Category Archives: The Wild Rose Press

A little something new…Guest Hostess Karen C. Whalen

Today, something a little different. I’m turning my blog over to one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs, Karen C. Whalen, for the day. Karen has new book out in her culinary cozy mystery series, the dinner club murder mysteries, titled  NOT ACCORDING TO FLAN. As a writer, Karen is going to talk to you today about that wonderful thing every writer needs to establish in their stories and between their characters: CONFLICT.

She’s also giving you a litte sumthin’ sumthin from her book, so stayed tuned to the end!

Please welcome, Karen C. Whalen.

Conflict has been called the most important element in fiction, an essential crafting tool every writer must master. Novels demand conflict and tension to compel readers to keep turning the pages.

Adding conflict was the subject of a writing exercise in a workshop I attended a few years ago. The first step was to jump to the middle of our WIP (work in progress). My middle was at page one-hundred. Then, we were instructed to add conflict on that very page by having the characters argue. They were not to have a nice, gentlemanly disagreement, no. The characters had to insult each other and call one another names. The instructor required a knock-down fight of the blow-out variety, not a puny squabble. When I started the assignment I wondered how in the world my main characters could argue. They were friends in a cozy gourmet dinner club in a cozy murder mystery. How was I going to toss in the kind of verbal exchange that would endure to a final draft?

I started reading the scene on page one hundred. Even before I finished the page, an argument popped into my corrupt and depraved mind. I let it all hang out, the taunting and the mud-slinging, all of it. The scene was much improved. The conflict added depth to the dialogue, enhanced the theme of the book, and brought the characters to life. Even I wanted to read to the end to see how the characters resolved their issues.

Why? Because in real life friends do not talk to each other that way. Friends don’t insult each other; they don’t call each other names. Friendships, in reality, are fragile. But friends think those angry thoughts, they just don’t say them out loud. Not if they want to stay friends. Admit it, you’ve played such an argument out on the pages of your imagination many times. The reader’s fantasy is fulfilled in the conflict on the written page.

Not only do readers crave the conflict, they need a satisfactory resolution as well. End results are impossible to control in real life, but the creator of the characters can control the outcome. At the end of my new and improved scene, the first character apologized to the second character who said, “No, I totally see your point of view.” Not every clash of character is going to resolve this way, nor would we want it to. At least not every time. But, hey, wouldn’t our lives be wonderful if we could resolve our arguments so happily?

That’s not reality. That’s why it’s called fiction.

Like everybody else I had a best friend growing up. We were best buds from grade school to high school to college. We swore we’d always be best friends. And you can guess what happened. She said I said something that hurt her feelings. I don’t even remember saying what she said I said. As I said, friendships are fragile. And how I would like to rewrite that dialogue!

And I can.

I can create my own comfy world in my own cozy murder mysteries. My characters are friends, good friends. When they argue, they kiss and make up (usually) and the reader keeps turning those pages to make sure.

In the last part of the writing exercise, we were instructed to examine every page of our WIP, every single page, not just every scene, and add conflict to each page, to create a page-turner, can’t-put-it-down novel.

When I heard that, I wanted to punch out that instructor. Not really, because he was so right. And besides, I live in reality where people restrain themselves most of the time. But in fiction, there are endless opportunities for confrontation and clash…and conflict.

Blurb: NOT ACCORDING TO FLAN

Jane Marsh wants to shake off the empty nest syndrome, plus the notoriety of the death of her first and second husbands, by starting over in a new place. She sells her family home to move to a far northern suburb of Denver. At the same time, Jane’s dinner club is undergoing a transformation, and a new man—a gourmet chef—enters her life. But, things turn sour when, on the day Jane moves into her new home, she discovers a dead body. She cannot feel at home in this town where she’s surrounded by cowboys, horse pastures, and suspects. Not to mention where a murder was committed practically on her doorstep. How can she focus on romance and dinner clubs when one of her new friends—or maybe even her old ones—might be a murderer?

Excerpt :

Slam! Chink. The brown packing box fell off the dolly with the tinkling sound of glass on glass. Jane sighed as the mover stacked the box labeled “kitchen” back on the dolly and thumped down the basement stairs with it.

Never mind. She’d sort it out later. She slipped outside into the warmth of the early September, blue-sky, Colorado day to check on her puppies sniffing around their new territory in the backyard. Leaning over the deck railing facing the lot to the east, she gazed into the bottom of an open excavation where a basement was being poured. Someone had parked a tractor down in the dirt, and near it a white cowboy hat lay on the ground. A man’s hand stretched toward the hat’s brim. Had someone fallen into the pit?

Jane bounded down the deck stairs and out the wooden gate, only stopping for a moment to secure the latch. She rounded the corner of her new house and rushed to the adjoining lot, pausing near the edge of the concrete that formed the basement’s foundation.

A man was shoved against the corner of the foundation wall. His torso and legs were partly covered with dirt. The cowboy hat concealed the top of his head. His left hand almost touched the brim, as if he were about to take off his hat and say “Howdy do.” A large manila envelope lay a foot or so away from his other outstretched hand.

On the envelope tall, block letters spelled out: “Jane Marsh—welcome to your new home.”

Jane’s hands flew to her throat. “Ethan,” she breathed.

Her eyes took in the three cement walls rising out of the dirt floor and at the rear, a crumbling slope of dirt spilling into the pit. Starting toward the back slope, she hesitated. The soil might not be stable. She lifted two planks, plunked the long ends of the boards into the pit, and climbed down.

The smell of turned earth filled her nose as she skirted the tractor, a small, front-end loader. Falling to her knees, she lifted the cowboy hat, then dropped it. She felt the man’s wrist for a pulse. It wasn’t there. Then her hand moved toward the envelope with her name on it, but she drew back.

After yanking a cell phone out of the back pocket of her worn jeans, she punched in 9-1-1. “A man fell into a construction pit… I’m pretty sure he’s dead…no, he’s beyond help.” The dispatcher asked for the address, and she gave it to him in a shaky voice. “Yes, I’ll stay on the line.” The makeshift bridge was harder to get back up than it was to get down. After making it to the top, she crossed the lot and rushed through her front door.

“Caleb!”

“Yeah? Whatzup, Mom?” Her grown son appeared from the kitchen. He was almost a foot taller than she, but with the same slim build and a cap of the same rich brown hair.

“Ethan Valrod. The construction manager for the builder. He fell into the basement pit next door. He’s dead.” Breathless, she took a deeper breath to stop her ears buzzing and her heart pounding.

“What the?” Caleb’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open.

“Ethan Valrod’s dead. I’ve called 9-1-1 already and they told me to stay on the line.” Jane lifted the phone to her ear, but the operator was silent. Legs shaking, she led the way, and Caleb followed her out the door.

Her son stationed himself on top of the foundation, hands clenched to his sides, while taking in the sight below. She plucked at his sleeve. “Are you going down to look?”

He nodded his head and descended the plank. In only a few moments he was back, dragging her by the elbow over to the concrete curb where they sat together facing the street.

After hearing a voice spluttering from the phone, Jane spoke into it. “I’m all right. I’ve got my son here with me now. We’ll wait together.” She hit the mute button and shifted the phone from her right hand to her left.

Caleb slid a folded piece of paper out of his tight jean pocket and handed it to her. “I forgot to give you this.”

In a tremulous voice, she read out loud, “Mrs. Marsh, I stopped by to give you a welcome packet with the keys. I’ll come back later.” Ethan Valrod’s signature was scrawled across the bottom. She gazed into the distance for a moment.

Caleb lifted his hands, palms up. “It was on the counter when I got here. The movers set a box on top of the note, and I didn’t want it to get lost, so I put it in my pocket.”

“Okay, thanks.” Swallowing hard, she darted a quick glance over her shoulder, but no one else was around. “It looked like someone used the tractor to cover the body with dirt.”

“I noticed. And there were marks on the ground, like someone rolled his body into the corner first.”

“Did you see the blood on the tractor bucket?”

“Yeah.” Caleb gave his mother a pop-eyed stare and she returned the look.

Her ears seemed sharper than usual. The dogs barked from the other side of the fence. A plane’s engine droned from overhead. Police sirens approached from the next block.

Buy links:

Book 1: Everything Bundt the Truth

Wild Rose Press // Amazon // B&N 

Book 2: Not According to Flan

Wild Rose Press // Amazon // B&N

A little about Karen:

Karen C. Whalen is the author of a culinary cozy series, the “dinner club murder mysteries.” The first three in the series are: Everything Bundt the Truth, Not According to Flan, and No Grater Evil. Her books are similar to those written by cozy authors Jessica Beck and Joanne Fluke. She worked for many years as a paralegal at a law firm in Denver, Colorado and has been a columnist and regular contributor to The National Paralegal Reporter magazine. She believes that it’s never too late to try something new. She loves to host dinner clubs, entertain friends, ride bicycles, hike in the mountains, and read cozy murder mysteries.

You can connect with Karen here:

Facebook // Website // Twitter // Goodreads // Amazon

 

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Filed under Author, Cooking, female friends, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Life challenges, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Sorchia Dubois, a tasty salad, and a little visit with Zoraida Gray

Today, in my constant attempt to bring you great authors and even better food (!) author SORCHIA DUBOIS is visiting me. She’s brought along a tasty summer salad recipe and an even tastier sample of her newest book ZORAIDA GRAY AND THE FAMILY STONES. 

Here’s Sorchia to tell you all about it….

In my Zoraida Grey series, Zoraida and her BFF Zhu are women of many passions. Food and drink come in about third on their list (magic and men being numbers one and two, not necessarily in that order.) From curly, cheesy fries at the local eatery in their hometown of Bear Hollow, Arkansas, to the tempting fare at a formal dinner in a haunted Scottish castle, they eat and drink their way through one magical adventure after another.

Self-depravation may be coming through in my writing since I often reward myself for meeting a deadline or word count with a wee dram. My first book, Just Like Gravity, contained so many references to a particular brand of Scotch that my publisher dedicated the entire book to the distillery and one of my reviewers says she gets thirsty every time she reads a passage about whiskey.

The format of a Gothic novel seldom allows for the inclusion of recipes, so I use my blog—Sorchia’s Universe—to cater to my own passions with an irregular feature I call the Writer’s Scotch and Salad Diet. The Writer’s Scotch and Salad Diet came about when a friend and I surmised that it should be possible to build a healthy diet around alcoholic beverages (it isn’t) and set out to prove it (We didn’t—don’t remember what went wrong, but something did go horribly, horribly wrong and I just thank the Powers That Be it happened before cell phones.)

Not to be deterred by common sense or nutritional science, to this day I continue the search for the elusive balance between healthy food and booze. Let me show you what I mean. Here’s a salad recipe and suggestions for drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) to accompany it, followed by an excerpt from Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones.

Let me hear from you! What is your favorite combination of food and drink?

 The Writer’s Scotch and Salad Diet: The Couscous and Black Bean Fiesta Salad.

Black Beans—2 cans or 1 cup of dried beans

¼ cup of minced fresh cilantro

½ tsp cumin

4 T Olive oil

3 T Lime Juice

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1 ¼ cup broth—any kind but chicken or veggie broth work nicely

1 cup raw couscous

1 chopped green pepper

1 chopped red pepper

1 cup frozen corn

8-10 chopped green onions

Sliced tomato

Shredded cheddar cheese

Method:

  1. If you use dried beans, cook until tender and cool.
  2. Prepare the couscous using the broth and cool.
  3. Mix everything except the tomatoes and cheese together and salt and pepper to taste. If you use frozen corn and mix in the rest, the corn will chill it down quickly.
  4. Chill for at least half an hour.
  5. Garnish with cheddar cheese and tomato slices.

A nice Speyside Scotch might go well with this salad—Glen Livet, Balvenie, or Glenfiddich. Something light and a little sweet. I love Rob Roys—especially smoky Rob Roys made with Laphroaig––which would be a good finisher to nearly any meal.

While I am enamored of Scotch, the salad does have a Mexican tang to it, so a Marguerita wouldn’t be amiss. Being a purist in all things, I advise against a mix. Get your bar book out and make it from scratch—not hard and much, much better. As always, avoid the cheap stuff. Patron Silver is touted as the best by many tequila aficionados in my acquaintance but I am not of their number so I can’t say anything beyond that.

If you don’t drink alcohol, then a sparkling white grape juice would be perfect. Go for something not loaded down with sugar or make your own:

  • 2 bottles well chilled Welch’s Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade. (This stuff may include sugar so you could make your own strawberry lemonade to create a healthier drink.)
  • 3 cups Welch’s 100% White Grape Juice. (You can get the unsweetened variety which is only 45 calories per serving.)
  • 2 cups peach juice.(Unsweetened!)
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced.
  • 1 peach, thinly sliced.
  • In a large punch bowl or pitcher stir together Sparkling Lemonade, White Grape Juice, Peach juice, lemon slices, strawberries, lemons, and peaches.

Here’s a little excerpt from Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones which shows Zoraida and Zhu in action at a formal dinner in a haunted castle.

Ursula moves her soupspoon—the one on the far right, I note—from front to back. Her manner looks much more civilized than the shoveling motion Zhu and I employ at home when we eat Campbell’s Chicken and Noodle soup on the porch. I catch Zhu’s attention and cock an eye at Ursula. Zhu sets her mouth grimly and copies the motion. Shea watches first her and then me. His eyebrows arch high and his mouth twists with suppressed laughter.

“I heard about the renovations.” I take a sip of soup, trying not to slurp. I could lap the savory chicken broth like a dog if I wasn’t trying to impress my new relatives. “That tower looks like it could withstand a hurricane.”

“The outer rockwork is as perfect today as it was when Lorne Logan built it in the fourteenth century.” The corners of Shea’s lips turn up slightly. Miss Watson Part Deux told us he is a murderer, a dangerous fellow likely to gut us in our sleep. He crackles with magic like the rest of them, hiding something from me and from the others. His voice is a delicious blend of rolled l’s and burred r’s, more Scottish than Michael’s clipped English accent. “We’re repairing doorways and excavating an old part of the interior that has been in ruins for nearly two centuries. Old tunnels and dungeons. Michael wants to make it part of the tour and charge an arm and a leg for the privilege. Always thinking ahead is our Michael.”

Michael shrugs. “One must do what one can to ensure the family’s security.” He smiles at me, but his words are for Shea. “We must make difficult choices and utilize our resources wisely. Shea and I have a disagreement about how to do that. Ours is a family of great diversity, and so we seldom agree on any course of action. I’m afraid family history is fraught with such disagreements, ranging from minor arguments to full-fledged feuds.”

The servants clear away the soup and bring in platters of fish ringed with lightly toasted Brussels sprouts. Fresh basil and rosemary leaves sizzle on the surface of fillet. It’s a far cry from the fried catfish they serve at Hofstedler’s in Bear Hollow.

Again, I survey the choices of implements at my disposal and wonder which one is for the fish. Who knew eating could get this complicated?

Across the table, Shea unobtrusively touches the fork on the outside left with his index finger. He shoots me a pointed glance, the smartass. With another quiet gesture, he indicates the knife on the outside right. I pick up my fish knife and fork and narrow my eyes at him. I can see enough of his mind to know he finds me hilarious.

 

To buy your very own copy of Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones—now a finalist in the Prism Awards offered by the Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal Romance Writers chapter of Romance Writers of America, here are the links to purveyors of fine literature as close as your computer screen:

 Amazon // Wild Rose Press // B&N // Kob

You can connect with Sorchia here:

Website // Twitter // Pinterest // Facebook // Amazon // Goodreads //

 

Bio – A little about Sochia…

Sorchia Dubois lives in the piney forest of the Missouri Ozarks with seven cats. She edits technical writing part time, but she spends a number of hours each day tapping out paranormal romance, Gothic murder, and Scottish thrillers.

A proud member of the Ross clan, Sorchia incorporates all things Celtic (especially Scottish) into her works. She can often be found swilling Scotch at Scottish festivals and watching kilted men toss large objects for no apparent reason.

 

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Filed under Author, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#Celebrating some good news.

Just found out that my Wild Rose Press book from last Christmas holiday season A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest from the Contemporary Romance Writers RWA chapter! I’m one of 3 finalists in the Contemporary Romance – short division.

Can you just say “YOWZA!!!”

I am uber-stoked. A KISS came in 3rd in the NECRWA 2017 Reader’s Choice awards, and now this!!! My little romance writing heart is all aflutter today. And probably will be until July 28 when the winners are announced at RWA2017.

Yikes! I need to get to the gym so I can fit into a nice dress for the announcements…

See ya……………………

But before I go, if you haven’t read A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS yet ( and why not???) here’s a little taste:

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns 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 aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind. Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not. Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

 

Excerpt:

At twenty-four I still lived under my parents’ roof, had no full-time paying job other than helping my father with his business books and those of a few of his business associates, and my love life was nonexistent.

It wasn’t that I didn’t get asked out or date. I did. Often. Plus, I was perpetually being set-up by the aunts and uncles. I’d had a steady boyfriend all through high school, but we went our separate ways when we each left for college. My choices had been limited in recent years to guys I met in college–who were all looking to score, not forge a lifetime commitment—and then in accounting school who were, for lack of a better word, boring and absorbed either in numbers theory, finding jobs after graduation, or in just getting into my pants. The men my extended family routinely set me up with were mostly thick-necked, uneducated, wiseguy wannabes who wanted a conventional Italian bride they could keep barefoot, pregnant, and cooking.

So. Not. Me.

I needed to make some decisions about my life and make them soon. First, pass the exams and get licensed. Then, look for a real job so I could afford to live on my own. This one might be the hardest to accomplish since my parents were old-school thinkers who believed girls should stay home until they were married. They couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to go from their house to a husband’s house, and never experience what it would be like living on my own.

Lastly, I wanted to find the one special guy I could commit to. A guy who’d be family oriented like me, want kids, the minivan, a house in the ‘burbs, the whole family-comes-first-and-always mentality I’d been breastfed on.

I wasn’t too picky. Obviously, I didn’t want him to look like a troll, but nice looking wouldn’t hurt since I’d be spending eternity staring across the kitchen table at his face. A good-paying job would be nice in a career where I didn’t need to worry he’d make one wrong move and wind up as fish food in the Meadowlands marshes.

Don’t laugh: have I mentioned my Uncle Sonny?

BuyLinks:

Amazon // Wild Rose Press//  Kobo // Nook

When I’m not celebrating, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Candy Hearts, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Foodie, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

An #interview with A HUNDRED KISSES #author Jean M. Grant

I’m pleased and delighted to introduce you to another new writer to me today, JEAN M. GRANT . Jean is one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs and her first book, A HUNDRED KISSES is available now. SO, sit back and learn a little sumthin’ sumthin’ about this new author you’re sure going to be hearing about.

 

Jean, The Writer

  1. What drives you to write? I’m a sucker for happy endings that I can control. I love beautiful landscapes and to escape into fictional worlds. I am a daydreamer and it extends to the written word.
  2. What genre(s) of Romance do you write, and why? Historical, with a supernatural twist. I’ve considered a time travel and contemporary, too (those manuscripts are on the planning phase as I work on the prequel to A Hundred Kisses).
  3. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Historical, contemporary, time travel. I also dip into women’s fiction, mainstream, thriller.
  4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I don’t write every day as much as I would like to. I write in nooks and crannies, morning, day, and night. I usually go through a stretch of heavy writing for a few days or weeks, and then I need to take a break for “life.” Then back to it again. It’s hard to write for a few minutes here and there; I like to allot big chunks of time. The worst thing for a writer is to get interrupted in the middle of a great scene! You lose the flow.

5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? Most writing is done on my laptop at the kitchen island/counter or dining room table. Sometimes the couch. Rarely my desk. Not the most ideal places for proper back and wrist position though.

  1. 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? I am pretty good at filtering, as many times, I have my young children running around. I love to have music on. Sometimes the music must get turned off and I work in complete silence for particular writing projects or sections of work.
  2. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? I listen to a variety of music, depending on what I am writing, and what the scene (or project) is about. The music matches the mood. A good deal of Enya gets me through, but I mix it up with some Ed Sheeran and Maroon Five, as well as movie scores-type of music.
  3. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? I had written three historical romances (unpublished; dare I say as practice, over the years) in 12th century Scotland. For my current book, A Hundred Kisses, I decided to jump ahead a century and apply the feedback I’d received from beta-readers, agents, editors on the first three. I really learned a lot from those manuscripts. I honed my skills. I also threw in some magical/supernatural elements to the current book. And that’s how that one came to be! My current WIP is a prequel to A Hundred Kisses, about the heroine’s mother. It’s got Vikings and more magical elements, too. I also have a Women’s Fiction/Mainstream book I am querying to agents – about a widowed mother on a journey to locate her missing child, after a natural disaster, with her other high-functioning autistic son at her side. That book is inspired by my own parenting journey, while being a work of fiction. And yes, she meets a man with his own tortured past along the way, so there is a romantic element!
  4. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Plot. I love stories. I do love to connect to characters, feel their emotions. But for me, I am a plotter, so that comes easier. I always have ideas! Then I need to assign characters that suit those ideas.
  5. What 3 words describes you, the writer? Patient, Resilient, Daydreamer (Peggy here: LOVELOVELOVE those 3 words!)

Jean, The Person 

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I love to travel. I love to hike and tackle mountains big and small. I have a weakness for green rolling hills. I also love sharks and have a degree in Marine Biology.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? T.C. from early elementary years
  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….my hike through Abel Tasman in New Zealand (I picked this over other more grueling hikes, because who wants to repeat over and over those torturous hikes that left me limping for days after?!)
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? boxers
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? Chapstick/lip balm. I would die without it.
  6. What three words describes you, the person? Daydreamer, nurturer, resilient
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Daydream Believer (aka Cheer up Sleepy Jean) by The Monkees (Peggy here: We could be BFFs. My all time fav group is the Monkees, in fact, my wedding song is I’M A BELIEVER)
  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? Claire and Jamie Fraser (both). Why? Why not? J Sexy Scot and strong-willed English nurse. What would we do? Hmm, not sure. Hang out at some standing stones or by Loch Ness?

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

  1. Favorite sound – water or rain, birds chirping at 4:30 a.m.
  2. Least favorite sound – cars idling
  3. Best song every written – Sleepwalk by Santo and Johnny
  4. Worst song ever written – Barney’s theme song ( Peggy here: I can’t stand that song!!!)
  5. Favorite actor and actress – Kit Harrington and Ewan MacGregor, Emily Blunt     
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) – I’d actually like to just have dinner with (not be) The Rock, Dwayne Johnson for one day. Silly, right? He seems like an amazing, funny, nice guy. If I could be somebody for a day, it would be my oldest son, who has Asperger’s/ Autism. I want to feel, see, and experience life through his eyes.
  7. What turns you on? – coffee and sweets and my husband playing with our kids
  8. What turns you off? – mean people
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date (here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) – I’ve not had too many first dates so I am not sure what to put here!
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? – writing at sunrise, then a daytime hike through some breathtaking place (New Zealand and Scotland top the list), finished with a frothy latte on a porch with a remarkable view (lake, ocean, mountain); all with my husband and kids of course

And now, for a little treat, here’s an excerpt from Jean’s debut novel  A Hundred Kisses

Blurb

1296

Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.

Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.

Under the façade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.

Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…

Excerpt

She sensed no colors in the murky, lifeless water, and it was freeing. All breath escaped her. Muted visions passed before her eyes—her mother, her father, Gordon, and Cortland. Just a moment longer, she thought…

Suddenly, a burst of warm light invaded her thoughts as air filled her lungs. Red-hot hands burned her shoulders and ripped her from her icy grave. She breathed life into her body. She coughed, gagging on the change.

Muffled words yelled at her.

Oh, God, so hot. His fingers were like hot pokers. Her head pounded as she slowly returned to the present. Heat radiated from her rescuer. Somebody had pulled her from the water.

“Wh—?”

“Hush, lass. You nearly drowned.”

His voice was as soothing as a warm cup of goat’s milk on a winter’s day. A red-hot glow emanated from his body. Never before had she felt such a strong lifeblood, and it nearly burned her. She struggled in his arms to get free. She blinked, only seeing a blurry form before her. “Release me!”

She splashed and wriggled, and he did as told. She clambered to the shoreline. Numb and shaken, she began to dress. It wasn’t easy as she fumbled with slick fingers to put dry clothes over wet skin. She instantly regretted her naked swim. She pulled on her long-sleeved white chemise first.

She faced the forest, away from her rescuer. He quietly splashed to shore. His lifeblood burned into her back. He wasn’t far behind, but he stopped. She refused to look at him until she was fully clothed, not out of embarrassment of her nudity, but for what had just happened. He released a groan and mumbled under his breath about wet boots. His voice was not one of her father’s soldiers.

When she put the last garment on, her brown wool work kirtle, she squeezed out her sopping hair and swept her hands through the knotty mess. She fastened her belt and tied the lacings up the front of the kirtle. Blood returned to her fingertips, and she regained her composure. Belated awareness struck her, and she leaned down and searched through her bag for her dagger. She spun around.

She gasped as she saw the man sitting on the stone-covered shoreline, his wet boots off. Confusion and the hint of a scowl filled his strong-featured face. She staggered back, caught her heel on a stone, and fell, dropping the dagger. Dirt and pebbles stuck to her wet hands and feet, and she instinctively scrambled away from him.

His glower, iridescent dark blue eyes, and disheveled black hair were not unfamiliar. Staring at her was the man she had seen in her dream—it was the man from the wood.

Buy Links: Amazon // WildRose Press // B&N // Kobo

More about Jean:

Jean is a scientist, part-time education director, and a mom. She currently resides in Massachusetts and draws from her interests in history, science, the outdoors, and her family for inspiration. She enjoys writing non-fiction articles for family-oriented and travel magazines, and aspires to write children’s books while continuing to write novels. In 2008, she visited the land of her daydreams, Scotland, and it was nothing short of breathtaking. Jean enjoys tending to her flower gardens, tackling the biggest mountains in New England with her husband, and playing with her sons, while daydreaming about the next hero to write about…

You can find Jean here:

Website // Twitter // Facebook 

 

I hope you enjoyed meeting Jean as much as I did! Jean- thanks so much for joining me today and much success with A HUNDRED KISSES.

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, love, Romance, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

A visit with #author Claire Marti; #TWRP #Romance

 This is one of my favorite reasons for having a blog: To introduce people who read it to new and fabulous authors. Today, I’m thrilled to introduce you to a new Wild Rose Press sistah, Claire Marti. Claire’s first book was released just this past Friday and she’s given us a sneak peak. But first, she recently “sat” down with me for my in depth author interview. Sit back and get to know this up and coming author. You’ll be glad, trust me.

 

Claire Marti, the Writer:

  1. What drives you to write? I’ve written since I was in elementary school. Letters, journals, stories…you name it. I love to read and believe writing flows from that passion.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? Contemporary and my next series will be historical. I started with contemporary because I love stories with realistic characters bumbling through life. Now that I’ve grown in my writing, I’m ready to tackle historical research and layer it into my prose.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Contemporary, historical, and occasionally paranormal or contemporary with paranormal elements. I love reading realistic contemporary stories and I love history. Historical romance is fun: I love the flirtatiousness and all the societal rules.
  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I write most days. I’m a yoga teacher and my schedule varies daily. On Mondays for example, I only teach one class in the morning and have most of the day free to write. Tuesdays, I teach four classes and I can only get in about an hour. The weekends usually provide me a few longer writing chunks. I enjoy mixing it up.
  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I write in our second bedroom/office. I have an amazing desk, but rarely sit at it. I’ve got a comfortable reclining chair and the arms are the perfect height for me to sit with my feet up and my fingers on the laptop. My cat Lola rests on the top of the chair and keeps an eye on me. I can see my desk and my bulletin board, which has a photo of me with Nora Roberts and some other inspirational photos. I also recently acquired a 1950’s pink Royal typewriter and it inspires me to write.
  1. 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 tunnelvisionIt’s funny, when I write non-fiction articles, I blast music. When I’m working on fiction, I need silence.
  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? I listen to music all the time and use it quite a bit in my yoga classes. I love attending concerts. I blast it and sing in the car. I gain inspiration from the music, but require silence when I write.
  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? I’ve got two WIPs right now. I just returned the first round of edits for Book 2 in the Finding Forever in Laguna series to my editor and am tackling a rough draft of Book 3. Book 3 features a hero how has PTSD and needs methods to tackle anxiety and nightmares. I’ve got some yoga teacher friends who teach yoga for veterans, specifically targeted to help them cope. Working with this population triggered the hero, Christian Wolfe’s story.
  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Character all the way. I spend time creating their conflicts and issues and figuring out how they’d challenge each other, help each other grow, and ultimately be the perfect mate. Once I’ve spent all that time creating the hero and heroine, I play with them in the setting and create an open three act structure.
  1. What 3 words describe you, the writerPassionate, dedicated, truthful.

Claire,  The Person :

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! As a child, I lived in Nairobi, Kenya for 2.5 years.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? His name was Philippe and I was 19.
  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….Last summer, my husband and I were in L’Ile Rousse, a small village in Corsica where my father was born. I spent many summers there with the French side of my family. I hadn’t returned since I was eighteen years old. So, for my birthday last year, my husband and I went. The perfect day began with an enormous café au lait and fresh croissant at a small café in the Place di Paoli. Then, we walked out to the lighthouse and enjoyed the spectacular views of the Mediterranean. We spent the afternoon on the white sand beach and swam, snorkeled and read. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at yet another quaint café. This lazy day rounded out with watching the sunset and dining on a delicious Margherita pizza.
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Boxers (Peggy here – a gal after me own heart!!)
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? Hand moisturizer.
  6. What three words describe you, the person? Passionate, loyal, witty.
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Guns N’ Roses: Sweet Child of Mine
  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’ve mulled over this question for hours. I don’t know if I can narrow it down to one! Jake Barnes from Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises because his flaws fascinate me. We’d sit in a café in Paris and drink Pernod until the wee hours of the morning and talk about anything and everything.

Bonus round

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

  1. Favorite sound: Waves crashing on the shore.
  2. Least favorite sound: Dentist drill, especially when it’s near my mouth.
  3. Best song every written: Black by Pearl Jam
  4. Worst song ever written: So many to choose from, but any time I hear True by Spandau Ballet I have to change the radio station.
  5. Favorite actor and actress: Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? (It can be anyone living or dead) Jim Morrison. He was a tortured musical genius who loved France. I’d love to be him at one of his earlier concerts. I was supposed to be a rock star and he’s the one I’d like to be for a day.
  7. What turns you on? A gorgeous square-jawed man who loves to read. Also, tortured rock stars. J
  8. What turns you off? Indecisiveness, passivity, narcissism.
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) I don’t like to read. (Peggy here:  TOTAL deal breaker!!!)
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? It always begins with coffee. Then, yoga or another workout. Write for a few hours with my cats and dog keeping me company. Lunch with a girlfriend. Time outside in nature, preferably a walk on the beach. More time to write. A glass of wine while watching the sunset over the Pacific and a delicious dinner with my husband, preferably cooked by somebody else. A concert at a small venue.

 

BLURB:

When Sophie Barnes’s fiancé jilts her at the altar, her carefully planned life implodes. Considering her ex’s betrayal to be a rude wake-up call, she leaves everything she knows in San Diego and flees to Laguna Beach. She vows to transform her life by avoiding men for a year and by fulfilling her dream of writing a wildly successful novel.

Sophie’s new landlord, Nicholas Morgan, is a gorgeous, successful architect with a player reputation. He makes it tough for Sophie to remember that she’s sworn to be single. Nick’s avoided the intimacy of a long-term relationship–until Sophie’s independence, courage, and beauty touch his guarded heart. Both Sophie and Nick are terrified of being hurt again, but can they resist the pull of true love?

 

EXCERPT:

Nick arrived right on time, looking gorgeous in faded jeans and a plain white t-shirt. How did he always manage to start the butterflies fluttering in her stomach? Just by standing there with the setting sun framing him? She was in trouble.

“Hi beautiful, ready to go?” He clasped her face in his hands and planted a soft kiss on her lips.

Returning his kiss, Sophie wound her arms around his neck and deepened it. She couldn’t resist. His strong arms wrapped around her waist, hugging her close to his broad chest.

“Mmmm, feel free to greet me like that every time I come over,” he said, lips curved up into a sweet smile.

Heat washed her cheeks and she returned his smile. “Let’s go. Prepare to be blown away by the movie snack of the century.”

Determined to keep things light and enjoy the movie before “the talk,” Sophie thrust down the lick of panic bubbling in her gut. She’d accomplished next to nothing all afternoon, instead wrestling with whether she needed to tell him about Doug.

The angel on her shoulder whispered to tell him because if they were going to have any kind of relationship, even a friends-with-benefits one, honesty and trust were vital.

The devil urged her to zip it. They’d only known each other a few weeks. What if he lived up to his “Player of Laguna” reputation and expected only a fun fling? Even though he seemed deeper than that. What if she scared him off with a premature talk?

BUY LINKS:  Amazon // WRP // B&N // Kobo // iBooks

Bio

Claire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.

Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga. She teaches at studios, online for the international website YogaDownload.com and also has a Yoga for Cancer Recovery DVD. She’s the author of Come Ride with Me Along the Big C, a memoir on how yoga helped her cope with breast cancer.

Her debut novel, Second Chance in Laguna, won best unpublished contemporary romance in the Heart of the Molly and third place in the Maggie. She’s hard at work on the second and third novels in the Finding Forever in Laguna series.

Claire is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the San Diego Romance Writers.

Claire loves to connect with people. You can find her here:

Website //Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads

Peggy here: Claire is was a total pleasure getting to know you! I love how you embrace writing as your passion and I’m looking forward to reading more of your books. Be well and keep writing. PJ

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

An #interview with #Author Saffron A. Kent; #TWRP

In a week of FIRSTS, here’s another: my very first interview with an NC-17 story teller. Saffron A. Kent is a Wild Rose sistah, and her debut novel, A WAR LIKE OURS has gotten some pretty amazeballs reviews. Saffron is the first to tell you the story she wrote isn’t for everyone. It’s raw, and tormented, and really like nothing you’re used to reading when you think of any lines of the romance genre. And because of that, she’s making a name for herself in the literary world. Saffron sat down recently to answer my interview questions and agreed to let me give you a little glimpse into her world. Stick around after the piece, because she’s sharing something from A WAR LIKE OURS with you.

Here’s Saffron….

Saffron, The Writer 

  1. What drives you to write? Reading. I am a big reader and love to read tons of things. And the more I read, the more I want to write.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? I write contemporary and erotic romance. Mostly because for me, emotional growth and internal conflict are what attract me to romance. So I like to focus on character’s internal journey without getting distracted by external plot points. That’s not to say that I don’t believe in external conflicts. Without them, we have no story. But I like to keep things focused on emotional journey.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? All of them except suspense. As I said, I’m more of an emotional story person and I feel suspense takes away from the romance. Nothing against the subgenre though.
  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? Yup. Every single day, especially when I’m heavily involved with a project. I think it keeps me motivated. The more I write, the more I want to write.
  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I like to write in bed (LOL!). I like to be comfortable and if I’m going to spend hours writing, I’d rather do it in my soft bed. Other than that, I have this great armchair that is just fantastic to spend hours in. So that’s my second spot.
  1. 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? I need totally quiet. Maybe that’s why I miss out on listening to music while writing or writing in a coffee shop. It’s a dream of mine to write at a table by the window and be this dreamy kind of writer! But so far it hasn’t happened. I get distracted easily so I need the quiet.
  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? Nope. Can’t. It’s very hard for me. But occasionally when I really feel like being a rebel, I listen to whatever I’ve got saved on my playlist.
  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? I was watching this movie, The girl with a dragon tattoo. I was struck by the hardness of the character and her history so much. The protagonist starts dating girls and is skittish of men because of a horrific incident in her life. It was very intriguing to me and I wanted to explore such a character, hence, Madison came into being.
  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Character, always. For me, characters make the plot. They need to be active, engaging and continuously evolving throughout the story.
  1. What 3 words describes you, the writer? Plotter (I need to know what’s going on; I can’t do on the spot writing). Re-writer (I think I re-write almost every scene at least twice. So I re-write the whole book twice, no matter what. Nothing is good enough for me). Perfectionist (It goes back to point 2. Unless I’m happy with something I can’t even show it to my beta readers. I won’t. And to make me happy, it takes a long time).

The Person Questions:

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I’m a fan of chocolate cheesecake. Love it!
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? I was fifteen I think. It was a guy from school.
  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 day I got the email from TWRP that they will publish my book. Oh Gosh! I got that email in the middle of the night, the editor had just finished it. She wrote me this raving email, saying she simply has to publish it because the story is so different and unique and fresh. I couldn’t sleep after that. I was laughing, crying. It was insane.
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Boxers. Definitely more manly to me.
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? It would be my Apricot scrub. I love that thing so much.
  6. What three words describes you, the person? Anxious, awkward in social situations and totally talkative at home.
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Any song by Lana Del Ray. I adore her. She is my go to artist when I’m down.
  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’d hang out with Hermoine from Harry Potter. She is bookish and a nerd. I’d love to go to a library with her and talk about books all day.

Bonus round

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

  1. Favorite sound: The gurgle of coffee maker in the morning. It means the coffee is ready.
  2. Least favorite sound: The fire brigade sound. I think for obvious reasons. It’s loud and it never fails to make me anxious. I’m always like, what’s going on? Is it me?
  3. Best song every written: Summertime sadness by Lana del Ray
  4. Worst song ever written: Ugh. Too many to count. I know this would make people hate me but I don’t like Justin Bieber so… any song by him.
  5. Favorite actor and actress: Daniel Day-Lewis among many others and Michelle Pfeiffer, again among many others.
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) I want to be Gillian Flynn for one day. I just want to see inside her mind and you know, how it works. It’s genius. Whatever she writes is pure gold for me. I love her.
  7. What turns you on? Sense of humor.
  8. What turns you off? People with huge egos or over-confidence
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) Are you not wearing a bra. LOL! I had this top on that was kind of revealing and I don’t why he thought I wasn’t wearing a bra. Ugh. That was the worst. I was so embarrassed.
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? Coffee in the morning, lazing around in bed with a book and my husband all day. Eating pizza. Watching Netflix when I’m done with the book.

 

Blurb:

perf5.000x8.000.indd

A liar…

Three weeks ago, James Maxwell’s wife died in a car accident, but he hasn’t been able to tell his five-year old daughter the heartbreaking truth behind her mother’s death. Instead, he packs them up and leaves for a summer resort in upstate New York to spend a few peaceful weeks and to gradually break the news. But a spirited and outspoken maid at the resort has figured out his secret.

A hater…

After witnessing her mother’s violent death at the hands of her stepfather, Madison Smith has turned aimless and bitter toward the world—men, in particular. Her dead-end job at the local resort and her convenient girlfriend barely keep Madison from falling apart. When she meets James, however, she’s driven to protect his child from the darkness she sees inside him.

A forbidden kiss…

But Madison doesn’t expect to find that very darkness irresistible. Drowning in guilt and memories, neither does James expect to be drawn to the sharp-witted woman who has made his life miserable. When their tempers flare, a brutal kiss triggers a need that blurs the lines of hate and desire. As their lust spins out of control, they must decide if their attraction is worth fighting for or if love is the real enemy.

Please Note: This book is intended for mature audience. 18+ ONLY.

Excerpt:

A liar…a hater…a forbidden kiss…

My arm had begun to feel numb. I forgot to breathe as I looked at him. He could really hurt me. I knew this in my heart. He could really do it. My fear kicked into high gear. Please no. I didn’t think I could go through that again. Turned out people like me could be scared of some things, too. Surprise, my subconscious chanted, weakly.

I tried to free myself. “Let me go.”

He brought me even closer and puffed his stale breath on my face. I fought hard not to gag. His chest wasn’t touching mine, but one deep breath and it would brush. I stopped breathing.

A soft flick, a caress resonated on my skin where he’d grabbed me. It was so soft that it could’ve been air touching my skin, but I knew it was him. He was circling his thumb on my arm. My heart pounded, furious, afraid, and with a tinge of excitement. In the next second, the caress was gone like I’d dreamt it.

I struggled harder. “Let me go!” And then I broke down and uttered a word I hadn’t spoken like I meant it in a long while. “Please.”

 

Buy Links: Amazon // B&N // WildRose Press

 

Bio supreet3

Romance Writer and Reader. Coffee Addict. White Russian Drinker. Imaginary Ballet Dancer. Wanna-be Poet. Lana Del Ray & Gillian Flynn Worshiper.

My stories are grey-shaded and NC-17. I write what I love to read. And what I love to read is always twisted and angsty and emotional. My characters desperately need therapy. They tend to kiss a lot too, among other naughty things.

I LOVE to chat with readers about reading and writing so come follow me! FaceBook // Twitter // Pinterest // Website

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

A #visit with #author Anita Kidesu; #WildRosePress

interview2

Last year I was part of a collection of Valentine’s Day novellas for the Wild Rose Press titled THE CANDY HEART ROMANCE SERIES. There were over 40 WRP authors represented in that collection, one of them, ANITA KIDESU, my guest today.  Anita is one of the rare – and for me enviable, writers who have a dual personality – she not only writes in several genres, but she does it under two names ( love that!) She’s got a new Wild Press Release out that’s a sequel to her Candy Heart’s Book, Surprise Me, SURPRISE ME AGAIN. After the interview, there’s a little gift for you all in the form of an exclusive excerpt – and believe me: you’ll want to read the book after the excerpt! Here’s Tina:

Anita Kidesu, The Writer

What drives you to write: I’m not sure, I just know that if I don’t get to write for a while I get antsy. I miss my characters.

What genre(s) of Romance do you write and why? I actually write under two names. As Anita Kidesu I write erotic romance. I’m not sure how that happened, except my characters “told” me what they wanted and I decided they knew best. As Tina Susedik I write romantic suspense/mystery/humor. I know it sounds strange, but my writing is different with both names. As Tina, the erotic part never comes up.

What genre(s) of Romance to you read and why? When I first started reading romance, it was Kathleen Woodiwiss, so that meant historical. Now I read most anything except science fiction, paranormal. I do find I tend to like mystery or suspense in my stories.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I try to write every day. In the mornings I take care of bookkeeping, promotion, etc. Unless I have something going on at school (I volunteer at my grandchildren’s school) I write in the afternoon. If I have time, I will write in the morning. I try to write at least 2,000 words a day.

Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. In the winter, ( I live in Northern Wisconsin) I move between the couch in my living room to the couch in the basement. Because of a back and neck injury I can’t sit at my desk for long periods of time, so I prop my laptop on a pillow and write on the couch. In the summer, I love, love, love to write outside. I sit on the deck, or go to a park, or go camping and write. Just to be outside.

Do you listen to music while you write? Yes, I do, but it has to be instrumental. I use it more as background. I have a cd player that holds five cds. I can replay those five cds over and over because I never really listen to them.

How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? Last year I was part of the Candy Heart Series with The Wild Rose Press. My candy heart was “Surprise Me.” As I was writing the story, I knew Josie and Carson’s story wasn’t over, so I wrote “Surprise Me Again,” which was released on Feb. 10th. As I was writing, that one, I realized I needed to write a story for their sons. That one is now with my editor and is unnamed right now. As I was writing the boys’ story, a female character popped up, and I realized she needed her own story. I have that one roaming through my head right now.

Which comes first for you – character or plot? I think plot comes first. I always have these ideas popping up in my head and I come up with characters to go with it.

Which three words describe you, the writer? Wow, that’s a tough one. Dedicated, always learning, pantser

Anita/Tina, the Person

Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing: Another tough one. I think I’m rather boring, but I love photography – especially nature photography.

Who was your first love and what age were you? Easy-peasy. Duane Strong. Third grade. We shared a kiss on the school bus.

If you could live relive one day, which would it be? It would be a toss up between my wedding day and the birth of my kids, although I do without re-living the pain of childbirth. I would love to relive the total full-out feelings of bursting with love as I looked at my children for the first time.

Do you like guys in boxers, briefs, or commando. All of them

 

If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be. Mascara. As a redhead, my eyelashes, while long, can barely be seen. Sometimes all I need is to put on mascara and my whole face shines.

What three words describe you as a person? Caring, smart, loving ( Peggy here: I’m sosososos happy you said, “Smart.” Many women don’t own that word and should. Brava!)

If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it be, why, and what would you do together? I would love to meet LaVyrle Spencer. I love her books. They are so real. Vivid characters. I would love to find out how she created her stories. We would go out to supper, then find someplace to have wine and talk writing and life.

Bonus round – fun stuff!!!

Favorite sound: Rushing water

Least favorite sound: People chewing

Best song ever written: Thank You by Led Zepplin – it’s my husband and my song

Worst song ever written: Too many to mention

Favorite actor and actress: I have to admit I have a crush on Harrison Ford. Actress – I’m not sure.

Who would you want to be for one day and why? The first thing that came to me was a woman traveling on the Oregon Trail. I love history and I recently wrote a book involving the Oregon Trail.

What turns you on? A man’s smile

What turns you off? Arrogance

Give me the worst five words ever heard on a first date? You’re kinda small on top. (Peggy here: I can think of sososo many retorts to that! Hope you gave him several!!)

What’s your version of a perfect day? Camping with my husband. Going for a hike or bike ride. Reading at the campsite, then sitting around the campfire.

Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin about Anita’s new book, SURPRISE ME, AGAIN

Blurb:

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Charged with trespassing and indecent exposure on Erik Stenson’s private beach, Carson and Josie Sandberg return to South Padre Island to take care of the ticket. However, their reunion with Erik is not what they expected. An invitation for a drink turns into a weekend of passion that fulfills fantasies and leaves all parties wanting to explore a threesome outside the bedroom. Will time, distance, and family issues stand in the way, or will they be surprised again?

Excerpt:

“What about you?” Josie said. “Have you ever been married?”

“I was. Years ago. It didn’t last.”

A flicker of sorrow passed over Josie’s eyes. “Can you tell us what happened?” She frowned into her drink. “That is, if you want to.”

“It’s okay. I married Jessica about…” Hell how long had it been? Where had the time gone? “I guess nearly twenty years ago. Like you, we met in college, fell in love, married. Things were good for a few years.”

Josie leaned to her side, allowing the waiter to place a plate before her. Ignoring her food, she folded her hands under chin and kept her attention on him. “What happened?”

“We wanted children. Jessica ached for children. It became an obsession.” Eric took one of the large shrimp from the platter in the middle of the table and began peeling it with trembling fingers, giving him a chance to get his emotions under control. Lord, how he’d wanted children, but not enough to end his marriage.

“After a few years when we didn’t conceive, we looked for answers. By that time Jessica was convinced she was the problem and fell into a deep depression. Nothing I did helped. She wouldn’t agree to see a counselor. My mother finally convinced us to seek a fertilization doctor.” Eric threw the shrimp on his plate and took a long swallow of beer. “Turns out I was the problem, not her. Seems those mumps I’d had as a kid did a number on my little swimmers. Killed them all.”

“Hell, that’s awful, man,” Carson said while Josie placed her hand on Eric’s.

Their sympathy nearly did him in. He swallowed around the lump in his throat and squeezed his damp eyes.

After all these years, the pain was still buried under his heart only to surface on dark, lonely nights and like now as he recounted the story. They were the first ones he’d opened up to. None of the other people in his threesomes had even cared to ask.

Carson took a sip of his beer. “What happened then?”

“I wanted to adopt. Wanted to create a family with Jessica. It didn’t matter if the children were of our blood or not. The doctors had talked about in-vitro. Turns out Jessica didn’t feel the same way.” He took deep breath and tried to calm his pounding heart. He wiped his palms on his shorts.

“I came home one day with information on adoption and some on in-vitro fertilization only to find her and her stuff gone. She had left me a note, telling me she wanted children from her own body. Wanted to create them naturally. Didn’t want to be married to a man who wasn’t a man.”

“The bitch,” Josie said, her eyes filling with tears. “Oops, sorry. I shouldn’t have called her that.”

“Don’t worry. I’ve called her that and worse.”

“How the hell did you handle it?” Carson asked. “I would have been devastated if Josie had done that to me.”

“I drank and buried myself in my writing. I wrote my first novel during this time.”

“If I recall, that book was rather cutting against women,” Carson said.

Eric shook his head and chuckled. “Yeah. I enjoyed killing off my heroine. Coincidentally, she closely resembled my ex.”

“Did you get in trouble for it?” Josie asked, peeling her third shrimp.

“Since I use a pen name, I don’t think she even knows I write. Besides, she was too busy finding another husband to father her eight children.”

Carson choked on his beer. “Eight?”

“Yeah. She really did want kids, but I’m not sure I would have agreed to that many. I was also told she’s gained about a hundred pounds.” Under Josie’s quiet scrutiny, he dropped his gaze to his plate.

“It still hurts, though, doesn’t it?” Josie asked.

Eric shrugged. “It’s not as bad as it was. I sometimes think about how I could have kids in college or be a grandfather by now.”

Buy Links: The Wild Rose Press // Amazon // B&N

A little more about Anita:

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From the time she was a teenager, Anita would sneak her grandmother’s romances and read them until all hours of the night. She never thought about creating one herself, but fell into it with a few friends. On a long road trip, they started talking about their favorite authors and why they like their books. To kill time, they started making up their own characters and plot.

From that point on, Anita had story ideas and characters filling her head. Finally, to shut them up, (or so she thought), she started writing them down, surprised at how erotic her characters wanted to be. Her first book with The Wild Rose Press, “South Seas Seduction,” was published in March, 2015. Her short story, “Surprise Me,” part of the Candy Hearts Series, was published in January, 2016. The continuing story, “Surprise Me Again,” was released on February 10, 2017.

Now, in between being a pharmacist, taking care of her two cats, and spending time with her family and friends, she writes. Her stories are about love and romance on the edge.

ANita loves to here from her readers. You can connect with Anita here: Website // Facebook // Pinterest // Blog // Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

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What’s in a title? A lot more than you think, #MFRWauthor

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I’m sure this is an easy feat for most writers, but not for me. I agonize over book titles. Are they too long? Too short? Do they convey the correct theme of the book? Do they even convey the theme of the book? Will it be a memorable title, or one that is easily forgotten in the myriad of published books these days?

Titles can, in all truth, make or break a book. Would you have read any of these books if these were the titles?:

  1. The High-Bouncing Lover
  2. The Last man in Europe
  3. The Dead Un-Dead
  4. Mistress Mary
  5. Nothing New in the West
  6. Wacking Off
  7. The Don’t Build Statues to Businessmen
  8. The Kingdon By The Sea
  9. At this point In time
  10. Private Fleming, His Various Battles

I was a bit surprised at a few of them, and I can in all truthfulness say I wouldn’t have read any one of them except for the Dead Un-Dead, because I think it was a cool, really out-there title. To see the titles these books were actually published as, scroll down when you’re done reading.

You can’t, apparently, trademark a  title. I found this out when I wrote my third book, FIRST IMPRESSIONS ( which, BTW was the original working title of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) and did a  search to see how many books with the same title there were (423). My second book I called THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. 366 other authors also called their works of fiction that. SO, how the heck can I can up with a title that (1) hasn’t been used before, and (2) will make the random reader interested in it enough to pick up the book and check it out? Again, no easy feat.

I used to make lists, pages of lists, with book titles. Even then, choosing just one was torture.

I’m so lame at coming up with my book titles I  left the naming of my second book in the Will Cook For Love Series from Lyrical/Shine to the editors. They came up with A SHOT AT LOVE. When you read the book you’ll know it’s the perfect title, but I didn’t have anything even close to that I was working with! Thank God for the people in the know who really really really know what they are doing.

Naming your book is an awful lot like naming your child. You want to give it something with character, essence, personification, and beauty. And your book, to the writer, is your baby, your child, your creation, so you don’t want to let it down by giving it a crummy moniker; one that will inspire ridicule and laughter. Honestly, I pity the poor children of celebrities who have been named after fruits, compass directions, and astrological projections. Sad.

See? You probably thought the title was the easiest thing to come up with.  I bet you didn’t know how hard it really was to name a book? Well…at least it is for me!

Here’s what the above titles were actually published as, and thank goodness they were!!!

  1. The Great Gatsby
  2. 1984
  3. Dracula
  4. The Secret Garden
  5. All Quiet On the Western Front
  6. Portnoy’s Complaint
  7. Valley of the Dolls
  8. Lolita
  9. All the President’s Men
  10. The Red Badge of Courage

When I’m not agonizing over naming books, you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

Since this is a 52 week blog hop challenge, here are some other authors who are also taking about how they name their books today. Stop by and check out their blogs.

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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:

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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

The #book that changed my life…

The other day I was re-reading ( yes, I do this often!) THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ by  L.Frank Baum.

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Now, the first question you are probably going to ask yourself is, why in the name of all that’s holy is she reading this when she can watch the movie? After all, it’s a classic for a reason and the time involved to watch it is a mere 2.5 hours instead of days to read the book.

Good question. Trust me, I have my reasons.

You all know I lovelovelove Pride and Prejudice

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and Gone With The Wind.

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I’ve written several times in blog posts about how those books literally carved a romance writing career out of the dust for me. But, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the first book I ever remember reading that actually made a difference in my life.

 

Let me ‘splain it you, Lucy.

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Like Dorothy, I was a solitary child, a bit of a misfit ( okay, more than a bit!), and a dreamer. The only child of divorced parents who both had their own issues, I was often left to my own devices and sometimes found it difficult to stay out of trouble. Not bad trouble where the police and child services were needed, but stupid, risk taking stuff that I would absolutely lock my daughter in her room for if I ever found out she did the same things!!

I used to spend every afternoon after school at the local library. Back when I was a kid there were no such things as afterschool care, and my mother couldn’t afford a babysitter to watch her NOT-baby until she came home at 7 after work. So  I would walk each and every day after the dismissal bell to the library. Homework was always ridiculously easy for me so I spent the majority of my time reading through the book selections.

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Now, if you’ve ever actually read the Oz book you know it’s a little different from the movie. I hate spoilers, so I won’t say how. What I will tell you is the moral of the story, There’s No Place Like Home hit me at a time when I was considering doing something really dumb: run away from home.

I won’t bore you with the reasons why I felt this was a viable option for me. Suffice it to say, I had my reasons. And to me, at the time, they were valid and non-negotiable ones. I’d been planning how to run away, what to take with me, where I’d go, etc..everything that was needed for a successful fleeing. Even back then I was a list maker and had filled page after page with my plans and what I needed to accomplish before I could go and start a new life away from…well, my old one.

My plan was sound. I was going to leave Friday after school. When the bell rang I would disappear. Thursday, though, I was sitting in my usual seat in the library, reading the Oz book, when I finished it. That moral I told you about? There’s No Place Like Home? Yeah, it hit me hard. After reading about all the troubles and problems and terrifying situations Dorothy had gone through, only to discover her heart’s desire was to be right back where she belonged – home – I had a tiny breakdown and a big change of plans.

That book quite literally changed the course of my life. As an adult I can see that my plans to run away were stupid, ill-conceived, and could have ended in potential tragedy. As a child, all I could see was heartbreak and depression. Somehow, I connected with Dorothy and her story. True, it was bald fiction, fantasy at that, but Baum made me feel as if Dorothy knew me. And more, got me.

I’ve never told this story before. It always seemed a little, well, to be honest, stupid. But I realize now that it’s not. I realize now, with perspective and the wisdom of age, that reading saved me, in more ways than one. It not only opened a word of imagination and joy to me, it also helped me appreciate the life I had.

So when people ask me what book changed or influenced my life and why, the answer is an easy one on both counts.

There–really–is no place like home.

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‘Nuff said.

I have a home library now, but if you need to find me I can usually be seen hanging out in these places:

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

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