Category Archives: female friends

A day in my life….is not for sissies!!

I retired in 2015 when I got a book contract. I’d worked for about 150 years as a nurse in varying specialties, then as a contact lens technician. By the time I left the nursing profession I was dog tired, emotionally wrung out, and psychological drained. Having a full time job that could be at the same time uplifiting and soul-sucking was difficult. I figured retirement – and the oppportunity to write full time  – would be much more relaxing and enjoyable.

What’s that old saying? You make plans and God laughs?
yeah…story of my life.

I figured writing full time would be a cake walk. Hey, I didn’t have to get dressed in professional clothes everyday any more, do my makeup, hair, and coordinate my wardrobe. I could stay in my pj’s all day and not even put on deodorant if I didn’t want to. ( I do, just for full disclosure here!)

That easy, carefree life of a writer I imagined? yeah..not so much. A few months ago I did a blog piece about a simple question my husband asks me every day at dinner: “So, what did you do today.” My usual response? “Worked.”
One night I figured he really needed to hear what I actually do under the definition of “work,” so here’s what I told him.

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

405am – 530 am Checked email, answered 16 messages. Wrote 2 blogs, uploaded one then posted on social media outlets and HootSuite for the day. Social media sites included uploads of blog on twitter, Triberr, Tumblr, Linked in, Goodreads, google+ and Pinterest. Hootsuites were posted for every 2 hours.

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

630-930 am Gym, followed by grocery shopping for the week, Target, the post office and the bank. Got gas and went to the dump.

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

1030-1pm wrote in current wip; worked on Copyedits just received for Book 3 in new cooking series.

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

130-500 worked on wip; and worked on Copy edits for book 3 in new cooking series, plus plotted out book 4. )  Folded dried laundry and put it away. Ironed shirts.

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

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

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

7-830 worked on wip, answered email, worked on blog posting for the morning. Did a few pages of the copy edits for book 3

830-10 read Netgalley again

10pm-midnight. Slept

Midnight-2 am. wide awake in bed, reliving yesterday, planning today.

Now, mind you: I have no children at home who need to be tended to, ferried places, or shown love and attention. I don’t currently, have a pet. My friends all work at full-time jobs out side of the home, so ladies who lunch is not on my menu. I don’t get manicures, pedicures, or have spa days. The last time I went to a mall my daughter was in college and I had a panic attack from the crowds. I simply write all day long.

But there’s nothing simple about a day in my life.

So, how do you think the other authors in this blog challenge spend their days? Find out by clicking on the links below


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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, female friends, Foodie, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A fiery Artist and a Horse Whisperer find love in Passion’s Palette; #MFRWBookHooks

PASSION’S PALETTE, book 5 in the MacQuire Women series, releases on 8.4.17.

Blurb: Talented and witty portrait artist Serena MacQuire is successful in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivaled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.

But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. After he left his professional football career to become a veterinarian, his bitter wife ended their marriage. Now, as he starts his life over in a new town, love is the last thing he’s looking for. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.

Will he be the man who finally unlocks and claims her heart?

Excerpt:

Standing before her, his hands in the back pockets of his jeans, he wore a look of bashful sheepishness. “I guess I owe you an apology,” he said, tilting his head to one side. The sun was full force on his face, one eye winked closed from its glare.

“You don’t look apologetic. You could have told me you were David’s partner,” she said, cringing when she heard the whine in her tone, “instead of allowing me to believe you were one of the moving men.”

“Now, hang on a sec,” he said, moving closer to her. “You were the one who assumed that. I never told you I was one of the movers. In fact, you never gave me a chance to tell you who I was. You just assumed. Incorrectly, it turns out.”

“You could have said something,” Serena blurted, her lower lip pouting outward.

Links: Amazon // Wild Rose Press

Check out the other authors in this Book Hook Blog Hop:

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, female friends, Life challenges, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Bad Wifi makes for an unhappy blogger…..

So the last time I blogged I was waiting for my flight to leave, bound for Orlando, Fl, and RWA 2017. The wifi in the airport was primo. 

After a long, hot, sweaty, and annoying wait for my shuttle car to arrive at airport pickup, I finally arrived at the Walt Disney Resort- Dolphin Hotel. Answer honestly: does this look like a dolphin?

Doesn’t it kinda look like a nice pufferfish? You know – the ones that kill you by injecting tetrodotoxin into your bloodstream if you eat the wrong part of it??

This is the sister hotel, the Swan.

Yeah. Aptly named, I think.

Anyway, I digress….

I arrived safe – sweaty – but sound, checked in and went to dinner with some of my chapter mates from NHRWA. To bed early and then a big day to start the conference off with a bang. Right away Wednesday a.m. I registered to make myself official.

This is me, all official:  Sorry that my eyes look crossed. I never know where to look when I take a selfie! Hee hee.

 

After checking in I happen to spot one of my writing besties, Marianne Rice and the amazeballs RaeAnne Thayne, so of course we had to have a picture!

A few workshops that first afternoon and then an evening to network. The Swan/Dolphin resorts are linked to what’s called The Disney Boardwalk, so a few of my chapter mates and I again went to eat. Lots of walking and eating at this conference! I got in my 10,000 steps a day, PLUS. It’s Dinsey, so of course, we paid through the teeth for a simple Italian themed dinner, but, oh well. Like I said, it’s DISNEY!

I’m going to do individual blogs for the next week or so to let you know some of the highlights of the trip. Here’s some hints: the blogs include using your creative brain – and not for writing, and total fan girl moments that changed my life!! Hee Hee. Hope you’re intrigued.

Off, now, to do six loads of laundry then grocery shop for the week because, you know….life.

You can find me here now that I’m home:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Foodie, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

Less than a month away!

On August 4, 207 my fifth MacQuire Women book, PASSION’S PALETTE gets released in the romance book reading world from The Wild Rose Press! I’m so thrilled. I want to share another little snippet from the pages with you today to whet your appetites ( I hope!)

PASSION’S PALETTE
Blurb: 

Portrait Artist Serena MacQuire is talented, witty, and successful…in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivaled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.

But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. Relationship-shy and dedicated to his work as an animal healer, the last thing the divorced Veterinarian is looking for when he moves to town is love. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.

Will he be the man who, finally, unlocks and cures her broken heart?

 

Excerpt:

Gingerly, Serena traced the scar lining his mouth down to his chin with her finger, then replacing it with her lips and tongue.

His breath hissed at the touch. “Serena—”

“How did you get this?” she asked.

Sighing, he laid his forehead against hers. “It’s a stupid story,” he said.

“That just means it’s embarrassing,” she said, grinning. “Tell me.”

He rolled over on his back and curled her into his side, her head resting on his chest.

“I was helping my dad and mom renovate another house when I was fifteen. They’d given me the job of restoring the banister leading to the second story. It was a lot of responsibility, and I was determined to do a good job since they’d put their trust in me.”

“I get the feeling you were always a responsible kid.”

He considered it for a moment. “Maybe. But we’d moved around a lot by then and I think I really just wanted the house to be so perfect they would finally settle and put down roots. It was hard, always packing up and moving, changing schools. Luckily I had football, was good at it, so wherever we’d wind up I always had an entrée.”

“I can just picture you,” she said with a grin. “Tall and gangly. All arms and legs. Like a monkey.”

His mouth pursed into a thin line. “Do you want to hear this or not?”

With a giggle, she kissed his chin. “I do.”

He took a deep breath. “Fifteen year old boys have two things on their minds ninety-nine percent of the time.”

“I know one is food,” Serena said “My sister’s, well I guess you can call him her step-son, Cole, is fourteen and he eats without stopping. David’s like a teenager, maturity-wise, so same goes.”

Nodding, Seamus trailed his fingers down her bare arm. “That’s one.”

“And the other?”

He didn’t answer her for a moment and she sat up on an elbow to stare down at him. “Oh, my God, are you blushing?”

He rolled his eyes. “Men don’t blush. The other is girls. Or more specifically, sex with girls.”

Her laughter flittered up to the canopy above them. “You have to tell me the rest of it now, or my imagination’s not going to let up.”

He squinted up at her and in one fluid motion, rolled both of them on the blanket, landing on top of her.

“Carolyn Needleman.”

“What a horrible name.” She laughed.

“Her name could have been Attila the Hun for all I cared. She was seventeen, built like a Playboy bunny and had legs that went from heaven and back again.”

“I hate her already.”

“Yeah, well, at the time I was seriously in lust with her. Her house was next door to the one we were rehabbing and she would come over whenever I was there working, to talk.”

“Just talk?”

“Well, she talked. I stared. Open mouthed, most of the time. At her breasts.”

“I really hate her now.”

He grinned down at her. “She had world class breasts. Even at seventeen.”

Serena socked him in the bicep. “Back to the scar, Romeo.”

Wanting her more with every passing second, he said, “I was sanding the banister, getting all the old varnish and stain off it, when she came by. She had on a bikini top and Daisy Duke cut offs shorter than most underpants. My hormones were blasting. I shut off the electric sander and, not thinking, plunked it down on the saw horse I had on the staircase with me.”

“And?”

“This is the stupid part. The sawhorse wasn’t very stable and I forgot about the hammer sitting on the plank. When the sander bumped next to it, it kind of careened the hammer up into the air.”

“Oh, my God.”

“I know it all happened in a few seconds, but it seemed like hours watching the hammer take flight, twist and come at me, the jagged edge facing me. It caught the corner of my mouth and as I tried to move out of the way, it tore at my face.”

Seamus. Good grief, what did you do?”

“I didn’t do anything. I must have been in shock. My mother, unfortunately, watched the whole thing happen and couldn’t stop it. She screamed for my father and they hustled me into the car and to the nearest emergency room.”

Serena’s fingers came up and traced the scar again.

“Thirty stitches later and with a stern warning from my folks about safety and paying attention, here we are.”

“What happened with Carolyn Needleman?”

He smiled, slowly, remembering how she’d come by his house the next day bearing ice cream and, in an attempt to make him feel better, allowing him to play with her exceptional breasts.

“I don’t like the implications of that smile,” Serena said. “Tell me.”

He shrugged. “She went off to college in the fall and I never saw her again.”

One eyebrow crawled dangerously close to her hairline. “Why am I not convinced that’s all there is?”

“It’s my story and I’m sticking with it,” he said, bringing his lips down to hers.

Buy Links:

Wild Rose Press /// Amazon

and when I’m not writing, you can find me here:

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, female friends, Life challenges, love, MacQuire Women, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A little something new…Guest Hostess Karen C. Whalen

Today, something a little different. I’m turning my blog over to one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs, Karen C. Whalen, for the day. Karen has new book out in her culinary cozy mystery series, the dinner club murder mysteries, titled  NOT ACCORDING TO FLAN. As a writer, Karen is going to talk to you today about that wonderful thing every writer needs to establish in their stories and between their characters: CONFLICT.

She’s also giving you a litte sumthin’ sumthin from her book, so stayed tuned to the end!

Please welcome, Karen C. Whalen.

Conflict has been called the most important element in fiction, an essential crafting tool every writer must master. Novels demand conflict and tension to compel readers to keep turning the pages.

Adding conflict was the subject of a writing exercise in a workshop I attended a few years ago. The first step was to jump to the middle of our WIP (work in progress). My middle was at page one-hundred. Then, we were instructed to add conflict on that very page by having the characters argue. They were not to have a nice, gentlemanly disagreement, no. The characters had to insult each other and call one another names. The instructor required a knock-down fight of the blow-out variety, not a puny squabble. When I started the assignment I wondered how in the world my main characters could argue. They were friends in a cozy gourmet dinner club in a cozy murder mystery. How was I going to toss in the kind of verbal exchange that would endure to a final draft?

I started reading the scene on page one hundred. Even before I finished the page, an argument popped into my corrupt and depraved mind. I let it all hang out, the taunting and the mud-slinging, all of it. The scene was much improved. The conflict added depth to the dialogue, enhanced the theme of the book, and brought the characters to life. Even I wanted to read to the end to see how the characters resolved their issues.

Why? Because in real life friends do not talk to each other that way. Friends don’t insult each other; they don’t call each other names. Friendships, in reality, are fragile. But friends think those angry thoughts, they just don’t say them out loud. Not if they want to stay friends. Admit it, you’ve played such an argument out on the pages of your imagination many times. The reader’s fantasy is fulfilled in the conflict on the written page.

Not only do readers crave the conflict, they need a satisfactory resolution as well. End results are impossible to control in real life, but the creator of the characters can control the outcome. At the end of my new and improved scene, the first character apologized to the second character who said, “No, I totally see your point of view.” Not every clash of character is going to resolve this way, nor would we want it to. At least not every time. But, hey, wouldn’t our lives be wonderful if we could resolve our arguments so happily?

That’s not reality. That’s why it’s called fiction.

Like everybody else I had a best friend growing up. We were best buds from grade school to high school to college. We swore we’d always be best friends. And you can guess what happened. She said I said something that hurt her feelings. I don’t even remember saying what she said I said. As I said, friendships are fragile. And how I would like to rewrite that dialogue!

And I can.

I can create my own comfy world in my own cozy murder mysteries. My characters are friends, good friends. When they argue, they kiss and make up (usually) and the reader keeps turning those pages to make sure.

In the last part of the writing exercise, we were instructed to examine every page of our WIP, every single page, not just every scene, and add conflict to each page, to create a page-turner, can’t-put-it-down novel.

When I heard that, I wanted to punch out that instructor. Not really, because he was so right. And besides, I live in reality where people restrain themselves most of the time. But in fiction, there are endless opportunities for confrontation and clash…and conflict.

Blurb: NOT ACCORDING TO FLAN

Jane Marsh wants to shake off the empty nest syndrome, plus the notoriety of the death of her first and second husbands, by starting over in a new place. She sells her family home to move to a far northern suburb of Denver. At the same time, Jane’s dinner club is undergoing a transformation, and a new man—a gourmet chef—enters her life. But, things turn sour when, on the day Jane moves into her new home, she discovers a dead body. She cannot feel at home in this town where she’s surrounded by cowboys, horse pastures, and suspects. Not to mention where a murder was committed practically on her doorstep. How can she focus on romance and dinner clubs when one of her new friends—or maybe even her old ones—might be a murderer?

Excerpt :

Slam! Chink. The brown packing box fell off the dolly with the tinkling sound of glass on glass. Jane sighed as the mover stacked the box labeled “kitchen” back on the dolly and thumped down the basement stairs with it.

Never mind. She’d sort it out later. She slipped outside into the warmth of the early September, blue-sky, Colorado day to check on her puppies sniffing around their new territory in the backyard. Leaning over the deck railing facing the lot to the east, she gazed into the bottom of an open excavation where a basement was being poured. Someone had parked a tractor down in the dirt, and near it a white cowboy hat lay on the ground. A man’s hand stretched toward the hat’s brim. Had someone fallen into the pit?

Jane bounded down the deck stairs and out the wooden gate, only stopping for a moment to secure the latch. She rounded the corner of her new house and rushed to the adjoining lot, pausing near the edge of the concrete that formed the basement’s foundation.

A man was shoved against the corner of the foundation wall. His torso and legs were partly covered with dirt. The cowboy hat concealed the top of his head. His left hand almost touched the brim, as if he were about to take off his hat and say “Howdy do.” A large manila envelope lay a foot or so away from his other outstretched hand.

On the envelope tall, block letters spelled out: “Jane Marsh—welcome to your new home.”

Jane’s hands flew to her throat. “Ethan,” she breathed.

Her eyes took in the three cement walls rising out of the dirt floor and at the rear, a crumbling slope of dirt spilling into the pit. Starting toward the back slope, she hesitated. The soil might not be stable. She lifted two planks, plunked the long ends of the boards into the pit, and climbed down.

The smell of turned earth filled her nose as she skirted the tractor, a small, front-end loader. Falling to her knees, she lifted the cowboy hat, then dropped it. She felt the man’s wrist for a pulse. It wasn’t there. Then her hand moved toward the envelope with her name on it, but she drew back.

After yanking a cell phone out of the back pocket of her worn jeans, she punched in 9-1-1. “A man fell into a construction pit… I’m pretty sure he’s dead…no, he’s beyond help.” The dispatcher asked for the address, and she gave it to him in a shaky voice. “Yes, I’ll stay on the line.” The makeshift bridge was harder to get back up than it was to get down. After making it to the top, she crossed the lot and rushed through her front door.

“Caleb!”

“Yeah? Whatzup, Mom?” Her grown son appeared from the kitchen. He was almost a foot taller than she, but with the same slim build and a cap of the same rich brown hair.

“Ethan Valrod. The construction manager for the builder. He fell into the basement pit next door. He’s dead.” Breathless, she took a deeper breath to stop her ears buzzing and her heart pounding.

“What the?” Caleb’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open.

“Ethan Valrod’s dead. I’ve called 9-1-1 already and they told me to stay on the line.” Jane lifted the phone to her ear, but the operator was silent. Legs shaking, she led the way, and Caleb followed her out the door.

Her son stationed himself on top of the foundation, hands clenched to his sides, while taking in the sight below. She plucked at his sleeve. “Are you going down to look?”

He nodded his head and descended the plank. In only a few moments he was back, dragging her by the elbow over to the concrete curb where they sat together facing the street.

After hearing a voice spluttering from the phone, Jane spoke into it. “I’m all right. I’ve got my son here with me now. We’ll wait together.” She hit the mute button and shifted the phone from her right hand to her left.

Caleb slid a folded piece of paper out of his tight jean pocket and handed it to her. “I forgot to give you this.”

In a tremulous voice, she read out loud, “Mrs. Marsh, I stopped by to give you a welcome packet with the keys. I’ll come back later.” Ethan Valrod’s signature was scrawled across the bottom. She gazed into the distance for a moment.

Caleb lifted his hands, palms up. “It was on the counter when I got here. The movers set a box on top of the note, and I didn’t want it to get lost, so I put it in my pocket.”

“Okay, thanks.” Swallowing hard, she darted a quick glance over her shoulder, but no one else was around. “It looked like someone used the tractor to cover the body with dirt.”

“I noticed. And there were marks on the ground, like someone rolled his body into the corner first.”

“Did you see the blood on the tractor bucket?”

“Yeah.” Caleb gave his mother a pop-eyed stare and she returned the look.

Her ears seemed sharper than usual. The dogs barked from the other side of the fence. A plane’s engine droned from overhead. Police sirens approached from the next block.

Buy links:

Book 1: Everything Bundt the Truth

Wild Rose Press // Amazon // B&N 

Book 2: Not According to Flan

Wild Rose Press // Amazon // B&N

A little about Karen:

Karen C. Whalen is the author of a culinary cozy series, the “dinner club murder mysteries.” The first three in the series are: Everything Bundt the Truth, Not According to Flan, and No Grater Evil. Her books are similar to those written by cozy authors Jessica Beck and Joanne Fluke. She worked for many years as a paralegal at a law firm in Denver, Colorado and has been a columnist and regular contributor to The National Paralegal Reporter magazine. She believes that it’s never too late to try something new. She loves to host dinner clubs, entertain friends, ride bicycles, hike in the mountains, and read cozy murder mysteries.

You can connect with Karen here:

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

 

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Filed under Author, Cooking, female friends, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Life challenges, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Wonder Woman and mad men….#WTF??

Just read an article about a group of men who are super pissed that many theaters around the country hosted WOMEN ONLY screenings of the new WONDER WOMAN movie this weekend. I don’t want to copy the article in its entirety, so here’s the link. Men were tweeting that this is discriminatory and that they think someone should sue the theater chain holding the all female screenings for sexism,  gender discrimination, and male bashing which they equate to a hate crime.

Seriously?

With all the horrible shit currently happening – the Manchester and London bombings, North Korea’s nuclear tests, the US’s pullout of the climate accord, not to mention healthcare, welfare, hate crimes, and EVERYTHING ELSE important, some men are complaining because a movie about the first and only FEMALE SUPERHERO is catering to a female-only clientele? For real?

My only comment to these misguided, misogynistic men is, get a friggin’ life!

Male superheroes abound. Every weekend of the summer it seems a new male superhero movie opens up. Tony Spark (Ironman), Thor, SpiderMan, Batman, Captain America, the list goes on and on. And lest these knuckleheads who are protesting say something stupid like “what about Black Widow? She’s a superhero.” Yeah – a SECONDARY CHARACTER superhero. THAT’S IT!  There’s no movie in which Black Widow is the end all- be all. No storyline that a major movie company funded for her.

Diana Prince is the first female superhero to have her very own big budget, top studio-made movie. She is the star, the storyline is hers and hers alone.

The back story is hers. She’s female, she’s the protagonist, the movie was directed by a woman, and the cast features some of the baddest-assed women in entertainment today ( Anybody watching HOUSE OF CARDS want to debate that point about ROBIN WRIGHT?) This movie is showing girls everywhere, all girls – from toddlers to teens to middle aged and beyond – that girls have power. Girls are smart. They can think deductively. They can make a difference through their strength, their intellect, their courage, their compassion. This movie is a prime example of female empowerment in its purest form – and it relies on Diana Prince’s sense of inner humanity and her desire for the downtrodden of the world to have a voice. SHE is their voice.

 

I can’t possibly believe these men feel threatened in any way by the movie houses catering to women only for this release. Men, unfortunately, still rule the world in every way. They make more money than women for doing the same job, they hold the vast majority of political offices in the US and abroad, they manage most of the major corporations on the planet. Why are they so pissed off about a movie theater chain catering to a women-only audience for a few days?

Do they think that the message in the movie — that WOMEN — can fend for themselves, physically, economically, emotionally, and defensively without the help of men, is true? That a  society where women rule with peace and understanding, yet physical acumen, is a threat?  A potential future event? Are they so scared of a woman who believes it is her duty to right the wrongs generations and eons of men have thrust upon the world, is a bad thing?

Or are they just acting like bratty children who want something someone else has and can’t have and feel left out?

I’m gonna take a wild guess and say those same male protestors didn’t vote for a woman in the 2016 election…. just saying.

Oh, and BTW, the movie grossed $100,000,000 + in its opening weekend. That’s a huge chunk of change. Hollywood ( male dominated and run Hollywood) take notice. Again…just saying.

 

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Belly shakers and comedic genius.

I grew up a child of television. As a latch key kid there was no one around routinely to monitor what I watched after school and in the evenings my mother was so tired from working all day she never asked me what I was watching because she was just glad I was occupied so she could relax. Because of that I had a very extensive comedic childhood, watching way too many shows I probably shouldn’t have.

Having said that, the shows I watched were comedic gold and my favorites then are still my favorites today. If I happen to catch an errant episode on TV land, I’ll stop whatever I’m channel surfing for and settle in for a good old fashioned guffaw.

My favorites?
Well, I LOVE LUCY jumps to the head of the line. Remember VITAMEATAVEGAMIN?

And who could ever forget the Carol Burnett Show’s spoof, WENT WITH THE WIND?

I can recite every line, every nuance, every word of those two skits. Perfectly.  And when I’m not saying them out loud, I’m laughing out loud. Big, body shaking belly laughs.

Another one? The Robin Williams interview on INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO. Watch it and I dare you not to laugh. I double dog dare you!

Recently, I rewatched a comedy classic on Comedy Central, the REDNECK COMEDY TOUR. I will admit, I am almost embarrassed about how funny I find these guys! And at how loud I laugh when they’re on.

Since this is a blog hop, you might want to stop by these other authors and have a good belly laugh, too!

 

10.

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Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

So, Dancing with The Keene Stars 2017 has come and gone and this year was one that will go down in my memory banks and diary as one to remember for the rest of my life. For so many reasons.

Project Graduation is an event held in our town’s high school the night after the kids graduate. And yes, I did just call them kids. They are. All under legal age, mostly 17 and 18. And what do 17 and 18 year old kids like to do to celebrate, test boundaries, and prove their cool factor is off the charts? Some drink and/or engage in illegal drug use. Project Graduation provides every single graduate a safe haven for the entire night after graduation, and engages them–not in illicit, illegal behavior — but good, fun, funny, and memory making behaviors with their fellow graduates. It is a smoke-free alcohol-free, drug-free night where the kids (!) are locked into the high school and not allowed to leave without a parent picking them up and escorting them out. Keeping them off the streets and at parties where they could get into potential trouble is one sure fire way of keeping every graduate alive to get to the next stage of their live. In the 100 days between high school graduation and college start-up more kids this age die in alcohol and drug related ways than at any other time. That pre-frontal cortex of theirs hasn’t fully developed yet, so they still make stupid decisions thinking they are sound ones. Project Graduations helps keep this number down with a goal toward eliminating it from the statistical curve.

Now. PSA complete. Back to DWTS.

I saw my first DWTS show four years ago when it was brought to my town as a fundraiser for Project Grad, and I wanted to participate within the first 10 minutes of the show. I actively – and I mean ACTIVELY pursued a spot on the next year’s roster and was -Yippie- given one! I was a STAR! I thought I knew how to dance before being picked. Yeah…not so much. The 8 weeks of preparation were grueling and oftentimes frustrating. I’d just undergone surgical removal of a melanoma from my stomach and was in constant pain, worried about my deep incision line, and frustrated because I wasn’t doing well in practice. When all was said and done, I loved the experience.

The next year I was a judge.

This year I was partnered with a STAR and the Gods above gave me the perfect one. I call him my brother from another mother, although in truth I could have agewise been his mother! We were in sync from the first 5 minutes of meeting. Every rehearsal was a shear joy – physically testing – but shear joy.And when all was said and done, we came in first place both nights!

The backstage moments of the competition, though, are the memories I’ll cherish the most. All 20 dancers formed a solid wall of friendship and camaraderie, knowing we were doing something good for the community and for our kids. I met community leaders I’d never met before and found some true, lifelong friends among them.

Volunteerism is a facet of this country that more people aspire to than actually engage in. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of not knowing where to go to offer your time, your money, or your expertise. I’ve always thought that to have a strong community, you need to be engaged in that community, so ever since my daughter started school I volunteered for room mother, snack mom, to be a chaperone on trips, etc. She’s been out of the house for 10 years and I still feel a responsibility to my community to give back. Participating in annual 5ks for local charities; attending auctions to raise money for school upgrades. Heck, even saving the box tops on tops of cereal boxes all contribute to making my community a better, safer, healthier place to live and grow. Hence, Dancing with the Stars.

So. I said this last year when I wrote my after-dancing blog experience and I’ll say it again this year: VOLUNTEER. There are so many opportunities within your community to make a difference. And believe me, you may not think you’re making a big one, but you are. For me, keeping that one kid who had the idea to go to a graduation party, drink, and then get behind the wheel of a car to head on home off the road makes a huge difference. Just think of all the people effected if he crashes and dies: his parents and loved ones, friends, anyone else involved in the crash and their loved ones and friends, the response teams, medical personnel and grief counselors pulled in to care for the survivors, and the kid himself who has just now lost his future. All because he wanted to go to a party and celebrate his high school graduation and didn’t make wise choices about drinking.

If I am asked to perform or judge next years’ DANCING WITH THE STARS fundraiser for our town high school, you can put money on the fact I will say “Hell, yeah!” Whether I dance, judge, or just sell tickets, it will be one of the highlights of my year.

When I’m not dancing 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 Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Dancing with the Stars, female friends, Friends, Life challenges, Project Graduation, Strong Women, Uncategorized

Why #writers need to #recharge.

I’ve been going at 120 miles per hour the past 3 months – ever since the New Year. I’ve got two books in final edits and galleys, I’ve got three more I’m working on for release at the end of this year and hopefully the beginning of 2018. I’ve committed to blogging more and am going to the gym 5-6 times per week. I’m doing a presentation at a conference next week, in addition to traveling 4 major times this year  ( airplanes, people!) to other conferences. I’ve got a brand new book out  TODAY and am doing promo for it as well.

This is all in addition to my normal life stuff. You know: cooking, cleaning wife-ing

Oh, and I’ve got Dancing With The Stars in 15 friggin’ days, so practice, practice, practice!

It’s only the beginning of April, but I feel like I’m burnt out already. Or I did, that is, until this past Saturday. Saturday night I did something I haven’t done in a long, looooooooooong time: I went out with friends.

Thank God and all that’s Holy for friends.

These friends don’t write.

These friends are all my age ( give or take a few months).

These friends all have children the same age as I do.

I have a history with these friends that doesn’t include plot lines, story arcs, or Capezio dance shoes!

And these friends keep me grounded while at the same time recharging my soul.

It was so wonderful to spend a few hours just talking about nothing and everything. I didn’t think once about how terrified I am of giving my presentation to a (hopefully, fingers crossed) large audience next weekend. I didn’t for one second agonize over a line of dialogue that I just couldn’t get right. I didn’t think about my feet, sore, and huddled in Merrel’s because they were so swollen from dance practice.

I didn’t do anything other than simply be, have fun, and laugh.

My hermetic existence is a given. I accept that I need to spend long stretches of time alone just so I can get my stories on the page.  I know I let world changing events float by me without so much as even a comment or a consideration just so I can finish a chapter. I get that sometimes I’m grouchy and pale and my eyes look like they’re bleeding because I spend countless hours staring at a computer screen. I accept all this and I go with it.

But it felt so blessed GOOD to not think about anything other than the conversation drifting around me.

God gave the world so many wonderful things. Free-will; faith; chocolate; wine. But the best thing he gave us was each other. People. Friends.

If you haven’t talked to or seen a friend in a while, call them TODAY! Not email, not a text, Actually put your mouth to the phone and speak to them. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

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

And as an added reminder, TODAY is the day COOKING WITH KANDY is released. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet ( and that begs the question “why not?”) here are the links:

Amazon //B&N // Kensington // Kobo // Apple // Google 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Dancing with the Stars, female friends, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, New Hampshire, Project Graduation, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

I’m so Excited! #newrelease, #coming soon to @KensingtonBooks

I’m so excited. In just a few more days ( April 4th) COOKING WITH KANDY releases.

This is the first of my new Kensington/Lyrical book series WILL COOK FOR LOVE about the lives, loves, and recipes of the Laine Family. Kandy Laine is the first, with her sister Gemma coming later in A SHOT AT LOVE

and then cousin Stacy makes an appearance in 2018 in CAN’T STAND THE HEAT? I’ve got two more books lined up after that, as well. More on them in the future.

But back to being SO EXCITED!! And yes, I feel like an honorary Pointer Sister. And if you don’t get that reference it means you were born after the 1980’s!

This will be my first book for Kensington/Lyrical and I am over the moon. I join a very well established stable of writers of all genres in the country’s oldest family owned book empire – and I don’t use that term loosely!

I am truly blessed at this point in my career to be writing for such a well-respected house.

Yippie!
So, if you see me in the next few days and I look a little dazed and unfocused, you’ll know why: the excitement is getting to me and I am just silly with it.

I’ll be hanging out at all my Social media sites, esp. on 4.4.17, so if you want to find me, look here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, female friends, Friends, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Laine Women