Category Archives: Romance Books

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.




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

#GoddessFishBlogTour day 5. Wowza!

Almost a week in already and I’m still going strong. I’m over on Unabridged Andra 

In case you missed any of the previous stops, here are the links, and you should stop by because there’s a Rafflecopter for an Amazon gift card at the end of the tour ( April 13. You gotta be in it to win it!)

March 19: Romance Novel Giveaways
March 20: BooksChatter 
March 20: Sharing Links and Wisdom
March 21: Edgar’s Books
March 21: Christine Young
March 22: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Research is spelled P-I-N-T-E-R-E-S-T!

This is a funfunfun topic for me. I sincerely don’t know what writers did before PINTEREST came along. The first time I was ever told about the site and then visited it, I was addicted. For Life. Seriously.

You all know I’m a huge plotter when it comes to my books. I have everything lined up, plotted out, and squared off before I ever start writing because I’m so anal. It’s that damn scientific background – I always need to know where I’m going. In the past I’d look for pictures of my characters or places or settings in magazines. Being able to visibly “see” how I wanted someone to look made it waaaaay easier for me to write about them. With the advent of Google, I tossed the mags and started trolling celebrity sites – because back in the day they were the only pictures you could really find.

It’s a new day, people. We don’t need google images anymore -we’ve got PINTEREST. Anyone can upload a picture of pretty much anything ( legal, that is!) From the moment I used Pinterest to categorize and help me plot/storyboard my books, my life got sosososos much easier. I had more time to write because I didn’t need to troll endlessly looking for images thru mags anymore. I simply plugged in something like “guys, 30’s black hair, green eyes” and 9,000,000 PINS instantly popped up for me to choose from.


So, for the first time, I’m giving you a little glimpse into how I storyboard my characters on Pinterest. The links below are to my Will Cook For Love Series books. These Pins/pictures are how I “saw” the books when I was writing them. (A few of the books haven’t been published yet so this is like a little teaser!)  Let me know your thoughts.

Will Cook for Love

A shot at Love/Gemma

Melora and Riley

Abby and Rick

Ellie and Sloan

And I even have an alternative, breakout, spinoff series to Cooking with Kandy called Bros, Inc.

You’re welcome for that last one!

When I’m not doing RESEARCH ( wink wink) you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me


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

I’m #OnSale…. well, my books are!

In anticipation of WILL COOK FOR LOVE being released on 4.3.18, Kensington/Lyrical Shine has placed books 1 and 2 in the series on sale. If you’re looking for a new series of romance, where the women are smart, sexy and strong, these are the books for you. Just click on the links below the photos to order your copies today! The sale goes from 2.25.18 until 4.1.18


Sugar and spice and everything sexy make the perfect recipe for romance in this brand-new series by Peggy Jaeger. Look for exclusive recipes in each book!

Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .

Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .



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 . . .

PreOrder now:


In Peggy Jaeger’s delectable series, delicious food is just an appetizer for life’s main course: the kind of love that feeds your soul. 
With three successful TV series under her belt, including her cousin Kandy’s, executive producer Stacy Peters is ready to helm her own show. But to make that happen, she has to do her network boss one favor first—spend two months on a ranch in Montana wrangling the notoriously difficult director of Beef Battles. Apparently, he eats producers for breakfast. Yet all Stacy can think when she meets the lean, rugged man is how hungry he makes her . . .

Dominic Stamp—Nikko to his very few friends—has had enough interference from TV newbies. And when Stacy climbs out of the car in Montana, he’s not convinced she’s even old enough to drive, much less produce his show. But he can’t deny that the long-legged blonde with the stubborn will and the dazzling smile whets his appetite. And as Stacy proves her talent with the crew and the budget alike, Nikko vows to prove to her that love is on the menu for both of them . . .

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

#Writinggroups: My happy place!

When I started my journey to publication in 2014 I realized pretty quickly I didn’t have a support group around me. Oh, I had – and still have – plenty of friends who thought it was great that I was going to try and get a book published. They cheered me on, boosted me up a bit. But I had no one – no single person – I could talk one-on-one to about the process of writing. I had plenty of people who wanted to read what I wrote but no one close to me who would be able to give me a professional, capable, knowing critique. And I certainly didn’t have anyone in my realm who knew about the business end of writing, publishing, and what needed to be done to get the word out their about your work.

Since I’m a plotter by nature, and that means I really really really think things through, thoroughly, before I implement them, the one way I could see to solve this dilemma for myself was to find a writing group. None existed in my town for romance writers, but I found one with a plethora of writing tastes so I decided to visit one of their meetings.

Best thing I ever did because it taught me exactly what I DIDN’T want in the way of a writing group. I won’t go into detail because it’s a little emotionally and ego-deflatingly painful to even remember that night, but I learned a great lesson: Like needs Like. If I was going to write romance, I needed to be around other writers who had the same passion and desire to read and write the genre as I had. This little group I’d just visited looked down their snotty and pious noses at me for even considering to write something as plebian ( one member’s word choice) and morally corrupt  (another’s!)  as romance.

See why I never went back?

Next step, find a group of romance writers. Easy peasy. I googled RWA, found out about the local chapter in my state, emailed the membership person listed and was invited straightaway to the next meeting. Which I went to. And I’ve never looked back.

These writers were my sistahs. My tribe! At that very first meeting, I learned sosososo much about the publishing industry  I had never known before that my head was spinning by the time the meeting was over.

And they were NICE! SO nice. And welcoming. And knowledgeable. And wicked smart, snarky, and funny.

Like I said: MY SISTAHS.

Four years on and I still think of them that way. We celebrate each other’s publishing victories and share chocolate and wine when rejections come in. We talk about life, and love, and kids, and romance, and sex. But most of all we talk about writing. How we write, what we write, what we want to write. How to make what we’ve written better, what to leave in a manuscript and what to send to the shredder.

Every single time I leave one of my meetings I am energized to go home and write for hours on end – and I usually do. While I’m driving home plot lines and story arcs fill my head or character traits I need to incorporate into my current heroine sprout up. Once, I plotted an entire novel during the 90-minute drive home from a meeting. The fact that I didn’t crash and die because I was so preoccupied just verifies in my mind the fact that I have Guardian Angels watching out for me.

If you’re like me and you need knowledgeable people to discuss with, bounce ideas off of, or pick the industry minds of, then joining a writing group geared to what you write is – in my mind – the best way to do all those things. One of my favorite days of each month is the day scheduled for my local RWA meeting.

This is an actual picture of me when I’m gearing up for a meeting!!!

When I’m not at a romance writing group meeting, you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me


Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Literary characters, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

Another word about speaking in public…

The other day I wrote about how miserable a public speaker I’ve become. In truth, it’s because I don’t get the chance to do it as often as I used to so I’m kinda out of practice. Hand in hand with being terrified to speak in public is my fear of reading my own words out loud when there are more people than just me in a room.

Case in point: last year at NECRW2017 I was part of a group of authors who did a live reading of their current books. I thought it would be a good way to get my written work out there and hopefully garner some new readers. No brainer, right?

Yeah, no.

Up until the moment I was called upon to read I still hadn’t chosen the excerpt I wanted to share. The book was my newest one for Lyrical, COOKING WITH  KANDY, which had come out a few weeks earlier, and I wanted to read something that would spark ( hopefully) a listener enough to want to buy the book. Right up to the second moderator and host Damon Suede called my name, I was still undecided.

Then, my name was called and up to the microphone I went. I took a breath – three in fact – so deep it looked like I might be having the beginning of an asthma attack to those who knew what to look for(!) and read a simple passage loaded with emotions between the two main characters.

495 words.

8 minutes to complete.

I kinda left my body for the experience, because I really don’t remember much. When I sat back down, Damon said, “Am I right that was your very first public reading?”

My heart stopped beating when he said that. Christ! Had it been that bad? That obvious? That horrible a reading?

I nodded, unable to form coherent words in response.

Damon grinned and said something like, “So, yay! You’re not a reading virgin anymore! We popped your cherry!”

Everyone – including me – laughed. I know I turned sixteen shades of boiled tomato red, but still, his comment broke the tension that had coiled deep in me. Bless the man!

Next time ( and I can hear you now asking She’s gonna do it again???!!), yes, NEXT time, I’ll be less nervous, better prepared, and practice what I want to read before I get up and do so.

And BTW, Damon Suede has a great article in this month’s RWA magazine –  for those of you who subscribe –  about authors and public reading of their work. It’s well worth the read!

When I’m not obsessing about speaking in public you can usually find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, female friends, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Laine Women

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?

You can find me here if you need me :Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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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

Another oldie but a goodie!

Two years ago I was part of a Valentine’s Day book/novella collection from the Wild Rose Press called THE CANDY HEARTS SERIES. My contribution, 3 WISHES, introduced the book reading world to the San Valentino Family – a family based VERY loosely on my Italian step-family while I was growing up. A second book, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS was released in 2016 for the Christmas holidays, featuring more of the same family, their lives, their loves, their crazy existence!.

Since Valentine’s day is quickly rolling around, I thought I’d re-introduced you to Chloe and Matt, my two lovers in 3 WISHES.


Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: 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, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.


At about five minutes of ten I was almost ready to turn the Closed sign on the door when it opened. I heard Janie’s breath hitch and turned from where I was sweeping up. Staying open late is always a risk, with the thought thieves will invade at the end of the day.

If the guy standing at the door glancing around the shop was a thief, then Dio mio, I wanted to be robbed.

About six foot, his hair was the color of a deer’s pelt, with autumnal golds and browns shot together in a glorious patchwork that grazed the collar of his jacket and curled a little at the ends. He wore a faded brown bomber jacket over a shirt I couldn’t see, but he had shoulders almost as wide as my doorway. A pair of well-worn jeans covered his mile long legs, and the fabric on the stress points at his knees was practically white.

“We’re about to close,” I heard myself say. “Can I help you?”

It was at that moment he looked over at me.

His face could have been sculpted by Da Vinci or Michelangelo. A broad, smooth, forehead housed naturally arched eyebrows I knew some of my gay guy friends would have paid a fortune to have on their own faces. His cheeks were carved from marble, high, smooth and deep. And his mouth, mother-of-God, his mouth. Full, thick beautiful lips sat perfectly over a chin with a dent you could shove a button into and have it stay put.

“Sorry,” he said, those fabulous lips pulling up a little shyly at the corners. “I got stuck at work and couldn’t get here until now. I’ll be quick. Promise.”

So here’s the thing: the guy was gorgeous. But even if he’d looked like a frog with raw antipasto smothering his face, I would have dropped to my knees when he opened his mouth. Warm honey, a shot of raw whiskey, and a little hot puff of smoke wafted from his mouth like a fine and rare brandy being decanted.

Buy links: 

Amazon // Wild Rose Press // Barnes and Nobel


And of course, you can always find me here if you need me:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Candy Hearts, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Foodie, love, Romance, Romance Books, 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:




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!


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