Category Archives: Candy Hearts

Please #Vote for my book!

Hey all! My holiday novella A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is up for the July non-erotic book of the month over at Long and Short Reviews. I’d really appreciate some voting help! Here’s the link:

http://www.longandshortreviews.com/book-reviews/july-non-erotic-book-of-the-month-poll-3/

YOu can vote until August 2nd. Thanks so much!!!

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Candy Hearts, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#Celebrating some good news.

Just found out that my Wild Rose Press book from last Christmas holiday season A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest from the Contemporary Romance Writers RWA chapter! I’m one of 3 finalists in the Contemporary Romance – short division.

Can you just say “YOWZA!!!”

I am uber-stoked. A KISS came in 3rd in the NECRWA 2017 Reader’s Choice awards, and now this!!! My little romance writing heart is all aflutter today. And probably will be until July 28 when the winners are announced at RWA2017.

Yikes! I need to get to the gym so I can fit into a nice dress for the announcements…

See ya……………………

But before I go, if you haven’t read A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS yet ( and why not???) here’s a little taste:

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind. Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not. Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

 

Excerpt:

At twenty-four I still lived under my parents’ roof, had no full-time paying job other than helping my father with his business books and those of a few of his business associates, and my love life was nonexistent.

It wasn’t that I didn’t get asked out or date. I did. Often. Plus, I was perpetually being set-up by the aunts and uncles. I’d had a steady boyfriend all through high school, but we went our separate ways when we each left for college. My choices had been limited in recent years to guys I met in college–who were all looking to score, not forge a lifetime commitment—and then in accounting school who were, for lack of a better word, boring and absorbed either in numbers theory, finding jobs after graduation, or in just getting into my pants. The men my extended family routinely set me up with were mostly thick-necked, uneducated, wiseguy wannabes who wanted a conventional Italian bride they could keep barefoot, pregnant, and cooking.

So. Not. Me.

I needed to make some decisions about my life and make them soon. First, pass the exams and get licensed. Then, look for a real job so I could afford to live on my own. This one might be the hardest to accomplish since my parents were old-school thinkers who believed girls should stay home until they were married. They couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to go from their house to a husband’s house, and never experience what it would be like living on my own.

Lastly, I wanted to find the one special guy I could commit to. A guy who’d be family oriented like me, want kids, the minivan, a house in the ‘burbs, the whole family-comes-first-and-always mentality I’d been breastfed on.

I wasn’t too picky. Obviously, I didn’t want him to look like a troll, but nice looking wouldn’t hurt since I’d be spending eternity staring across the kitchen table at his face. A good-paying job would be nice in a career where I didn’t need to worry he’d make one wrong move and wind up as fish food in the Meadowlands marshes.

Don’t laugh: have I mentioned my Uncle Sonny?

BuyLinks:

Amazon // Wild Rose Press//  Kobo // Nook

When I’m not celebrating, 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 A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Candy Hearts, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Foodie, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A #visit with #author Anita Kidesu; #WildRosePress

interview2

Last year I was part of a collection of Valentine’s Day novellas for the Wild Rose Press titled THE CANDY HEART ROMANCE SERIES. There were over 40 WRP authors represented in that collection, one of them, ANITA KIDESU, my guest today.  Anita is one of the rare – and for me enviable, writers who have a dual personality – she not only writes in several genres, but she does it under two names ( love that!) She’s got a new Wild Press Release out that’s a sequel to her Candy Heart’s Book, Surprise Me, SURPRISE ME AGAIN. After the interview, there’s a little gift for you all in the form of an exclusive excerpt – and believe me: you’ll want to read the book after the excerpt! Here’s Tina:

Anita Kidesu, The Writer

What drives you to write: I’m not sure, I just know that if I don’t get to write for a while I get antsy. I miss my characters.

What genre(s) of Romance do you write and why? I actually write under two names. As Anita Kidesu I write erotic romance. I’m not sure how that happened, except my characters “told” me what they wanted and I decided they knew best. As Tina Susedik I write romantic suspense/mystery/humor. I know it sounds strange, but my writing is different with both names. As Tina, the erotic part never comes up.

What genre(s) of Romance to you read and why? When I first started reading romance, it was Kathleen Woodiwiss, so that meant historical. Now I read most anything except science fiction, paranormal. I do find I tend to like mystery or suspense in my stories.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I try to write every day. In the mornings I take care of bookkeeping, promotion, etc. Unless I have something going on at school (I volunteer at my grandchildren’s school) I write in the afternoon. If I have time, I will write in the morning. I try to write at least 2,000 words a day.

Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. In the winter, ( I live in Northern Wisconsin) I move between the couch in my living room to the couch in the basement. Because of a back and neck injury I can’t sit at my desk for long periods of time, so I prop my laptop on a pillow and write on the couch. In the summer, I love, love, love to write outside. I sit on the deck, or go to a park, or go camping and write. Just to be outside.

Do you listen to music while you write? Yes, I do, but it has to be instrumental. I use it more as background. I have a cd player that holds five cds. I can replay those five cds over and over because I never really listen to them.

How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? Last year I was part of the Candy Heart Series with The Wild Rose Press. My candy heart was “Surprise Me.” As I was writing the story, I knew Josie and Carson’s story wasn’t over, so I wrote “Surprise Me Again,” which was released on Feb. 10th. As I was writing, that one, I realized I needed to write a story for their sons. That one is now with my editor and is unnamed right now. As I was writing the boys’ story, a female character popped up, and I realized she needed her own story. I have that one roaming through my head right now.

Which comes first for you – character or plot? I think plot comes first. I always have these ideas popping up in my head and I come up with characters to go with it.

Which three words describe you, the writer? Wow, that’s a tough one. Dedicated, always learning, pantser

Anita/Tina, the Person

Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing: Another tough one. I think I’m rather boring, but I love photography – especially nature photography.

Who was your first love and what age were you? Easy-peasy. Duane Strong. Third grade. We shared a kiss on the school bus.

If you could live relive one day, which would it be? It would be a toss up between my wedding day and the birth of my kids, although I do without re-living the pain of childbirth. I would love to relive the total full-out feelings of bursting with love as I looked at my children for the first time.

Do you like guys in boxers, briefs, or commando. All of them

 

If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be. Mascara. As a redhead, my eyelashes, while long, can barely be seen. Sometimes all I need is to put on mascara and my whole face shines.

What three words describe you as a person? Caring, smart, loving ( Peggy here: I’m sosososos happy you said, “Smart.” Many women don’t own that word and should. Brava!)

If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it be, why, and what would you do together? I would love to meet LaVyrle Spencer. I love her books. They are so real. Vivid characters. I would love to find out how she created her stories. We would go out to supper, then find someplace to have wine and talk writing and life.

Bonus round – fun stuff!!!

Favorite sound: Rushing water

Least favorite sound: People chewing

Best song ever written: Thank You by Led Zepplin – it’s my husband and my song

Worst song ever written: Too many to mention

Favorite actor and actress: I have to admit I have a crush on Harrison Ford. Actress – I’m not sure.

Who would you want to be for one day and why? The first thing that came to me was a woman traveling on the Oregon Trail. I love history and I recently wrote a book involving the Oregon Trail.

What turns you on? A man’s smile

What turns you off? Arrogance

Give me the worst five words ever heard on a first date? You’re kinda small on top. (Peggy here: I can think of sososo many retorts to that! Hope you gave him several!!)

What’s your version of a perfect day? Camping with my husband. Going for a hike or bike ride. Reading at the campsite, then sitting around the campfire.

Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin about Anita’s new book, SURPRISE ME, AGAIN

Blurb:

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Charged with trespassing and indecent exposure on Erik Stenson’s private beach, Carson and Josie Sandberg return to South Padre Island to take care of the ticket. However, their reunion with Erik is not what they expected. An invitation for a drink turns into a weekend of passion that fulfills fantasies and leaves all parties wanting to explore a threesome outside the bedroom. Will time, distance, and family issues stand in the way, or will they be surprised again?

Excerpt:

“What about you?” Josie said. “Have you ever been married?”

“I was. Years ago. It didn’t last.”

A flicker of sorrow passed over Josie’s eyes. “Can you tell us what happened?” She frowned into her drink. “That is, if you want to.”

“It’s okay. I married Jessica about…” Hell how long had it been? Where had the time gone? “I guess nearly twenty years ago. Like you, we met in college, fell in love, married. Things were good for a few years.”

Josie leaned to her side, allowing the waiter to place a plate before her. Ignoring her food, she folded her hands under chin and kept her attention on him. “What happened?”

“We wanted children. Jessica ached for children. It became an obsession.” Eric took one of the large shrimp from the platter in the middle of the table and began peeling it with trembling fingers, giving him a chance to get his emotions under control. Lord, how he’d wanted children, but not enough to end his marriage.

“After a few years when we didn’t conceive, we looked for answers. By that time Jessica was convinced she was the problem and fell into a deep depression. Nothing I did helped. She wouldn’t agree to see a counselor. My mother finally convinced us to seek a fertilization doctor.” Eric threw the shrimp on his plate and took a long swallow of beer. “Turns out I was the problem, not her. Seems those mumps I’d had as a kid did a number on my little swimmers. Killed them all.”

“Hell, that’s awful, man,” Carson said while Josie placed her hand on Eric’s.

Their sympathy nearly did him in. He swallowed around the lump in his throat and squeezed his damp eyes.

After all these years, the pain was still buried under his heart only to surface on dark, lonely nights and like now as he recounted the story. They were the first ones he’d opened up to. None of the other people in his threesomes had even cared to ask.

Carson took a sip of his beer. “What happened then?”

“I wanted to adopt. Wanted to create a family with Jessica. It didn’t matter if the children were of our blood or not. The doctors had talked about in-vitro. Turns out Jessica didn’t feel the same way.” He took deep breath and tried to calm his pounding heart. He wiped his palms on his shorts.

“I came home one day with information on adoption and some on in-vitro fertilization only to find her and her stuff gone. She had left me a note, telling me she wanted children from her own body. Wanted to create them naturally. Didn’t want to be married to a man who wasn’t a man.”

“The bitch,” Josie said, her eyes filling with tears. “Oops, sorry. I shouldn’t have called her that.”

“Don’t worry. I’ve called her that and worse.”

“How the hell did you handle it?” Carson asked. “I would have been devastated if Josie had done that to me.”

“I drank and buried myself in my writing. I wrote my first novel during this time.”

“If I recall, that book was rather cutting against women,” Carson said.

Eric shook his head and chuckled. “Yeah. I enjoyed killing off my heroine. Coincidentally, she closely resembled my ex.”

“Did you get in trouble for it?” Josie asked, peeling her third shrimp.

“Since I use a pen name, I don’t think she even knows I write. Besides, she was too busy finding another husband to father her eight children.”

Carson choked on his beer. “Eight?”

“Yeah. She really did want kids, but I’m not sure I would have agreed to that many. I was also told she’s gained about a hundred pounds.” Under Josie’s quiet scrutiny, he dropped his gaze to his plate.

“It still hurts, though, doesn’t it?” Josie asked.

Eric shrugged. “It’s not as bad as it was. I sometimes think about how I could have kids in college or be a grandfather by now.”

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

A little more about Anita:

anita2-28-5

From the time she was a teenager, Anita would sneak her grandmother’s romances and read them until all hours of the night. She never thought about creating one herself, but fell into it with a few friends. On a long road trip, they started talking about their favorite authors and why they like their books. To kill time, they started making up their own characters and plot.

From that point on, Anita had story ideas and characters filling her head. Finally, to shut them up, (or so she thought), she started writing them down, surprised at how erotic her characters wanted to be. Her first book with The Wild Rose Press, “South Seas Seduction,” was published in March, 2015. Her short story, “Surprise Me,” part of the Candy Hearts Series, was published in January, 2016. The continuing story, “Surprise Me Again,” was released on February 10, 2017.

Now, in between being a pharmacist, taking care of her two cats, and spending time with her family and friends, she writes. Her stories are about love and romance on the edge.

ANita loves to here from her readers. You can connect with Anita here: Website // Facebook // Pinterest // Blog // Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Candy Hearts, Characters, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#ValentinesDayDate, #CandyHeartsRomances, #chat, #prizes

It’s a date for Valentine’s Day! A Candy Hearts Valentine’s Day Party. Win Prizes, Chat with Authors, fall in love with a fun, flirty romance.

 

Join the authors of the Candy Hearts Series for a live chat party this February 14th!
The party starts at 8pm ET.
Fun, Flirty, and Falling in Love
What do you need to do before the party?
 Visit the Wild Rose Press Candy Hearts series page, read the blurbs. We’ll be having a bit of fun.
If you guess the books, you could win a prize!
(all questions will be based on the blurbs, and we’ll have hints to make it fun)
Chat with the authors, win some books and
celebrate Falling in Love.
if you haven’t been to a Tuesday night chat at the Wild Rose Press, you’ll need to create a username and password to enter the chatroom

I’ll be chatting about  My Candy Hearts Book, 3 WISHES

Blurb:perf5.000x8.000.indd

Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.

Excerpt:

At about five minutes of ten I was almost ready to turn the Closed sign on the door when it opened. I heard Janie’s breath hitch and turned from where I was sweeping up. Staying open late is always a risk, with the thought thieves will invade at the end of the day.

If the guy standing at the door glancing around the shop was a thief, then Dio mio, I wanted to be robbed.

About six foot, his hair was the color of a deer’s pelt, with autumnal golds and browns shot together in a glorious patchwork that grazed the collar of his jacket and curled a little at the ends. He wore a faded brown bomber jacket over a shirt I couldn’t see, but he had shoulders almost as wide as my doorway. A pair of well-worn jeans covered his mile long legs, and the fabric on the stress points at his knees was practically white.

“We’re about to close,” I heard myself say. “Can I help you?”

It was at that moment he looked over at me.

His face could have been sculpted by Da Vinci or Michelangelo. A broad, smooth, forehead housed naturally arched eyebrows I knew some of my gay guy friends would have paid a fortune to have on their own faces. His cheeks were carved from marble, high, smooth and deep. And his mouth, mother-of-God, his mouth. Full, thick beautiful lips sat perfectly over a chin with a dent you could shove a button into and have it stay put.

“Sorry,” he said, those fabulous lips pulling up a little shyly at the corners. “I got stuck at work and couldn’t get here until now. I’ll be quick. Promise.”

So here’s the thing: the guy was gorgeous. But even if he’d looked like a frog with raw antipasto smothering his face, I would have dropped to my knees when he opened his mouth. Warm honey, a shot of raw whiskey, and a little hot puff of smoke wafted from his mouth like a fine and rare brandy being decanted.

The Candy Hearts books are all on sale until Feb. 14 at The Wild Rose Press

When I’m not chatting on line 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, Candy Hearts, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

He said he wasn’t the romantic kind of guy, but…..

bloghop-valentinesday

So. You’d think the arrival of Valentine’s Day for a romance writer would make writing a blog concerning the day easy. I mean, come on. Valentine’s day is about love, for lovers, and just filled to the brim with romance-related themes. Should be a walk in the park for me to come up with a blog topic for a Valentine’s Day Blog hop.

Yeah…not so much.

valentinesday-2

Last year it was a piece of proverbial cake. Wild Rose Press had put together their Candy Hearts Romance series, of which, I was a participant with my novella 3 WISHES.  Easy peasy. This year I struggled a little until I finally decided to just tell you the story of my first V’Day with hubman. Shhhhhh! He doesn’t know I’m telling you this.

We were going steady ( I’m old and that’s what it was called “back then”) for just under 3 months by the time V’Day came around. We’d started dating two days before Halloween, which should have been a light bulb moment, but I digress…

My hubby–then boyfriend– is not what anyone, including himself, would call romantic, so I didn’t have any misguided hopes and wishes Valentine’s Day was going to be a biggie for him. I didn’t even think I’d get a present or a card or a dinner out because we were both so busy at the hospital and his time off was routinely spent trying to catch up on much needed sleep.

valentines-day-1

The 14th rolled around and I had to work the day shift. He’d been on-call the night before but got off at 6pm. We hadn’t planned on seeing one another because I thought he was just going to go home and crash until he needed to be back at the hospital. At about 7pm a knock at my door had me opening it to him. He had a grocery-wrapped bag in one hand and a piece of folded looseleaf paper in the other. All I could think was WTF?? 

He handed me the grocery bag and in it was a package of Chips Ahoy cookies – my favorites – and then the looseleaf paper. He told me he remembered that the cookies were my favs so he’d bought them instead of candy or flowers.

chipsahoycookies

 

Awwww.

The looseleaf paper turned out to be a home-made V’Day card. On the front of it was a hand drawn ( by him) picture of what looked like a daisy. The inside said, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Love La.” The best part of the “card” was the back. On a store bought card you’d see a price tag and the card copyright. On the one he’d made, he’d written for the price $1,000,000.00.

daisy

Awwwww, again.

Really. Could this have been any cuter? And did I mention I was 24 and he was 27 at the time? Not exactly kids, folks, but grown-ass people with careers! Needless to say, I was charmed.

That was s 34 years ago in 1983  and he still gives me hand made looseleaf cards for holidays like anniversaries and birthdays to this day. The cookies have been replaced by non-edible presents now since I’m on a perpetual diet, but they are always goodies! He may not be a classic romantic by other people’s definitions ( including his own) but that’s okay. I’d rather have someone who shows and tells me he loves me every day of the year than someone who goes overboard to prove it just one of 365 days.

happy-kiss-day-1

Happy Valentine’s Day from a romance writer who celebrates love every day of the year!

And……(shameless self promo here!) if you’re looking for a fun, flirty, and funny little V’Day tale, my novella 3WISHES has your name all over it.

Blurb:

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.

Excerpt:

At about five minutes of ten I was almost ready to turn the Closed sign on the door when it opened. I heard Janie’s breath hitch and turned from where I was sweeping up. Staying open late is always a risk, with the thought thieves will invade at the end of the day.

If the guy standing at the door glancing around the shop was a thief, then Dio mio, I wanted to be robbed.

About six foot, his hair was the color of a deer’s pelt, with autumnal golds and browns shot together in a glorious patchwork that grazed the collar of his jacket and curled a little at the ends. He wore a faded brown bomber jacket over a shirt I couldn’t see, but he had shoulders almost as wide as my doorway. A pair of well-worn jeans covered his mile long legs, and the fabric on the stress points at his knees was practically white.

“We’re about to close,” I heard myself say. “Can I help you?”

It was at that moment he looked over at me.

His face could have been sculpted by Da Vinci or Michelangelo. A broad, smooth, forehead housed naturally arched eyebrows I knew some of my gay guy friends would have paid a fortune to have on their own faces. His cheeks were carved from marble, high, smooth and deep. And his mouth, mother-of-God, his mouth. Full, thick beautiful lips sat perfectly over a chin with a dent you could shove a button into and have it stay put.

“Sorry,” he said, those fabulous lips pulling up a little shyly at the corners. “I got stuck at work and couldn’t get here until now. I’ll be quick. Promise.”

So here’s the thing: the guy was gorgeous. But even if he’d looked like a frog with raw antipasto smothering his face, I would have dropped to my knees when he opened his mouth. Warm honey, a shot of raw whiskey, and a little hot puff of smoke wafted from his mouth like a fine and rare brandy being decanted.

Buy Link:

Wild Rose Press  /// Amazon  /// Nook

To enjoy all the other fabulous authors participating in the hop, here are the links to their posts and websites:

1. The Perfect Time For Love ~ Casi McLean 2. Spunk & Hunks ~ Anna Durand
3. Love in the Month of February ~ Mary Morgan 4. Love Potions and Charms ~ Sorchia Dubois
5. He said he wasn’t the romantic kind of guy, but… ~ Peggy Jaeger 6. Love and War ~ Gini Rifkin
7. Sexy Chocolate Cakes ~ Kayden Claremont 8. 50 Great Date Ideas ~ Devon Mckay
9. Hearts Abound ~ Tena Stetler 10. Love Every Day ~ Darlene Fredette
11. Importance of Valentines Day ~ Maureen Bonatch 12. Souls Forever Bound ~ Judith Sterling
13. Mysterious Origins of Valentine’s Day ~ Barbara Bettis 14. A Romantic Valentine Dinner ~ Jana Richards
15. Steamy Romance Meets Spooky Suspense ~ Kathryn Knight 16. Book Bling ~ Elizabeth Alsobrooks
17. Sweet Romances ~ Katherine McDermott 18. Historical Heartbeats ~ Brenda B. Taylor
19. An Awesome Bewitching Author Valentines Day ~ Lisa Voisin 20. Idea City ~ Kitsy Clare/Catherine Stine
21. Welcome to the ABA Valentine Hop ~ Linda Nightingale 22. Bridie Hall YA Author ~ Bridie Hall
23. A Time For Love Valentine Blog Hop ~ Amber Daulton 24. ‘Out Of This World’ Romance ~ Hywela Lyn
25. Time Travel For Love ~ Karen Michelle Nutt 26. Valentine’s Day – A Family Tradition ~ Holland Rae
27. Historical Heartbeats

The authors are having a rafflecopter giveaway, too. Click HERE see the deets.

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Candy Hearts, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

A visit with Kat Doran and Keenan Rossi #CandyHeartsRomances

3wishessale

Today I am pleased to have fellow Candy Hearts author, Veronica Lynch, visiting. She’s brought Keenan Rossi, from For Keeps, with her. (By the way, For Keeps was recently awarded 5th place in the International Digital Awards contest out of Oklahoma Romance Writers. Placing 5th is a huge deal as the number of contest entries went into triple digits.)

Keenan Rossi. Yeah?

Sorry to interrupt your nap, Detective. We’d like to know a bit about For Keeps. Yeah, okay. I’m awake now and don’t mind talking about my Meggie [Meghan Muldoon], how we met and how, through events beyond my control, she decided to ‘keep me’.

What did you think the first time you saw Meg? It was at the beginning of the monthly Crime Stats meeting, where reps from all local law enforcement agencies meet to discuss crime trends and share information on like crimes. This tall, leggy redhead walked in and my tongue hit the floor—along with every other guy’s in the room. Then I dribbled hot coffee down the front of my shirt. Not a pretty picture.

What do you like most about her? She’s not intimidated by men who wield their power with a club—or other body parts located below their belt buckles. I don’t mean that she’s a ball buster, but she knows what she wants, how to get it and isn’t afraid to go for it.

Why do you think that is? She spent a lot of time with the US Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations. Not an easy road for a woman but she held her own among some pretty nasty situations.

How would you describe her? Smart, savvy and compassionate. With legs that go clear to her ear lobes.

How would Meghan describe you? Career-focused, intense, and if things don’t go my way I tend to get grouchy. Truth be told, I haven’t pouted in at least five days.

What made you choose law enforcement for a career? Like Meggie, I spent a few years with the military though I was a lowly MP. After I mustered out of the service, police work seemed like the natural course. I’ve never regretted the choice.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? My current terrific three are Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers, both written by John Sandford, and Walt Longmire, created by Craig Johnson. I like Davenport’s humor and wouldn’t mind having some of his money [he’s the richest cop in Minnesota]. I envy Virgil’s easy manner with women. And I appreciate Walt’s commitment to the community. Wish he’d find a woman though. Bad thing when a man spends his golden years alone because he’s too damn stubborn to do something about it.

Last question, Keenan: when you want to romance Meg, what do you do? That’s an easy one: I turn on “Heavenly”, her favorite Johnny Mathis CD, pour her a big glass of Merlot and drop a couple dozen yellow roses in her lap. Watch out.

What a softy. Anything else you’d care to add for our visitors? The powers that be at Wild Rose Press tell me For Keeps is on sale, 40% off, at the TWRP bookstore from now through Valentine’s Day. Be there, folks. This one’s got a pisser of an ending. Heh heh.

Now, we have a few questions for Veronica. What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? As a teenager I read Mila 18 by Leon Uris and was so touched, I checked Exodus out of the school library. In my adult years, Mr. Uris continued to affect me with QB VII, Trinity and Redemption. They knocked my socks off.

As for movies, I have an eclectic list: Miracle; Steel Magnolias; The Official Story [this is about the consequences of Argentina’s Dirty War]; Defiance; The Stoning of Soraya M; Major League and Veronica Guerin. More recently, last year’s Oscar winner, Spotlight, kept me riveted.

What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the story? For more years than I can count I was closely involved with our local rape advocacy program. Forming effective, positive working relationships with police officers was often like patrolling the DMZ, watching my back and keeping an eye out for land mines. It was. . . the best of times—but for many reasons, not the most healthy for me personally. The phone call between Keenan and Meg early on in the story really happened, minus the sexual innuendos. I still get a smile on my face when I think about the cop who scared himself.

Tell us a bit about your publisher. I have been associated with The Wild Rose Press almost since its inception. I was previously published by Wings Press. After I saw the way editors at TWRP operate, I obtained the rights to the books I had with Wings and brought them over to TWRP. I’ve never regretted the move. I have a great editor, Nicole D’Arienzo, who knows the ins and outs of good editing. I appreciate her insight and ideas for making my writing stronger.

What project[s] are you working on now? Writing as Kat Henry Doran, I was honored to be part of the Maine Romance Writers anthology, Welcome to Serenity Harbor with my romantic novella It Had To Be You. I hope to be involved with the second edition. The first line is already committed to paper: “I’m pregnant.”

What are you reading right now? Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine n Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital by David Oshinsky. It’s fascinating.

What’s up next for you? Writing as Kat Henry Doran, I’m working with six indie authors on an anthology of stories set in and around a resort-casino in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls New York area. This is going to be a lot of fun to pull off.

Blurb:

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Meghan Muldoon is at a cross-roads in her life: struggling to balance the demands of a high stress vocation as an advocate for victims of violence with her feelings for Keenan Rossi, a man who wants to make their relationship permanent.

On Valentine’s Day, a series of routine crises force Meg to question staying in a profession which fulfills her both professionally and spiritually—or devoting the rest of her life to the one person who completes her.

Which one is For Keeps?

EXCERPT

“Crime Victim Services. How may I help you?”

The caller’s voice was low, husky, and exquisitely male. “Do you know the difference between a barracuda and a victim advocate?”

Her heart skipped a beat. “Lip gloss.”

“Well damn,” Kee muttered. “You already heard it.”

“An oldie but a goodie, pal.”

“Aren’t we all. How you doin’ on this gorgeous February day, gorgeous?”

Bringing his handsome face to mind took no great effort. They had worked together for more years than either cared to count. When the relationship progressed beyond professional Meg felt they should keep things under the radar. At first Keenan agreed, claiming he wasn’t in the mood tor any crap from his peers about exploring his feminine side. But after a while he began to push for something more permanent. And she wasn’t so sure she was ready for that, especially marriage. Meg liked being able to come and go as she pleased, responsible only to herself, and for herself.

Even though she heard the tease in his voice now, she was still smarting from last night so proceeded with caution. “Not too bad. How’s by you?”

“Lemme tell you, cara. If I was any better, I’d scare myself.”

To learn more about Veronica Lynch and Kat Henry Doran and the stories they create, go to:

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www.WildWomenAuthorsx2.blogspot.com

Facebook // Amazon // Goodreads //

To purchase For Keeps, [on sale] go to:

Wild Rose Press 

 

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A #sale, a #ValentinesDay gift, and a good #romance

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My lovely Publisher, The WILD ROSE PRESS is having a Valentine’s day sale and all the Candy Heart eBooks are now 40% off. My addition to the crew, 3 WISHES, is one of these! If you read A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights and enjoyed it ( I hope, I hope!) you’ll love 3 WISHES because it introduces you to the large, loving, and crazy San Valentino family.

Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to whet you candy day appetite from 3 WISHES.

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Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.

Excerpt:

At about five minutes of ten I was almost ready to turn the Closed sign on the door when it opened. I heard Janie’s breath hitch and turned from where I was sweeping up. Staying open late is always a risk, with the thought thieves will invade at the end of the day.

If the guy standing at the door glancing around the shop was a thief, then Dio mio, I wanted to be robbed.

About six foot, his hair was the color of a deer’s pelt, with autumnal golds and browns shot together in a glorious patchwork that grazed the collar of his jacket and curled a little at the ends. He wore a faded brown bomber jacket over a shirt I couldn’t see, but he had shoulders almost as wide as my doorway. A pair of well-worn jeans covered his mile long legs, and the fabric on the stress points at his knees was practically white.

“We’re about to close,” I heard myself say. “Can I help you?”

It was at that moment he looked over at me.

His face could have been sculpted by Da Vinci or Michelangelo. A broad, smooth, forehead housed naturally arched eyebrows I knew some of my gay guy friends would have paid a fortune to have on their own faces. His cheeks were carved from marble, high, smooth and deep. And his mouth, mother-of-God, his mouth. Full, thick beautiful lips sat perfectly over a chin with a dent you could shove a button into and have it stay put.

“Sorry,” he said, those fabulous lips pulling up a little shyly at the corners. “I got stuck at work and couldn’t get here until now. I’ll be quick. Promise.”

So here’s the thing: the guy was gorgeous. But even if he’d looked like a frog with raw antipasto smothering his face, I would have dropped to my knees when he opened his mouth. Warm honey, a shot of raw whiskey, and a little hot puff of smoke wafted from his mouth like a fine and rare brandy being decanted.

Buy Links: The Wild Rose Press  // Amazon

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

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On #Goodreads, #giveaways, and growing your brand…

Okay, I’ll admit it. Until last year I didn’t even know what “growing your brand” meant. And if I’m really being honest, I didn’t know a person could be a brand.

Kim Kardashian changed that concept forever.

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The reason I’m waxing prolific today about this branding topic is because I just finished a Goodreads giveaway for my newest release, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. I’ve done a Goodreads giveaway for all of my books after they’ve been published, but this time I had more hits and requests than ever before, so that got me asking questions, evaluating, and thinking (always a dangerous occurrence!)

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Two avenues of thought rushed through me when I saw the final number of requests for the book (613):

  1. Romance Readers love Holiday stories and they saw this one listed, so they figured they’d take a chance on a relatively unknown author because–hey! — it was a Christmas tale, or,
  2. People saw the giveaway listed who knew me from my previous work and wanted to really read the book and –hey!– there was a giveaway for it.

Do you see the difference in those 2 lines of thought? One is based on the genre of the giveaway, the other on name – or in this case – brand recognition.

When I was told I needed to come up with a brand by which readers would instantly be able to recognize a Peggy Jaeger book ( and I still get goosebumps when I say those 3 words together – Peggy, Jaeger, and book!) by the publishing powers that be, I thought and thought for days about what my books try to give the reader. A solid romance, for sure, with a happily ever after ending, but then aren’t all romances supposed to give the reader that? No, it needed to be different. Recognizable.  Something that, when my name was read or said, would evoke the brand, like Timex – takes a licking and keeps on ticking – does.  Do they even make Timex watches anymore, or am I really dating myself??”

Anyway.

After weeks of sleepless nights trying to figure this out, my daughter finally helped me narrow it down. What I write about are strong women, families, and men (hence, the romance). So, the Peggy Jaeger brand, when you hear the name associated with a book, tells you I write about Strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Simple. Genius, but simple. And remember-able ( is that a word? it should be.) And see how smart I am? I put the brand tagline in bold so when you read it, you’ll remember it. Who says you can’t teach an old dog a new trick? Or in my case,  a middle-aged storyteller a new concept?

Brand Concept Blackboard

But back to the Goodreads giveaway.

My winners were chosen by Goodreads and I dutifully mailed off the paperback copies of the books, along with the special boxes I made for them ( see pix) and a nice thank you card for entering the contest. I’ve done that for each of the books I’ve given away and my hope is that the winners see how much I truly appreciate their entering. If they like the book they won, the hope is always they’ll want to read the other books listed.

So, a win/win all around.  3 readers won a book for the holidays and I (hopefully!) got 3 new reader-fans for the effort. Giveaways…to echo Martha Stewart (the Grand Dame of branding)…they’re a good thing!

When I’m not giving things away you can usually find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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The Thrilling #Life of a #RomanceWriter…

Yesterday I did a blog piece concerning two cookie recipes from my new holiday release A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. Then, because I inspired myself ( heehee), after I posted that blog I went and made some Christmas cookies to bring to a holiday party.

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Here’s where my life got thrilling.

While I was mixing cookie dough, my Kitchenaide mixer broke. Like, completely! While it was spinning dough, two of the metal pins that keep the parts together rotated themselves from the force of the spinning, fell out and off the mixer, subsequently putting the kibosh on further dough making. Although I was royally pi**ed, I needed to get the dough done so I went in search of my hand mixer. Only I forgot I got rid of it when I got — you guessed it– the Kitchenaide. I had to stop everything I was doing, turn the oven off, wrap the cookies that were cooling so they wouldn’t harden, put the dough I’d made already into the fridge, and get washed up because I now had to leave the house ( something I hadn’t planned on doing today) so I could get to Bed Bath and Beyond ( or as we call it in my house, Mecca)  and get a new friggin’ hand mixer. I wasn’t going to purchase a new Kitchenaide since I figured tool man hubby would have had a conniption at spending another 300 bucks when he could probably ( hopefully) fix it, and a hand mixer was only, like, 15 dollars.

So…

An hour later, back from the unplanned shopping trip, mixer in hand ( literally!) I started up again only to stop right after  I put the dough in the oven because….and this is the really thrilling part – only not the way you’re thinking – my oven was on fire.

I’m not kidding.

There was a fire in the bottom of my oven. As soon as I saw the flames I realized what I had been forgetting I needed to do these past two busy weeks: clean the oven. Luckily, I was able to snuff it without (a) the smoke detector going off and giving me a heart attack, (b) the fire department being called, and (c) sacrificing any yet to be made cookies.

So…

I now had to clean the oven. It’s a self cleaner so there went another 3 hours of my cookie baking time.

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Around 4-ish I finally got everything done that needed to be done, baked that needed to be baked, and I sat down and made a cup of tea. Only, once the water was ready I realized I had no tea bags. #FML

From now on when I get the urge to bake I’m running to our local bakery and buying stuff. It’s easier, cheaper, and doesn’t involve using the fire extinguisher.

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When I’m not having a nervous breakdown over baking, you can usually find me here:

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

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Of #Christmas, #Cookies and #The7Fishes

So, my Christmas book A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is about a large, loud and loving Italian/American family. They love hard, eat even harder, and at Christmastime the women in the family – led by Nonna Constanza – bake, bake, and bake some more. Christmas sugar cookies topped with nonpareils,  cinnamon rolls made with the special ingredient Francesca San Valentino shares with no one but those she gave birth to, yards of sweet breads, and the aroma of rising yeast fill the spacious kitchen almost to bursting, all made fresh daily.

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Warm Christmas cookies on cooling racks fill every line of counter space. Pizzelles made with sweet almond extract; chocolate chip layer cookies filled with cream; colorful and tangy seven layer cookies topped with melted chocolate. And Nonna’s favorite – biscotti topped with royal icing.

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The reason their kitchen resembles a cookie factory assembly line is easy to explain: everything gets eaten every day. There is no such word as leftovers or extra in this household because the family consumes it all. Many times Gia, the youngest San Valentino at 24, wonders why they all don’t weigh five hundred pounds considering the amount of food they eat. The answer is simple, really. Francesca cooks old school, and by that I mean: she makes everything fresh. No processed meats or jarred sauces; pure butter and olive oil, fresh eggs and real milk ( not skim or even 2%!) and cream; real sugar never a substitute. The vegetables come from their massive backyard garden in the summer and the fresh greengrocer in the winter. The meat is purchased from a local butcher, not a commercial superfood store.

In all, eating this clean and fresh promotes health and wellbeing.

The tradition of Christmas cookie baking culminates on Christmas Eve when the family all gather for the Feast of the 7 Fishes.

san3La Festa Dei Sette Pesci, also known as The Vigil ( La Vigilia), is a celebration of eating  fish and other seafood, and yes, there will be a minimum of 7 courses all with one special seafood hightlighted per course. Francesca’s Shrimp Alfredo( gamberetti Alfredo)usually starts the feast. Hundreds of  freshjumbo shrimp purchased from the local fishmonger ( and yes, they still do exist!!) The fish are cleaned, peeled, cleaned again and then boiled in just a hint of salted water until their beautiful pink color emerges. Francesca’s Alfredo sauce is made – of course – from scratch, slowly whisked to creamy perfection. The pasta – usually farfalle ( bow ties) has been hand made and cut using the pasta machine Nonna brought with her to America 75 years ago. When the pasta is cooked al dente, the shrimp and sauce are combined and everyone sits to enjoy this truly delectable dish.

The rest of ethe evening is spent singing carols by the fireplace, playing cards, remembering Christmas’ and family members of the past, and eating another fish/seafood inspired dish every hour.

By Midnight, stuffed, sated, and happy, the family will travel en Famiglia to Midnight Mass at the church of St. Rita de Armada , the family parish.

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The littlest San Valentinos will fall asleep in their parent’s laps long before the last blessing is given to be carried home and tucked into bed, awaiting the arrival of Babbo Natale and his bag of gifts.

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In all, The San Valentino family is the type of clan you would love to be a part of. You’d never go hungry, you’d never be at a loss to laugh, and you’d always be loved totally, unconditionally, and loyally. Buon Natale!

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When I’m not eating cookies and devouring fish you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// 

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