Category Archives: #Mfrwauthors

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

#MFRWauthors If I never had to do this one task again….

I’m not gonna go the writing route today for this topic. I could probably pick out 50 things I never want to do again with regards to writing, like line editing, spellcheck, ensuring grammar and tense are correct. I simply want to write and not have to worry about all that falderall!

But I’m not going the writing route, instead, I’m taking a detour into adulting because there is/are somethings I wish I never ever ever had to do again: housework.


There are days I wish I had a real-life, true-to-form, living with me in my house, fairy godmother. Or at least a simple version of Cinderella, only without the whole going to the ball and being married to a prince subplot.


I am sososoossoososososoo sick of housework in general and dusting/vacuuming/polishing specifically.

Where does the dust even come from? I’m alone in the house for, like, 14 hours a day. I’m not swishing around from room to room churning up air motes or leaving behind evidence I’ve been in the rooms. Most of my window blinds are closed to keep the midday glare out. But lo and behold, within one day, if I scrape my finger across a table it comes back with….crap on it. Dust crap.



Sometimes, when I walk into my dining room after sweeping it no less than an hour before,  dust bunnies the size of friggin’ tumbleweeds will glide across the room, pushed forward by some unseen alien force hell-bent on making me crazy!

Seriously, I’m sosososo done!



I wonder what the other authors in this blog hop would love NOT to have to do. Check out their posts:


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Things only my family would understand

Goodness! Week 10 already. Today’s topic is a little, well, I don’t want to say intrusive, but it kinda is, because I’m wondering if I have to explain WHY only my family would understand. I’m gonna take the easy way out here and just list them without explaining why. It’s not only easier, it’s less embarrassing. You guys have enough imagination, you might be able to answer why I’ve listed these things. If you can’t…oh well!

In no apparent order, only my family would understand:

  • my insane, almost pathological need for privacy
  • why shopping gives me a panic attack
  • my love for old black and white movies from the 30’s and 40’s
  • the reason I don’t remember my sophomore year in college
  • why I consider mayonnaise sandwiches comfort food
  • my uber-defined personal space bubble
  • my issues with food.
  • the reason I dislike Tom Brady
  • why I’ve dyed my hair since I was 16

It’s gonna be interesting to see if the other authors on this blog challenge put up their reasons and don’t take the embarrassed coward’s way out that I did! Click on their links and find out.




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I’m not Inventor-y…

This week’s topic is a hard one for me because I’m not an inventor-y-type girl. I don’t even like to go to the beach, much less an island. If I got stuck on a deserted island, I’d probably be the first one the cannibals ate, anyway because, you know…I’m chubby! Lots of protein and fat.


So survival being the name of the game I’d need some kind of device that would be able to turn the water surrounding the island into water suitable to drink. It takes 3 minutes to die without air, 3 weeks without food and three days without water, so the water is a necessity. I know there are currently machines called desalinization thingies, but I’d need to be able to make this on the island from the raw materials around.

Don’t know how I’d do this, don’t have a clue where to being, but….that’s what I’d make. A thingie machine to make clean, drinkable water.

And then once that was off the drawing board and put into practice, I’d find a way to invent a pizza oven. Just saying. Food, you know?


Well, it’s uber obvious I’m not inventor-y, but maybe some of the other authors on this challenge are. Hop on over to their sites to see what they’ve come up with. And if it’s good, I’ll probably make arrangements to be deserted with them so I could survive.


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#MFRW I don’t like your voice….

The prompt of this piece is the worst writing advice I’ve ever gotten. I’m gonna share that, but a little backstory first so you can understand why the advice was the worst!

I’ve been searching for a literary agent since I started my journey in publishing. Haven’t found one yet but it’s not because I haven’t tried. At every conference I attend that allows agent pitches I sign up for a spot. In the past three years I’ve pitched myself and my work to 9 different literary agents. 6 were NYC based, 2 were from California, and one was from the NorthWest. They’ve all been industry  pros with great author pedigrees and clients,  but none of have them have offered to represent me. They’ve all asked for me to send them my work, which I have. Now remember, I’ve pitched to 9 agents. 4 never bothered to contact me back after I’d sent the work and waited the allotted 30 then 60 days for a response. When I did re-email them, no responses. 4 sent me form rejection letters within 15-30 days after I’d mailed my CV and work, not commenting on what I’d sent. The last agent I met with was last year. I’d actually connected with her via email  prior to the conference and she’d asked me to send her my work right away so that she could get a feel for what I wrote before meeting me. I complied.

I met her face to face for an allotted 15 minute meet/pitch and the first thing she said to me was “I don’t like your voice.”


I knew she meant my writing voice, not my actual voice voice. Even so, that was a bit…harsh as an opening line. She went on to say she’d read 5 pages of the 30 she’d requested and couldn’t get past the way I wrote. There was nothing technically wrong with it, she said, just that it was unappealing.


Okaaaaaaaaay. This had taken exactly 15 seconds of a 15  minute space. What was I supposed to do? Sit there and just stare at her until time was up? Stick up for myself? Cry?


I mean really. Talk about how to hurt someone’s feelings. Only, mine weren’t hurt, surprisingly. No, I was feeling something else entirely.

When I get really mad I tend to get very quiet. Deathly so. People around me have remarked that me, quiet, is terrifying.


I was so stunned by what she’d said, I couldn’t think of a response. That silence, I think, prompted her to say her next thing – the worst advice I’ve ever gotten. “You should think about changing your voice. Experiment with something different, because I just don’t think you’re going to sell commercially sounding the way you do.”


It was apparent to me that she hadn’t read the publishing CV I’d sent along. Last year I had already had 8 books traditionally published and had contracted for 3 more. So without an agent I’d already sold 11 book to publishers. If she’d read that she would have known that SOMEBODY liked my writing voice enough to publish me. 11 times. Traditionally.


Again, I stayed silent and smiling, even though I wanted to stick my tongue out at her and say, “so there!!” I know. Real mature. By now I knew even if she offered me a contract ( which she didn’t) I wouldn’t sign with her. If you have an agent you want her/him to be on your side, have your back, and promote you and your work and strengths. When I continued to stay mute she said, “Well, I have a lot of people to see today. I’ll be making decisions on who I want to take on, what work, and such, so  I’ll get back to you within a week or so with my decision.”


Hadn’t she just told me my voice was horrible and that I’d never sell commercially? That certainly didn’t sound like she wanted to represent me, does it? I couldn’t take it another minute. I stood, shook her hand and said, “thanks for meeting with me. Enjoy the rest of the conference,” and I bolted before she could say another word.

Weird, right?

Do I really need to tell you she never, ever, got in touch with me again? Not even a form letter.

Like I said: weird.

So that advice –  to change my writing voice – was simply the worst piece of writing advice I’ve ever gotten. Who would say that? WHY would you say that? Each writing voice is unique; distinctive; individual. I could understand that she didn’t like mine. You can’t please everybody. But as an industry professional to actually tell me to change something that’s so inherently part of me is like asking me to change my DNA makeup; my height; my personality. Would you ask Dr. Suess not to rhyme? Would you advise ee cummings to capitolize?  Make Janet Evanovich ditch the humor? Good God, would you ask Jane Austen to stick to writing letters and give up on the whole fiction thing?

Needless to say, I am still on that quest to find an agent. Preferably one who likes my voice.

Since this is a blog hop, click on the other authors in this challenge and see more example of bad writing advice!



Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance

#MFRW Top 5 things on my bucket list

Until the movie THE BUCKET LIST came out, I’d never heard this term before.

Once I knew what it meant I kinda ignored the term for about 10 years or so because I wasn’t ready to make a list of things to do before I die. I mean, come on. It’s not like I’m imminently north ( or south) bound. I don’t have one foot tipping over to the hereafter yet.

Yet is the definitive word in that previous sentence.

So, since I can dream about what I want to do someday, here are my top five thoughts on the bucket list in no real order of when or how I want to do them.

GO skydiving.

My daughter went a few years ago and said it is unlike any feeling or emotion you will ever have.

TUSCANY. I want to visit Tuscany for an extended stay and take cooking lessons from real, old world Italian chefs. My pasta making needs expert instruction!

Testify before the House Committee on Funding. These life-long bureaucrats need to hear from real people about why funding for Mental Health, Cancer research, and Education needs to be fully funded. I’m sick to death of my tax dollars going to pork spending. These guys need to hear from me in person!

Start a public service organization dedicated to PAYING IT FORWARD. I’ve been so blessed in my life; I think if a person can, they should pay that blessing forward in any way possible. We’re all in this together, folks. We need to boost each other up. I know I personally have stood on the shoulders of all the women who came before me who fought for reproductive rights, voting rights, mental health rights, employment rights. I want to be able to do the same for the next generation of women and the generations to come.

Plant a tree in all 50 states. I can see some eyebrows rising with this one, but it goes along with the paying it forward thought. Every day, millions of trees are cut down for various reasons. I understand most of those reasons, but if we cut down one, shouldn’t we replace it with another so the cycle can continue? If we continue to destroy our natural landscape without any kind of replenishment, the future will be a vast wasteland. I don’t know about you, but I want my great grandkids to be able to climb trees, take a walk in a forest, and breath in clean air!

So, those are my top bucket list items. Stop by the other authors in this blog hop to see what they’re planning on doing with the rest of their lives!


Filed under #Mfrwauthors

Dead or Alive, I’d be thrilled to meet’cha!

Here’s a simple truth: I’m a fangirl. Always have been and always will be. I think I’ve mentioned the very first time I ever met NORA ROBERTS I burst into tears. I was 54 years old, not exactly a hormonal teenager meeting her idol. Well, the hormonal part is true because…you know…menopause.

But I digress.

Today’s MFRW topic is 5 authors we’d like to meet, alive or dead. Now, talk about misplaced modifiers! Do I really want to meet a dead author? Like, now? Wouldn’t that be kinda gross and smelly and…gross? Haha. I get it – we can pick any author from any decade or century and pretend they’re alive.

So, in no defined order, here are my WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE Authors.

Jane Austen. (Dead) This was a no-brainer, right? Girl wrote the first definable romance book and gave us Fitzwillian Darcy. I’d like to sit down for a cuppa with ol’Janey-girl and find out one thing: did Elizabeth marry Darcy because she really loved him, or because she loved Pemberton? I’ve never really been able to reconcile that question. Inquiring minds ( mine!) want to know.


Janet Evanovich. (Alive) If you’ve ever read any of Janet’s Stephanie Plum books, you know what a laugh riot the author is! I’d like to sit down and have a glass of wine ( or a few) and find out where all that family humor comes from. Does she have her very own Grandma Mazur? A pet hamster? Has she been in love with 2 guys at the same time like Steph? A few vinos, a few hours of girl-talk, and I’d be satisfied.

Joan Hess. (Alive) Arly Hanks is a girl after my own heart – and appetite! Her mom, Ruby Bee ( you need to read the books to find out what her name really means!) owns a diner and when Arly isn’t chasing after moonshiners, the pesky and malfeasing Buchanans, or traffic violators speeding through the one traffic light in the tiny town in Arkansas, she’s usually at the diner, scarfing away. The characters in these books are over the top, hysterical, and never, ever predictable. I want to have a beer and some ‘wings with Joan and find out if she made these characters up, or if she has some Buchanans in her own family tree!

Carol O’Connell (Alive) O’Connell is a very reclusive kind of writer. You don’t see her tweeting, trolling facebook, or promoting her wonderful work. Even her author page on Amazon doesn’t carry an author picture! But her books are amazing. Really. The character of Mallory, an abandoned, almost feral child living on the streets of New York, grows into such strong, secure woman, rife with abandonment issues and a computer chip for a brain. She’s loyal to a  fault and is always three steps ahead of any crooks or murderers. I’d like to meet Carol in a corner cafe, have a cup of strong coffee ( Mallory’s lifeblood) and discuss just how she gave birth to one of the most fascinating characters in fiction.

Kendra Elliot ( Alive ) I was introduced to Kendra Elliot’s work through Netgalley and boy-o-boy am I glad I was. If you haven’t read any of the Mercy Kilpatrick mysteries/crime/police procedurals, you need to remedy that. Mercy skirts two worlds – that of a modern-day FBI agent, and that of a “prepper” a person who believes in being prepared at all costs for when the apocalypse or a government disaster and meltdown occurs. She was raised in a cult of preppers and lifelong habits are hard to break. I’d like to ask Kendra how she came up with the character of a prepper and if she has walked the walk and talked the talk of this lifestyle.

Now, since this is a blog hop, why don’t you hop on over to some of the other authors and see who they’ll be sitting down with for a confab – dead or alive!

and when I’m not writing blogs you can find me here:


Filed under #Mfrwauthors

If it’s #Tuesday, it’s #Menopause talk time…

I’m starting a new topic this month and thought I’d lead it off with an oldie, but a goodie from the blog to introduce my thought patterns to ya. Click her to view Moments from Menopause


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How a children’s book forever changed my way of thinking…

What a great topic prompt today!! This blog piece is writing itself because my answer is so easy – and is one I’ve covered a bunch of times on my website.

Without a doubt, THE book that has influenced my life more than any other is THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD. 

First published in 1930, in 2007, the National Education Association named the book one of its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children”.

In the tale, a long train must be pulled over a high mountain. When other, larger engines are asked to pull the train, they refuse. One small engine agrees to try. Repeating to itself over and over, “I think I can,” the little train succeeds in pulling the bigger one over the mountain to its destination. The book ends with the little engine declaring, “I knew I could!”

I’ve said this several times over the years, but this book is, for me, the best version of self-motivation I’ve ever read.

The engine tried to do a task he’d never done before, or even considered doing. He set his mind to it, thinking he could accomplish his task,  he told himself he could – believing it and putting his desire into words, then action – and then did.

What an amazing message for children – and adults, too!

When I started out on my journey to book publication, the first thing I told myself was “I can do this- I can write a book. I’ve got the story in me and I just need to get it on the page.” Telling myself that and believing it, I wrote my first book Skater’s Waltz in a little less than 3 months, mostly between the hours of midnight and 3 am because, well, menopause insomnia! Once I finished the book I then told myself, “you need to get this published.” I not only thought it, I put action behind the desire, entering contests and seeking out agents. Contest won, a publishing deal came next. All because I told myself I could do it and believed I could. Me. A 55 year old, bottle blond, chubby, menopause induced insomniac.

Many times during those first few months when the book was released I thought back to The Little Engine that Could, the book’s underlying message, and how true it was then and is today: If you believe you CAN, you WILL.

I tell myself that every single day. Every. Single. Day. It’s my one undeniable truth.

If you’ve never read THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD, do yourself, your children and your grandchildren a favor, and do so. The message may be simplistic, but I’ve often found that the best lessons to learn in life are the simplest ones.

And since this is an author blog hop, hop on over to these other writes and see which books influenced them in life. I’m sure you’ll find one that resonates with you, as well.



Filed under #Mfrwauthors

Just in time for #ValentinesDay

A few years ago I was part of a Wild Rose Press series called the CANDY HEARTS. Each little novella told a love story centered around the candy sweetheart candies. This year, WRP has decided to do a series of boxes sets of those Candy Hearts books and I’m in the first one OUT TODAY!!!

The collection I’m in is called BE MY HERO and you can order it here. 

A quick little synopsis of each book is below. Get yours today and get a jump start on your Valentine’s Day love!!

 3 Wishes by Peggy Jaeger 
Valentine’s Day is Chloe San Valentino’s birthday. Her birthday wish list for the perfect man: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, but this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.

Say Yes by Katie O’Sullivan
Darby Malone has trouble saying no. Hosting a children’s Valentine party at her recently renovated gallery is the last straw, and the last time she intends to say yes to anything. That is, until she meets Ben.
Ben Phillips’ life has been empty since his wife died, his paintings the only thing giving him solace. Can he convince Darby to give him a chance – and to consider him for more than just a place on her gallery walls? Will she give him a place in her heart as well?

You & Me by Stephanie Kepke 
Forty-year-old Alex Spencer has given up on love. Her life revolves around her daughter, sixteen-year-old Josie, even if Josie wants nothing to do with her.
But with Valentine’s Day looming, Alex’s former high school sweetheart, Billy Leibowitz, has been invading her thoughts. Now Candy Hearts are arriving in the mail. Is Billy sending the Candy Hearts? Will this finally be her chance at happily ever after?

One Kiss by Misty Simon 
The last place Lorena Weber wants to be on Valentine’s Day is a singles party. She’ll give it an hour —two, tops. But she didn’t plan on seeing the one man who had turned her world on its side New Year’s Eve.
Caleb Manning got coerced into attending this ridiculous party by a co-worker. His plan was to stay for an hour. That was until he recognized Lorena across the room and had to see if that one kiss was only New Year’s Eve magic or something more.

Dare Me by Debra Druzy
For wedding stylist Misty Morningside, mixing business with pleasure is a professional no-no. That is, until she runs into wedding photographer Adam Wright at a Valentine’s Day event. Dare they set aside business for one night of pleasure?

Ask Me by Laura Strickland 
Leo Rankin attends the library’s Blind Date With a Book and finds himself competing for the last remaining book. Wild child Gerri Webb is not his usual type. Yet he feels an immediate, sizzling attraction and agrees to share the book and its accompanying bag of candy hearts.
The whole idea of a Blind Date With a Book is to go off genre, so Gerri doesn’t mind when their flirty conversation suggests they unwrap each other rather than the mystery book. When a candy heart advises, “Ask Me,” she asks Leo back to her apartment. She never expects button-down Leo to hit all her buttons. Can one night spent off genre translate to real life?

Chill Out by Jana Richards
Renata Cabral needs to hide for the weekend. Her cousin’s Valentine’s Day wedding means she’ll face embarrassing questions from her large, extended family, questions she’s not ready to answer. So, she invents a work-related excuse and escapes to a friend’s lakeside cottage.
Noah Brownlee is ready to mend his broken relationship with his brother. When a friend offers the use of his lakeside cottage, Noah arrives in the middle of a blizzard with his English Mastiff, only to find the place is already occupied by a woman with big brown eyes and quirky sense of humor.
As the blizzard rages, can the candy hearts predict love?

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, 3 Wishes, Author, Candy Hearts, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Romance, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor