Category Archives: love

Coming soon…

Cooking with Kandy, the first in my Will Cook For Love Series, released on 4.4.17. I’ve got the next two to tell you about and I’m wicked excited.

Book 2, A SHOT AT LOVE releases on 10.3 17. Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ about it:

Nothing’s impossible when love is on the menu. In Peggy Jaeger’s luscious series, the only thing more tempting than a delicious meal is a truly delectable romance . . .
Look for exclusive recipes in each book!  
 
Photographer Gemma Laine is looking for arresting faces on the streets of Manhattan when her camera captures something shocking—a triple murder. In that moment, she becomes a target for the mob—and a top priority for a very determined, breathtakingly handsome, FBI special agent. With deadlines to meet and photo shoots on her calendar, Gemma chafes at the idea of protection, but every moment she spends under his watchful eye is a temptation to lose herself in his muscular arms . . .

With two of his men and one crucial witness dead, Special Agent Kyros Pappandreos can’t afford to be distracted. But Gemma is dazzling—and her connection to Kandy Laine’s high-profile cooking empire makes her an especially easy mark for some very bad people. Keeping her safe is much more pleasure than business, but as the heat between them starts to sizzle, Ky is set to investigate whether they have a shot at love . . .

Excerpt:

His St. Michael medallion dangled between the cavern of his pecs, swaying as he moved closer to her, so close she cold smell the clean, fresh scent of the soap he’d used in the shower. So close, she could see his eyes darken as he looked at her, those gorgeous seafoam orbs roaming over her face and turning stormy. So close, she did what she’d been dreaming of doing since she first saw him without a shirt, drenched in sweat and looking like a warrior: she leaned in and trailed her tongue along the angle of his jaw. He didn’t move, but did hiss in a breath, his abdominal muscles contracting inward.

A fine line of spikey stubble tickled her tongue and made her want to explore more.

Ky choked. “Did you just…lick me?”

When she pulled back there was surprised mirth crinkling in the corners of his widened eyes, his lips twisting up at the corners.

“Yeah.” She sighed. “I’ve been wanting to do that for days.”

Ky’s mouth straightened. “You’ve been wanting to…lick me…for days?”

She nodded, feeling her cheeks burn like wildfire. Oh well, here goes nothing…

She kept her gaze steady, and said, “Well, yeah. Ever since that morning in the basement when we worked out together.”

Something in his eyes loosened; eased.

“You were all sweaty and…hot.”

And then they darkened again, but this time not in anger. No. This time the heat in his eyes wasn’t to be laid at fury’s door, but at something deeper, more primal. Sensual.

“And to be honest,” she added, “I want to do more than just lick you. But, yeah. Days.”

Buy link: COOKING WITH KANDY

PreOrder link: A SHOT A LOVE

I’ll be blogging about book 3, CAN’T STAND THE HEAT? next time!!!

When I’m taking a break from writing about romance, you can usually find me hanging out here:  Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

How many courses is too much?

This blog entry is gonna kill me….literally!! I lovelovelove to cook. I have almost 130 cookbooks in my house, many dog-earred and marked up with notes. How in the name of all that’s holy can I pick one meal that I’d have for my very last meal on earth?

Okay. SO let’s look at this the way a hostess with the mostest would. A meal consists of COURSES. A typical meal would have at least 5-7 courses, so if I go with the principle that MORE IS MORE, my last meal will have 7 courses. And they won’t be the typical cheese, salad, meat, yadayadayada courses. I’m reinventing the courses. I can do that. I’m a writer and this is MY last meal, so there!

Course #1. Forget the salad. If I’m gonna die, I ain’t eating salad. This course is going to be a full blown appetizer course consisting of my favorite appetizers: coconut shrimp, artichoke dip with Ritz crackers, pigs-in-a-blanket, scallops wrapped in bacon, asparagus wrapped in bacon with maple syrup and brown sugar. To Die For!

Course #2 The soup course. My favorite is good old fashioned TOMATO SOUP and I’ve got a recipe that just soothes the soul. Of course, along with the tomato soup I will have to have a grilled cheeses sandwich because, you know…they go together. My grilled cheese consists of thick homemade potato bread, slathered with real butter on both sides and a mix of mozzarella and provolone cheeses on the inside. Delish!

Course #3: Fish. Going all out here, folks. I lovelovelove fish. So, I’m gonna have to make my seafood scampi. Scallops, jumbo shrimp and lobster in a white wine sauce with mushrooms and served over bowtie pasta. I’m hungry just thinking about it.

 

Course #4: Pasta. You might say the previous course of scampi fits the pasta bill. No f**king way! I’m eating an entire course of  my penne ala vodka, served with yards of garlic bread.

Course #5: Main meal: You’re probably wondering why I’m not in the Emergency room by now with a ruptured stomach from ALL that food!  But if this is my last meal, I’m gonna keep going. So, For the main meal there really is only one option for me: Lobster macaroni and cheese with bacon. I know…………

Course #6: Cheese. A little palette refresher here. I love baked cheeses, so I’ll prepare my baked brie in puff pastry with apricot and serve it with little bullets of baked challah bread and fruit.

 

Course #7: Dessert. Lordy, Lordy, so many to choose from. Cheesecake? Chocolate mousse pie? Cannolis? All favs, but I’m gonna make an entire Chocolate trifle and eat it all by myself.

And, yes…that’s my Trifle, recently made for a party.

If any of this sounds good to you ( and why wouldn’t it??) You can get a few of the recipes in my WILL COOK FOR LOVE series from Kensington/Lyrical Shine Publishers. COOKING WITH KANDY is available now and had the lobster mac and cheese. A SHOT AT LOVE releases on 10.8.17 and there are even more recipes in that one,

Bon appetite!

Since this is a blog hop. you might want to click over to some of these other authors and see what constitutes a last meal for them.

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Some Girls Like It Hot Facebook Hop

Welcome to the Some Girls Like It Hot Mega Gift Card FB Hop, where you can enter to win a gift card at every stop. With over 100 authors participating, that’s 100+ chances for you to win.

In the event of a broken link in the hop, you can always find the complete list of authors and links to their FB pages here: http://somegirlslikeithot.blogspot.com/p/the-hop_29.html

For this hop, I’m giving away AN E-COPY OF COOKING WITH KANDY. Please read and follow the instructions below very carefully. I don’t want to have to disqualify anyone!

  1. Like my FB page and this post.
  2. Follow me on TWITTER
  3. Comment below this post: I Love Hot Guys!

Winners will be chosen at random when the giveaway closes at 12 pm EDT (9 am PST) on June 12.

Kristina Knight is the next stop on the hop. Visit her/his Facebook page for a chance to win another gift card here: Kristina Knight FB page

BONUS GIVEAWAY! If you visit every page on the hop and enter all 100+ giveaways, you are eligible to enter to win an Amazon Echo Dot or Kindle Fire. Here’s the Rafflecopter:

http://somegirlslikeithot.blogspot.com/p/bonus-giveaway-for-facebook-hop-visitors.html

*******Have you entered our two grand prize giveaways? That’s right, we’re running two big giveaways at the same time. Enter for your chance to win a Kindle Fire HD 10” tablet ($299), plus additional kindles and Amazon gift cards.

Giveaway #1

http://somegirlslikeithot.blogspot.com/p/the-hop.html

Giveaway #2

http://somegirlslikeithot.blogspot.com/p/june-9-12-giveaway.html

Good luck and have fun on the hop!

Facebook giveaways are in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. By entering this giveaway, participants release and indemnify Facebook from all liability. Information collected is not collected by Facebook.

List of Participating Authors and Links to Their Facebook Pages

Cheryl Matthynssens* https://www.facebook.com/dragonsgeas
Melissa McClone* https://www.facebook.com/MelissaMcCloneBooks/
Hunks to the Rescue* https://www.facebook.com/HunkstotheRescue/
Olivia Wildenstein* https://www.facebook.com/owauthor/
Nancy Segovia* https://www.facebook.com/segovia.nancy/
Tamara Ferguson* https://www.facebook.com/Tammysdragonfy/
Emily Leigh* https://www.facebook.com/emilyleighbooks
Constance Phillips* https://www.facebook.com/ConstancePhillipsRomanceAuthor/
Cynthia A. Clement* https://www.facebook.com/CynthiaAClement/
Cailin Briste* https://www.facebook.com/cailinbriste/
Enigmatic Books** https://www.facebook.com/enigmaticbooks/
Elizabeth Rose* https://www.facebook.com/Elizabeth-Rose-Author-515495781845391/
Gayle Parness* https://www.facebook.com/GayleParnessAuthor/
Marie Booth* https://www.facebook.com/marieboothbooks
Alyson Hale* https://www.facebook.com/AlyHaleAuthor
Victoria Pinder* https://www.facebook.com/victoriapinder1/
Jody A. Kessler https://www.facebook.com/Jody-A-Kessler-USA-TODAY-Bestselling-Author-230863640353761/
Astrid Arditi* https://www.facebook.com/Astridarditiauthor/
Amy Knupp* https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmyKnupp/
Jennifer Allis Provost* https://www.facebook.com/copperraven/
Stephanie Queen** https://www.facebook.com/StephanieQueenAuthor/
Stella Marie Alden* https://www.facebook.com/stellaMarieAlden
Jenna Barwin* https://www.facebook.com/jennabarwin/
Joanne Dannon https://www.facebook.com/joannedannonwrites/
Siera London* https://www.facebook.com/authorsieralondon/
Felicia Beasley* https://www.facebook.com/feliciabeasleyauthor/
Venom and Vampires* https://www.facebook.com/VenomAndVampires/
Sidney Valentine https://www.facebook.com/sidneyvalentineauthor/
Mia Ford* https://www.facebook.com/authormiaford/
Michelle Jo Quinn https://www.facebook.com/MichelleJoQuinnAuthor
Romance Author Quinn https://www.facebook.com/RomanceAuthorQuinn
Saint Brothers Series https://www.facebook.com/SaintBrothersSeries/
Soraya Naomi https://www.facebook.com/sorayanaomi.author
Sarah Williams* https://www.facebook.com/SarahWilliamsWriter/
Katie O’Sullivan https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKatieOSullivan
Josie Litton** https://www.facebook.com/josielittonauthor
Debbie White https://www.facebook.com/DebbieWhiteBooks/
Christa Paige** https://www.facebook.com/ChristaPaigeAuthor/
Stacy Gold** https://www.facebook.com/AuthorStacyGold/
Kris Michaels* https://www.facebook.com/Kris-Michaels-746901612054241/
Margo Bond Collins https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins/
Peggy Jaeger** https://www.facebook.com/PeggyJaeger.Author/
Kristina Knight* https://www.facebook.com/KristinaKnightRomanceAuthor/
Elizabeth SaFleur* https://www.facebook.com/elizabethsafleurauthor
Lynda Haviland* https://www.facebook.com/lyndahaviland/
Jeanne St. James* https://www.facebook.com/JeanneStJamesAuthor/
Sophia Knightly* https://www.facebook.com/sophiaknightly/
Eden Rose* https://www.facebook.com/EdenRoseSmooches/
Sydney Aaliyah Michelle* https://www.facebook.com/SydneyAaliyahMichelle/
Laura Marie Altom* https://www.facebook.com/LauraMarieAltom/
SorchiaD* https://www.facebook.com/SorchiaD
Stephanie Julian* https://www.facebook.com/author.StephanieJulian/
Jennifer Wilck https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer-Wilck-201342863240160/
Sheila Seabrook* https://www.facebook.com/SheilaSeabrookAuthor/
Lana Campbell https://www.facebook.com/foreverandanight.lanacampbell
Erica Lynn* https://www.facebook.com/Erica-Lynn-Erotic-Romance-Author-1671551313094553/
Whitley Cox* https://www.facebook.com/CoxWhitley/
Amy L. Gale* https://www.facebook.com/Amy-L-Gale-540928695977160/
PG Forte* https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPGForte/
Lila Felix* https://m.facebook.com/AuthorLilaFelix
Melissa Belle* https://www.facebook.com/authormelissabelle
Laura Greenwood https://www.facebook.com/authorlauragreenwood/
Lumi Daoi* https://www.facebook.com/LumiDaoiAuthor/
Nikki Lynn Barrett https://www.facebook.com/NikkiLynnBarrettauthor/
Josie Riviera https://www.facebook.com/Josie.Riviera
Amanda Uhl* https://www.facebook.com/amandauhlauthor
Jacquie Rogers* https://www.facebook.com/JacquieRogersAuthor
Victoria De La O* https://www.facebook.com/victoriadelao1/
Lane McFarland* https://www.facebook.com/LaneMcFarlandAuthor/
Lauren Wood https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLaurenWood/
Calinda B* https://www.facebook.com/CalindaBauthor/
Ashlyn Chase* https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAshlynChase/
Deb Marlowe* https://www.facebook.com/DebMarloweAuthorPage/
Elisabeth Barrett* https://www.facebook.com/ElisabethBarrettAuthor/
Angelica Kate* https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009904514836
Bailey James* https://www.facebook.com/authorbaileyjames/
Holly Cortelyou** https://www.facebook.com/HollyCortelyouAuthor/
Ashlee Price* https://www.facebook.com/AshleePriceRomanceAuthor/
Author Mia Kayla https://www.facebook.com/authormiakayla
Allyson R Abbott* https://www.facebook.com/AllysonRAbbott/
Emory Gayle https://www.facebook.com/emorygayle/
Shelique Lize https://www.facebook.com/Author.SheliqueLize/
Helen Scott* https://www.facebook.com/helenscottauthor/
JC Andrijeski* https://www.facebook.com/JCAndrijeski/
Catherine Banks* https://www.facebook.com/catherinebanksauthor
Isabella Thorne** https://www.facebook.com/isabellathorneauthor/
Fanny West* https://www.facebook.com/fannywestauthor/
Arwilda Allshouse* https://www.facebook.com/Arwilda.Allshouse.Author/
Shaniel Watson https://www.facebook.com/AuthorShanielWatson/
N.D. Jones** https://www.facebook.com/ndjonesparanormalromanceauthor/
Ani Gonzalez* https://www.facebook.com/AniGonzalezAuthor/
C.A. King* https://www.facebook.com/ThePortalProphecies/
Connie Dave** https://www.facebook.com/authorconniedave/
Tena Stetler* https://www.facebook.com/TenaStetlerAuthor/
Katherine Lowry Logan** https://www.facebook.com/KatherineLowryLogan/
Tamra Lassiter* https://www.facebook.com/tamralassiterauthor/
Veronica Blake* https://www.facebook.com/Veronica-Blake-Writer-266206860220484/
K.N. Lee* https://www.facebook.com/KNycoleLee/
Bree Dahlia* https://www.facebook.com/BreeDahliaWriter/
Vella Day* https://www.facebook.com/Velladayauthor/
Bianca DArc** https://www.facebook.com/BiancaDArcAuthor/
Hope Worthington* https://www.facebook.com/hope.worthington.127
Shelley Munro* https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyMunroAuthor
Lisa London* https://www.facebook.com/lisalondonauthorpreneur/
Karen Michelle Nutt* https://www.facebook.com/authorkarenmichellenutt/
Aileen Harkwood* https://www.facebook.com/AileenHarkwoodAuthor/

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Author Branding, branding, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Food lover, Foodie, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

I’m a word banker…#MFRWauthors

I retired from my long time job in 2015 when I got my first book contract. So many people asked me at that time, “What are you gonna do with yourself now that you don’t have to go to work every day?”
Hello!!! After informing them that I was trading my hated job for a life long dream job and explained that I would now be writing full time, they still said things like, “But surely you can’t write all day?” and “But what else are you going to do to fill your days?”

I remember thinking at the time that people, for lack of a better word, can be really stupid. But that’s another blog… This one concerns word counts and I told you the story above as a precursor.

I approach word counts like I approach a job: all in. What that means for me is that I have a minimum goal I have to reach every single day that I write ( and I write every single day) before I can do anything else. You wouldn’t just leave a job in the middle of the day to go grocery shopping, or to have lunch with friends. You’re working. You have a job to do and you get paid for it.  That’s my approach to word counts.

Every day I write 2000 words minimum in whatever book I am currently working on, my WIP ( Work in progress). After that 2000 is done, I then decide if I want to keep going, or do the stuff I need to do to, you know… adult. Like, grocery shop, laundry, ironing, clean the house, do banking, pay bills. Even take a shower!

The fact that I’m blessed with chronic insomnia (and I never thought I’d hear myself say that was a blessing!) helps. I can get so much written between the hours of 3 and 6 am every day, that’s it ridiculous. My entire first book SKATER’S WALTZ was written during these times.

Word counts are, to many writers, a bane. A necessary evil. If they set a goal and then don’t make it, they feel many things: unworthy, like a failure, inept.

To them and all writers, I say STOP! Word counts are simply ways of tracking what you have written.  Only during the month of November if you participate in  NANOWRIMO should you worry about how much is “good enough” to write every day. Creativity can not be forced. And it shouldn’t be. If you write 6 words or 6ooo in a day, so be it. Those 6 words are probably the best you’ll wring from yourself, so good. Yay. 6 is better than none, right?

Now, you’re probably thinking, “but she said she writes 2000 every day before she does anything else, and yet she’s telling us not to worry about how much we write?” Correct. I am. But that’s what I need to do. Every writer, like every book and every story, is different. I know a contemporary romance writer who sets as her goal 100,000 words per month. If you take a month at 30 days, that means she has to write 3,333 words every single day no matter what. She has an assistant, so she doesn’t need to do the mundane things like social media updates, laundry, and grocery shopping. Lucky her. Most of us don’t have assistants, though. So again, whether you write 6, or 6ooo words a day; 10000 or 100000 per month, word counts are individualistic.

And necessary. Oh, so necessary. Don’t try to compare yourself with others when it comes to word counts. Like I said, everyone is different. As long as you write – and what you write is good – then, so be it.

Because this is a writer blog hop, click on some of the other authors here to see how they approach their writing word counts…or even if they have them!!

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books

“After a hurricane, comes a rainbow”

I put the title in quotes because it’s from the Katy Perry song Firework.    The reason I’m quoting that song today is because I need to say something about what’s been going on in the UK for the past 2 weeks.

While I won’t address the atrocities–they’ve been given enough coverage by the mainstream media–I do want to honor the courage, strength, and fortitude of the British people. A people, so kind, so good hearted, so friendly, that their uniformed police officers don’t even carry guns to police the populous.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit London and the UK several times with my daughter and husband. London itself is a metropolis filled with thousand-year-old English history but is a veritable Babel of languages and cultures all living, working, existing together. And every single Englishman I’ve met on my travels, no matter what their color, religion, or political party affiliation, has been polite, courteous, friendly, and–to use a British euphemism–Brilliant. One of my brothers-in-law is from the UK and he is just as kind, loving, and,  yes (again!) brilliant as his homeland mates.

During World War II when Britain was getting bombed and gassed by its enemies, Winston Churchill told his people “..never flinch, never weary, never despair.” That well known British stiff upper lip and backbone of steel has served the people of the UK well for generations and will continue to do so.

The outpouring of love for the people of Manchester and the victims, families, and citizens of the London attacks, from around the world is an example of what never giving into evil can accomplish; of remembering that love is unbreakable like a diamond whereas evil is like a deadly virus that must be isolated, treated, and eradicated for the good of all.

In a game of rock, paper, scissors, love is always the rock, the winner. Love crushes everything else – every evil, every terror, every atrocity. Love always wins.

Always.

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Filed under Author, Life challenges, love, Strong Women

Book Pet Peeves…I’ve got a million!


Dialogue that doesn’t ring true to the characters. Misplaced modifiers. Sex just for sex sake. Hunky guys who don’t know they are. The alpha whose entire personality and being is changed overnight by the love of a good woman.

The list could go on and on and…you get the picture. I’ll pick one just for space saving sake ( that way this blog won’t be 50,000 words long!)

The one that really gets me is the last one. You’ve got an alpha male who basically is a walking, talking, take-no-prisoners-be-the-leader kinda guy. He rarely smiles. He’s built like a combat tank. He vows never, ever, EVAH to get close enough to anyone that he’d feel any kind of emotion for them. Your basic misanthropic hunkadoodle. I have a writing friend who calls these types of guys ALPHAHOLES. Perfect description.

Enter the heroine. In 250+ pages she does one thing  – it could be anything from biting her bottom lip to punching the hero – that miraculously changes everything that has gone into this man’s internal makeup for 30+ years. Overnight. One thing.

And he’s a changed human for the rest of his natural days. He’ll never again be the silent, sacrificing all for the mission, defender of the world at the sake of his own happiness kind of guy. His entire demeanor changes. His way of thinking evolves. Overnight.

Overnight.

I’m just not feeling it, peeps.

I read a lot. A LOT! And I’m a wicked fast reader. I’m a Netgalley reader/reviewer, plus my Kindle has more books loaded onto it than I think it was constructed for. I can read a book a day – and not the Harlequin 200 paged ones, either. I just finished the hardback version of COME SUNDOWN by Nora Roberts in a day and that baby topped out at 468 pages.

So, I read a lot and I’m a widespread reader. I’ve seen an awful lot of these silent but deadly alphas written lately by traditionally published and self-published writers. Some of the story arcs make sense and give a reason the male transitions his entire makeup when he realizes his love for the heroine – many do not. Actually, A LOT do not.  There’s no justifiable reason this guy turns from hating mankind to kissing babies in the street and adopting orphan kittens. And that just burns me because people don’t change over night. People, basically, if truth be told, don’t change. I understand this is fiction and we have a great deal of literary license when it comes to characters/people. I get that and believe me, when it’s written correctly, this situation can happen in romantic fiction.

 

Give me a redeemed criminal who’s rehabilitation is believable, that there’s a legitimate reason he went straight( JD Robb’s Roarke, for instance ) and I’m hooked. Show me how a wounded soldier who thinks he has nothing to live for works through that emotion -logically – with the heroine and I’m hooked( Marianne Rice’s WOUNDED LOVE for instance).

Don’t just give me an alphahole and have him change overnight because the heroine is spunky or cute or a ballbreaker! That just doesn’t ring true, folks. Not in romance, and not in life. Not in my experience, any way. IF you like these types of heroes and stories, then YAY. Have fun reading them. I don’t and when I realize I won’t get that hour or two I invested in reading an implausible character back, well, I’m not a happy camper.

‘Nuff said….

Because this is blog hop there are a bunch of other writers who have their own peeves. Stop by and visit them.

 

 

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

Elvis and Me

I try not to think too much about my childhood because it was…intense. And disturbing. And very lonely.

But, in the spirit of this challenge, I’m going to pluck a good memory out of the old storage banks of my aging mind.

For my twelfth birthday, my mother wanted to do something special. I had no friends, so a party wasn’t feasible. I don’t think at that time in my life she was talking to any of our relatives, so again, no family get-together was going to happen to celebrate my big day. She decided – and I don’t know how or why – to get tickets for me, she, and my step-father to see Elvis Presley perform at Madison Square Garden in NYC.

The King was on his comeback tour and my mother had been a fan in her teens. Strangely, I was too! I was a fan of his movies, his lively music, even his bless-from-God good looks. They didn’t call him “KING” for nothing!

We were on an exceedingly tight budget as I remember from those days, and my mother had to save for 6 months to pay for the tickets. 6 months. The tickets she was able to afford were the least expensive ones, at $12.50 each.  6 months to save a few cents or a dollar a week from her grocery shopping, using coupons to wiggle every penny she could to pay the $37.50 for the tickets. That should tell you how financially strapped we were. This was 1972.

Anyway…

She scrimped and saved and the big day finally came. We hopped the ferry from Staten Island, which was .25 cents per person each way ( so another $1.50 added to the budget) then took the subway uptown to 34th street. Believe it or not, I can’t remember how much a subway token was back then. It was a Saturday night show, so the Garden was packed. We were in the second to the last row in the last section of rows in the entire building. I could almost touch the Garden’s ceiling!  I couldn’t even see the stage. It looked like a minuscule postage stamp from our seats. There was no jumbotron so people like us could see Elvis projected in full form – it hadn’t been invented yet, can you imagine? You can’t go to any kind of venue now where they don’t have a jumbotron or two…or four.

Anyway…

We walked to our seats ( and it was a helluva walk!) settled down and waited for the show to start. No leftover funds for things like popcorn or souvenirs, but I didn’t care. I was at my very first concert and it was the King of Rock-n-Roll! My 12-year-old self was super jazzed. The lights dimmed, the crowd started to clap, and the music started.

It’s impossible to tell you how excited I was. I couldn’t see him, but I could hear him. Perfectly. Up to the day he died,  the man had a voice the Gods of music gifted to him. Deep and rich and perfect. At 12 I was too young to think of it as a sexy, purely masculine voice. At 57, I’m remembering it as just that. A hot blast of smoke and heat, raw and primal. God, I loved that man!

For over two hours Elvis sang, flirted with the audience, played a few instruments and generally made this the happiest birthday I’d ever had – and the happiest I’d have for the next decade and a half. Intense childhood, remember? (Teen years were worse.)

 

Anyway…

That’s about the happiest memory I have from my childhood and it was a doozy! Five years later the King would be dead. Generations of fans to come could only know him through the memories of his music, films, a few videos.  But I’ll always be able to say I saw him live. I saw the King of Rock-n-Roll. I experienced a little bit of musical history at a time when music and books where the only good things in my life.

Since this is part of blog hop, stop by some of the other author blogs below and read about their happy childhood memories.

 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Strong Women

#Celebrating some good news.

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

Can you just say “YOWZA!!!”

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

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

See ya……………………

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

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

 

Excerpt:

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

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

So. Not. Me.

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

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

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

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

BuyLinks:

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

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

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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