Category Archives: love

Commencement…a funny word for the end.

My facebook page has been deluged for the past two weeks with happy  pictures of graduations, both high school, and college. I love sharing in the excitement and joy of all my friends and their families at these monumental achievements.

These young people have so much in store for them, ahead of them, and concerning them, their futures, their successes, and –let’s be honest — their disappointments, too.

I can clearly see the days I graduated from high school, nursing school, college, and then from my Master’s program. Clearly! At each, I remember certain emotions of the day that seem almost prophetic now.

High school: “Thank God I can get legally get out of the house now!”

Nursing School: “Thank God I can get a good job now!”

College: “I did something no one else in my family has ever done – graduate from a school of higher learning! Thank you, God, for giving me the strength and fortitude to do this.”

Masters: “Done! Now I can get married knowing my formal education is done!” ( I never wanted a Ph.D., so I knew I was stopping here.)

I was 27 when I got my Masters degree and married the man who gave my life meaning.

I’m now 57 and all I can think about is how fast those 30 years went by.

Marriage, moves to different states, childbirth, back to work, family obligations, deaths, more births… yadayadayada. Those 30 years flew. Really. Flew by. If the insurance statisticians are correct and the average American born woman lives to 79 years of age, I’ve already lived more than half my life. Way more.

People call this The Second Act of your life. What you’re supposed to do now, since you’ve gotten all the obligatory things out of way, are the things you’ve always wanted to do. Travel, invest, take up those hobbies you never had enough time for before now. Retire, learn to do the things you’ve always dreamed about learning to do. In the great scheme of things I shouldn’t be writing – that should have happened in the first act. But…it didn’t. The writing career I wanted– the one where I could financially support myself with my writing and have it be my primary job, my career, my way of existing — didn’t happen when it was supposed to. No. It happened when I turned 55. Way after graduation. Way after my life was already settled.

At my college commencement, the speaker asked the graduates to evaluate their education. Did it prepare us for the future we wanted? Did we feel we were adequately informed and prepared for what was in front of us? Did we feel we could go out into the world and change it?

My answer was a resounding NO to all those questions. Looking back now, I’m changing that to “HELL, NO!”

Life is longitudinal. You keep moving on that line, having some success, having some failure, reformalizing goals and aspirations, but always moving. Sometimes the line moves up, sometimes down. Sometimes it just moves straight and steady from one point to another without fluctuating. But it always moves and we are always learning.

Our education doesn’t end simply because we’ve been given a piece of paper that says Graduate. No. We are lifetime learners. I learn something new every day. Every friggin’ single day. And yes, some of it I wish I didn’t know!

If I was giving a commencement speech the one thing I would emphatically tell the graduates if this: This is not the end of your education, of your learning, your schooling. Nor is it the beginning. It’s simply part of a continuum. Meet every day as a new challenge, a new learning experience. Keep your eyes, minds, and hearts open to new things, new thoughts, new ways of doing something. Don’t be static. Be dynamic instead. Embrace the new while learning from the old. Plan for the future, yes. Please do that. But don’t forget about the present. Enjoy it, don’t just look at it as a means to an end. Don’t NOT do something you dream about doing because you’re worried you might fail. Do it anyway. Failure is a form of learning; people tend to forget that.

 

 

Learn something new every day. Every. Day. You don’t want to get to a certain age in your life and think: “I wish I’d done that.  I wish I’d gone after that dream. I can’t now because it’s too late.”

It’s never too late, especially for a dream.

I really think Mother Teresa said it best:

I can usually be found learning something new every day here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Life challenges, love, Strong Women

An #interview with A HUNDRED KISSES #author Jean M. Grant

I’m pleased and delighted to introduce you to another new writer to me today, JEAN M. GRANT . Jean is one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs and her first book, A HUNDRED KISSES is available now. SO, sit back and learn a little sumthin’ sumthin’ about this new author you’re sure going to be hearing about.

 

Jean, The Writer

  1. What drives you to write? I’m a sucker for happy endings that I can control. I love beautiful landscapes and to escape into fictional worlds. I am a daydreamer and it extends to the written word.
  2. What genre(s) of Romance do you write, and why? Historical, with a supernatural twist. I’ve considered a time travel and contemporary, too (those manuscripts are on the planning phase as I work on the prequel to A Hundred Kisses).
  3. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Historical, contemporary, time travel. I also dip into women’s fiction, mainstream, thriller.
  4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I don’t write every day as much as I would like to. I write in nooks and crannies, morning, day, and night. I usually go through a stretch of heavy writing for a few days or weeks, and then I need to take a break for “life.” Then back to it again. It’s hard to write for a few minutes here and there; I like to allot big chunks of time. The worst thing for a writer is to get interrupted in the middle of a great scene! You lose the flow.

5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? Most writing is done on my laptop at the kitchen island/counter or dining room table. Sometimes the couch. Rarely my desk. Not the most ideal places for proper back and wrist position though.

  1. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? I am pretty good at filtering, as many times, I have my young children running around. I love to have music on. Sometimes the music must get turned off and I work in complete silence for particular writing projects or sections of work.
  2. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? I listen to a variety of music, depending on what I am writing, and what the scene (or project) is about. The music matches the mood. A good deal of Enya gets me through, but I mix it up with some Ed Sheeran and Maroon Five, as well as movie scores-type of music.
  3. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? I had written three historical romances (unpublished; dare I say as practice, over the years) in 12th century Scotland. For my current book, A Hundred Kisses, I decided to jump ahead a century and apply the feedback I’d received from beta-readers, agents, editors on the first three. I really learned a lot from those manuscripts. I honed my skills. I also threw in some magical/supernatural elements to the current book. And that’s how that one came to be! My current WIP is a prequel to A Hundred Kisses, about the heroine’s mother. It’s got Vikings and more magical elements, too. I also have a Women’s Fiction/Mainstream book I am querying to agents – about a widowed mother on a journey to locate her missing child, after a natural disaster, with her other high-functioning autistic son at her side. That book is inspired by my own parenting journey, while being a work of fiction. And yes, she meets a man with his own tortured past along the way, so there is a romantic element!
  4. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Plot. I love stories. I do love to connect to characters, feel their emotions. But for me, I am a plotter, so that comes easier. I always have ideas! Then I need to assign characters that suit those ideas.
  5. What 3 words describes you, the writer? Patient, Resilient, Daydreamer (Peggy here: LOVELOVELOVE those 3 words!)

Jean, The Person 

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I love to travel. I love to hike and tackle mountains big and small. I have a weakness for green rolling hills. I also love sharks and have a degree in Marine Biology.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? T.C. from early elementary years
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….my hike through Abel Tasman in New Zealand (I picked this over other more grueling hikes, because who wants to repeat over and over those torturous hikes that left me limping for days after?!)
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? boxers
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? Chapstick/lip balm. I would die without it.
  6. What three words describes you, the person? Daydreamer, nurturer, resilient
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Daydream Believer (aka Cheer up Sleepy Jean) by The Monkees (Peggy here: We could be BFFs. My all time fav group is the Monkees, in fact, my wedding song is I’M A BELIEVER)
  8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? Claire and Jamie Fraser (both). Why? Why not? J Sexy Scot and strong-willed English nurse. What would we do? Hmm, not sure. Hang out at some standing stones or by Loch Ness?

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound – water or rain, birds chirping at 4:30 a.m.
  2. Least favorite sound – cars idling
  3. Best song every written – Sleepwalk by Santo and Johnny
  4. Worst song ever written – Barney’s theme song ( Peggy here: I can’t stand that song!!!)
  5. Favorite actor and actress – Kit Harrington and Ewan MacGregor, Emily Blunt     
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) – I’d actually like to just have dinner with (not be) The Rock, Dwayne Johnson for one day. Silly, right? He seems like an amazing, funny, nice guy. If I could be somebody for a day, it would be my oldest son, who has Asperger’s/ Autism. I want to feel, see, and experience life through his eyes.
  7. What turns you on? – coffee and sweets and my husband playing with our kids
  8. What turns you off? – mean people
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date (here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) – I’ve not had too many first dates so I am not sure what to put here!
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? – writing at sunrise, then a daytime hike through some breathtaking place (New Zealand and Scotland top the list), finished with a frothy latte on a porch with a remarkable view (lake, ocean, mountain); all with my husband and kids of course

And now, for a little treat, here’s an excerpt from Jean’s debut novel  A Hundred Kisses

Blurb

1296

Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.

Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.

Under the façade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.

Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…

Excerpt

She sensed no colors in the murky, lifeless water, and it was freeing. All breath escaped her. Muted visions passed before her eyes—her mother, her father, Gordon, and Cortland. Just a moment longer, she thought…

Suddenly, a burst of warm light invaded her thoughts as air filled her lungs. Red-hot hands burned her shoulders and ripped her from her icy grave. She breathed life into her body. She coughed, gagging on the change.

Muffled words yelled at her.

Oh, God, so hot. His fingers were like hot pokers. Her head pounded as she slowly returned to the present. Heat radiated from her rescuer. Somebody had pulled her from the water.

“Wh—?”

“Hush, lass. You nearly drowned.”

His voice was as soothing as a warm cup of goat’s milk on a winter’s day. A red-hot glow emanated from his body. Never before had she felt such a strong lifeblood, and it nearly burned her. She struggled in his arms to get free. She blinked, only seeing a blurry form before her. “Release me!”

She splashed and wriggled, and he did as told. She clambered to the shoreline. Numb and shaken, she began to dress. It wasn’t easy as she fumbled with slick fingers to put dry clothes over wet skin. She instantly regretted her naked swim. She pulled on her long-sleeved white chemise first.

She faced the forest, away from her rescuer. He quietly splashed to shore. His lifeblood burned into her back. He wasn’t far behind, but he stopped. She refused to look at him until she was fully clothed, not out of embarrassment of her nudity, but for what had just happened. He released a groan and mumbled under his breath about wet boots. His voice was not one of her father’s soldiers.

When she put the last garment on, her brown wool work kirtle, she squeezed out her sopping hair and swept her hands through the knotty mess. She fastened her belt and tied the lacings up the front of the kirtle. Blood returned to her fingertips, and she regained her composure. Belated awareness struck her, and she leaned down and searched through her bag for her dagger. She spun around.

She gasped as she saw the man sitting on the stone-covered shoreline, his wet boots off. Confusion and the hint of a scowl filled his strong-featured face. She staggered back, caught her heel on a stone, and fell, dropping the dagger. Dirt and pebbles stuck to her wet hands and feet, and she instinctively scrambled away from him.

His glower, iridescent dark blue eyes, and disheveled black hair were not unfamiliar. Staring at her was the man she had seen in her dream—it was the man from the wood.

Buy Links: Amazon // WildRose Press // B&N // Kobo

More about Jean:

Jean is a scientist, part-time education director, and a mom. She currently resides in Massachusetts and draws from her interests in history, science, the outdoors, and her family for inspiration. She enjoys writing non-fiction articles for family-oriented and travel magazines, and aspires to write children’s books while continuing to write novels. In 2008, she visited the land of her daydreams, Scotland, and it was nothing short of breathtaking. Jean enjoys tending to her flower gardens, tackling the biggest mountains in New England with her husband, and playing with her sons, while daydreaming about the next hero to write about…

You can find Jean here:

Website // Twitter // Facebook 

 

I hope you enjoyed meeting Jean as much as I did! Jean- thanks so much for joining me today and much success with A HUNDRED KISSES.

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, love, Romance, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

My Ideal Romance Hero

Tall, dark, and handsome is such a cliche. Not to mention, boring. If you don’t think this is true, here’s a bit of dialogue from Chris Pine’s character in INTO THE WOODS,. addressing his wife, Cinderella. “Darling, I was raised to be charming, not sincere,” the Prince tells her when she confronts him about his extramarital affairs.

Yup, that about says it all about that plastic tall, dark, and handsome description. There’s no meat to it; no substance.

Every ideal romance hero will differ depending on the writer writing him. Some writers will only pen total alphas, incapable of human emotion until the heroine comes along and – BAM – turns him magically into a fully functioning, emotional being. Disclosure here: I hate that kind of hero.  A writer friend of mine – whom I adore – described this hero type as an alpha-hole. Perfect descriptor!!!

Some writers pen the six foot, chiseled jaw, warm-eyed hero who has never realized he’s a hunkadoodle. Disclosure again: While I don’t hate this type, it’s hard for me to believe the guy doesn’t know he’s panty-dropping hot. I mean, does he own a mirror, or what?

So. Enough about the heroes I don’t fancy. What do I want in my ideal romantic hero?
A guy who makes me laugh…

A man who not only has a brain but also stimulates my brain and who can discuss topics other than sports…

Richard Geere

A guy who brings you breakfast in bed; a man who bakes you the most decadent treat; a hero who wants to feed you — heart, mind, body and soul.

I know, right!! I adore a man who can cook.

This is Master Baker Paul Hollywood. He can frost my buns any day.

Le swoon!!!

A man who’s not afraid or ashamed to tell you and show you he cares. The following is a line from my favorite JD Robb book, NEW YORK TO DALLAS.

It’s one of the final scenes. Lt. Eve Dallas has just had a knockdown, drag-out fight with a serial killer. She’s battered, bruised, and a little loopy from the painkillers they’ve given her. She’s speaking to her good friend Dr. Charlotte Mira, with Eve’s husband – the panty-dropping Roarke, in the background.

Eve says:

“Want to finish, give my report. Is my face messed up? I hate when that happens. Not like I’m pretty or anything, but—”

“You’re the most beautiful woman ever born,” Roarke said from the doorway, and Eve sent him a woozy, drugged smile.

That’s my perfect hero.

A man who loves you above all others – even himself; who will make love to you when you have wake-up morning breath, sheet marks on your cheeks and eye boogers, desire you even if you haven’t showered, be devoted to you no matter what comes along in life to try both your souls. A man who’s willing to not only put you first but do anything to keep you there.  A hero who sees you, simply, as everything good in his life.

My ideal romance hero is the kind of man I want in my own life: calm, smart, witty, kind, strong willed and soft-hearted, willing to take a stand and fight for it, but able to see someone else’s opinion without censure. A man who will listen, speak up when needed, and know when a hug is all a woman needs. A man who won’t just try to solve my problems, but will help me solve them. A guy who can take charge and take a back seat when the situation calls for it. A man who will let me be me, get me, and support me – in every way.

In all honesty, my perfect romance hero is…my hubby.

Yeah…le swoon!

Since this is a blog hop, click on some of the other MFRW authors writing about their ideal romantic hero.

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Literary characters, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Back to normal ( I hope!)

I’ve been radio – or in this case, computer – silent for a few days as I try to get my life back to normal after my week away. Seven whole days to be gone from home is a long, long-ass time. In addition to all the day-to-day stuff I had to catch up on (grocery shopping so we wouldn’t starve, doing piles of laundry so we’ll be clothed and not naked in society, paying bills so our electricity and internet won’t go out) I also had to get my writing back on track.

Deadlines to honor. Editors to appease.  Words to put on the page.

I wrote a little in my WIP while in Atlanta, but I mostly just penned my daily blog and did some LIVE videos on facebook in between workshops and networking and traveling. Check out the videos portion of my Facebook page to see what you missed.

But now it’s back to work. Literally. I need to get two books finished by the end of July when I head off to Orlando for RWA 2017 and hopefully have both ready to be presented to my editor. Plus I’m writing a new wedding series and trying to eek a little room in for that on most days. And it wouldn’t kill me to get back on track with getting Planet Fitness every day again. My butt is starting to get chair-spread again. Oh, and I knowknowknow I’ll be getting two books back any day from two editors for final and galley edits.

And please, I don’t want to think about all the books I’ve got to review for Netgalley and Goodreads.

Does this sound like I’m complaining? I hope not. I really love my life. Lovelovelove it!!

I just wish, sometimes,  there were 30 hours in every day instead of 24.

Looking for me? Here I am:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Foodie, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

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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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Characters, female friends, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

#RT2017 day 1, reflections

Yesterday was the first day of RT in Atlanta, and it was an abbreviated day. No morning sessions, or parties, or anything until 2:30 pm. I got my name tag, figured out all the rules and regs about the book signing, etc. I look a little cock-eyed in this picture, but I’m official, so that’s all that matters.

Since I’ve never attended an RT convention before, I attended what was called  RT CONVENTION VIRGINS. Yeah. It’s just like it sounds. A packed room full of people ( writers, readers, bloggers, industry folks) who have never….experienced RT before. You thought I was going to say something dirty, didn’t you? Admit it!. Anyway. It was an hour filled with stuff you need to know to have a good RT experience. The number one thing all the presenters said that will make your experience memorable and worthwhile? Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.

Yeah…I know. Maybe it’s the nurse in me but I thought this was just something common sense-y everyone knew.

Apparently not. Stories of people fainting while standing in line or getting urinary tract infections ran the gamut during the talk. Okay. So, of course, I drank. A lot. But I do anyway.

The next thing on my agenda was something called Naughty and Nice. Hosted by a bunch of authors, it was supposed to be an hour of mingling with cover models, sampling Peach bellinis, and tasting dark chocolate. I say supposed because I never got into the event. The one thing I wish the VIRGIN committee would have told me was that you need to line up, like, an hour before the event starts ( hence the fainting, dehydration, yadayadyada). I got to the event space at 4:50 for an 5:15 start and already the line was into the next state. They only admitted 150 people and I was, like, number 482. So, yeah…didn’t get that experience.

Two sessions down and I’m feeling a little…let down. But not to worry. CINEMA CRAPTASTIQUE was on the agenda with the amazeballs Damon Suede. This one was a blast, peeps, especially since I helped stuff goodie bags for the participants and was able to include some of my swag!Anyway, the movie that was watched was the turkey GLITTER starting Mariah “I’m a DIVA from Hell” Carey. Damon ran commentary the entire time the movie was on and I can tell you I needed to change my underpants when I got back to my room because I laughed so much I peed a few times! ( all that f**king water to keep hydrated!)

Today is jammed packed as it’s the first full day of the event. I’m meeting with a potential Literary agent, attending a few classes and then a big party tonight that my publisher KENSINGTON is co-sponsoring called ROMANCE ROCKABILLY. I’m sure I’ll have lots to tell about that on tomorrow’s blog!

I’ll be posting pix and live Tweeting during the event so you can find me here if you’d like to experience RT life vicariously!!:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Getting ready to Rock and Roll; #RT2017 #ConferenceTime

 

In a few days, I’ll be leaving for Atlanta for my very first RT BookLovers Convention. For those who don’t know, RT (Romantic Times) is a major romance industry trade magazine – now e-zine -and every year they hold a conference that is attended by almost 600 romance writers and thousands of romance readers. This is, for lack of a better phrase, a totally READERS convention, whereas RWA is more ( I think) of a writers conference.

Anyway.

This will also be the first time I am doing a book signing for my new publisher, KENSINGTON/LYRICAL and I simply can not wait. For years I attended book signings as a reader just so I could meet and totally fangirl my favorite authors. This year — I am that author. It still amazes me daily to say and write that.

In addition to the Kensington signing and author meeting, I am also taking part in the grand book signing for the event. I received the floor plan for this and has luck would have it I am at a table right by the entrance, not tucked away in a back alley somewhere. Yowza!!! Now I know I don’t have a big name – or even a little one – yet and that any “fans” that attend will not be looking for me per se, but it would be nice to sell a book or two and garner a few new readers and reviewers, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

I’ve never been to Altanta but I’ve heard it’s a fun town and I know the RT gurus have planned numerous day and night trips in addition to all the themed parties for everyone, so I’m sure to be able to find something to do. My day is jammed packed with scheduled classes and meetings already, and I know pop-up events are a big thing at this conference, so I’ll be adding to the list daily.

And, of course, I’ll be blogging and live tweeting about it, too, so stick around and stay tuned.

in 2014 I attended my very first RWA conference. I got a book deal at that one and made the decision to retire to devote myself to writing full time. I’ve never looked back, so it will be interesting to see what this conference hold for me.

While I’m in Atlanta at RT you’ll be able to 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, Contemporary Romance, Editors, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, Uncategorized

Musing on #Siblings

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

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

But….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A visit with #author Claire Marti; #TWRP #Romance

 This is one of my favorite reasons for having a blog: To introduce people who read it to new and fabulous authors. Today, I’m thrilled to introduce you to a new Wild Rose Press sistah, Claire Marti. Claire’s first book was released just this past Friday and she’s given us a sneak peak. But first, she recently “sat” down with me for my in depth author interview. Sit back and get to know this up and coming author. You’ll be glad, trust me.

 

Claire Marti, the Writer:

  1. What drives you to write? I’ve written since I was in elementary school. Letters, journals, stories…you name it. I love to read and believe writing flows from that passion.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? Contemporary and my next series will be historical. I started with contemporary because I love stories with realistic characters bumbling through life. Now that I’ve grown in my writing, I’m ready to tackle historical research and layer it into my prose.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Contemporary, historical, and occasionally paranormal or contemporary with paranormal elements. I love reading realistic contemporary stories and I love history. Historical romance is fun: I love the flirtatiousness and all the societal rules.
  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I write most days. I’m a yoga teacher and my schedule varies daily. On Mondays for example, I only teach one class in the morning and have most of the day free to write. Tuesdays, I teach four classes and I can only get in about an hour. The weekends usually provide me a few longer writing chunks. I enjoy mixing it up.
  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I write in our second bedroom/office. I have an amazing desk, but rarely sit at it. I’ve got a comfortable reclining chair and the arms are the perfect height for me to sit with my feet up and my fingers on the laptop. My cat Lola rests on the top of the chair and keeps an eye on me. I can see my desk and my bulletin board, which has a photo of me with Nora Roberts and some other inspirational photos. I also recently acquired a 1950’s pink Royal typewriter and it inspires me to write.
  1. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvisionIt’s funny, when I write non-fiction articles, I blast music. When I’m working on fiction, I need silence.
  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? I listen to music all the time and use it quite a bit in my yoga classes. I love attending concerts. I blast it and sing in the car. I gain inspiration from the music, but require silence when I write.
  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? I’ve got two WIPs right now. I just returned the first round of edits for Book 2 in the Finding Forever in Laguna series to my editor and am tackling a rough draft of Book 3. Book 3 features a hero how has PTSD and needs methods to tackle anxiety and nightmares. I’ve got some yoga teacher friends who teach yoga for veterans, specifically targeted to help them cope. Working with this population triggered the hero, Christian Wolfe’s story.
  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Character all the way. I spend time creating their conflicts and issues and figuring out how they’d challenge each other, help each other grow, and ultimately be the perfect mate. Once I’ve spent all that time creating the hero and heroine, I play with them in the setting and create an open three act structure.
  1. What 3 words describe you, the writerPassionate, dedicated, truthful.

Claire,  The Person :

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! As a child, I lived in Nairobi, Kenya for 2.5 years.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? His name was Philippe and I was 19.
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….Last summer, my husband and I were in L’Ile Rousse, a small village in Corsica where my father was born. I spent many summers there with the French side of my family. I hadn’t returned since I was eighteen years old. So, for my birthday last year, my husband and I went. The perfect day began with an enormous café au lait and fresh croissant at a small café in the Place di Paoli. Then, we walked out to the lighthouse and enjoyed the spectacular views of the Mediterranean. We spent the afternoon on the white sand beach and swam, snorkeled and read. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at yet another quaint café. This lazy day rounded out with watching the sunset and dining on a delicious Margherita pizza.
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Boxers (Peggy here – a gal after me own heart!!)
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? Hand moisturizer.
  6. What three words describe you, the person? Passionate, loyal, witty.
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Guns N’ Roses: Sweet Child of Mine
  8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? I’ve mulled over this question for hours. I don’t know if I can narrow it down to one! Jake Barnes from Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises because his flaws fascinate me. We’d sit in a café in Paris and drink Pernod until the wee hours of the morning and talk about anything and everything.

Bonus round

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound: Waves crashing on the shore.
  2. Least favorite sound: Dentist drill, especially when it’s near my mouth.
  3. Best song every written: Black by Pearl Jam
  4. Worst song ever written: So many to choose from, but any time I hear True by Spandau Ballet I have to change the radio station.
  5. Favorite actor and actress: Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? (It can be anyone living or dead) Jim Morrison. He was a tortured musical genius who loved France. I’d love to be him at one of his earlier concerts. I was supposed to be a rock star and he’s the one I’d like to be for a day.
  7. What turns you on? A gorgeous square-jawed man who loves to read. Also, tortured rock stars. J
  8. What turns you off? Indecisiveness, passivity, narcissism.
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) I don’t like to read. (Peggy here:  TOTAL deal breaker!!!)
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? It always begins with coffee. Then, yoga or another workout. Write for a few hours with my cats and dog keeping me company. Lunch with a girlfriend. Time outside in nature, preferably a walk on the beach. More time to write. A glass of wine while watching the sunset over the Pacific and a delicious dinner with my husband, preferably cooked by somebody else. A concert at a small venue.

 

BLURB:

When Sophie Barnes’s fiancé jilts her at the altar, her carefully planned life implodes. Considering her ex’s betrayal to be a rude wake-up call, she leaves everything she knows in San Diego and flees to Laguna Beach. She vows to transform her life by avoiding men for a year and by fulfilling her dream of writing a wildly successful novel.

Sophie’s new landlord, Nicholas Morgan, is a gorgeous, successful architect with a player reputation. He makes it tough for Sophie to remember that she’s sworn to be single. Nick’s avoided the intimacy of a long-term relationship–until Sophie’s independence, courage, and beauty touch his guarded heart. Both Sophie and Nick are terrified of being hurt again, but can they resist the pull of true love?

 

EXCERPT:

Nick arrived right on time, looking gorgeous in faded jeans and a plain white t-shirt. How did he always manage to start the butterflies fluttering in her stomach? Just by standing there with the setting sun framing him? She was in trouble.

“Hi beautiful, ready to go?” He clasped her face in his hands and planted a soft kiss on her lips.

Returning his kiss, Sophie wound her arms around his neck and deepened it. She couldn’t resist. His strong arms wrapped around her waist, hugging her close to his broad chest.

“Mmmm, feel free to greet me like that every time I come over,” he said, lips curved up into a sweet smile.

Heat washed her cheeks and she returned his smile. “Let’s go. Prepare to be blown away by the movie snack of the century.”

Determined to keep things light and enjoy the movie before “the talk,” Sophie thrust down the lick of panic bubbling in her gut. She’d accomplished next to nothing all afternoon, instead wrestling with whether she needed to tell him about Doug.

The angel on her shoulder whispered to tell him because if they were going to have any kind of relationship, even a friends-with-benefits one, honesty and trust were vital.

The devil urged her to zip it. They’d only known each other a few weeks. What if he lived up to his “Player of Laguna” reputation and expected only a fun fling? Even though he seemed deeper than that. What if she scared him off with a premature talk?

BUY LINKS:  Amazon // WRP // B&N // Kobo // iBooks

Bio

Claire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.

Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga. She teaches at studios, online for the international website YogaDownload.com and also has a Yoga for Cancer Recovery DVD. She’s the author of Come Ride with Me Along the Big C, a memoir on how yoga helped her cope with breast cancer.

Her debut novel, Second Chance in Laguna, won best unpublished contemporary romance in the Heart of the Molly and third place in the Maggie. She’s hard at work on the second and third novels in the Finding Forever in Laguna series.

Claire is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the San Diego Romance Writers.

Claire loves to connect with people. You can find her here:

Website //Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads

Peggy here: Claire is was a total pleasure getting to know you! I love how you embrace writing as your passion and I’m looking forward to reading more of your books. Be well and keep writing. PJ

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