Category Archives: MFRWauthor

#Research…a necessary evil or funfunfun to do?

I love trivia. The more arcane or weird an item of info is, the better for me. When TRIVIAL PURSUIT first burst onto the world stage in the 1980’s no one wanted to play against me. Le sigh…..

Because I like knowing weird trivia facts, I lovelovelove research. My characters are all over the map with regards to their careers and knowledge bases. I’ve had doctors, veterinarians, tv producers, writers, lawyers, and artists, just to name a few. And for every book and different career choice, I’ve had to do a little research to ensure I was staying true to not only the character, but how their career fit in with the plot line.

Some of my favorite pieces of info that I learned from researching my books are:

  1. a cow has 4 stomachs
  2. the gestation period for a horse is 11-12 months
  3. a Coroner doesn’t have to be a medical doctor.
  4. the first digital camera was invented and used in 1975
  5. milk chocolate tempers between 87 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit
  6. White chocolate is really a chocolate derivative made from cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids
  7. the basic cake recipe for almost every baker is simple to easy.

Writers need to get things right in their work. In the past, publishers had fact checkers to make sure when an author added a piece of info into their story it was correct. Not so much anymore. But now, with the information needed at our fingertips, anyone can and should be a fact checker simply by using Google.

There are two reasons I am so anal about research. One is from a writing viewpoint, the other as a reader. A few years ago I read a book by a very well known and well paid romance writer who said that the hero was wearing Bausch and Lomb Blue colored contact lenses. At the time, I was a contact lens technician and KNEW B&L made no such lens. As a reader I was disappointed in the writer and the publisher for not fact checking that. (FYI, B&L now does make a blue colored lens in their disposable brand of lenses. Back when this book was written, they did not and would not for several years.)

The personal reason I am such a devout researcher has to do with my first book. It was about an ice skater who’d won  2 Olympic gold medals. When I was describing her winning routine, I spelled the move she made as A-X-L-E. Now, I skated for decades myself, but never knew the word when used in this skating context was spelled A-X-E-L. An agent I’d sent the manuscript to also happened to be an ice skater on the side. When she saw how I’d misspelled the word, she wrote me back that she never read the rest of the book because that mistake questioned my credibility as a writer of the subject to her. Lesson learned. The hard way.

So, research. Fun or tiresome? You already know my answer.

Since this is a blog hop, lets see what the other authors have learned from their book research:

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Lyrical Author, MFRWauthor, Newsletter, research, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

My Cinderella Story; #MFRWAuthorBlogChallenge

I wasn’t relegated to sweeping, dusting, cooking, and being a house-maid, and I didn’t have a magical fairy godmother (just a wonderful editor-godmom), but my road to publication started with a contest and ended with a contract.

In the end of 2014 I entered the first romance writing contest of my life. I’d written my first romance novel and wanted to see if it had any chance of being published traditionally. I loved the book but I wasn’t sure anyone else would and I entered the contest, basically, for feedback. The contest called for the first three chapters, so that’s what I sent. And then, I simply forgot about it. I was still working full time, menopause was kicking my chubby tush, and I was uber busy in my personal life.

Four months after entering, I received an email from the contest chairperson telling me I’d won my division. Included in the email were my scores by the various judges and comments they’d made. Once the shock at winning wore off, I read all the comments and felt like I had a shot a getting published. A day later another email arrived from Rhonda Penders, the publisher of the Wild Rose Press. She was the final judge for my entry. She wrote that she’d liked what she’d read and asked if I had a completed manuscript. Boy, did I! Could I send it along to her? Boy, could I! So I did.

Two months after that I received another email from the editor Ms. Penders had assigned the book to, to be read. Condensed version here of the story : they were offering me a contract to publish.

When I scraped myself off the floor and stopped crying, I said YES. And that’s how my first book, SKATER’S WALTZ, came into the book reading world.

Three years later and I’ve had 11 books published and have just signed 2 contracts for 5 more in the next 2 years.

Story-book ending much? Yeah. Big-time!

Since this is a blog hop, hop on over to these other authors to get their  contest experiences.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, MacQuire Women, MFRWauthor, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

I don’t like to give advice, but……

Number 51! We’re almost done with an entire year of blog posts. Today’s topic is a goodie — but then I’ve thought they were all goodies!

So, like my title says, I don’t like to give advice. The reason is simply because I don’t like to get it! Especially unsolicited.

But…(You knew that was coming, didn’t you?! HeeHee)

What advice would I give to New Authors? Well, it’s simple really. DON’T GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM. EVAH!!!

I was 55 years old when my first book was published. A time when people are thinking towards retirement, and I started a whole new career. I had many naysayers when I first submitted to publishers and entered contests at the age of 54.

You’re too old to start, now.” 

“You’re not the right age or demographic or personality to write and be successful with romance writing.” 

“You’ll never make it. It’s a young person’s market.”

“You’re going to get your heart broken with all the rejections you’re going to get.”

I heard it all.

But I still dreamed I’d be published. I listened to those comments and then just as quickly forgot about them.

Yes, I’d had a few things published in my 20’s and 30s’ — mostly short stories in literary magazines that no one ever read, and professional nursing journals where a few people did see them. But nothing I could support myself with. The dream to be a published book author always stayed with me, though, despite that.

And yes, it took me until I was middle-aged, menopausal, and slightly neurotic before I ever saw a book of mine in print, but… and this is the key… I stuck to my dream and saw it fulfilled.

So, new writer who is hopefully reading this, if you want to write, write. If you want to be a published author, go for it. Don’t give up. Ever. EVAH!

I wonder what the other authors in this blog hop want to tell you? Stop by their sites and see:

 

3.

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, MFRWauthor, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

My biggest Accomplishment

Wow. It’s hard to believe that an entire year of blogging is almost complete! This is week 50. Just 2 more to go.

Now, since this is a writing blog for romance writers ( mainly) you might think that my biggest accomplishment is something…literary. Maybe it’s the fact that I got a publishing contract for my first book at the age of 55. Or that I’ve won several awards for my books. It might even be that I’ve been lucky enough to get 10 books published in 3 years – and none of them were indie/self pubbed. While all those accomplishments were ones I’ve, well, accomplished, none of them are what I consider my biggest and best accomplishment to date.

The answer may surprise you, but my biggest accomplishment is my marriage and the fact that it has survived 30 years.

I’ve written extensively about how I was raised in a contentious, divorced family. Both parents remarried, but they continued to be bitter about the other and take it out on me – whether intentionally or not — until I reached maturity and cut off contact with them. My mother’s second marriage was no better than her first, the only difference was I was older and a witness to the emotional abuse it wrought. With this as my example, I truly felt marriage was the worst thing in the world and I was never going to do it.

Then I met my man.

He was raised in  the diametrically opposite family life that I was. Two parents, a shared religion and commitment to one another and their children, financially stable, and educated to my 4 parents, sporadic religious practice, labile commitment and a working class poverty. The phrase one paycheck away from financial ruin was the theme of my childhood.

I didn’t believe in marriage because I’d been shown how horrible it was. My man believed in it because he’d been shown how wonderful it was. Once I met his parents, I had to agree. My previous thoughts that all marriages are horrible flew right out the window.

Now, I’m not an easy person to live with at times, and can be moody, isolationalist, and cutting if provoked. I knew living with me would be no picnic. But we endured. Somehow, by the grace of God, we endured. And I truly learned what it meant to love someone else so much that you’d do anything for them to make them happy.

I think some people regard the word commitment conditionally. They will commit and pledge to another, but the first time adversity or hardship comes through the door, that commitment gets broken. In our house, commitment is the end all be all. It’s for life. Whether we sink or swim, are successful or not, we made a vow to one another to see it through. Marriage vows are written for a reason. That phrase in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, through good times and bad MEANS something. I tend to think many people these days don’t get that.

Anyway, December 26th I will be married 30 years, Here’s looking forward to the next 30!

Drop by some of these other authors to see what their biggest accomplishments are!

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

Gift a Book, Part 2

Yesterday I told you why I love to give –and get — a book for a holiday gift. Today I want to talk about the kinds of books you give to others.

The type of reader is as diverse and sundry as the genres of books available. From autobiographies to YA, from biographies to Military history. From Cookbooks to Craft books; True Crime and Murder to Cozy mysteries. And of course, my favorite, Romance.  Within each of those genres are several subgenres and to find the perfect book for the book reader on your list, you need to wade through all the varieties, skip over some of the styles, and comb through all the different classifications of each genre and subgenre.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it, just to find a book. Well, it may be a little tedious, but it’s sosososo worth it when you find the perfect one.

This is a very abbreviated list of the types of books I would give to my book reading peeps and family. Very abbreviated!!!

Babies: ( for Mommy and Daddy to read aloud) Goodnight, Moon 

In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon.” And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room—to the picture of the three little bears sitting on chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one—the little bunny says goodnight.

 

Toddlers: If Animals Kissed Goodnight

If animals kissed
like we kiss good night,
Giraffe and his calf
would stretch their necks high
and kiss just beneath
the top of the sky.

In a cozy bedtime chat with her mom, a young girl wonders how animal families might say good night. Would Wolf and his pup “kiss and then HOWL”? Would Bear and her cub “kiss and then GROWL”? But what about Sloth and her baby? They move soooo slooowwwww . . . they’re sure to be kissing from early evening until long after everyone else is fast asleep!

Beginning readers: Any of the Berenstain Bears books and of course, my all-time favorite, The Little Engine That Could

Young readers: Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys ( dated, I know, but they all teach good concepts such as critical thinking, sharing, and trust)

Tweens: The Fault in Our Stars


Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Teens/YA: The Beginning of Everything

Varsity tennis captain Ezra Faulkner was supposed to be homecoming king, but that was before—before his girlfriend cheated on him, before a car accident shattered his leg, and before he fell in love with unpredictable new girl Cassidy Thorpe.

Adults from 20-100: I like true crime/history/biographies. Two of my absolute favorites, and which I’ve read more than once each are Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Shots rang out in Savannah’s grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981.  Was it murder or self-defense?  For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares.  John Berendt’s sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction.  Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.

and Under the Banner of Heaven   

This extraordinary work of investigative journalism takes readers inside America’s isolated Mormon Fundamentalist communities, where some 40,000 people still practice polygamy. Defying both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the renegade leaders of these Taliban-like theocracies are zealots who answer only to God.

As I’ve said, this is a very abbreviated list. I could go on for pages about the best books to invest in, but time is short and money is fleeting, so….

Of course, you can always gift one on my books to the romance reader you’re buying for( shameless plug, I know!) if the Christmas Spirit moves you. Here’s a complete list to peruse. Peggy’s books

 

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, Literary characters, Lyrical Author, MFRWauthor, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Let me brag for a minute…..

I hate doing this….braggin’ on myself. I wanted to write about my daughter and her first marathon but I already did that. So, I decided to brag on the one piece of good professional news I’ve gotten lately.

I came in 3rd place in the long contemporary category in the 2017 Pages from the Heart Contest.

YAY, me!

The last 2 times I entered an unpublished piece in this contest I  finaled as well and both those books went on to be published by Kensington/Lyrical Shine: Cooking with Kandy and A Shot at love ( which was originally titled Gemma’s Greek.)

The book that came in third this year is book 1 in my new Bridal series, so if history runs true to form…….you can finish that thought because I’m afraid if I say it’s gonna get published I’ll jinx it…

Duh! I just jinxed it!

Let’s see what the other authors in this #MFRWauthor blog hop have to brag on….

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, MFRWauthor, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Inspiration is close by….

So, after missing last week because I had nothing to contribute to the topic, I thought long and hard about this week’s prompt. Originally, I had an entirely different posting planned. Then the terrorist attack in NYC happened. I tell you this because of the person I’m going to highlight as my inspiration.

My beautiful daughter lives in Manhattan. Now, she lives nowhere near where the attack took place. But she was four blocks from it at a conference during the time it occurred. Sitting in my little cocoon of an office in New Hampshire, writing away, I knew nothing about the event until she texted. Once she did, I was all over the news wires like white on rice.

The text said If you hear about a shooting on the West Side, just know that *** ( her boyfriend’s name) and I are okay. Can you just imagine the ice water that sluiced through my veins when I read that? As I said, I immediately turned the news on and watched the entire event unfold — as most of America did — in real time. What in the world did we ever do before we had cell phone cameras?

My instinctual reaction was to tell my daughter to come home. Move from her apartment, give up her job, come home where it’s safe and sound and I know you are okay.

That, as I said, was my first reaction. I did no such thing, of course, because we’re talking about my daughter here. She’d already lived through the Boston Marathon bombings when she resided in that town. She’d sheltered in place with one of my nieces who was attending MIT at the same time,  and survived the ordeal a stronger, more determined person.

When I’d asked her to move home then so I could be assured she’d be safe, her response had been, “Then that lets the terrorists win because I’d be running away from my lifestyle and the life I’ve made.  Their goal is to instill terror so we bow down to them. I’m not moving. I’m not giving in. Aren’t you the one who taught me the Tao of NGU NGI?” ( Never Give Up Never Give In).

Well, yes. I was. It’s very humbling having your words tossed back at you, especially when they’re used to prove a point.

So.

This time, when terror struck, I knew better than to state my case for her coming home again. My daughter, who was born in a tiny town in Wisconsin, is a true New Yorker. She’s got the grit, the determination, the steadfastness I so admire in anyone. She will go about her living her life — as all New Yorkers do — more determined, more focused, more kick-ass.

Oh, and just to walk the walk and talk the talk? She’s running the NYC marathon this weekend. No crazed lunatic of a terrorist is going to make her change her life.

I guess it’s pretty obvious now that my lovely daughter is the person who inspires me the most. She inspires me to be strong, determined, steadfast, daring. She’s encouraged me to live outside my little box, explore the beautiful world we live in, and to make each day a testament to freedom and love. By living her life as she does, she’s setting an example to people everywhere, especially her mother.

Now, the other authors in this blog hop all have people who inspire them that they want you to know about, too. Click on the links below and visit them. Leave some love and pass it on. And be an inspiration to someone if you can.

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Filed under Family Saga, MFRWauthor, Strong Women