Category Archives: #Mfrwauthors

We’re going waaaaaaaay back, here!

Welcome to week #2 of the 2018 MFRWauthor Blog Challenge. Today, we’re supposed to tell you about our earliest memory.

Okay, this one’s a toughie because I’m… not young, and my memory isn’t what it was even a month ago!!!

When I really think about it the very first memory I can conjure is from when I’m about 5 and I went to the library with my babysitter for the first time. I remember walking into the building and being surrounded by the stacks and racks of books. There’s a certain smell libraries have – knowledge and fine paper – that I can still recognize today. It’s like comfort food for my senses. I loved books even back then and I distinctly remember getting my library card when I was with my babysitter. So cool. We took out a bunch of kid books and she read them all to me and then encouraged me to try and read them too. Love that! What a great memory that is.

I still love libraries and whenever I’m in a new city I make a point to visit one. I don’t take any books out, I just troll around the stacks and admire the architecture. And, of course, the books!
Let’s see what some of the other authors in the blog hop have for their first memories:

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My favorite thing I’ve written…

Welcome to 2018 and the newest 52 week Blog Challenge. This year I’m getting on board from day 1 and the first prompt is a goodie.

Parents of multiple children will tell you that they love each of their children equally. I only have one child so I can say for me, that’s true. I love my daughter over all other children. But I tend to think that parents with more than onlies are giving themselves a line. I may be wrong, but I’ve seen it in families I know. One child is usually more favored by a parent whether they mean to show it to the world or not, than the others. **For you parents of multiple children, please don’t yell at me or send me angry tweets. This is simply my opinion, and I’ll explain why next.

This week’s prompt is the Favorite thing I’ve written and why. Now, authors are like parents. Each of their books are considered to be their babies and are treated as such. Most authors will tell you if you ask them which is their favorite book they’ve written, that they love them all equally ( just like parents of multiples will.) Each new book is like a new child, to be loved and cherished and adored.

I get that, I really do.

But….( you knew that was coming, didn’t you!)

After 10 books published ( and a total of 41 written) I do have one favorite that stands above all the others. The reason is simple: it was the first book where I had the HERO fully flushed out in my mind before I ever had a heroine for him.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS is the love story of Padric Cleary and Clarissa Rogers. Pat’s a veterinarian and Clarissa is a family doctor. Before I ever had a thought about Clarissa, Pat was a fully formed person in my head. He’s my favorite male character because he’s so misunderstood by everyone, including his twin sister, Moira. Everyone in Carvan thinks Pat’s a playa. It’s true that he does date a lot of girls, but its because he’s looking for the one.  He wants the same kind of love his parents have – everlasting, complete, and romantic. Every girl he dates thinks they can change his love ’em and leave ’em personality. But Clarissa Rogers isn’t interested in Pat and – of course- that makes her the perfect girl for him.

This was the third book in the MacQuire Women Series that Wild Rose Press published for me and I love it the best of all my books so far simply because I adore Pat Cleary!

Here’s the official blurb: Family Practice Doctor Clarissa Rogers’ first impression of Padric Cleary is biased and based on gossip. The handsome, charming veterinarian is considered a serial dater and commitment-phobic by his family and most of the town. Relationship shy, Clarissa refuses to lose her heart to a man who can’t pledge himself to her forever.

Pat Cleary, despite his reputation, is actually looking for “The One.” When he does give his heart away, he wants it to be for life. With his parent’s marriage as his guidebook, he wants a woman who will be his equal and soul mate in every way. 

Can Pat convince everyone – including Clarissa – she’s the only woman for him?

Now, since this is the first blog of the year in the MFRW blog challenge, stop by some of these other authors and see what they consider the favorite thing they’ve written is.

and if you’re looking for me, I can be found here :

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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:

 

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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

How can I pick just one??

We’re winding down on the 52-week blog. Just a few entries left and today is such a hard one for me. I have to share a favorite recipe with you all. Just one. One recipe. I think I mentioned before I am a cookbook hoarder. Truly. I own upward of 130 cookbooks from all over the world and from all eras – case in point, I have a church-sponsored spiral bound cookbook from a Methodist church dated 1913. EVERYTHING, EVERY SINGLE RECIPE calls for whole milk, real butter, pork fat, or fresh cheese. Proof that nutritional times have changed greatly in the past 100+ years!

Any hoo…I digress.

I delved deep into my recipe card files, trolled through my holiday food prep books and came up with a family and friend favorite that’s easy, delicious, and depending on how you make it not too too too calorie-laden!

My Chocolate Trifle

I made this just last week for a holiday party and was smart enough- for once – to snap a pix.

 

Here’s the EASY recipe ( the harder one follows!)

Ingredients

1 box of any commercial brand chocolate cake

2 16 oz tubs of Cool Whip Lite

1 5 oz box of instant MyTFine Chocolate, sugar-free  pudding

Crumbled chocolate bar of your choice ( I use the Cadbury Chocolate Orange that comes out at the holidays)

Instructions

  1. Prepare and bake the cake as directed on the cake box using 2 9″ round baking tins
  2. Prepare the pudding and chill
  3. Once the cake is baked and cooled in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, place one complete cake round into the bottom of a trifle bowl. You can either place it in one whole piece, or crumble the cake up.
  4. next, layer one tub of cool whip lite over it. Smooth it out so you get two distinct lines of color
  5. next, layer 1/2 the pudding over the cool whip. Smooth it out so you get 3 distinct lines of color.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 with the other cake round, the other tube of cool whip and the rest of the pudding.
  7. top with crumbled chocolate bar pieces or you can shave the chocolate on top if you prefer small chunks.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2-4 hours.

Delish!
Now the harder recipe ( and the one I make!!!) And the reason the above picture has 3 cake rounds instead of two!

Ingredients:

a. for the Chocolate Cake:

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temp

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup all purpose white flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup refined sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

Instructions:

1.oven goes to 350 degrees to preheat. Take 3 9 inch cake pans and grease them

2.In a bowl, mix the cocoa, flour, and baking soda together and set the bowl to the side. With a mixer, cream the sugar and the butter until soft and light. Beat in one egg at a time on low speed. Add the vanilla and mix. Then add in half the flour and cocoa mixture, then the sour cream. Finish with the remaining dry  ingredients.

3. Pour into baking pans evenly, about a 1/2 -1 inch each to make even layers.

4. bakes for 20-25 mins, or until a toothpick comes back clean when placed in the center. Oven temps vary. Check at 20 minutes and every 5 minutes until this happens.

5. cool completely.

b. For the pudding:
Use either  Packaged instant or the packaged kind you have to cook. If you use the old-fashioned kind, make sure the pudding is completely cooled and set before the layering starts.

To assemble, see the instructions as above. Cake/cool whip/pudding. Finish with a  cake layer ( like my pciture_ and top with candy.

Both the easy recipe and the from scratch one are delish!!!! To save calories, substitute skim milk for any whole asked for,  use cool whip LITE and SUGAR-free pudding made with skim milk ( not whole)

Every single time I make this whether it is for a dinner party 0f 6 or a group gathering of 10+, it is GONE. I never have left overs of this dessert. Ever.

I can’t wait to see what recipes the other authors in this blog hop have to share. I’m sure to pick up some new goodies!

 

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5 things on my #BucketList

Lovelovelove this challenge this week!!!

We all have (or should have) dreams, wishes, desires that we want to accomplish/do someday. Just like the movie it was named for, these dreams are called our Bucket list.

I will admit, mine was an empty list until 2 years ago. Up until then the only thing I wanted to do was make it through the day, upright, healthy, and fairly unscathed.

Then I got a book contract….and retired from the work force.

And then I allowed myself to dream about what I wanted for my future. I’ve narrowed it down to five because that’s all the blog post allowed for, hence the title!

In no real order, the top 5 things I have on my bucket list are:

Visit Hawaii – and not just visit – take a helicopter flight over the islands, swim under a waterfall, climb the Road to Hana

Visit the Great Barrier Reef before it erodes away.

Skydive with my daughter. She’s already done it so I figure, go with an expert!

Make the USA bestseller list – this one is a little farfetched, especially since I’ll need a runaway bestseller in a category that’s glutted ( contemporary romance) but hey! It’s a wish list, so why not?

Open a charitable foundation – the concept of to whom much is given, much is expected rings sosososos true to me. I have been blessed. Spiritually. Career-wise. Financially. I want, one day, to empower others the way I have been. By paying forward my blessings, I can accomplish this.

I can’t wait to see what some of the bucket list items for my fellow blog challengers are. Click on their links to find out:

 

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A little slice of writing Heaven…

When I decided to write full time after having my first book published, I knew I needed a spot of my very own. A space just for me to escape to and write away. I’m lucky enough to live in a huge house with a finished attic. It has 2 rooms and one was used as a playroom for my daughter when she was a child. The other is basically a storage room chockablock with Christmas decorations, suitcases, furniture no longer is use. You get the idea.

Since my daughter moved out of the house I decided to use her former playroom as my “office.” And that term in a loose one. I had an old desk that I situated near the window in the room which overlooked part of our woodland property. Since I live in the woods, this seemed like the perfect place to write.

Not so much. After a few weeks of writing full time -and sticking to a fairly inflexible writing schedule of 8-10 hours a day, this position proved not so wonderful after all. You see, even though my nearest neighbor is 1/4 mile away geographically, our backyards abut. The neighbor has two very large, very NOISY dogs who spend most of their days outside, fenced in, in the backyard. The fenced in portion is a mere 200 feet from my property line so I could hear the dogs barking LOUDLY ALL DAY LONG.

Can I just say: I lovelovelove dogs. But these two? Not so much.

I needed a new space to write in peace and quiet.

“What about the other room?” hubby asked when I told him my dilemma?

I hadn’t considered it before because the room was, as I’ve said, a storage room. A hovel. A hoarder’s paradise. To use it, the room would not only need to be culled, it would need to be redone because the walls were plain sheetrock and the floor, well, there wasn’t much of a floor.

“No prob,” said hubby. Can you see why I adore this man?

First, I cleaned everything EVERYTHING! out of it. Did I say hoarder? What’s worse than a hoarder?

Then, hubby got to work. He plastered the walls then painted them in two colors I’d requested – muted sage and buttercup, and then laid a new floor. The entire project took three weeks because he could only work on it during the evenings when he got home from work.

This office was a real office, not just a desk. Now I had a desk, a few bookcases, and plenty of room to store all my book swag, books and all the accouterment that go with marketing and publishing.

Oh, and there’s a window in this office too that I put my desk in front of. I get to watch the seasons change daily since it overlooks our forest. When I’m daydreaming I get to observe the deer, squirrels, chipmunks and birds frolic and play in front of me.

It’s the perfect place for me to just drift away and ….write.

The best part? Since it’s on the opposite side of the house I never hear those damn dogs barking anymore.

Le sigh. Perfection.

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to read about the writing rooms of the other authors in this blog.

 

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The work never ends…..

While in the middle of NaNoWriMo2017  I received my proofs for my upcoming April 2018 release CAN’T STAND THE HEAT, book 3 in the WIll Cook For Love Series. Thanksgiving is this week. Christmas is but a calendar-page-turning away. Busy, much?

What’s that expression? When it rains, it pours??

Yesterday I sat – literally SAT – at my desk for 11 hours. 2 Bathroom breaks and one 10  minute stop to have lunch.

Not complaining — never complaining!– about too much writing/editing work. This is what I want my life to be, what I’ve dreamed of. What I wished it could be.

So, yeah. No complaints from this chickita.

(But a little sleep wouldn’t kill me! heehee)

If you need me, I can be found here when I come up from editing and writing for air:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

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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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The day that changed my life

Another week, another interpretation of this blog title. Personal? Professional? Neither? Both?

Okay, throwing that virtual dart on the wall again I’m gonna go with professional.

The day I pick is the day I learned I was going to have my first romance novel published BY A REAL PUBLISHER!!!!

I was at the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio – my very first RWA conference.

I’d already gotten the email from Rhonda Penders, publisher of The Wild Rose Press, that she wanted to see my entire manuscript after I’d come in first place in a contest she’d judged for unpublished writers. I’d sent it along about a month previously to an editor, who coincidentally, told me she would be attending the conference and thought it might be nice to put a face to my “email voice.” We decided on a date and time to meet.

At the appointed hour I made my way to the registration desk and met with the person whom I’d been corresponding for the past month. She was absolutely lovely. We discussed many things – the conference, the weather in San Antonio – but we skirted around the topic of the book she was reading for me. I thought that was a telling sign: she hated it!

Finally, I had to get to another course so I shook her hand and thanked her for being so kind and gracious in meeting me. Before she let me go she said when I got home I would be receiving an email that might make me happy. In a word, WRP had decided they wanted my book for their list. It took me a second to realize she meant they wanted to publish it. A loooooooooong-ass second. I was so silent, standing there, still holding her hand, I fear she thought I was having a stroke or some kind of medical emergency.

The moment dragged on and I swear I couldn’t form a sentence right then if I’d been jolted by lightning.

Suddenly, a group of women walked by, all laughing, and that noise jarred me out of my paralysis. I smiled – or I think I did – squeezed her hand, and thanked her. Again. Like, five times! She laughed, told me I was welcome and encouraged me to  get  along to my course.

I don’t think I did. If memory serves, I went back to my room and cried. For an hour. I cried so much I had to redo all my makeup before that evening’s event.

I honestly don’t remember much more about that day because all I did was replay what she’d said about publishing my book on a virtual and continual loop in my head.

That was 2014 and I was a naive addition to the publishing community. Three years later and I know a little more about what to expect after signing that contract.

But even today, every time an editor tells me they want my book for their list, I still feel like that naive little publishing-virgin and have my Sally Field moment.

 

It’ll be fun to see what the other writers in this blog hop have decided is their best day. Click on their links to read what they’d written for today.

 

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