#SundaySnippet 8.25.19

AS I continue with my no-using-my-right-arm imprisonment/status, I wanted to give you a little sumthin’ sumthin’ I’ve been writing, off and on, for about 2 months. Some days I get the urge to add to it, others not, even though it’s fully outlined and plotted.

I love my San Valentino family books and the newest one I’m penning concerns a branch of the San Val’s we haven’t seen yet. Luigi San Valentino is Sonny (CHRISTMAS & CANNOLIS) and Joey’s ( A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS) cousin. He owns a deli and is married to Frankie’s sister, Gracie ( Both books, plus 3 Wishes Their oldest child is Madonna “Donna” and she works for her father in the deli. Madonna would really like to NOT work for her father, but, as the oldest, the responsibility has fallen to her, especially since her five younger brothers are all pains in the ass!

These scene is a long one and sets the tone of the book. It’s unedited so don’t send me any messages about misplaced modifiers, runon sentences, or tense issue. I already know about them because this is free-writing, not uberedited prose. Hee hee.

Chapter One

Life lessons for surviving in an Italian family, number 1: never let them see you sweat.

I knew something was wrong the moment I arrived at the deli. The first indication? The back door was unlocked, something my obsessive/compulsive father made sure never happened since he was the last one to leave the store every night. He did this religiously because I was the first one to arrive every morning at the crack-ass of creation, just like today, and had to plug in the security code on the wall box in order to gain entrance and get the deli ready for the day’s business.

My daily bread and roll delivery, courtesy of my cousin Regina’s bakery, sat outside the door in a large wooden crate. I grabbed  it, and hip checked the door wide open.

The second sign all was not as it should be was the lights were lit in the entrance hallway. Since I got to work when it was still dark out no matter if it was Daylight Savings time, or Standard, I routinely had to fumble to find the wall switch to illuminate the back end of the deli.

Not so this morning.

The final signal something was amiss was the smell.

I’ve been around raw meat my entire life since I grew up in my father’s kitchen and then worked at the deli he owned and operated in our neighborhood since I was eleven years old. The smell of animal blood was as recognizable to me as my mother’s knock-off L’ air du temp. Although, admittedly, mom’s perfume smelled way better. Most days, anyway.

The scent filling the air this morning was both familiar and different. Wrong, somehow.

“Hello?” I called out. “Is someone here?” An eerie sense of quiet surrounded me. I put the bread crate down on the tiled floor. Cautiously, I crept along the hallway leading to the front end of the deli, my hand sliding against the wall, my huge purse held in front of me like Wonder Woman’s golden shield of protection.

Being the oldest of six kids and the only girl to boot, I don’t scare easily. My brothers, are, each and every one of them, a pain in the ass to their cores and I’d grown up the victim of their arguably stupid shenanigans too many times to keep count. Cooked linguini placed in my bed to look like worms; a farting cushion stuck in my usual chair at the dinner table and just waiting for me to settle unknowingly on it; toothpaste spread on my sandwich instead of peanut butter. More times than I could remember one of them would hide in my closet and then jump out at me when I least suspected it. Anything and everything dumb and dumber they could think up to annoy me, they’d done. And still did to this day if they thought they could get away with it. Chronological maturity hadn’t made its way to their brains yet and they all still acted liked little boys when it came to infuriating me.

This spine tingling sense of unease ripping through me didn’t feel like this was one of their usual pranks, though.

But with my brothers, you never know.

“I swear to Christ, Rafeale,” I called out, naming the baby in my family and the one voted most likely to do something asinine, “if this is some dumbass attempt to scare me, I’m gonna make you suffer.”

I crept along the hallway, passed my father’s office and my own. Both doors were open, the rooms empty.

Now that I was closer to the front of the store, the smell was stronger, more pervasive and…ripe.

If you’ve ever left a piece of meat or pork out all day trying to defrost it, and forgotten about it until too late, you’ll recognize the odor.

“Vinny? Vito? Are you guys here?” I called out again, naming my twin brothers. Silence came back at me.

The overhead lights in the front of the store weren’t on so I couldn’t see much inside the deli-proper. A tiny bit of illumination filtered in through the storefront window, enough to make out the shapes of the little tables and metal chairs that lined the front windows. A few years ago my mother had the idea to install these tables so people could come in on a lunch hour, order, and then sit down for a few minutes to eat instead of taking it away with them. It turned out to be a good idea, too, because once we added them, lunch hour business doubled by the end of the first month. It was the one and only time my father had ever listened to one of my mother’s business ideas.

She never let him forget it, either.

When I’d left yesterday afternoon, the tables and chairs were all straight and set into their little spaces surrounding the front window. When he closed the store, my father would upend the chairs onto the tables so he could sweep and then mop the floor.

I sidled up to the back of the glass display cases and looked right, then left. Nothing was amiss, but that itchy feeling hadn’t left me yet. I slid my free hand along the wall, found the switch and threw the place into total light, something I never did at this time of the morning. If anyone passing on the street saw the lights, they’d think we were open for business, which we weren’t, not for another two hours.

In retrospect, I should have left them off and never have come into the store once I found the back door unlocked and standing open.

Hindsight, as my Nonna Constanza used to say, is for sciocchi—fools— who think too much after the fact.

She wasn’t wrong when she was alive, and she wasn’t now, either.

The seating section looked as if a bomb had exploded. Tables and chairs were scattered every which-way, some turned over, others pushed up to the wall, a few of them lying on their sides. Glass salt and pepper shakers were smashed, their contents sprinkled across the tiled floor in a dust cloud of seasonings, the glass embedded within the debris. The breadbaskets I was due to fill were in a tangled heap on the floor, alongside broken bottles and jars of stock items that had slipped from the wall shelves.

If it wasn’t an explosive device that had caused this mess, than at the very least some kind of fight had occurred here during the night.

My eyes darted across the mess. Fury had replaced that tingle of uneasiness as I came around the display cases, calculating how long it was going to take to clean all this up.

I stopped short in front of the mozzarella display I’d rearranged yesterday, when I discovered the reason for the sickening smell: a wet pool of what I knew instinctively was blood, splattered across a two foot by two foot area. It looked like an obscene Rorschach blob.

It was at this point I knew my annoying brothers weren’t attempting to play a sick joke on me and something else entirely was going on here.

I pulled my cell phone from my shield/purse, fingered in the 911 code and then walked back down the hallway, heading toward the back door I’d come into less than five minutes earlier.

After speaking with the dispatcher, who assured me she was sending a unit to the store immediately and a caution to touch nothing, I went back out to the parking lot and called my father.

***

“Madonna Maria, why didn’t you call me when you first saw the door was open?” my father asked, twenty minutes later. His thick white hair stood all on end and the right side of his face was a web of sheet marks, indicating I’d woken him and all he’d done was thrown clothes on to get here as fast as he could. Half of one shirt-tail was tucked into his suspendered pants, the other, hanging free. He had two different sneakers on his feet, another indication he’d flown the coop fast. As he stood behind the deli counter with me, our two uniformed neighborhood beat cops examined the blood splotch.

“What if somebody was hidin’ in here, little girl? You could’a been hurt. Or worse.”

My father, unlike my mother, tends to keep a tight hold over his emotions and reactions. Perpetually calm and unendingly rational, even when plagued with five obnoxious sons who invented the term rambunctious, Luigi Leonardo San Valentino was the endless calm in a sea of family bedlam. Since my mother had no sway over the behavior of her ragazzi—the boys, especially—she tended to either ignore everything or get so pazzo—crazy—that nine times out of ten any situation, even the most innocuous and miniscule, could escalate to the equivalent of Mount Vesuvius erupting.

So when my father called me by my full given name instead of Donna, like he had every day of my life, and then little girl, I knew he was genuinely distressed. The sight of the six foot three, two hundred and forty pound bear of a man whose DNA I shared, with his forehead creased like Venetian blinds and the corners of his lips pulled down into two concerned commas, made me want to ease his mind any way I could.

“Daddy.” I wrapped my arms around his barrel chest and squeezed. “Don’t worry. I’m okay. There was no one lurking in here, waiting to do God knows what. I got out as soon as I called the cops.”

My father rubbed a beefy hand down my back. Whatever he’d been about to say was stopped when one of the beat cops called his name and asked to speak with him, privately.

“We can use my office,” he told them.

“Can we get that cleaned up?” I asked, pointing to the stain. The smell was even worse that when I’d found it. “We’re due to open in an hour.”

“I’m afraid you won’t be opening for business today, Donna,” Angelo Racconova, one of the cops told me. Angelo and I had gone to school at St. Rita Armada’s Academy. He was three years younger than me and had been best friends with my brother, Vito, ever since they were both in second grade. To say he grew up in my house wouldn’t be a lie.

“Why not? Can’t you just,” I swiped my hand in the air, “mop that up and go file a report or something?”

“Sorry, no.” His tone implied there was no arguing with him. “We don’t know where the blood came from. We gotta leave it there for the forensics guys to deal with. Don’t touch it, or nothing else, okay?”

“Well, when can we open, then? We’ve got a business to run here, Ang. Customers who depend on us.”

“I can’t tell ya, that, Donna. Not today, maybe not even tomorrow.” He turned away from me. “Mr. S?”
My father slid me a side-glance, then nodded to the two cops.“Donna, call the crew. Tell them we’re closed today and we’ll be in touch later on. ‘Kay?”

Fuming, I nodded.

He led them into his office and before shutting the door behind them added, “And call your Uncles. Tell ‘em to get over here.”

He didn’t need to tell me which uncles.

I did as asked, first making sure the closed sign was obvious on the front door and then going into my own office. I notified our staff we were taking an unexpected day off and told them the store had been broken into. I omitted telling them about the blood I’d found. There was only one employee I couldn’t reach,  one of our delivery guys. I had to leave a voice message for him, figuring he was already on his way.

That done, I called my Uncles Sonny and Joey. They aren’t really my uncles, not in the true definition of the word, since they aren’t my father’s or my mother’s brothers. They were daddy’s cousins, boys he’d been raised with and who he’d grown side by side into men with and were still close with to this day. My mother, Gracie, has an older sister named Francesca, my Aunt Frankie, who’s married to  Joey. So that makes him my Uncle Joey. In reality, he’s my second cousin—I think—but in the ways of Italian tradition and culture, anyone senior in a close family is called aunt or uncle out of respect.

Yeah, it’s a little weird. But…famiglia, you know?

Both of my uncles assured me they were on their way.

“Don’t call the cops until we get there and see what’s what,” Uncle Sonny advised.

“Too late. They’re in with daddy right now.”

A long, drama-laced breath filtered through my cell phone. Uncle Sonny’s rep in the family is as “the fixer.” Need a brand new car for way under list price, no credit questions asked, minimal down payment required? Call Uncle Sonny and he’ll hook you up. Want to take the little woman to the hottest Broadway show for your anniversary? The one that’s been sold out for six months straight? Give Sonny a jingle and you’ll have two front row tickets waiting for you at the theater box office. For every family wedding and funeral we were treated to a fleet of no-cost, maxed-out limousines, courtesy of a guy who knew a guy who owed Uncle Sonny a favor. No one in my family ever really knew what the favors being paid back were, and no one asked.

The San Valentino’s originated don’t ask, don’t tell long before the armed forces claimed it.

Sonny’s heavy sigh through the phone spoke volumes.

“Just keep things under wraps as much as you can, Donna, until me and Joey get there, okay?”

“Will do.” I didn’t bother telling him I’d already notified our workers.

Daddy was still sequestered with Angelo and his partner, and I was getting antsy. By now, on a normal business day, I’d already have re-stocked the shelves and display cabinets, gotten the sinks and prep areas ready and put out the coffee urns, milk and cups for our regular morning customers. Since Angelo had ordered me not to touch anything, I couldn’t occupy my time with any of those ordinary tasks. Even though we probably weren’t going to open today, the hope was that we would tomorrow, so I decided to get a jump on the supply ordering. First, I needed to check everything in our walk in storage areas and our industrial refrigerator.

Our supply list seemed to grow larger each time I ordered, something that warmed my mercenary shop-keeper’s heart. More supplies needed meant more things were being sold, which amounted to greater – here’s the mercenary part – profits.

A cold blast of icy air smacked me in the face when I opened the freezer’s heavy door. The usual mounds of deli meats and cheeses, salads, and produce lined the steel shelves from ceiling to floor. I ticked each item and the amount we had off on the clip-boarded list I’d brought in with me. Then, I moved towards the back to see if we needed to order any of the bigger meat items we routinely kept stocked, when I tripped over something sticking out from between two of the metal shelves.

I reached out and braced myself against one of the shelve posts to keep me from falling flat on my face and the clipboard fell from my hand. When I stooped to pick it back up and see what I’d stumbled over, it took me a moment to realize what it was.

A sneaker.

A man’s sneaker. Black and white, it looked…familiar. Like I’d seen it in a magazine or a television ad.

I tracked the shoe from the sole, up across to the laces—which were dirty and knotted and spackled with little droplets like paint—and then all the way up to the tongue.

Then my gaze traveled further. Up a jeans-clad lower leg.

“What the—”

I left the clipboard where it lay on the concrete and moved closer to the leg. I don’t think I realized, truly realized, what I was seeing until I peaked between the two shelves the foot was poking through.

The one worker I hadn’t been able to notify not to come in today, Chico, was laying on his back, his wrists bound and folded in his lap, a frosty mask of ice crystals covering his head and face. A thin knife, the kind my father uses to clean fish with, was perched in the center of his chest, the hilt sticking up. Little frozen red and white balls covered his t-shirt.

I may not scare easily, but the amount of times in my life I’ve encountered a dead—no, make that murdered body—can be counted on the fingers of one hand and still have 5 left over. A loud gasp blew through my cold lips as I sprinted back to the door. I needed to tell the cops what I’d found. Now.

I yanked the industrial door open, shot through it, and barreled, full body, into a solid wall. The wall smelled, strangely, of citrus. I would have bounced back and hit the door if the tangy smelling behemoth hadn’t reached out and, with a grip forged in steel, imprisoned me within hands as large as the ham my mother was planning to serve for Christmas dinner in a few weeks.

Trapped and suddenly terrified—who wouldn’t be after finding a murdered guy?—my body reacted in that instinctual flight or fight way it’s programed to during stress or danger.

My body, as usual, chose fight.

One valuable lesson being the sibling who was routinely charged with breaking up brotherly fights has taught me, is how to get out of a death hold.

In a move I’d learned out of necessity I took a step forward instead of retreating like a person being held routinely would, bent my arms at the elbows, lifted them up and then twisted them inward. The front of my forearms collided with the giant’s forearms and when they did I pressed outward with every ounce of force I had.

The hold broke, as I’d known it would.

Before the giant could draw a breath and grab me again, I lifted my arms, gripped him by the ears and hauled his head down to meet the knee I’d raised.

A loud, guttural groan reverberated around us.

And then several things happened at once.

The orange smelling wall of a man sputtered, “Jesus Christ, Donna,” while he held his nose in his hands.

My father’s furious “Madonna Marie!” lifted to the ceiling at the same time.

And Angelo Roccanova’s “Holy Shit,” competed with both of them. Another besuited man I didn’t know stood behind the three of them, but he kept his mouth closed and just stared at the guy I’d knee-ed

Confused and breathing like I’d just swam the length of the Hudson river twice, my gaze bounced from my wide-eyed and worried father, to a shocked and nervous Ang and then to the bent-at-the-waist colossus in front of me.

My throat bobbed up and down and the moisture in my mouth evaporated when the hulk lifted back to his full height, his piercing and angry gaze mating with mine the entire time. As he’d stood tall I’d been forced to take a step back in order to maintain eye contact. The now closed steel refrigerator door barred me from going any further.

I knew those eyes. Intimately. When they weren’t filled with anger, like they were right now, I knew how captivating they could be. The palest of blue and heavily lashed, they tilted up a tiny bit at the corners. Jealousy ramped through me. How unfair it was that a man was gifted eyes like that when I’d been cursed with the most dull and boring brown color ever blended.

Light hair, a mix of natural honey and wheat husks, straight and clipped short covered his head. Shoulders that spanned almost as wide as the hallway were covered by a dark tan sports jacket, the pants a deeper hue of the same color palette.

“Donna,” Ang said, in a tone filled with fear, “why’d you punch Detective Roma?”

“I didn’t punch…wait? Detective?”

I tried to lick some moisture back into my lips but my salivary glands had gone dormant during the flight or fight response. I glanced at each of the men standing in front me, stopping last on the one Ang had called a detective.

With one hand still covering his nose, the man lifted his gorgeous gaze to mine and just like I had when I’d been seventeen and climbed into the back seat of his brand new Z8, I lost what little sanity I possessed.

“Hey Donna,” Tony said, shaking his head. “Long time, and all. I see you’re still as sweet and mild mannered as ever.”

The next few minutes were a buzz of activity.

Once I snapped my shocked mouth closed at having the man I’d given my virginity to, who was now a card carrying NYC detective, standing in front of me, a lifetime of ingrained Catholic confession made me blurt out, “I didn’t kill him, I swear. He was dead when I found him.”

The four men staring at me stared a little harder.

Before I could be hauled off to jail, an embarrassment my parents would never survive, I told them to follow me back into the freezer. Once they’d all seen who exactly it was I hadn’t murdered, Tony Roma, the virginity taker, ordered everyone out of the freezer.

Intrigued? Guess we’ll have to see where the story goes….

Check out my PINTEREST page where I’m storyboarding the book, MADONNA, MOBSTERS, and MOZZARELLA

Until next time ~Peg

The San Valentino Holiday Books, available at Amazon. // B&N // Apple // Kobo // GooglePlay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 3 Wishes, A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Author Branding, Candy Hearts, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

And, I’m out….for a bit.

A few weeks ago I posted that I was having shoulder surgery and I wouldn’t be able to blog/tweet/fb respond, etc. for a while. For the next few weeks you’ll be seeing old posts ( Oldies but goodies) from me that I’m reposting just to keep myself active in the back of your minds.

yeah…it’s a little conceited, I know. But…the current world of marketing, you know? Here today and….gone tonight.

Hee hee.

Enjoy. I’ll be back as soon as the god’s of healing allow.

Be well.

Until next time ~Peg

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Last chance to get #DearlyBeloved for just #99cents

SO today is the last day to order the e-version of DEARLY BELOVED for just 99cents. I put the book up for sale in anticipation of book 2 in the Match Made in Heaven series, TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS releasing soon. The books are part of  a series, yes, but are stand-alones as well, so you don’t necessarily have to read book 1 to understand what is going on in book 2  – BUT WHY WOULDN’T YOU??? hee hee

Anyhoo…

Here’s a little about DEARLY BELOVED. I’ve included the buy links below.

“You know that saying, ‘Man makes plans and God laughs?’ Yeah…story of my life.”

Colleen O’Dowd manages a thriving bridal business with her sisters in Heaven, New Hampshire. After fleeing Manhattan and her cheating ex-fiancé, Colleen still believes in happily ever afters. But with a demanding business to run, her sisters to look after, and their 93-year-old grandmother to keep out of trouble, she’s worried she’ll never find Mr. Right.

Playboy Slade Harrington doesn’t believe in marriage. His father’s six weddings have taught him life is better as an unencumbered single guy. But Slade loves his little sister. He’ll do anything for her, including footing the bill for her dream wedding. He doesn’t plan on losing his heart to a smart-mouthed, gorgeous wedding planner, though.

When her ex-fiancé comes back into the picture, Colleen must choose between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now.

~ Smalltown romance, billionaire boyfriend, family, forgiveness, romance, Single Woman, sisters
Reviews From Amazon

“Peggy Jaegar has done it again with what I sincerely hope is the start of a fresh new series. The setting is small town New Hampshire, lovingly portrayed with all its natural beauty and inevitable small town quirkiness. The story centers around a wedding planner, her two sisters and their firecracker of a grandmother (my favorite sidekick character, hands down!)

The main character, Colleen O’Dowd, narrates in first person as she navigates professional and personal challenges including the unprofessional feelings she’s having for one of her clients, Slade Harrington. He’s not one of her grooms-to-be (thank goodness) but rather her client’s older brother, a Titan of New York finance and the one signing the checks for his baby sister’s wedding.

Sparks fly from the first meeting, but Colleen’s insecurities keep her over thinking every interaction, which makes for lots of amusing internal monologue as well as witty banter between Colleen and Slade.

The dialogue is fast and fresh, the situational humor keeps the pages turning, and the characters are endearing. Family and forgiveness are huge themes here, and the author draws in the reader with humor and heart. A great read from one of my favorite authors. 5 sparkling stars and totally recommend for a fun, fast totally enjoyable read.” ~ Katie O’Sullivan

“This book was wonderfully written. Funny, heartwarming and a great ending. Colleen and her family made me want to visit the town of Heaven.” ~ GF2
Get your digital sale copy at these major sites/online stores:
amazon // B&N // ibooks
Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Contemporary Romance, Dearly Beloved, Life challenges, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

The new and weird world of (K)indle (U)nlimited

This is not going to be an explanation of KU, sorry. I’m still as stupid and in the dark about the whole process, myself, and I really think I need an instruction workshop to have it make any sense to me.

No, this posting is part of that never ending branding and marketing portion of my life. You see, two of my books have recently been put into KU – not by me! I’m traditionally published and had no say in the matter when the publishers decided to go this route.

The two books are

COOKING WITH KANDY, book 1 in my WIll Cook for Love series from Kensington/Lyrical 

and DIRTY DAMSELS, DotComGirls, bk1 from Limitless Publishing

So, if you are a KU subscriber, do a little romance author a favor and read a few pages ( or download the entire book! – even better! hee hee)

Until next time ~ Peg

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#longandShortReview #wednesdaybloggingchallenge 8.21.19

Now here’s an unusual topic. I don’t think I’ve ever given consideration to this before. What do I read when I’m not feeling well.

If I use a little literary ( hahah PUN!) license, I can say that feeling well doesn’t necessarily have to mean sick, like I have the flu or a bad stomach cramps from overeating Milano cookies. In fact, the reason I ate the Milanos – because I was feeling depressed and sad – could be construed as feeling unwell.

I know…sometimes I surprise myself as well. ( hee hee)

Anyhoo…

When I’m feeling down, dejected, sad, or depressed, sometimes I don’t reach for the Milanos, I re-read a book instead. I really do, I just never realized it could be  blog topic before!

In no order – either the depth of my “illness” or the love of the book, I re-read and have re-read these books several times during my lifetime.

  1. NEW YORK TO DALLAS, JDRobb. I’ve mentioned this book so much on this blog that people are probably sick ( hahaha PUN) of it by now, but the book is not only a great futuristic procedural, it also has he best last 3 pages of any book I’ve ever read. Check out this blog post for what I mean: NYTD
  2. TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, Lauren Layne. I’ve read this four times since I discovered Lauren Layne. Whenever I’m feeling down in the dumps I reread it – even just a few chapters – because the story is so witty, urbane, and upbeat.
  3. LITTLE WOMAN, Louisa May Alcott. growing up an only child of divorced parents I was lonely for siblings, sisters most of all. I must have read this book 15-20 times from the ages of 10-20. To this day it makes me feel joyous about family!

There are a few more, but I think I’ll leave it at these top three for now. Let’s see what the other authors in this challenge use as book-medicine. L&SR.

You can follow me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

and don’t forget – DEARLY BELOVED is still on sale until 8.23. For just #99cents!

get your copy here:

amazon // B&N // ibooks

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#Booksweeps Contest – Steamy Contemporary Romances

Today, I have a fun surprise I’d like to share with you.

I’ve teamed up with 30 fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of Steamy Contemporary Romances to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner!

You can win my novel DIRTY DAMSELS, plus books from authors like Piper Rayne. Zoe York, Kacey Shea, and more — just by following me and other great Steamy Contemporary Romance authors on BookBub!

Enter the giveaway by clicking here 👉 bit.ly/SteamyRomance-August2019

And you can follow me on Bookbub or any of my other Social Media sites, as well, here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

and watch the trailer for DIRTY DAMSELS my good friend Nancy Fraser made for me:

Good luck and enjoy!

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under author promotion, Dirty Damsels, Dot Com Girls Romance, Limitless Publishing, Romance, Romance Books

What makes a #book #bingeworthy ?

This month on N.N. Light’s Book Heaven, it’s a celebration of Bingeworthy Books

I’m lucky enough to have my current Limitless Release DIRTY DAMSELS as one of those books being celebrated as bingeworthy – an honor, believe me!!!

I’m thrilled to have any book of mine thought of as one that has to be finished in one sitting! I have several favorite authors, who, when they release a new book, I devour immediately, unable to put it down until I know how everything resolves. And even though I read mainly romance, with the ending a guarantee of an HEA, an ending I KNOW is coming, I still can’t wait to finish the book.

SO, this got to me to thinking ( you knew that was coming, didn’t you? Hee hee): what, exactly, must a book have in it to make it a bingeworthy read for me?

  1. A heroine that I can get behind who’s independent, strong willed, compassionate, snarky – if she can be – and willing to stand up to people and situations because she believes in drawing a line in the sand when things are wrong. She will never be weak willed, nasty or mean, and she will always, always, fight for the underdog. She doesn’t go along with the crowd like a lemming, but forges her own path. And despite any troubles or conflicts that come her way, she always believes in herself and her capabilities. Oh, and I don’t care if she’s a size zero or a triple XL. All of Nora Roberts/JD Robb’s heroines are examples of women like this for me.
  2. A hero who doesn’t have to be conventionally tall, dark and handsome, but can have a face he fits into. He must be smart, he must be inherently kind  ( even when he’s being an absolute prick), love the heroine as if his life depended on it, be honest and truthful ( even when he needs to lie for plot reasons, hee hee) it doesn’t hurt if he’s witty or snarky and his ability to remain calm in chaotic situations is a must.It also doesn’t hurt if he’s seen the bad parts of life and survived some trauma, either. Sandra Brown and Lisa Kleypas‘ heros are examples of men like this.
  3. A plot that is believable and not contrived. Sarah Morgan and Tami Hoag are experts at this.
  4. Dialogue that flies off the page and makes me feel as if I’m listening to two people actually talking to one another. It takes a special kind of writer who can do this, seamlessly, and make you flip those pages one right after the other, anticipating what these two are going to say to one another and how they are going to say it. Jill Shalvis and Lauren Layne have this gift. In spades.
  5. Secondary characters I could see as my friends if they were to walk off the page. Again, nobody does this better than Nora in her JD Robb persona ( In my humble opinion.) The characters of Peabody, McNab, Summerset, Mavis, et al are all people I could see myself meeting for drinks and going to book club with!
  6. A setting I’d love to visit or live in. The way Janet Evanovich writes her scenes of New Jersey in the Stephanie Plum books is perfect for an example.

Each of the writers I mentioned above is a binge read author for me. The moment they release new books I stop whatever it is I am doing, whether it’s cleaning the house or writing my own books, and readreadread until I am done.

My greatest, secret wish is that I am a bingeworthy author for a reader!!

Hey – did you know I’ve got a sale going on? DEARLY BELOVED, book 1 in my Match Match in Heaven series is on sale ( ebook only) for just 99cents until 8.23.

 

The sale is in anticipation of book 2, TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS being released soon! Get your copy now  – if you haven’t already – and get all caught up before book 2 comes out into the book reading world.

get your copy here:

amazon // B&N // ibooks

Hopefully, it will be a bingeworthy read for you!

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Author, Author Branding, author promotion, Contemporary Romance, Dearly Beloved, Dialogue, female friends, Limitless Publishing, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#SundaySnippet 8.18.19

Last week I brought you a little sumthin’ from my upcoming WRP release of TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS. This week, I have another new WRP release coming out SOON from a new series called PRIDE OF BROTHERS. The first book is Rick’s Story.

Rick Bannerman’s job is to protect. An elite bodyguard and P.I., he’s used to denying his emotions and ignoring his feelings in order to keep those in his care safe, at all costs. When lawyer Abigail Laine becomes the target of a vengeful client, Rick slips in to protection mode even though Abby refuses his help.

Four years ago Rick left Abby standing on a balcony alone, after walking away from a kiss that sent them both reeling. His refusal stung, and Abby’s sworn to forget it so she can protect her heart and move on with her life. But now she needs Rick’s professional help and her reluctance to accept it could just cost her her life.

Can these two stubborn and independent people put their troubled past behind them and learn to trust one another?

Excerpt:

Rick was seated on the couch, his laptop on the table in front of him, an open bag of potato chips next to it.

“Where did those come from?”

“They were in the bag from Kandy,” he told her never looking up from his typing. “Josh took pity on me and sneaked them in.”

She pulled a bottle of water from the fridge. “Why would Josh need to take pity on you?”

If shamefaced had a proper name, it would be Rick, because that’s exactly the expression he wore on his face at her question. His shoulders curled forward a little, his neck almost disappearing into them. The tips of his ears turned ruddy, and he cleared his throat a few times before reaching for his own water bottle and taking a good chug.

He wouldn’t meet her eyes.

“Answer me,” she commanded when he put the bottle back down on the table.

She watched his neck work and couldn’t decide which emotion was stronger: the need to hear the answer to her question, or the desire to crawl into his lap and lick his neck—and every other part of him.

It was a testament to her analytical training that she opted for an answer.

“Maybe pity was the wrong word.”

Abby waited.

Rick scrubbed his hands through his hair and cupped the back of his neck. “Fine, but don’t get all pissy when I tell you, okay?”

For an answer, she cocked one of her eyebrows and dropped her chin.

“When we were over there, I happened to mention to Josh you don’t keep any junk food in the house. No cake, no chips, pretzels. Nothing to snack on.”

“Not true. I always have cut fruit in the fridge.”

The breath he blew between his lips told her what he thought of fruit as a snack. “Like I said, nothing to snack on. I kind of told him I was, you know, going through withdrawal, from the lack.”

She couldn’t help it: she laughed.

Rick straightened up in his seat, his eyes squinting at her. “You don’t have to laugh at me. You did ask.”

“How old are you?”

“What does my age have to do with anything?”

“You just said you were going through withdrawal because you haven’t had crappy snacks to munch on. Don’t—” She held a hand up to him to silence what he’d been about to say. “The stuff you like is crappy from a nutrition standpoint. The last time I heard someone complain like you was my nephew Declan when were all at the beach last month. He’s nine. Which is the age I’d expect a kid to be who’s made a statement like you just did.”

Rick shook his head. “I knew you were gonna get pissy.”

“I’m not being pissy because I eat food that’s actually good for me. You don’t live here, Rick. I do. You can fill your apartment to the ceiling with junk food and I won’t care, but this is my home, my space, and I don’t stock it full of bad food choices.”

“Why are you so hyper-vigilant and OCD about snacky stuff? It’s not gonna kill you to have a cupcake or some cheese puffs, you know.”

“Spoken like a man who can eat whatever he wants.”

“The hell does that mean?”

“It means you don’t need to worry about your weight. Ever. You’ve never struggled with an extra ounce of body fat in your life, Rick. I know that for fact. You have no idea what it’s like to count every calorie and watch every single thing that goes into your mouth because of the inevitability it’s going to wind up on your ass. I do. I wasn’t blessed with my grandmother’s metabolism like Kandy and most of my sisters. Ellie and I take after our dad’s side. We’re the only ones who do. One more thing to despise about him,” she added, pursing her lips. “I’ve had to deny myself food everyone else can eat with abandon since my teens. And it’s a struggle. A monumental one. I’m strong-willed, but sometimes willpower can only go so far, which is why I keep healthy foods around me so if I do snack, at least it’s on something I won’t obsess over about the calorie count.”

She took a long pull from her water bottle.

Rick’s gaze stayed on her while she drank. He didn’t seem embarrassed any more. In truth, she couldn’t tell what was behind that penetrating stare of his. She placed the bottle down on the counter next to her broken shoe.

“Come here,” he said, holding out his hand.

“Why?”

He wiggled his fingers. “Just, come here.” When she didn’t move he added, “Please.”

He took her hand when she got close and yanked her down onto his lap with her legs resting on the couch.

“For the record,” he said, winding one hand around her waist, the other across her thighs, “I love your ass. I love every part of your body. And whether you weighed fifty pounds or three fifty, you’d still be the sexiest woman I’ve ever known, Abigail.”

The words seeped into her soul. She wanted to believe them.

“And I’m sorry I dissed you to Josh. You’re right, I don’t live here, and I have no right to complain about anything. So, I’m sorry.”

Abby sat, quietly, staring up at him.

“What?” he asked when she tilted her head to one side.

“Contrition looks good on you.”

Intrigued? Stay tuned for more announcements on cover reveal, preorder links and release date!

And don’t forget, DEARLY BELOVED is still on sale until 8.23.19 Get your copy before book 2 comes out so you’ll be all caught up!

get your copy here:

amazon // B&N // ibooks

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Dialogue, Romance, Romance Books, The Laine Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Preparation….not my strong suit, I’ve gotta tell ya. #FML

So. Next week I’m having surgery.

I’m not looking forward to it because I won’t be able to use my right arm or hand for an indefinite period of time.

Long story, short: I fell 2 years ago and tore my rotator cuff, bicep tendon, and something called a labrum ( sounds kinda dirty, but since it’s in my upper arm, it’s really not.) In the beginning the docs told me all I had was something called a “frozen shoulder.” After 3 months of PT, multiple pain killers, rest and no exercise, the pain  never went away and they threw up their hands, and I really think they thought I was malingering or faking. When the pain proceeded to get worse they gave me cortisol injection. Didn’t work. I finally convinced someone to order an MRI.

Yeah…when someone says they are in pain, believe them first before you question if they’re faking it.

The MRI showed the above mentioned results.

And now I have to have surgery to repair all the damage. I can’t imagine it’s going to be easy on the orthopedic surgeon to correct the problems because they are – as mentioned above ( again!) 2 years old, not recent. There has to be some kind of scarring or something going on in there that will make this worse than I’ve been led to believe.

This has been ( despite my saying Long story, short) a long winded way of saying I won’t be typing anything for a few weeks. This week and next, before the surgery, I’m doing everything in my power to front load all my blogs, tweets, announcements, etc.

Can you spell stressed?

Yeah…my middle name.

While I’m recovering, I still have a sale going on and two books in edits – one in galleys! Yikes. Pray for me peeps. Pray for me.

Until next time, when I hope all is cured and my pain is gone ( just throwing that out there into the universe to see if it sticks!) ~ Peg

 

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Book sales, Amazon rankings, and being dropped by a publisher….yeah; happened to me. Twice.

There are so many days I wish I’d started writing fiction for publication in my 20’s. That would have been the height of the 1980’s where writers lived like kings, publishing houses hired publicists for their talented authors and book tours really involved actually touring to different places and not all over the internet.

I peaked too late, it seems.

In a time where major, traditional book publishers are dwindling as fast as an anorexic’s weight, book sales can mean the difference between a royalty check and getting bounced by your publisher for lackluster – or nonexistent – sales. Here’s my cautionary tale and lament.

You all know I’ve had a long standing publishing relationship with the WILD ROSE PRESS, who I love beyond all else!!! I’ve also had three books published by Kensington/Lyrical and recently, a new series contracted by Limitless Publishing. The series for Lyrical was originally seven books, but they dropped me after the third was published. Why, you ask? I was told at the time is was because the line was moving in a different direction away from romance and more toward cozy mysteries. And yet I still see new authors being promoted monthly with Lyrical romance releases.

Hmmmm.

After the recent publication of DIRTY DAMSELS, book 1 in the DotComGirls series ( 3 books planned), I submitted the second book in the series, HELPFUL HUNKS, only to be told the company was not going to be publishing any more of my titles due to lackluster sales. When I submitted book 2, book one had been out in the world for a total of 3 weeks.

3 friggin’ weeks!

How many sales were they hoping I’d get in that time frame? I didn’t even have a book promotion planned until august when  I got back from RWA so I could devote time to it. I did a ton of preorder promotion and hoped my opening day sales reflected all that work. I was in London during the release and tracked my ranking the entire time I was there. According to my amazon results, I had the best release week of my life, with the second week even better. And this is my first book in Kindle Unlimited, which you don’t even see included in your ranking.

How can that possibly mean lackluster sales?

I think the major mistake I made was in submitting the second book so soon. I should have waited at least three months to do so. I don’t even get a royalty check until the end of this month, so that’s going to be interesting to see. The publisher was obviously basing contracting book 2 based on book 1 sales, which, at that time, weren’t even in.

Lesson learned.

I used to wonder why so many authors self published. I’m starting to get it, now.

And…because the promo never ends, don’t forget I’ve got a 99cent sale on  for DEARLY BELOVED until August 23rd. If you haven’t read it yet, do so soon because book 2, TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS releases soon and you’ll want to know what’s going on in the lovely town of HEAVEN, NH before it does!

get your copy here:

amazon // B&N // ibooks

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, author promotion, Dirty Damsels, Dot Com Girls Romance, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor