Category Archives: Strong 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

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

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

Am I getting too personal?

Week 3 of the 2018 #MFRWauthorBlogChallenge, and it’s another good topic: How much of myself is in my writing. In all honesty? A shitload!

Let me ‘esplain, Lucy.

That old adage write what you know only gets you so far in fiction. I could write tomes about Nursing, Parenting, the psychological ramifications of divorce on children. Truly. Tomes. But’s that’s non-fiction. In fiction, I’d only get about 2 books out of all that first-hand knowledge and personal angst. So writing what I know for fiction isn’t going to cut it.


I’ve written characters who were lawyers, doctors, artists, Olympic athletes, chefs, and government agents. I’m not now, nor have I ever been, any of those things. Research into their professions, plus knowing a few people who are those things have helped. When to gets down to the meat and potatoes of the characters, especially my heroines though, well a lot of me, my habits and quirks, and beliefs are woven into their psychological makeup.

For instance. People who know me know I lovelovelove Diet Mountain Dew. Unhealthily so. It’s my drug of choice ( heehee). In A SHOT AT LOVE, I made my heroine Gemma Laine a DMD addict as the way in which she gets her caffeine hit. Just like me.

In THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, my heroine Moira Cleary is known as the quiet, calm twin. When she gets really, really angry, though, her voice and manner become deathly quiet. She doesn’t rant and rave like her mother and twin brother. Her verbal missiles obliterate and all the while her voice is as quiet as an empty church. I’m the same way. When my voice lowers, look out.

Another way there’s a great deal of ME in my writing is in the moral makeup of my heroines. They are all strong-willed women. Loyal, smart, and spiritual. They will fight to the death if someone they love is being hurt and when they take a stand on a topic, it takes a bulldozer to ever get them to change their minds.

Yeah. Kinda sounds like me.

I will never write a doormat heroine.

Or one who sees herself as a victim.

Being a victim is quite different than seeing yourself as one.

I will never write a heroine who does something morally repugnant and unforgivable. I wouldn’t know how to make her sympathetic with those qualities.

My tagline for my books is that I write about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. You will always know the makeup of my heroines based on that line. Always.

And because of that, you will always know a little about me, too.

Let’s hop on over to some of the other authors in this challenge and see how much of themselves they put in their writing.



Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, branding, Contemporary Romance, Strong Women

I’m a #Badass…who knew?

A few weeks ago I started reading this book: You are a Badass ( How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life). I’ll admit this freely: the reason I bought the book when I saw it in Target is because I liked the cover. Something about the color and the graphics screamed  “Buy me!” at me.


The book is good. Really good. There are so many personal takeaways from each chapter that I could–literally–write a book about them! One of them I want to focus on today that spoke recently to me is the reason for this blog post.

Chapter 6 is titled Love the One You Is, and it centers around loving who and what you are and not comparing yourself to others. As a writer, I struggle with this concept daily. I am always obsessing that I am less than every single other writer. Less of a writer than Nora Roberts. Or Jill Shalvis. Or Sandra Brown. I will never write as well as, or as poignantly, or as humorously, as they do. I just won’t. One of Sincero’s tenants in Chapter 6 is, “Comparison is the fastest way to take all the fun out of life.”

Stop the presses! Forget about spoke to me, that line screamed from a mountaintop and echoed all the way to the moon and back.

I’ve always encouraged other writers to write the book of their heart. To write the best book, tell the story they want to tell,  their way and not be worried about what editors or beta readers will think. Be true to yourself as a writer and someone will want to read your work because it will resonate with them. Why, then, have I never believed my own advice? Why, then, have I gotten bogged down in the notion that what I write is never as good as what other writers write? Why, then, have I allowed my insecurities to mount, all the while pushing others to do their best work?

After reading this chapter in Badass and this quote in particular, it was like the heavens opened up after a torrential downpour and I finally saw the sun in all its glory.

A little cliche, yes, I’ll admit that. But it’s the truth. From the moment I read those words and allowed them to sink in deep to my soul, I stopped comparing myself to other writers. I am the best writer I can be at this moment in time. Me. I may not be as funny as Jill Shalvis, or be able to weave an intricate plot like Sandra Brown. And I certainly don’t have Nora Roberts’ unending supply of plots and characters. But I am the best me, the writer,  I can be right now.

And you know what? It’s a freeing notion. By not comparing my work to those I admire best, I have freed myself – some would say my muse – to write the way I want, what I want, and not worry about whether or not it will be liked. I like it! That’s what really matters. All the rest is cupcake frosting. And delicious though that may be ( I mean, come on! It’s frosting!!!) it’s not the reason I write. I write, first, last and always, for me.

yeah…I’m a Badass!

When I’m not being a Badass, you can find me here, still trying to be a Badass! Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me




Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Strong Women

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

#BookSale #99cents just in time for the Holidays!!

Long before Christmas, Long & Short Reviews gave A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS #5stars – read why! The book is on Sale right now for just #99cents Give yourself a little holiday gift or the gift it to the romance reader in your life & order it today! Here’s the link:


Gia San Valentino is the beloved baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family. Family dramas, passion, and food rule the San Valentino clan, and Gia takes it all in stride, her family the touchstone of her life. But with Christmas fast approaching she longs for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to are all wise guy wanna-bes, with old world views on women – the pregnant and barefoot kind – just the type of man she’s trying to avoid.

When Gia lends a helping hand at her neighborhood parish’s Christmas Festival she meets a guy who has all her requirements for perfect-man status. Tall, sweet, good looking, and from a big Italian family of his own, it seems she might finally have found a man she can give her heart to. When a miscommunication has her believing he’s the new parish priest, her happily-ever-after hopes evaporate because he’s the proverbial forbidden fruit.

Or is he?

Buy Links:Amazon // Wild Rose Press  // Nook ( B&N) //


He came toward me and I could see every ripple of muscle, every action and reaction of his gait, every blink of his eyes, as it happened. Detailed, distinct, delicious.

The bright sun shone low due to the hour, but it haloed around his form, bathing him in light.

He looked like an angel.

A dressed-all-in-black angel, but an angel, nonetheless.

“Need some help?” he asked when he was within a foot of me.

I still hadn’t moved, my fingers cemented around the ladder rungs. I couldn’t feel them anymore. Merda, I couldn’t feel anything I was so numb from just looking at him.

But I could hear. My blood, as it river-rafted crazily through my temples; my heart drumming like a heavy metal band in my chest.

And his voice. Mio Dio, his voice.

When I was six I had a terrible chest cold. Wheezing, choking on phlegm, unable to cough anything up. The doctor told mama to keep me warm and hydrated and the cold would ride itself out in time. Nonna Constanza, ancient even when I was a kid, scoffed and prescribed her own old world remedy. She sat me in her lap, cooing to me with her singsong voice and held a tiny shot glass up to my lips coaxing, “Tu bevi, Gia bambina. Tu Bevi.”

Drink, Gia baby. Drink.

She tilted the glass back into my mouth and I did. I drank every drop.

I don’t remember much after. Daddy told me later I slipped into a mini-coma for about sixty-two hours, bombed out of my head from the anisette nonna had dosed me with.

But this is what I do remember. The amber colored liquor slipped down the inside of my mouth to the back of my throat and onward into my belly, tasting of melted marshmallows and warming each place it touched like a million little hits of heat popping everywhere inside me. When it reached my tummy it settled and dug in, filling my senses with the sweet flavor of mama’s Sunday morning caramel rolls and sugar.

That’s what his voice sounded like: warm and sweet, thick, delicious, and soothing.

My entire body relaxed when I heard it. My paralysis flew and my frozen-in-place digits melted.

He’d held my stare the entire time, never wavering, never becoming distracted by something else. He looked straight at me; just me. Like a missile dead-eye-aimed for a target.

“Here,” he said, moving in closer, so close I could make out the actual color of his eyes now. I’d thought they were dark and from far away and they were. But seeing them now, face-to-face, I spotted little flecks of yellow and slivery shards of gold mixed into the center and surrounded by a ring of deep, rich, mink.

If his voice was warm and soothing, his eyes were hot enough to singe, and mama mia, I wanted to be burned.




Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

When typing THE END is only the beginning…..#NaNoWriMo 2017

And so we come to the end of another November. Thanksgiving has come and gone, leaving behind 5-7 pounds on our hips; Black Friday has exited the building with only a few minor scrapes and bumps to our persons; Cyber Monday has crashed and burned, leaving our checking accounts a little lower in the cash flow department.

And, NaNoWriMo has seen another year, end. Another attempt at that 50,000-word minimum tome has come and gone, leaving many writers joyful, others struggling, and the rest of us exhausted and elated simultaneously.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could keep the writing momentum of this month up for all 12 months? Imagine being able to actually write 2-3 books a year. The big names in publishing do it, like Nora Roberts/JD Robb, Jill Shalvis, Sarah Morgan. These writers know the benefit or writing EVERY SINGLE DAY no matter what. If there isn’t blood shedding, the zombie apocalypse approaching, or the world ending in a vortex of wind and rain, these writers write every single day, bar none. No excuses. No whining. No dilly-dallying.

The fire has been stoaked – you’ve already spent the past 30 days writing something every day. Even if you didn’t make the 50,000 mark, you still have more on the page now than you did on November 1, right? So keep going.

I know I am…and will. Pages to write, books to publish. No Excuses.

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Filed under Author, branding, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, NaNoWriMo, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women




See this picture? What do you notice first? The keyboard? The notebook? Or is your eye drawn to that Bridal Cake Christmas ornament?
Yeah, mine too.

I found the ornament in Michael’s Craft store the other day and bought it on the spot. Why you ask? Well, I’m gonna tell you.

I think I’ve mentioned in a few previous blogs that I’m the kind of person that puts action and intention behind wishes and dreams.

I made those wooden book holders for my books because I have a dream to someday be published in hardback, not only in digital and paperback. By making those boxes and placing my paperback books inside of them, it gave the illusion of a hardbound copy. So, see? Dream…intention…action….hopefully it’ll come true.



I’m using the ornament the same way, as:

  1. a reminder
  2. a talisman
  3. visual prompt

The reminder is for me to think good and positive thoughts about the new Bridal Series I just sent to an editor ( who asked for it!)

The talisman is for the ornament to–hopefully– bring me luck with getting these books published.

The visual prompt is so I stay focused because sometimes I start to lag a little when I’m waiting for things to happen.

Cute, isn’t it?
The next time you see that ornament on any of my social media will mean I have good news to share….


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


Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women