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A day in my life….is not for sissies!!

I retired in 2015 when I got a book contract. I’d worked for about 150 years as a nurse in varying specialties, then as a contact lens technician. By the time I left the nursing profession I was dog tired, emotionally wrung out, and psychological drained. Having a full time job that could be at the same time uplifiting and soul-sucking was difficult. I figured retirement – and the oppportunity to write full time  – would be much more relaxing and enjoyable.

What’s that old saying? You make plans and God laughs?
yeah…story of my life.

I figured writing full time would be a cake walk. Hey, I didn’t have to get dressed in professional clothes everyday any more, do my makeup, hair, and coordinate my wardrobe. I could stay in my pj’s all day and not even put on deodorant if I didn’t want to. ( I do, just for full disclosure here!)

That easy, carefree life of a writer I imagined? yeah..not so much. A few months ago I did a blog piece about a simple question my husband asks me every day at dinner: “So, what did you do today.” My usual response? “Worked.”
One night I figured he really needed to hear what I actually do under the definition of “work,” so here’s what I told him.

4am, Finally got out of bed after lying there for an hour, wide awake.

405am – 530 am Checked email, answered 16 messages. Wrote 2 blogs, uploaded one then posted on social media outlets and HootSuite for the day. Social media sites included uploads of blog on twitter, Triberr, Tumblr, Linked in, Goodreads, google+ and Pinterest. Hootsuites were posted for every 2 hours.

530-6. Got hubby up, ate breakfast. Got ready for the day. Made bed.

630-930 am Gym, followed by grocery shopping for the week, Target, the post office and the bank. Got gas and went to the dump.

930-1030am put the groceries away then started laundry, vacuumed bedrooms and living area. Started dishwasher.

1030-1pm wrote in current wip; worked on Copyedits just received for Book 3 in new cooking series.

1pm-130pm ate lunch then answered emails and checked social media sites. Changed laundry and started another load.

130-500 worked on wip; and worked on Copy edits for book 3 in new cooking series, plus plotted out book 4. )  Folded dried laundry and put it away. Ironed shirts.

5-545 walked on treadmill and read current NetGalley book for review. Folded the remainder of done laundry, put it away.

545-630 cooked dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, set table, worked on copy edits.

630-7pm dinner and conversation ( questions!) with Hubby. Cleaned up the dinner dishes.

7-830 worked on wip, answered email, worked on blog posting for the morning. Did a few pages of the copy edits for book 3

830-10 read Netgalley again

10pm-midnight. Slept

Midnight-2 am. wide awake in bed, reliving yesterday, planning today.

Now, mind you: I have no children at home who need to be tended to, ferried places, or shown love and attention. I don’t currently, have a pet. My friends all work at full-time jobs out side of the home, so ladies who lunch is not on my menu. I don’t get manicures, pedicures, or have spa days. The last time I went to a mall my daughter was in college and I had a panic attack from the crowds. I simply write all day long.

But there’s nothing simple about a day in my life.

So, how do you think the other authors in this blog challenge spend their days? Find out by clicking on the links below


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The Declutter Challenge…

Recently on Facebook, I saw a post that was shared hundreds of times called THE DECLUTTER CHALLENGE,  a 30-day challenge to get rid of clutter and stuff in your life. A random sampling of the days’ tasks includes: purging 2 kitchen cabinets (day 7); cleaning out your wallet (day 9) and your purse ( day 10); cleaning out the freezer ( day 18); donating unused toys ( day 25). The challenge ends on day thirty with the simple task of CLEAN. I guess what you clean is up to you, but I took it to mean, clean your house.

This challenge, naturally, got me to thinking about how I could declutter my writing.  All writers have catch words or phrases they like to use, especially when writing dialogue. If we actually wrote how we spoke, the readers would be bored out of their gourds. For instance, would you seriously want to spend money on a book where every dialogue started like this:

#1. Hey, Bill. How are you?

#2. Fine, Jim. How are you?

#3. Can’t complain. How’s the family?

#4. Doing well. Yours?

#5. Same, same. So how, about those Red Sox?…

you get the idea. This is drivel. We may speak like this in real life, but in fiction, it’s a death knoll.

So that’s one way to declutter your work: check the dialogue. Can you get the idea across without all the folderol of “hi, how you doing’s?”

Another way I know I personally clutter up my writing is by using too many extraneous words to convey my thoughts. A quick search of my current work in progress yielded this:

the use of THAT – 89 times

the use of To her/to him/ for her/for him -56 times

the use of adverbs ( the bane of my writing existence) 91 times. EEK!

I really need to work on decluttering these words, don’t I! Hee hee

Other things that writers should declutter are phrases like “seemed to,” “tried to,” “began to.” Writing is much stronger and moves quicker when sentences are declarations and use an active tense.

For example: Her natural, spicy scent seemed to surround her body.

Better example: Her natural, spicy scent of ginger and peach, surrounded her.

Other words that can probably be eliminated a fair amount of time and still allow the sentence to convey what it needs to are:

move, push, reach, bring, pull, went, brought, press and came( to denote going  or coming from somewhere)

It’s a good practice to utilize the SEARCH for options in your word processing program to nit pick and eliminate words you use excessively after your first draft is written. This will make the editing process more about the story line and capturing what you intended to say instead of needing to remove excess words.

Oh, about that 30-day Declutter challenge. yeah, I survived for three days. Then I was exhausted. Maybe I should develop a 12 month declutter challenge. You know…do one thing a month instead of 30 in 30 days? Thoughts? LOL

When I’m not decluttering my life and my writing, 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 Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Life challenges, Pet Peeves, Strong Women, Uncategorized

A #WonderWoman fan…

For all of you who read my blog the other day about the men who were bashing WonderWomen female only movie showings, this man is NOT one of those guys.

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Was the book better than the movie? Not always!

“This, my friends, is a list too long for one simple blog entry. I put all my favorites in order – there were over 20 – and pulled out five at random. (The snippets after the photos are taken directly from the Amazon and/or Goodreads pages listing the books. That’s why I put them in quotes)

Pride and Prejudice Of course this would be the number one pick– I’m a romance writer, after all!! I put the Kiera Knightley version in for the movie because I simply adore Mathew MacFadyen.

  

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners—one of the most popular novels of all time—that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. Renowned literary critic and historian George Saintsbury in 1894 declared it the “most perfect, the most characteristic, the most eminently quintessential of its author’s works,” and Eudora Welty in the twentieth century described it as “irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.”

Gone With the Wind  Simply, the best, hardest to read, most explicit book about the demise of the Old South ever written. Many have tried to recreate its original genius…many have failed. “Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.” Number 1 best exit line EVAH!

 

“Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

This is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, manipulative daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War forever change her way of life. A sweeping story of tangled passion and courage, in the pages of Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell brings to life the unforgettable characters that have captured readers for over seventy years.”

 

Atonement I will admit I loved the book and movie equally. McEwan’s lyrical voice is like a cup of hot chocolate for the soul. Another Kiera Knightly roles, done to perfection.

 

“On a hot summer day in 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives—together with her precocious literary gifts—brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece”

Fried Green tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe  I want Fannie Flagg to come over for coffee at my house EVERY DAY! If you’ve never read any of her books ( and why haven’t you??) start with this one and then read them all.

“Folksy and fresh, endearing and affecting, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a now-classic novel about two women: Evelyn, who’s in the sad slump of middle age, and gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode, who’s telling her life story. Her tale includes two more women—the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth—who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, offering good coffee, southern barbecue, and all kinds of love and laughter—even an occasional murder. And as the past unfolds, the present will never be quite the same again.”

 

the Dressmaker Rosalie Ham was a new author to me when I heard about this book, but it sounded so intriguing I just had to read it. Damn, I’m glad I did! And who doesn’t love Kate Winslet??? She is truly one of the most gifted –not to mention gorgeous– actresses of our time!

“After twenty years spent mastering the art of dressmaking at couture houses in Paris, Tilly Dunnage returns to the small Australian town she was banished from as a child. She plans only to check on her ailing mother and leave. But Tilly decides to stay, and though she is still an outcast, her lush, exquisite dresses prove irresistible to the prim women of Dungatar. Through her fashion business, her friendship with Sergeant Farrat—the town’s only policeman, who harbors an unusual passion for fabrics—and a budding romance with Teddy, the local football star whose family is almost as reviled as hers, she finds a measure of grudging acceptance. But as her dresses begin to arouse competition and envy in town, causing old resentments to surface, it becomes clear that Tilly’s mind is set on a darker design: exacting revenge on those who wronged her, in the most spectacular fashion.”

 

 

Since this is a blog hop, click on over to some of these other fabulous authors to see their picks.

 

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Getting ready to Rock and Roll; #RT2017 #ConferenceTime

 

In a few days, I’ll be leaving for Atlanta for my very first RT BookLovers Convention. For those who don’t know, RT (Romantic Times) is a major romance industry trade magazine – now e-zine -and every year they hold a conference that is attended by almost 600 romance writers and thousands of romance readers. This is, for lack of a better phrase, a totally READERS convention, whereas RWA is more ( I think) of a writers conference.

Anyway.

This will also be the first time I am doing a book signing for my new publisher, KENSINGTON/LYRICAL and I simply can not wait. For years I attended book signings as a reader just so I could meet and totally fangirl my favorite authors. This year — I am that author. It still amazes me daily to say and write that.

In addition to the Kensington signing and author meeting, I am also taking part in the grand book signing for the event. I received the floor plan for this and has luck would have it I am at a table right by the entrance, not tucked away in a back alley somewhere. Yowza!!! Now I know I don’t have a big name – or even a little one – yet and that any “fans” that attend will not be looking for me per se, but it would be nice to sell a book or two and garner a few new readers and reviewers, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

I’ve never been to Altanta but I’ve heard it’s a fun town and I know the RT gurus have planned numerous day and night trips in addition to all the themed parties for everyone, so I’m sure to be able to find something to do. My day is jammed packed with scheduled classes and meetings already, and I know pop-up events are a big thing at this conference, so I’ll be adding to the list daily.

And, of course, I’ll be blogging and live tweeting about it, too, so stick around and stay tuned.

in 2014 I attended my very first RWA conference. I got a book deal at that one and made the decision to retire to devote myself to writing full time. I’ve never looked back, so it will be interesting to see what this conference hold for me.

While I’m in Atlanta at RT you’ll be able to find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

So, Dancing with The Keene Stars 2017 has come and gone and this year was one that will go down in my memory banks and diary as one to remember for the rest of my life. For so many reasons.

Project Graduation is an event held in our town’s high school the night after the kids graduate. And yes, I did just call them kids. They are. All under legal age, mostly 17 and 18. And what do 17 and 18 year old kids like to do to celebrate, test boundaries, and prove their cool factor is off the charts? Some drink and/or engage in illegal drug use. Project Graduation provides every single graduate a safe haven for the entire night after graduation, and engages them–not in illicit, illegal behavior — but good, fun, funny, and memory making behaviors with their fellow graduates. It is a smoke-free alcohol-free, drug-free night where the kids (!) are locked into the high school and not allowed to leave without a parent picking them up and escorting them out. Keeping them off the streets and at parties where they could get into potential trouble is one sure fire way of keeping every graduate alive to get to the next stage of their live. In the 100 days between high school graduation and college start-up more kids this age die in alcohol and drug related ways than at any other time. That pre-frontal cortex of theirs hasn’t fully developed yet, so they still make stupid decisions thinking they are sound ones. Project Graduations helps keep this number down with a goal toward eliminating it from the statistical curve.

Now. PSA complete. Back to DWTS.

I saw my first DWTS show four years ago when it was brought to my town as a fundraiser for Project Grad, and I wanted to participate within the first 10 minutes of the show. I actively – and I mean ACTIVELY pursued a spot on the next year’s roster and was -Yippie- given one! I was a STAR! I thought I knew how to dance before being picked. Yeah…not so much. The 8 weeks of preparation were grueling and oftentimes frustrating. I’d just undergone surgical removal of a melanoma from my stomach and was in constant pain, worried about my deep incision line, and frustrated because I wasn’t doing well in practice. When all was said and done, I loved the experience.

The next year I was a judge.

This year I was partnered with a STAR and the Gods above gave me the perfect one. I call him my brother from another mother, although in truth I could have agewise been his mother! We were in sync from the first 5 minutes of meeting. Every rehearsal was a shear joy – physically testing – but shear joy.And when all was said and done, we came in first place both nights!

The backstage moments of the competition, though, are the memories I’ll cherish the most. All 20 dancers formed a solid wall of friendship and camaraderie, knowing we were doing something good for the community and for our kids. I met community leaders I’d never met before and found some true, lifelong friends among them.

Volunteerism is a facet of this country that more people aspire to than actually engage in. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of not knowing where to go to offer your time, your money, or your expertise. I’ve always thought that to have a strong community, you need to be engaged in that community, so ever since my daughter started school I volunteered for room mother, snack mom, to be a chaperone on trips, etc. She’s been out of the house for 10 years and I still feel a responsibility to my community to give back. Participating in annual 5ks for local charities; attending auctions to raise money for school upgrades. Heck, even saving the box tops on tops of cereal boxes all contribute to making my community a better, safer, healthier place to live and grow. Hence, Dancing with the Stars.

So. I said this last year when I wrote my after-dancing blog experience and I’ll say it again this year: VOLUNTEER. There are so many opportunities within your community to make a difference. And believe me, you may not think you’re making a big one, but you are. For me, keeping that one kid who had the idea to go to a graduation party, drink, and then get behind the wheel of a car to head on home off the road makes a huge difference. Just think of all the people effected if he crashes and dies: his parents and loved ones, friends, anyone else involved in the crash and their loved ones and friends, the response teams, medical personnel and grief counselors pulled in to care for the survivors, and the kid himself who has just now lost his future. All because he wanted to go to a party and celebrate his high school graduation and didn’t make wise choices about drinking.

If I am asked to perform or judge next years’ DANCING WITH THE STARS fundraiser for our town high school, you can put money on the fact I will say “Hell, yeah!” Whether I dance, judge, or just sell tickets, it will be one of the highlights of my year.

When I’m not dancing you can find me here:

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

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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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Author Spotlight: Peggy Jaeger

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Author Spotlight: Peggy Jaeger

Thanks so much for spotlighting me today! I can’t wait to meet you all on 1/29/17 At Annie’s

Annie's Book Stop of Worcester

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Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine their Author Spotlight on contemporary romance author Peggy Jaeger! Peggy will be here at our 65 James Street “bigger on the inside” book store as part of our “Let your Heart’s Desire Keep You Warm” panel of romance authors on Sunday, January 29, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM.

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.

Peggy, a registered Nurse, 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.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and the current Secretary of her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

Thank you for joining us for an interview…

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Home stretch…NaNoWrimo, Week 4

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It’s hard to think that November is almost gone already and with it, NaNoWriMo. On November 30th at midnight, not only will the month end – giving us 25 days until Christmas, but for the millions of writers around the world who are participating in this year’s annual event, it means we can all breathe a little easier, take a little break from the laptop ( a very little break!) and see where we are in our current works in progress ( WIP). Hopefully, many of us will have reached that brass ring of 50,000 words ( or more!) and be declared a WINNER by the NaNo team. Many of us will not have reached it, but that doesn’t make us any less a winner. Just devoting yourself to writing something any day is winning in my book.

I happened to make it to the golden number a while ago. Don’t hate me. I knew what I wanted to write, and my life is such that I can devote it to writing for long stretches if I so desire. I did. I realize I am one of the lucky ones who can do this.

But even if I hadn’t reached my goal I would still have considered my efforts winning-worthy. There’s an old saying that it’s not the destination of a journey that is important, it’s the journey itself. I sosososo agree.

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Just attempting to do the NaNoWriMo challenge is empowering. Getting in the habit of committing your words to your laptop everyday fosters that continual need to do so, so that, long after November is a memory, you are still devoting yourself to the thing that gives you such joy, namely, writing.

Take these last 4 days of the challenge and pour your heart and soul into it. Get those emotions, those worlds, those characters, settings, and plots from the depths of your imagination to the confines of the page.

The world needs your book.

And you need to give it to them.

When I’m not participating in NaNoWrimo, you can find me here:

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