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

My newest release, COOKING WITH KANDY is available now in e-copy and print on demand from:

kindle // Apple // Google //  Kobo //Nook

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Life challenges, New Hampshire, Romance, Strong Women

Where I hangout when I want to be #social; #MFRWauthors

Until I became a professional writer ( and by that I mean, one who writes full time and actually gets paid! Yippie!) the biggest social media presence I had was on Facebook, and then it was only because my daughter was away at college and on it, and I wanted to ensure she was okay. And of course by okay I mean that I stalked her posts! She knows this so I’m not worried she’ll be mad at me.

But when my first book was contracted, the publisher suggested – heavily and often! – that all their authors needed to have a very visible social media presence to garner sales and book promo, since they did relatively little in the way of book promotion. It was all on my back. If I wanted my books to sell, I had to get the word out there, so I became a social media junkie.

I joined Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, Google+, LInkedIn, and of course I made my own Facebook author page in addition to my personal page I use for friends and family. In addition to Instagram and Snapchat. Oh, and how could I forget? My own website that I use for announcements and blogging 4-5 times per week.

And with the arrival of Tribber, well, I’m there, too.

Keeping these sites updated takes a lot of time… a lot of  time. Let’s read that again so you get it: A LOT OF TIME.

Time I could spending, well, writing!

One of these days I’m going to be rich and successful enough to hire a publicist and let her take care of all the updating. Ahhh….. to dream.

Here’s where you can find me most of the time when I should be writing books and not updating you on my life:

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

and since this is week 15 of the #MFRWauthors 52 week blog challenge, click on some of the names below and see how they’re faring with all this social media stuff.


 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, research

On #Libraries, #Librarians, feelings of connection, and #books

Apparently, it’s National Library Week. This is one celebration I can get behind and actually enjoy. Enjoy writing about; enjoy celebrating.

I’ve mentioned many times before in this blog that I — for all intents and purposes — grew up in my local library. I was what was called ( during my youth) a latchkey kid, meaning, after school, I was on my own, home alone, because both the adults in my life had full-time jobs that didn’t let out until 5 or 6 each night. School let out at 3, so that meant five afternoons a week I needed a babysitter until I got old enough to be left on my own for a few hours, which in my case was at the age of 7.

I’m remembering what my daughter was like at 7 and am horrified that my mother believed it was an appropriate age for independent responsibility, but that’s another blog topic entirely.

Anyway….

Every day after school I would be dismissed after the bell and then trek to my local library to stay until it was time to get on home.

I loved the library.

I loved the safety of it.

I  loved all the books.

I loved loved loved the Librarians.

I loved the quiet.

Like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, all I wanted to do was read. I wanted to be transported to other places, live lives that weren’t my own;  be loved and cherished like a princess and rule a kingdom with wisdom and grace. I could be anything I wanted to be and I could explore everything. It was in the library that I discovered my imagination and my joy of storytelling.

Once I was through the library doors each afternoon, after a 15 block walk along city streets from my school, I’d let out a sigh, safe in the knowledge that nothing bad could happen to me here. I was secure now, protected. Bad people didn’t come into the library, only good ones. People who wanted to be educated,  and who wanted to escape from their everyday, boring lives and live richer, happier, more exciting ones. The library wasn’t the place where the bullies who tormented me in school “hung out.” I was free from the cruel insults, tormenting taunts, and physical violence that had become my daily life at school.

The Librarians all knew me by name and were my first, actual, REAL teachers. I learned facts in school. The Librarians taught me about life. They’d recommend books for me to read and once I was through the kids’ section selection, they moved me onto what would now be called YA ( young adult) novels. I may have been 8 or 9 years old, but I was reading about the lives of pre-teens and teenagers, living in their shoes as they drifted through life, and getting a feel for what was to come my way once I was their age.

The Librarians talked to me about books, asked me my opinion on ones I’d read. They actually valued my thoughts. They showed me the strength there is in knowledge and the beauty there is in imagination. They fostered in me that desire to tell a tale, tell it well, and change a reader’s life. They taught me how to be entertained, and in so doing, how to entertain. They taught me how to gather knowledge, the beauty there is in research, and how to prioritize. To this day, my home library follows a basic Dewey Decimal system. To some, that may be a bit extreme. But to me, it is a real tribute to the librarians who helped form my mind and fed my soul.

In the library, we spoke in hushed tones and whispers. We used the original inside voices. In my house, the voices were more often raised than hushed, loud than peaceful, tormented than quiet.

In the library, I found myself…as a girl, a person, a student, and, ultimately, as a writer.

Every day I thank God for the women and men who worked and still work in local libraries. They are unsung heroes to countless children and adults. Where some may think that the previous statement is a tad theatrical, it isn’t to me. The Librarians I knew as a child were my heroes. They kept me safe, loved and cared about me, and opened a world for me I never knew existed.

Heroes, every last one of them.

So, help me celebrate National Library Week. Support your local libraries by donating old, in-good-condition books, attend book sales and fund drives and become a Friend of the Library.  Encourage your children and grandchildren to get Library cards and to use them! Often and with enthusiasm.

Finding your local library is just a Google search away!

 

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Literary characters, New Hampshire, research, Strong Women

The things I do for #Writing #research

Last week I divulged that I am a dyed in the wool nosey parker. Really. I’m also a world class eavesdropper. The reason I’m telling you this is because I attended the NECRWA conference in Burlington, Ma, this past weekend and I got there early – Thursday night ( conference started on Friday) and spent the better part of the early evening hanging out in two places: the concierge lounge on my floor and the hotel lobby.

Talk about opportunities to eavesdrop! Holy Moly!

In the lobby was ( wait for it…) a lounge, aka a bar, and my little eavesdropping heart just went pitter patter with glee at all the fun, tips-i-ly things that were said by the patrons. Can I just tell you how much fun I had!!! I know it’s probably a horrible thing to admit, but I really get a kick out of watching people drink and then flirt/talk/flirt some more and keep drinking.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t drink alcohol… and this is one of the reasons why I don’t. I never want to be on the talking end of a conversation that people make fun of. I mean, let’s be honest here. I say enough stupid things when I’m stone cold sober. I can’t even imagine what the heck would come out of my mouth if I was…inebriated.

Anyway, back to my lobby eavesdropping. Here’s one little snippet I “overheard.”

30 something on her way, way passed being tipsy: “Hey, this hot guy I saw the other night had these cool shots . They looked good. I think they had cimmanon. I wanna try one.”

The other 30 something she was with, not as tipsy: “You mean, cinnamon, right?”

Drunken reply; “That’s what I said. They were called fire crotch, cause they were hot. So was they guy. Hot, I mean.” A twitter of hiccuppy laughs followed this.

Not so drunken reply: “Fireballs.”

Drunken Reply: “What?

Not so drunken reply, only louder this time, as if that would help her understand: “He had fireballs.”

Drunken reply through wide eyes and opened mouth: “Really? How do you know that? Did you, like, do him in the bathroom to find that out?” 

See? As far as research goes, this is pure gold, people. Pure gold.

When I’m not eavesdropping you can find me here relating what I’ve eavesdropped: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Conference comedown #NECRWA2017 #romancewriter

This past weekend I attended the NECRWA 2017 conference in Burlington, MA. Historically, this is a fabulous conference for romance writers to network with professionals, learn about craft, catch up with old friends, and make new ones. This year was no exception. Ii fact, this was a banner year for the conference and for me.

Let me ‘esplain….

For the conference itself, the committee tried several new “things” conference-wise that just worked. A bigger and expanded book fair; an exceptional cocktail hour and meal service; a large and varied collection of conference topics, and two break-out sessions after the conference was completed. I don’t think I ‘ve ever heard so many participant comments in the past that were so glowing of all aspects of the conference, so Kudos to the conference committee. You should all pat yourselves several times on the back!

As for me, well, this was the first time I’ve ever given a professional writing speech. Okay, speech isn’t the correct word. It was a workshop on writing romance stories for people over the age of 40. I’d given this presentation to my local NHRWA chapter last month and it was warmly received. I even wrote a blog about my nerves concerning it.  But they’re all my friends. I didn’t think they’d be mean and they weren’t ( of course they weren’t!!!) This time, the presentation was for a room full of people I didn’t know. At all. Now, some of my chapter mates attended to support me ( gotta lovelovelove that, right!!) And I knew the moderator from previous conferences. But the majority of that room was alien to me and boy-oh-boy was I nervous.

Turns out, I didn’t have to be. They all laughed in the right places, asked en-pointe questions related to the topic and I never once saw people yawning, checking Apple watches, or fidgeting.

Nirvana for a speaker!!!!

The best part? A few hours later I met one of the attendees in another workshop and she stopped me and told me how much I had inspired her and that she’d had an immediate story plot jump into her head. When she told me about it I started to well-up because I could see – really SEE – how the talk had inspired her. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so emotionally invested in a stranger before! Sniff…sniff…

So, now I’m home, getting back to the editing and writing grind today. Although, it really isn’t a grind. It’s an absolute delight in every way, especially, now that I know my words and thoughts actually helped another writer.

Le sigh…..I’ve got a great life.

When I’m not attending conferences you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA