Category Archives: Friends

7 guilty pleasures; #MFRWauthors #BlogChallengeWeek10

 

This post gave me just a little trouble. Not because I couldn’t come up with 7 guilty pleasures – but that I had sososososo many, I had to whittle them down to just 7!

Well, here goes nuthin’.

In no particular order, here are the 7 things that (I think) are guilty pleasures for Moi:

  • a total jammie day – no bra, no makeup, hair in a messy bun, glasses
  • Girl Scout Thin Mints – if you’ve had them, no further explanation is necessary
  • Binge reading a new favorite author without any interruptions

  • finding a new mascara that: doesn’t smudge and make me look like a raccoon, lengthens my non-existent eyelashes, and ISN’T waterproof ( I hate waterproof mascara!!!)
  • Tweeting – I can’t explain this one, but I just know it’s a guilty pleasure for me

  • having dessert without counting points. (Some will get this, most will not).
  • a professional facial

It’s very telling that the only writing/reading pleasure I mentioned was binge reading a new favorite author. And that there are 2 references to food!! Very telling, indeed.

Because this is week 10 in the MFRW 52 week blog challenge, here are some other authors who are blogging about their 7 guilty pleasures today. Drop by and leave them some love.

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

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

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

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

Blurb:

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

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

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

Free chapter COOKING WITH KANDY

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

Read and Review on Netgalley

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

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

Does it make a difference where a #writer writes?

I live a solitary existence during the day. I write from home. It’s quiet, I can hear myself think, I don’t have to get dressed if I don’t want to, and I can talk out loud in my character’s voices when I’m creating dialogue without the fear someone will call the crazy police and have me carted off.

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I know writers, though, who actually write out in the…wilds. Or in this case, civilization. In coffee bars,  sandwich shops, at the local library. Places that have, you know, people, milling around. I’ve never written anywhere that wasn’t isolated and private. Even the library with its noise restrictions is too loud for me because…you know…whispering!

I’ve got a scientific background, so one day I thought I’d put it to rusty use and do an experiment as see how this other creative faction, well, creates.

I actually got dressed – makeup too! – packed up my laptop and ventured north to a popular gathering place in my neck of the northland: Panera.

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 I’ve been in Panera any time of the day and I know it’s always crowded, so the time I began my experiment didn’t factor in. Just for transparency sake, though, I got there a little before 10:30 am. After the morning coffe/bagel rush and before the lunch crowd pressed in.

The place was – as usual – packed, but I found a single booth off in one corner under a window overlooking the busy parking lot. Because I couldn’t just sit there and observe without eating something, I ordered a bagel and a soda and when it was ready, settled down to try and do some work. I was at a critical point in a WIP  plot line and needed to get through some emotional dialogue.

Laptop on and file opened, I took a sip of soda, a bite of bagel, and then put my fingers over the keyboard, ready to see what magic I could make.  Ready to see if I could make some magic without getting distracted, in actuality.

Know what?
Yeah, you’ve probably already figured it out. No magic.

Just when I thought I had an idea, I got distracted by the loudly whispered argument ( well, fight really) going on in the booth behind me between two college-somethings. It was a little difficult to navigate through all the college slang speak of you’s knows, and multiple likes every other word. Plus. neither of them knew how to complete a phrase without adding f**king to the word descriptors. I was able to get the gist of their heated dissertation, though, after a few minutes. Apparently, Freshman A hooked up with Freshman B’s main squeeze at a drunken frat party and now  both these young women had  a date at the school health center for “tests.”

Just when I thought punches would be thrown, one of them got a text and then they both zipped out of there right after.

Back to writing, Or trying to.

I got an entire paragraph down before I heard the squealing, high-pitched scream of someone being vivisected. Or at least I assumed that’s what was happening to the toddler  I spied out of the corner of my eye. He’d thrown himself down on all fours, writhing and pounding his puny fists into the faux marble decorated flooring, his lungs proving he’d have a busy career as an opera singer one day.  tantrumHis gaunt, anorectic looking mother,  red-cheeked and mortified, stood over him coaxing and cooing  him to stop. The more she tried to comfort him the louder his wailing pitched. All patron eyes were zeroed in on these two, rubbernecking the tantrum, myself included. I wondered why no one came to the poor woman’s help and dragged the little brat up by his Baby Gap jeans, giving him a good tongue lashing at the same time, but then I realized that most well-intentioned people didn’t get involved these days because of frivolous lawsuits and backlash.

Eventually, the little bugger got tired and momma was able to pull him up ( I would have yanked!) and led him out of the eatery.

Back to writing – or trying to.

Ten minutes later a very loquacious and vivacious group of three women around my age and garbed in what looked like workout wear ( spandex leggings that barely came to ankles; multicolored track sneaks over tiny socks, and skin tight racer back tops) sat down in the booth in front of mine and proceeded to talk.

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A lot. Like, non-stop. They spoke over one another, trampled on each other’s sentences, guffawed at what they were saying-loudly!- and generally seemed to be enjoying one another’s company. They stayed for over an hour, much longer than the time it took them to eat their salads, just…talking. About anything and everything.

I’d now been in Panera’s for over two and a half hours and had written exactly 76 words. My usual rate for that amount of time is at least 1000-1500, easy. At this point, I felt it was safe to conclude I wasn’t one of those lucky writers who could block all extraneous noise and commotion from my creative subconscious. I wrote better-certainly MORE- when I was alone, it was quiet, and I had no distractions, so I went back home and proceeded to write 10 pages by dinner time.

And even though I proved my hypothesis ( I can’t write with distractions!) I will admit this: being out in the wilds, er, civilization, even for an abbreviated time, helped me hone in on varying speech patterns for age-appropriate dialogue, gave me a new appreciation for how well behaved my daughter had been as a child ( I need to call her to tell her how much I love  her!) and made me thankful I have girlfriends like those 3 women I listened to who- just when I need it the most- kidnap me from my self-imposed isolation and hermit-dom, and bring me back into the living fold.

Now, back to writing. Alone.

When I’m not doing social experiments you can usually find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Friends, Life challenges, love, New Hampshire, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

#Christmas2016, done…#2017 #plans…

Well, Christmas  has come and gone with a bang. As has 2016.

Almost.

As I look ahead to the next year I see lots of interesting events on the horizon. I’m taking 4 trips this year for business/reading/writing.

New England (NECRWA) conference in April

RT Convention in May

RWA in July

and.. Fall in Love with New England Readers and Writers Conference in October.

Holy Cow!! That’s a lot of air fare, gas, and room rentals…but so worth it.I’ll be doing book signings, and in one case ( NECRWA) a class. Too much!!!

I’m also having 2 new books published ( so far!) with my new Publisher, Kensington/LyricalShine. The first is in April, COOKING WITH KANDY, available for preorder – just click the link. The second, (I believe) will be in October. Much more on that info in the coming months.

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So, as I kick 2016’s ass to the curb, the plans for 2017 are shaping up nicely, no?

You still have time to purchase my latest 2016 book before the New Year begins, though, so if you are looking for some light, fun, funny and family reading, give A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS a gander!

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And when I’m not planning trips, you can find me here:

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, NHRWA, research, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

Of #Romance and #book-signings…

 

toadstoolSo yesterday I was privileged to have a book signing for my latest release, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS  at the ToadStool Bookshop in my home town.  For two hours I got to chat and catch up with a bunch of old friends – some I haven’t seen in quite a while ( Brian, I’m talking about you!) and I met a few new ones as well. It’s always a crap shoot for a relatively unknown author to embark on a book signing because you just never know if ANYONE will turn up. One of the store managers has told me in the past they’ve had signings for authors and one or two readers/buyers may show up, but there have been more times where no one has. I think I’d need to be talked off a ledge if that happened to me! Luckily, I’m still here today, writing this, so you know it didn’t.

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Another fly in the ointment to drawing potential new readers in is the Romance Novel aspect of my books. Again, from the people who work in the shop, Romance is not a big seller for them. They have a beautiful section for their offerings, and all the big names are represented ( plus, little ol’ me!) so it’s not because they don’t stock the books. It’s more, I feel, people who don’t read romance as a general rule go out of their way to stop and buy one. Well, that’s something I hope to fix and change just by being a continual face and vocal presence in my community. Earlier this year I did a radio spot with one of our local talk-radio DJs – a guy who just happens to be a wonderful fringe friend. Don’t ask me to explain that because it’s too complicated and involves HIPPA rules and regs! Anyway, after that spot many many people approached me and told me they weren’t romance readers, but were willing to give it a shot since I’d written the book. This may be the only time MY NAME was the draw for a new reader, hee hee. I’m happy to say I know several people since then who’ve said to me, “I never read a romance book until I found out that’s what you write. Now, I love them.” They’ve gone on to explore other romance genre authors because of that, so in a very real way, that’s my PAY IT FORWARD moment.

lovebooks

It’s not easy to find new readers, especially since the Internet now rules the planet. The Toadstool is the only brick and mortar retail book shop in my area. There are a few secondhand book shops ( which I love!) but this one is the biggest and has recently relocated to a much better, more foot-traffic laden location. In fact, yesterday during my two hours, the shop was wonderfully packed with holiday shoppers. And they weren’t only shopping, they were BUYING! This gives me a warm and tingly feeling for several reasons. It tells me people still like the feel of a REAL book in their hands. It tells me people still read! Actual words on a page, not listen to a podcast or scroll through a computer. It tells me people still give books for gifts – and that makes me the happiest. I always feel if you give a book as a gift for anything – holiday, birthday, just because – you are giving someone a few hours of escape. A few hours spent in contemplative reflection. A few quiet, stolen hours to just sit back and be entertained. Now that’s a true gift.

So, again to all the wonderful readers and friends who came out to support me yesterday ( Pun included since you bought books!) a very heartfelt THANKYOU! I hope whoever you purchased the books for – Mom, Sis, Daughter, Girlfriend, or just YOU – that the stories make you happy and give you the hope and promise that everyone deserves their own Happily Ever After.

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When I’m not out promoting the Romance Genre, you can usually find me here:

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Another #FacebookParty, another group of new #friends…

Friday night I participated in Tena Stetler’s facebook party promoting her new Christmas release, A Witches’s Holiday Wedding  A fun time was had by all, but that’s not the purpose of this little piece today.

I’ve participated in a few Facebook parties of late as a participating author. They are fast, frantic, just a tad manic and can be an excellent tool for finding new readers of your work, especially of you GIVE SOMETHING AWAY. Now, you might ask, why did she put those three words in such big letters?

Let me ‘splain.

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When I first started getting published, several writers told me to never give my work away. Make your family and friends pay for your stuff, and don’t participate in any kind of blog or networking giveaway, they said. Why should you take something  that you’ve slaved over for months on end, pouring all your heart and soul into it only, to give it away like yesterday’s stale bread? Well, their points seemed valid.

But…. ( and there’s always a but)

I’ve participated in about a half dozen blog hops and FB parties  over the past year and, yes, I’ve given away ecopies of my books as prizes. And yes, I’ve done a Goodreads  giveaway contests, and Netgalley, as well. And here’s what I’ve learned by going against that conventional wisdom.

As a new author, I am known to a finite number of people ( family and friends). All those people live with an hour of me.  I am not recognizable on the street where I live since more than half my neighbors don’t know me, or me them. Since I didn’t have “A NAME” when I was first published – and by that I mean no one in End-of-the-Line Kansas, or Where-the-heck-are-we Arkansas knew who the h, e, double hockey sticks I was. They weren’t going to shell out 15 bucks for a paperback or $5.99 for an ecopy of a book by a writer they had never heard of. Money is money and people can’t be wasting their hard earned dollars on what may prove – to them – to be a disappointment. I understood that as a writer  and understand it as a reader, myself.

So.

All the giveaways, contests, and hops I participated in where I gave away copies of my books, brought me to brand new readers all over the country – the world, really – and once they were introduced to my work, they became fans, actually plunking down hard earned cash for the other books I’ve got on my list. So I may have given away about $100.00 worth of product over the past year, but I made it back in so many more ways that just monetarily, and for that, I’m glad I didn’t listen to the “advice” of others who cautioned me against doing so.

This is me, sticking out my tongue and saying Na-Na-Na- Na-Na! ( real mature, I know. Don’t judge me. ((HEEHEE)

 

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When I’m acting my age you can find me here:

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And if you didn’t get a free copy of my latest book A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS In any of the giveaways ( sorry!)<you can order your copy here in digital or paperback.

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

 

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The San Valentino family…

My very first Christmas Romance Book, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS  has just hit the proverbial shelves and I am over the moon! I love love love the San Valentino family and am so happy I could tell Gia’s story in time to share for the holidays. Her sister Chloe’s story was told in the Valentines Day Candy Hearts book, 3 WISHES, and ever since then I’ve been dying to give Gia her own happily ever after story.
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Like the San Valentino’s, I was raised in a large Italian/American family.  I need to put a disclaimer in here: I am 100% Irish. My parents divorced and my step-father was of Italian heritage, so it was his large family I grew up in. Many of the traditions and family experiences I write about in A Kiss… I actually experienced  through interacting with my step-family. The difference between my book’s stories and my real life is varied, but let’s just say the San Valentino clan are a lot more loving than the family I grew up with. A lot more.

The San Valentino’s revere family. To them, it is first, last and always. From the way the entire family gathers every Sunday after Mass to eat, to the way they each weave and inveigle their way into each other’s lives and “businesses”, this is a family that would do anything for one another. And when I say anything, believe me. I mean it. From getting you that sold-out, unattainable , everyone’s gotta have it this year Christmas toy, to helping you remove a business associate who’s become a pain in the neck. And when I say remove I mean it in the truest sense of the word – you never saw or heard from them again!

The San Valentino’s are true loyalists with matriarch Nonna Constanza leading the family and keeping the old country traditions alive. They never leave the house without first kissing the picture of the current smiling Pontiff on the wall next to the front door. They cook everything from scratch. You will never see a processed food box, or a commercial jar of sauce or gravy in their cupboards. Mama and Nonna even bake the bread the family enjoys every day at every meal. Natural produce, farm grown vegetables and meats from a traditional butcher are the only food allowed to be served in their home. The one concession they give is to dessert, which they purchase from 95 year old Pappa Pontevecchio, who’s owned Pontevecchio’s Bakery for over 65 years. Even Nonna admits his pizzelle are so much more flavorful than her own.

Gia, as the baby in the family – a term she will forever be known as even though she is 24 – wants a life of her own with a man who loves her and bambini she can spoil. Her family wants this for her too, but they go about introducing her to the kind of men a 21st century woman runs in the other direction from: no-neck wise guy wannabes with old world thoughts on wives – namely the pregnant and barefoot kind! Gia loves her family, but wants a man who will see her as an equal in every way. When she meets Tim Santini, a man who seems to fit her fantasy in every way, a misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something other than the man of her dreams. Their story is the basis for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.

I hope you enjoy reading about the San Valentino family as much as I did writing about them.

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

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Commitment

The definition of commitment is:

  • the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.: the company’s commitment to quality.
  • a pledge or undertaking: I cannot make such a commitment at the moment.

It is, in my opinion, a loaded word because you can attach so much to it and extract so much from its meaning.

NaNoWriMo, in my opinion, is the practical exemplification of the word commitment. In order to adequately perform the challenge, you must commit to writing every single day inorder to fulfill the 50,000 word goal at the end of the month. To break it down numerically, you need to have a minimum of 1,667 words written every day for 30 days to hit those 50,000 words . Or by the page, you must have written almost 7 pages per day of 250 words per page.

That’s commitment.

Most of the writers I know are far succeeding that minimum every day, myself included. Well, most days, anyway! Life does intervene.

So, as we move towards the end of the second week of NaNoWriMo, let’s keep committed to the goals of:

  1. writing daily
  2. writing a minimum of 1667 words
  3. writing 6-7 pages minimum of approx. 250 words each
  4. staying focused

And because I am such an avid fan of commitment, here’s a little motivation for you to be so, as well…

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When I’m not committed to NaNoWriMo, you can find me committed here:

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

and I’ve also put together a Pinterest motivation/commitment board as well if you need more inspiration ( and by inspiration I mean looking at some pictures of hot guys telling you to write!)

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Friends, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, NaNoWriMo, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books

The power of a blog hop…

Recently, I was privileged to be included in two Halloween Blog Hops, chock-filled with romance authors of every genre. Whenever an author is part of a blog hop, there is usually some kind of prize or giveaway attached to it – called a rafflecopter ( why? I don’t know!!) – where readers who visit the blog can get a chance to win prizes if they do certain things, such as  “Like” an author’s FB page, or “follow” them on Twitter. For one of the hops, my prizes were a free ecopy of my book FIRST IMPRESSIONS for two readers who responded to a question I put up in the blog post, plus I was involved in the bigger prizes of amazon gift cards.  One of the choices was to “follow” me on Twitter for a chance at a gift card. The day the blogs started I had roughly 600 follows on Twitter. Can I mention that I don’t even KNOW 600 people personally!! When the blog hop ended I had 1270 plus followers. This, my friends, is the power of social media…and bribery.

Now, when the hop officially ended and the prizes had been awarded, I was prepared to loose a few new followers. Let’s be honest, most probably FOLLOWED me because there was a prize involved and once it was paid, there was no need to continue with me.

But….

Several days after the hop ended I was still pleasantly surprised. I only “lost” 2 followers. Now, I may lose more as the days progress, but I am doing my darndest to hold on to them by blogging frequently, and by thanking them for the follows. I am not above pleading and whining, folks! If these new people decide they want to try me on as a new author, well, happy day!! The hop was worth it.

So, this, to me, is the power of social media, folks. Oh, and BTW my FB page followers tripled!!!

Gotta love an author holiday blog hop!!

When I’m not hopping around you can usually find me here:

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

And don’t forget, my newest release, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS releases on 11/30!

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Contemporary Romance, First Impressions, Friends, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Apple Picking with Cleary’s – Snarkology Halloween Blog Hop

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Welcome to the 2016 SNARKOLOGY BLOG HOP! At the end of this post you’ll see a list of links you can click on to visit other authors participating in the great hop-event.

Fall in New England is a magical time. The leaves turn lawns into  a hodgepodge, chaos patchwork of colors. Jack-0-lanterns sit on doorsteps, cut into funny or scary or even artistic faces. There’s a brisk, crisp, and clear bite to the morning air. One of my favorite things about autumn, and especially autumn in New England, is apple picking. There are hundreds of family owned farms dotted in every town and there’s nothing more fun that a hayride up a mountainside to an orchard chock filled with delicious, sweet and tart apples.

We took my daughter every year of her life until she left for college. We’d pick our favorite apples, then bring them home and makes pies, can applesauce and jelly, and even used our juicer to make fresh apple juice. I have a picture of my daughter every year from ages 2-18 taken in our favorite town apple orchard.

I love apple picking so much, I just had to include a scene in my book FIRST IMPRESSIONS, where Padric Cleary takes Clarissa Rogers apple picking for the very first time in her life. If you look closely at the cover here, you can see they are in an orchard!firstimpressions_w9816_2_85-copy

Clarissa has had a sheltered life and never had an opportunity to do any fun-family type things growing up since she was raised by an elderly grandmother, whereas Pat’s life has been filled with his loving family and all sorts of adventures.

Here’s a little snippet of that scene:

“Come on. Let’s pick.”

They strolled along row after row of apple-laden trees, looking for the perfect additions to put in their pail. The fresh, pungent smell of the fruit ripening on the trees, the cool, subtle fall breeze billowing about them, even the riot of changing colors in the panorama of hills surrounding them, all had Clarissa thinking this was a perfect day. She wanted to memorize every part of it.

At one point, Pat pulled out his phone and said, “Let’s get a picture of your first time.” He pulled her in close and with the orchard framed behind them, held up the phone.

“A selfie? Really?” She laughed out loud. “How old are you?”

“Sixteen. Smile like you’re having fun and enjoying this.”

“I am,” she said, facing the camera and doing as he asked.

She heard the shutter click several times before he lowered the phone. “How many did you take?”

“A couple.” He played with the phone for a few seconds, then stuck it into his back pocket. “You need a few to get the perfect shot.”

This sweet encounter sets the tone for their relationship – Pat wants to introduce Clarissa to everything she missed out on growing up and he wants her to experience it all –  with him.

So, I have a question for you: what’s your favorite, fun, Fall thing to do? It can be anything from taking rides up the coastline and being a “leaf Peeper,” to apple picking, or even canning fruits and veggies. Place your favorite thing in the comment section below and on November 1, 2016 I’ll pick 2 winners to receive an e-copy (KINDLE) each of FIRST IMPRESSIONS.

And please, stop by the other authors participating in this blog. There’s a great story in each and every one of them, plus a chance on a rafflecopter prize! Here’s the link. Click on it and it will bring you to a landing page with all the other HOp Paricipants PLUS  the links to the rafflecopter prizes. And those are plenty!!!

Hop Authors and rafflecopter prizes

 

 

 

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Filed under Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, First Impressions, Friends, love, MacQuire Women, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor