Category Archives: Skater’s Waltz

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Rose Press, that she wanted to see my entire manuscript after I’d come in first place in a contest she’d judged for unpublished writers.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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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, love, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Skater's Waltz, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Coming Soon, Part II

Last week I told you about my next Kensington release coming on 10.3.17. Today I’ve got even better news. My next Wild Rose Press Release PASSION’S PALETTE, book 5 in the MacQuire Women is releasing in to the book reading world on August 4, 2017! You can preorder right now, Just clink on the title above. Passion’s Palette is Serena MacQuire’s and Seamus Cleary’s love story. If you’ve read Skater’s Waltz, or There’s No Place like Home or First Impressions, you’ve met these two fabulous people already. This book is the second prequel to the series, the first was The Voices of Angels. In Passion’s Palette Serena and Seamus first meet, fall in love, and then….well, I think I’ll just let you read it!

Here’s a little sumthing’ sumthin’ though, to whet your book reading appetites.

Blurb: 

Talented and witty portrait artist Serena MacQuire is successful in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivaled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.

But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. After he left his professional football career to become a veterinarian, his bitter wife ended their marriage. Now, as he starts his life over in a new town, love is the last thing he’s looking for. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.

Will he be the man who finally unlocks and claims her heart?

 

Excerpt:

He took her lower lip between his teeth in the lightest of nips, his tongue, probing, exploring, tasting every nook and cranny of her. The notion he could sit here consuming her all day and that it would never be enough to satisfy the hunger growling through him, swam in his mind.

Serena broke the kiss and tried to pull back, but the firm grip of Seamus’s hands on her waist pinioned her in place.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, averting her eyes.

“I’m not.”

Her head shook, as if clearing it, her hair swaying with the motion. “It must be the champagne. I’m not usually so…forward.”

Seamus studied her in silence, knowing it wasn’t the wine making her react to his kiss. “Well, I’m glad this happened. I’ve been trying for hours to figure out a way to kiss you again without making you mad at me. I wish you’d have asked me about this modeling business when you first arrived. If I’d known it was going to bring out this kind of response, I’d have volunteered myself before being asked.”

Her head shot up at his words.

Why was the irritation drenching her eyes as intoxicating as her taste had been?

“It’s no secret I’m attracted to you, Serena,” he said before she could rail at him. “I have been since that first morning in the barn. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you feel the same.”

Averting her eyes again, she told him, “You certainly make your presence known,” instead of answering the question. “I don’t usually kiss a man within the first five minutes of meeting him.”

“Good. I’ll take that as a yes.”

A few heartbeats passed.

“Where do we go from here with this?” he asked, dropping a light kiss in the hollow behind her ear.

“Oh, Seamus. Don’t do that. Please.”

Discovering little ways to seduce her thrilled him. He pulled back and said, “Here’s a start. Why don’t you break down and call me Jim like everyone else does?”

Serena gazed at his face, her eyes fleeting across his lips and landing at the scar.

“No, I don’t think I can do that. Your name is too unusual, too, I don’t know,” she said, with a delicate shrug. “Too…you. I like your name. It fits you. Like this house does.”

One corner of his mouth tipped upwards. “Okay. Forget the name. How about having dinner with me again tomorrow? I promise this time I’ll go grocery shopping.”

Serena squinted, but her mouth twitched as she shot back, “You just want me to cook for you again.”

His face broke into a wide grin. He cocked his head to one side and said, “Well, you could. Or we could go out on a real date.”

Do they ever get to go out on that real date? You’ll have to wait until August 4th to find out! Hee hee.

Buy Links:

Amazon // Wild Rose Press //

Other online book retailers coming soon.

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Life challenges, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Laine Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

An #interview with ….me; #Author #RomanceWriter

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I realized the other day that I never answered my own author interview questions, so I figured today would be a good day to do that. You can really know everything about me by just reading my BIO page on the blog, but this is a little more in-depth.

So without further ado…here’s, well,  me!

Peggy Jaeger, The Writer 

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  1. What drives you to write? Writing to me is like breathing. I can’t live without taking in air and I can’t go a day without writing.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? Contemporary romance, a little humorous romance, some romantic suspense. Contemporary because I like the here and now; humor because it’s been said I can be funny at times; suspense because I love to sit on the edge of my seat when I’m being entertained.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Obviously contemporary but I lovelovelove a good regency. All those morality rules. All those ways to break the morality rules! The clothes!!! The dancing. Love it all.
  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday? Every friggin’ day. Usually 6-8 hours. During the week I work on my romance stuff; on the weekends I work on my blog posts for the following week. Even if I am away from home I bring my laptop and write something. I am a life long diarist, so writing everyday was ingrained in me at a very young age.
  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I recently redid my writing office. It’s still on the fourth floor of my house, in a finished attic, but I went to the opposite side of the house because of a pair of annoying and loud dogs who live in the house next door – which is almost a ¼ mile away, but in the woods, so noise carries. Far.
  2. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? Like a tomb, baby, like a tomb. Hence, the office move. Those barking dogs drove me into a funk. If I play music, I can’t write because I want to sing along.    shush
  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? I just realized after doing a gazillion interviews this is the same damn question as the # 6! After today it is eliminated from the interview.
  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? My new series, WILL COOK FOR LOVE, grew out of my love for cooking. I wanted my next batch of heroines to do something in the cooking realm. One is a famous chef, her sister, a food photographer, her cousin the producer on a food show. I have 2 more books trolling around in my brain to add to this series, but these 3 are set to go right now. The first, COOKING WITH KANDY, drops on 4.4.17 from Kensington/Lyrical. I am uberthrilled.
  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Character, always. I am an avid people watcher. No matter where I am – even in church! – I watch people. How the act, interact with others, their mannerisms, etc. It’s like voyeuristic therapy for me. Then I try to make up stories to fit their personalities.

What 3 words describes you, the writer? Dedicated; tortured; prolific

Peg – The Person

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! My left eye is significantly smaller than my right due to numerous ocular surgeries and a childhood trauma where I fell out an apartment building window and landed on my face.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? Don’t laugh at me, but my first love was my husband and I was 24.
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….The first time I met Nora Roberts in person. She was so gracious and funny and all I did was cry from joy at finally meeting her.
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Boxers, baby. Every friggin’ time.
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? The only way I could give up a necessary can’t live without it beauty item would be if you killed me first. So, to answer the question, nothing.
  6. What three words describes you, the person? Nervous, worrier, loyal.
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Imagine, by John Lennon
  8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? I would hang out with Eve Dallas and help her solve a murder because Peabody would be off on vaca with McNabb.        me-and-nora

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound : babies giggling
  2. Least favorite sound :  the breaks squeaking on a car
  3. Best song every written :  Secret Agent Man, by Jonny Rivers
  4. Worst song ever written : You know, I can’t think of one!! I love music – all kinds.
  5. Favorite actor and actress  : Kevin Spacey/Dianne Lane
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead): Of course it would be Nora Roberts just so I could experience what it feels like to be a multi award winning amazeballs author!
  7. What turns you on? :  Funny. Every friggin’ time. Dry wit, sarcasm, self-deprecating humor.
  8. What turns you off? :  Condescension. We’re all the same, folks. No one is better than another because of skin color, financial status, or birth rank and place. God made us all the same inside. Think about that.
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) Well, I told you mine already!!!! The guy thought my curly waist length hair was a wig. Jerk.
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day?:  Every day is my perfect day if I get to write and cook.

So, that’s me.  Sticking to the tried and true formula I’ve used with other interviews, what follows is a blurb and excerpt from my upcoming book release and a small bio.

COOKING WITH  KANDY, Book 1 in the Will Cook For Love series, releases on 4/4/17

Blurb:

cooking-with-kandy

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. . .

Excerpt:

“Hold on to you forks folks, because today I’m making one of Grandma Sophie’s to-die-for layer cakes, guaranteed to make your sweet tooth tingle.” Kandy Laine aimed a wide, dimpled grin at the television camera.

The moment her sexy, heart-stopping smile flashed, Josh Keane knew he was in trouble.

Serious trouble.

He stood on the sidelines of the studio kitchen set where he’d been instructed to wait, visitor badge secured to his jacket, and watched the hostess of EBC’s most popular food show, Cooking with Kandy, film her season premiere.

“She’d discovered the benefit of adding pudding to the batter to increase the cake’s moisture content decades before any of the big commercial baking companies did,” Kandy told the camera.

Josh ran a hand through his thick, black hair and blew out a breath. From his concealed vantage point behind the studio equipment, he was impressed by the practiced ease with which she moved around the set kitchen, talking non-stop, explaining the details of the recipe she was preparing without the use of cue cards or even a glance at the teleprompter.

A little kick of awareness ricocheted through his midsection every time she glanced up, spoke, and looked into the camera. It was as intimate as if she were speaking to him and no one else.

Kandy pulled the baking tins from the oven and turned them upside down to deliver two perfect rounds onto a cooling rack.      “Perfection,” she said, adding with a chuckle, “Grandma sure knew what she was talking about.”

After reading the bio her assistant had faxed to him the night before, Josh had gone to bed, his dreams filled with visions of a tiny, cherub faced, angel soaring around a kitchen.

One look at Kandy Laine in the flesh knocked that ethereal vision to hell.

At five-nine in flats, most of it was leg packed into second skin jeans. Jet-black curls tumbled down to the middle of her back, secured from her face by a flaming red headband.

And that face.

Heart-shaped, its peak descended almost to the middle of a smooth, flawless forehead. Arched eyebrows and thick eyelashes framed her eyes, the outer corners tipped upward at a slight angle, their color a blue rivaling a pale sky.

“Make sure you don’t over-beat the frosting,” Kandy instructed in a throaty voice made for seduction. “If you do, you’ll break it down and your cake will have a flat, metallic taste. Another of Grandma’s helpful hints,” she added with a wink and a devilish grin.

When her dimples emerged, that little kick tackled his insides again.

Maybe he should just forget this whole thing. Leave now while no one was looking.

Buy Links:

amazon   B&N   Kensington/Lyrical

And here’s the official 411:

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Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance author who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Her current titles, available now, include SKATER’S WALTZ and THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, FIRST IMPRESSIONS, and THE VOICES OF ANGELS, books 1,through 4 in her 5-book The MacQuire Women Series, published by The Wild Rose Press. Also from the Wild Rose Press is a Candy Hearts Romance titled 3 WISHES, and A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.
Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.
Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.
In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

And when I’m not talking about myself you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, branding, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Historical Romance, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Lyrical Author, MacQuire Women, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Laine Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, Wild Rose Press Authoe

An Ego check

So, I was walking by a used bookstore in my town today and happened to glance at the front window. This is what I saw reflected back at me:

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Take a close look, peeps. That’s my debut novel in the window.

My first thought was : cool, my book’s in the window for everyone to see!

My second thought was : wait a minute: why is my book in a used bookstore? That means someone who bought it – or worse, someone whom I gave it to as a present – actually donated it to the store. They didn’t want to keep it forever!

My third thought was : how dare they!!!

My fourth thought was : wake up and smell the coffee, Felicia. You’re not Nora Roberts. No one is going to keep your books for posterity, except for your family and close friends ( I hope!!)

My fifth thought: Oh. My. God! They hated it! They didn’t even think it was worthy enough to keep in their homes, on a bookshelf, tucked away getting dusty and molded. It was so terrible they wanted it out of their house. Forever.

My sixth and final thought was: get over yourself.

So, how was your day?

When I’m not having an ego crisis, here’s where you can find me…

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

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

This didn’t win an award, but..

I sent this piece into a contest recently. It didn’t win. ANYTHING!!! Not win, place or show. But that’s okay. I figured I’d put it here and win…your hearts, instead!

TITLE: When life gives you lemons…don’t suck! ( this wasn’t REALLY the title. I just came up with it, like, 5 minutes ago!)

Two years ago I was downsized from my health care job and simultaneously going through the worst menopause Mother Nature had ever bestowed upon a female of the species. I was the human definition of a hot mess with too much time on my hands. My only child was grown and on her own; my husband was still employed full time; perpetual and soul-sucking hot flashes kept me up nights and my brain-like a rabid energizer bunny- never shut down. There’s only so much housekeeping, grocery shopping and cooking a person can do in their free time. My floors sparkled, the checkout people at the market knew me by my first name, my cabinets were organized as if Martha Stewart herself had arranged them, and my husband gained five pounds because of all the new recipes I was trying each week. I’d always liked to read, but starting and finishing a book in a day was a little much, even for me. I needed something to motivate me to get out of bed and showered every morning and to fill those daylight hours productively.

One March midnight, with a snowstorm blustering through the trees outside my New England home, I was sitting in the living room with the air-conditioner turned to high and blowing directly at my hormonally-charged, red, naked and perspiration-dripping body, when I started writing down a story that’d been swimming around in my brain for a while. I’d always wanted to write the great American romance novel but never had the time due to school/work/family/child/life responsibilities. I’d had a tiny bit of success over the years writing freelance non-fiction pieces about everything from Nursing topics (since I was a Master Degreed Registered Nurse), to motherhood and child-rearing concerns, but writing a romance novel had always been my dream since I’d read my very first Nora Roberts book. Now that I’d been shaved down to three days of clinic work per week, I figured I had the time to invest in my dream and might as well use it to my benefit.

Those two days off per week, plus the weekends, were certainly spent well in this endeavor. I treated writing as if I were still working, meaning I devoted the hours I should have been at a paying job to getting the story down on paper, or – in my case – on the laptop. Those hours I spent writing I considered sacred. I could have goofed off; gone shopping; had my nails done: watched a Real Housewives of any city marathon. But I didn’t. I simply wrote my heart out. Three months later I had a 350-page romance novel completed. The day I typed The End is a moment in time I will never forget. The fact it occurred at 2:25 in the morning and I was sweating like a farm animal might have something to do with that.

Now what? I had 350 pages of a story I was in love with but I wasn’t sure what I’d written was any good, had any merit, or even if the story was coherent. Were my characters likable? Believable? Was the story arc interesting or as dull as my brain before morning caffeine? Since none of my friends were romance readers I knew they couldn’t be depended upon to give me valuable feedback because – as my friends – they’d all be loyal and tell me it was wonderful even if it stank. So I decided to do something I’d never done before: I entered a contest. I knew romance-writing contests offered critiques on the work submitted and that’s what I was looking for. I wanted someone connected with the industry to tell me I was either on the right track, or to get the he** off the train because I had no talent and wasn’t leaving the station anytime soon. So I submitted the first three chapters as instructed.

I’d never entered a contest for anything before. I wasn’t that kid who ripped off the back of a comic book and entered a giveaway promotion for a soon-to-be-released-must-have-toy. I didn’t clip the Sunday ad promos begging the reader to enter for a chance to win free samples. Heck, I didn’t even buy lotto tickets when the prize was half a gazillion dollars. Entering a contest was something I’d never considered because I just didn’t – and still don’t – believe in luck. To me, the real definition of luck is when opportunity meets preparation, so blindly entering a contest to win a prize wasn’t on my radar. Entering this writing contest though, where I’d actually prepared something for someone to judge, was a totally different incentive for me.

I knew – knew – I didn’t have a chance at any kind of prize; this was a given. I wasn’t entering to win, though. I was totally invested in the notion my writing would be judged and when I’d get a critique and score back, I’d know if the direction I was moving in was worthwhile. I told myself if the work truly was horrible, at least the critique would show me the areas I needed to address and concentrate on. The added benefit of submitting the chapters, I soon realized, was the people judging me didn’t know me from Adam – or in my case – Eve. Criticism, I’ve found, is much easier to take when you don’t know the person who is critiquing your work, so in my heart I knew my ego wouldn’t be too devastated when the pages came back to me filled with comments about areas for improvement.

But an amazing thing happened: I received an email informing me I’d won my category. And not only that, the judge who’d read it was the publisher of The Wild Rose Press. She contacted me and told me she’d enjoyed what I’d written and asked if I’d submit the entire manuscript for review to one of their in-house editors. Would I? Damn straight I would, Skippy!

So I did. Again, I had no preconceived notions of anything stupendous happening. Just the fact she’d asked to see more than the three chapters she’d read was encouraging. I assumed the editor I’d submitted to would send it back to me, littered with margin suggestions and corrections and with a simple note saying, “Thanks for letting me read this, but it’s not for us,” and that would be that.

But it wasn’t. She liked it too, so the Wild Rose Press contracted to publish it. And my next two books in the series as well, with options for books four and five. And a novella due out in Spring 2016.

At fifty-four years old I had a dream – a dream I’d never shared with anyone – come true. A true middle-aged Cinderella moment. All because I decided to do something I’d never even considered doing before.

To say my life changed forever in the instant I won that contest category would be an understatement. To have the book of my heart actually published, to have a publisher truly like what I’d written and like it enough to take a chance on an unknown, menopausal, sleep-deprived empty nester fifty-four year old bottled blonde with crow’s feet and a muffin top, was not only a dream come true, but a modern day miracle.

When my first book was published in March 2015 I officially “retired” from my downsized paying job. Nowadays I get to go to work in my pajamas every morning – and sometimes in nothing at all, depending on the state of my hot flashes – and I never have to leave my house. I write in an attic loft overlooking my quiet and beautiful wooded property.

In a strange, karmic way, the enforced and unanticipated downsizing was the spark necessary to propel me to change my life and move it in the direction I’d always wanted it to go, but never had the courage to take it. I will never regret entering that writing contest because it opened doors I don’t know would have ever opened for me otherwise. If I hadn’t made the decision to take a chance and submit my story, I think my life would still be the same, unfulfilled, overworked, sweaty, hormonal one it had turned into.

I’m still sweating and hormonal, but now I’m also a Published Author.

            And life is so much better – hot flashes and all.

 

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, New Hampshire, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Skater's Waltz, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop

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Growing up, I was a latch-key kid, a term almost extinct nowadays. Long before after school programs became the norm for most children of working parents, I would be discharged from school at 3 pm and be on my own until my parents came home at 7pm, every day from third grade until I was a teenager and got an after school job. This was my life. During the summer, though, I really couldn’t be left alone for up to 12 hours every day safely, so from the time I was in kindergarten until I turned 14, I was sent away every summer with my Grandmother.

My grandmother was a very hard, no-nonsense Irish immigrant who brokered no fools and ruled with that proverbial iron fist. I would accompany her every July and August to an upstate New York retreat owned by a good friend of hers. I learned to swim in the creek abutting the cabin we’d stay in, helped make breakfast, lunch and dinner for the guests staying at the main house, and generally spent the majority of the day on my own as my grandmother visited with her friends, played cards, and drank.

For an only child and loner who loved solitary pursuits like reading, this was nirvana.

 

This was the time before handheld technology ruled the world.

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No cell phones, no Kindles, no iPads or iPods. We listened to music on the radio, put coins into a pay phone to call people, and read actual books with pages you had to manually turn. And this was the time I learned to love romantic fiction. I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time  during my 11th summer, sitting by a cool, bubbling creek, a canopy of trees above me. Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rogers, Victoria Holt, just to name a few, became my constant companions during those long lonely summers. I learned a lot about writing, about romance, and about sex. Much more than my compadres at the time, at least.twrpbloghop2

 

I was hooked. Romantic fiction, and all genres of romance, became my summer companions. I’d take out 20 or more books from the library at one time, put them in a separate travel bag, and work my way through them during those 2 months away from home. It made the separation from my mother less painful and, having to deal with an alcoholic grandmother, much easier. I could drift away to the times of knights and ladies, lords and wenches. I learned about strict, moral codes of times gone by, and that no matter what the chronological time period, love always won in the end. Every book had a happily ever after, something my life did not. But I could hope…and I did.

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Those long, drowsy, warm summer days and nights with a book in my hands remain my favorite summer  memories to this day. I grew up reading about love, hoping for it to come into my own life when I was grown.

And it did….

For other Authors Participating in the Wild Rose Blog Hop, click here:

1.
Sorchias Wild Rose Summer Treats Post | Visit blog
2.
RV Memory | Visit blog
3.
Tricia Schneider | Visit blog
4.
Anna Durands Spunk & Hunks | Visit blog
5.
Judy Ann Davis Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
6.
Spicy Summer Treats with Mia Downing | Visit blog
7.
Linda Nightingale. . . Wordsmith | Visit blog
8.
Jana Richards – Journeys with Jana | Visit blog
9.
Summer Memories of books well read @ Peggy jaeger. com | Visit blog
10.
Summer on Cape Cod ~ Kathryn Knight books | Visit blog
11.
Summer Fun at the Beach, with Katie OSullivan | Visit blog
12.
I Believe Ill Go Canoeing – C. B. Clark | Visit blog
13.
Summertime Love is Sweeter with. . . Frozen Mango? @ Kimberly Keyes blog |Visit blog
14.
Wild Rose Summer Treats Blog Hop @ Brendas Blog | Visit blog
15.
Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
16.
Midsummer Magic on the Isle of Skye! | Visit blog
17.
My Guilty Summer Treats from Lori Sizemore | Visit blog
18.
Wild Rose Press Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
19.
Hywela Lyns post for the WRP Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
20.
Wild Rose Press Summer Treats & Reads | Visit blog
21.
Camping is a Recipe for Summer Treats and Reads | Visit blog
22.
The Snarkology | Visit blog
23.
Summer Survival Tips @ Nitty Gritty Romance | Visit blog
24.
Wild Rose Press Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
25.
Nell Castle – Summer of the Sweat Lodge | Visit blog
26.
Myth, Magic & Wonder Susan Edwards, Breathing Life into the Past | Visit blog
27.
Romance with Spice, Sydney St. Claire | Visit blog
28.
Author Kat de Falla | Visit blog
29.
Anni Fife. Exciting new author of Steamy Romance with Irresistible Heroes | Visit blog
30.
Summer Vacation, Victorian-Style, AND a Giveaway | Visit blog
31.
Wildfires, Monsoons, and Mojitos – Author Susabelle Kelmer shares how she keeps cool in a climate that is on fire! | Visit blog
32.
Casi McLeans recipe for Hot Reads and Cool Treats | Visit blog
33.
Cool Summer Reads: Jeannie Halls Romantic Suspense Blog – Where Hearts Tremble From More Than Attraction | Visit blog
34.
Summer treat – Adult Slushie | Visit blog
35.
How to Rediscover the Magic of Bicycling | Visit blog
36.
Charlottes Tips on How to Stay Cool in HOT New York City | Visit blog
37.
Caryn McGill | Visit blog
38.
Hywela Lyns Inrerplanetary Summer | Visit blog

 

 My most recent book, THE VOICES OF ANGELS.

Blurb:

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Buy Links: Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Candy Hearts, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, female friends, First Impressions, Life challenges, Literary characters, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Writing Relationships…

During your writing career, just as in life, you will forge and develop many different writing relationships with people who will – hopefully- help you advance. Literary agents, Editors, Publishers, Book Promoters, Publicists, Marketing Analysts, and certainly not the least, Readers. All of these people are important to you, but in my opinion, one of the most important connections you will make is with your Editor.

My editor was instrumental in getting my first book published. She supported me, guided me, and encouraged me through the –at times – very daunting process of having a debut novel go to press. She was the voice of reason when I questioned “why” and the sounding board when I asked, “how come.” Together, she helped me give publishing birth to five works ( 4 books and 1 novella). During that time she wasn’t only my editor, but she became my friend. One I will treasure for the rest of my life.

It is a fact of the publishing world that editors come and go from publishing houses. Career advancement, the desire to take a different literary path, or even to have children and take care of  a family means a publisher – and a writer -will lose their favored editor.

This has recently happened to me. The void that is left behind in my heart is cavernous. This person was my very first professional editor. She was the person who saw something in my writing, who went to bat for me and basically helped make my dream of becoming a published author come true. With patience, professionalism, and kindness she guided me through that first thrilling but harrowing publishing experience, and she has been there championing me and directing my steps every inch of the way. She was the one I could turn to when a scene was not playing out the way I wanted it to. She was the one who showed me the light when the creative bulbs dimmed and I was stuck in POV nightmares. It was to her eyes I looked when something just didn’t sound as good on the page as it did in my head. In my professional writing career, I liken her to my fairy godmother. She, quite completely, made my wishes come true. I will miss my editor as I would miss a child who has left for college or a friend who moves far away.

The editor I am assigned to now is just as professional and kind. My relationship with my publisher is a wonderful, solid partnership and I look forward to many more professional collaborations between myself and my new editor.

But there is something about your first…..

My debut novel, SKATER’S WALTZ ,wouldn’t have come about if not for my editor. If you’re interested in seeing what a professional editing job she did, here’s the 411.

SKATER’S WALTZ

Figure skater Tiffany Lennox is busy with rehearsals for an upcoming ice show when the only man she’s ever loved comes home after a two-year overseas stint. She needs him to see her for the woman she’s become and not the child he knew to ensure he stays home. This time, for good. With her.

perf5.000x8.000.inddFor all his wanderlust and hunger for professional success, Cole Greer returns to New York wanting nothing more than to rest, relax, and recover. He is delighted in being Tiffany’s hero and has a special place in his heart reserved for her. But faced with the oh-so-desirable woman she’s become, he starts questioning his determination to keep their relationship platonic. When forced by the television network to go back on assignment, Cole—for the first time in his life—is torn between his career and his heart.

Available here:

Amazon //  Wild Rose Press //  B&N

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Editors, Family Saga, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Lessons I’ve learned about being a published author.

I found out my first book, SKATER’S WALTZ, had been contracted for publication while I was attending the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio, TX. Shocked, thrilled, and terrified, I thought the hard part – finding someone willing to publish my novel – was over.

Yeah, not so much.

Lesson one: it’s not over when you type THE END. It’s just the beginning…

the end

After I signed on the dotted line, the real work began. I’d been published for years in literary fiction anthologies and in non-fiction magazines and periodicals. The literary magazines accepted the work as is, the non-fiction articles were sometimes reworked and refined by editors to allow for spacing considerations. My point is that it was someone else’s job to get the piece publishing presentable.

Not anymore. Welcome to the world of book fiction.

Lesson two : the hard work starts after you contract for publication…

the end2

My first book went through 3 rounds of edits between my editor and myself before it was sent to galleys for actual publication. And even after it went out to the copy editor, there were still some changes that needed to be made. I was ready to rip my hair out at one point. All I kept thinking as more and more edit suggestions came my way was, “Why the heck did they want this if it needs so much work??”

Lesson three: Editors are the most underrated and undervalued people on the publishing food chain…

the end3

All editors are good at their job – they have to be. But the ones who are truly great make a good book even better. They find the little twists and turns of a phrase, or a word change, or a sentence deletion that is key to making the reader want to read more.

My editor is one of the great ones.

Lesson four: you should have taken marketing classes in college…

I will admit this freely – I was unbelievably naïve when I signed that first contract. I thought the publisher was going to do all the marketing necessary to promote my book, get it on a best-seller list, and generally skyrocket me to fame.

Yeah, AGAIN, not so much!

The minute your book is contracted and the editing begins, you need to start promoting it. Often and everywhere. FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, your website, blog tours, newspaper press releases, your Aunt Maimie’s bridge club. Anywhere, everywhere, and as often as you can, so that when you finally have a release date, the buzz about the book will have started, grown to fever pitch and resulted in so many pre-orders your head spins.

Lesson five: before the first book hits the shelves you’d better be working on, or done with, book #2…the end5

As a writer you can never – NEVER – rest on your laurels. It is a true axiom of publishing: you are only as good as your next book. So while you are doing all that dreaded marketing, take time each day and write…write…write. I had book two on my editor’s desk before book one was released. Same for book 3. Keep ‘em coming.

Lesson six: you need to take time to breathe and enjoy…

 Yes, I was overwhelmed, naïve, frustrated and generally anxious with the release of my first book. But I was also thrilled at having my dream – finally – come true. It was a long road for me to book publication. I was 54 years old when the first one came out, a time when most people are starting to look toward the end of their working life. Not me. Mine was just beginning and I wanted to savor every moment of how it felt to hold my first book in my hands; see my name in print on the cover of a book I’d penned; sign my first autograph on a copy someone had actually paid cash-money for! Don’t let anything ever take away or overwhelm you from that sense of wonderful, soul-soaring achievement you’ve accomplished.

the end 4

My fourth book, THE VOICES OF ANGELS was released on March 11. I didn’t feel as overwhelmed this time because I knew the basics. Promotion and marketing were all lined up and ready to go, I pre-ordered by print copies so I had them ready, and a book signing was waiting for me.

But the anticipation, the soul-empowering elation of having a book actually published was as spine tingling and heart-stopping as with that first one. And I think it will continue to be that way each and every time.

THE VOICES OF ANGELS

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Buy Links: Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

 

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Contemporary Romance, Editors, Family Saga, First Impressions, Life challenges, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Not bad for a debut novel!

Votes are in and I am proudly putting this on my site for my 3rd place finish!

top10novelr

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, MacQuire Women, Romance, Skater's Waltz, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, MacQuire Women, My Sexy Saturday, NaNoWriMo, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, WIld Rose Press AUthor