Last Friday and Saturday I attended the 2019 Fall in Love New England Romance Readers and Authors conference in Nashua, NH. This was the third time I’ve attended and the first where I was a board member ( I was in charge of swag collection). Once again, I had a marvelous time interacting with the wonderful romance readers who faithfully flock to the conference, registering for it the moment the links go up on line! They are thrilled to meet their favorite authors, visit my beautiful state, and have a fun-filled weekend away.
There were so many memorable moments from this year’s conference that it would take me a week of blogging to state them all. Certain ones do stand out, though.
This year I was part of two workshops given to the readers. One was on romance tropes with NHRWA chaptermate Cheri Allan, the second was on writing humor into your stories with (again) Cheri Allan and another NHRWA writing pal, Lisa Olech.
Giving those two workshops introduced me -and my writing – to an entirely new group of readers. The payback for this? At Saturday’s booksigning the majority of readers who purchased my books told me they were so entertained by the workshops I co-presented they “had” to read my work.
That, my dear friends, is a career-defining moment.
When a typically introverted author can make such a good impression – publicly – on a group of people with their spoken words so much so that they want to readtheir words/stories, well, let’s just say that’s like finding a golden ticket! My heart simply sighed with pride.
From the halloween costume dinner, to the annual hotel trick-or-treating, to the fun workshops and booksigning, the weekend was a success in every way. Here are some photos: My costume was an easy one this year – I pretended I was going to my old nursing job! Hee hee
Authors Clair Brett ( Mad Hatter) Artemis Crow ( A demon crow) and my wonderful friend and author Kari Lemor ( as a fairy) Unfortunately I clipped her wings in this photo!
Sexy Alice in Wonderland ( Marianne Rice) needed some nursing attention!
My table for the Saturday booksigning.
All the fabulous signing authors before the sale began. Can you spot me? Here’s a hint: I’m not standing! heehee.
I need to send a special shoutout to a few people who simply touch my heart in every way, so bear with me.
To Wanda Foss Osepowicz – you are a delight to sit and chat with, and one of the loveliest people I have ever met.
Jennifer Kerfien – I am so glad I met you at the first FILNE. Your friendship and support means the world to me. Plus, you give great gifts!!!
Josee Giroux – Ditto! And I’d work with you as a health professional any day of the week. Hee Hee
I’m so happy today has finally come!! the first FILNE reader and writer conference in 2 years starts today. We have a boatload of wonderful workshops for our readers, a costume party dinner and then trickortreating this evening. Who says kids get to have all the fun!
Last night was an epic swag bag stuffing with over 20 authors and readers helping to stuff this year’s good bag with over 3o items and print copies of fabulous romance books.
If you’re attending, hope to see you around the hotel. I’m sponsoring a romcom table at lunch! Come and join me. 9 Lucky lunchers will get lovely prizes and the chance to win a basket filled with romcom movies, adult beverages and candy for a girl’s night romcom marathon.
The Holiday season is getting into swing and with it a plethora of holiday-themed books. One that looks especially delightful is MEOWS AND MISTLETOE featuring 8 holiday tales in the magical town of Cat’s Paw Cove, all by accomplished and prolific writers.
To repay an old man who brought him out of war’s dark shadow, a former Army Ranger delivers a cryptic letter to a gifted medium in Cat’s Paw Cove. If what the letter says is true, the reluctant medium and skeptical Ranger must travel back to 1720 to save a young boy from the gallows.
Lanie and Matt Saunders return to Cat’s Paw Cove two years after their first disastrous Christmas there. When a mysterious kitten leads Matt back in time, can he right the wrongs of the past and give his expectant wife the perfect Christmas?
With the help of hunky real estate agent, Dylan Graham, life coach Charly Redbird and her new kitten have found the perfect home next to a cemetery. Charly gets a new client right away, who happens to be her neighbor—and a ghost. What could possibly go wrong?
When an empath who’s failed at every relationship impulsively kisses an enchanted garden gnome, he magically turns into a real man. Together they must find his one true love and end the curse by Christmas or he’ll be forever alone and trapped within his stone prison.
In 1979, Michael Bell fell in love with high seas radio technician Dvorah Levi’s voice as she guided him to safety, but their marriage was cut short by a bullet. Forty years later, Dvorah still mourns him. Can a special holiday and a magical Sherwood cat bring him back?
Faerie Sormey Johnson moved to Cat’s Paw Cove to live a quiet life as a human until a sexy werewolf deputy needs her help tracking down a murderous monster. When Sormey offers herself as bait, the cost may be more than she bargained for.
In order to overcome a family curse, Griffin Brooks, the town’s hotshot assistant fire chief, must earn his true love’s trust. Trina Lancaster knows she can release Griffin’s curse, but will her magical family baggage be a deal breaker?
The signing takes place in the ballroom of the Holiday Inn, Nashua and ties the conference up in a beautiful bow! The event is free and open to the public so I hope you join us. Here is a brief list of the participating and signing authors. Come out and meet your fav and buy some books from her! ( and me!!! hee hee)
These are the books I’ll have on hand to sell and be autographed:
I think as writers we’ve all thought about today’s prompt at least once in our lives: What I’d want on a deserted island? Answers will run the gamut, I’m sure, on this one. Here’s what I’d need/want/have to have if I was going to survive in the middle of the ocean on an island that had no Target, CVS, or grocery store.
toilet paper. Reams of it. I’m not using a leaf. No how. No way.
My skin care regimen. I go nowhere – even on a simple overnight trip – without Retina A, Strivectin, eye cream, 110SPF Sun block and my Jergens’ lotion.
a hat. Several in fact. With all that skin care I’m not taking any chances of getting more freckles, wrinkles, or a resurgence in my skin cancer.
a tent with a bed and linens, pillows, a rug ( because no way am I putting my bare foot on dirt where a bug can crawl over it) a lamp with a loooooooong life battery and a watercooler with a never ending supply of fresh water.
a bathroom. And not one of those organic compost ones. A real one. With flushing water.
After skimming through this list I can see I had better never be stranded on a deserted island. I would last an hour, tops.
Let’s see what some of the other writers in this challenge would need ( and i bet their answers are way better than my selfish ones!) L&SR
Honestly, what other book was I gonna put up here today?? Hee hee.
So, IT’S A TRUST THING releases, as you know, on 11.1.19. Nell Newbery had an idyllic childhood up until the age of 16, when her father was arrested, tried, and convicted of running a pyramid scheme for people who had invested with him. Life as she knew it changed forever the moment he was taken away in handcuffs from their apartment.
Nell has lived her life since then out of the pubic eye, despite the hordes of journalists and paparazzi who follow her, dying to get a sound bit or a compromising position photograph. She’s cut off all contact with her felonious father and hasn’t visited him once while he’s been incarcerated. But he’s been begging her to visit him of late. The 15th anniversary of the date he was imprisoned is looming and Nell thinks he wants to involve her in a plan to garner him early release. Since she won’t speak to him, her dad emails her. This little snippet is just one of the messages that Nell has been deleting as they arrive. I think her anger shines through in this scene.
That done, I finally checked my in-box. Much of my day-today operations were conducted electronically through email, direct message, and via my website. Some days, if I was busy with something, I’d have dozens of notifications to contend with before I knew it. Staying ahead of the mail was an important facet in keeping my day moving smoothly and my stomach unknotted.
As I opened the application and waited for the messages to load onto my screen, I sipped at the bottled water I’d gotten with lunch. A quick eye stroll down the list of waiting-to-be-read notices and the water suddenly choked at the back of my throat.
I checked the return web address, blinked, then checked it again.
It couldn’t be; it had been over a year since I’d heard anything.
One more check. Yup. It was. The return address was from a government-dot-org account.
My father had sent me an email.
Or more importantly, what did he want, because surely this wasn’t a hi, how are you doing, missive. My father wasn’t wired that way. Every email was usually a request to do something for him.
Speak in his favor at an upcoming parole hearing.
Write a letter to the Governor asking for clemency or to have his sentence reduced.
Get together with his lawyers to discuss how they could finagle him a new trial, claiming the government had railroaded him.
I never bothered to call them.
My father, I’d finally come to realize when I was in college, was a user. Out for himself and himself alone. He’d never asked once about my mother – his wife – when he emailed me. Not once in all these years. Since she’d fallen apart after his arrest and subsequent incarceration, he figured she wasn’t useful to him any longer.
The woman had stood by him, valiantly, bravely, believing in him until the verdict was handed down, and even after that. By virtue of their marriage, though, her reputation was ruined, a side effect of loving the man and sticking by him. All her friends had turned their backs on her. The philanthropic committees and boards she’d sat on removed her from their ranks. Even her family disowned her, blaming her for marrying a man who would bring ridicule and shame upon their good name.
Suffice it to say when they’d disowned her, it had filtered down to include me, the Devil’s spawn. The difference between my mother and I was I didn’t care that her family had rejected me because of who my father was. My mother did, though. She was devastated when everyone she loved turned on her. So much so, she’d disassociated from the world and wound up committed. It was grossly unfair. Her husband was the criminal, not her. The only crime she’d committed was in loving and trusting the man.
I hadn’t seen nor spoken to my father since the day he was escorted out of a federal courtroom to begin his sentence.
He’d gotten my email address from one of his lawyers. Thankfully, none of them had my private cell number and I didn’t have a personal landline so they couldn’t reach out to me. My calls at the office were screened by the receptionist I shared with Ella and Danny, and I avoided them whenever they called.
This missive now staring at me was the first time in over a year he’d made contact.
He knew the anniversary of his imprisonment was a time the media dredged the whole sordid affair up again, vomiting all the details to the public. For the tenth anniversary a cable news magazine had dedicated a one-hour program to it titled, When Greed Ruled the World. My father probably thought now was a good time to strike with another request for early release, or some other legal maneuver. Since his name was going to be publicly front and center again, why not try to garner some sympathy; some empathy for himself? I did a quick calculation and came up with his age: sixty-eight. He’d claim to be an old man, repentant in his ways.
What a crock.
Any measure of daughterly affection or familial obligation died when he’d tossed my mother aside.
She was the one who had my loyalty and love. For her, I’d go to bat and do anything to make her life easier.
My father? Yeah, not so much.
My finger hit the delete key.
Intrigued? I hope so. Remember, you can preorder it now, here; It’s a Trust Thing. Or, if you subscribe to KU, you can download it on 11.1.19.
This is by far my favorite blog post of the year!! Authors I wish more people knew about.
Yes, some of these names are my friends! What good is having a friend who writes great books if you don’t promote her work to others? Some names are of writers I’ve discovered ( who were already famous) but were new-to-me and who I absolutely adore. The publishing indusctry can be cut throat as can any industry, but since the romance industry is so heavily weighed on the FEMALE side of the genetic table, it behooves all of us who write romance to support and lift one another up. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, “if we don’t lift one another up, men are gonna walk all over us.” She’s not wrong.
So, in no real order, just how they jumped into my head, here’s a list of some of the writers I feel more people should read:
Lauren Layne. From the very first book of Lauren’s I picked up 3 years ago I was hooked. She’s one of my one-click authors and her writing style is so easy and wonderful to read, that I typically finish her books in a day.
Kari Lemor. Yes, Kari is a personal friend of mine, but from the first book I read of her Love on The Line series, I was a fan! She introduced me to Romantic Suspense Lite – and I’ve never looked back!
Donna Simonetta. Donna is a Wild Rose Press sistah, and her writing is filled with emotion, laughter, and humor! Her River’s Bend books are emotional and thought provoking, as is all her work.
Roni Loren. I discovered Roni on Netgalley when I requested one of her Ones Who Got Away books. I was hooked from the first page!
Catherine Bybee. Another Netgalley find for me with her First Wives Club books. I actually had the opportunity to take a class on social media from her at an RWA conference and she is as engaging, charming, and sharp-witted as her heroines are.
Katie O’Sullivan Again, I first met Katie as a WRP sistah, and was hooked from the very first time I read her words. Her Cape Cod Dating rules all feature people I want to be friends with in real life!!! Her writing style just jumps of the page! Engaging, witty, and emotional are just some of the words I can use to describe her work.
And that’s just SOME of the writers I wish more people knew about!!! Let’s see what the other bloggers in this hop think this week: L&SR
I don’t usually share my personal struggles on this blog.
I really don’t. Talking about writing or my issues with writing isn’t what I mean. Yes, I do discuss those, but they are pretty innocuous topics.
I mean, I don’t usually go deep and write about the daily struggle I have with my weight, my eating disorder, and my body image.
But…first I want to share something with you that I saw the other day that just RESONATED with me sososos much. Please take a few minutes to watch this. If you’ve already seen it, watch it again because every single person on the planet needs to hear this.
I’ve been fat shamed my entire life – by others and by myself. I know, I know! You’re supposed to love yourself for who you are, not what you look like. The reasons behind my eating disorder are lifelong and involve things said to me while I was child by my biological father and my grandmother. When people who are supposed to support you tear you down instead as a child, well, let’s just say that baggage gets carried into adulthood. I’ve never been able to look in a mirror and tell myself “you’re enough the way you are, because I was never able to feel that way.”
That’s on me.
When my daughter got engaged on Christmas eve, my first emotion was elation. For her. My second was terror. For me. As mother of the bride, I’m going to be front and center at all events looking….not good. Not the way I want to. Not the way I should. To have two opposing emotions – happiness for her and sadness for me – at the same time sent me into an emotional spiral that ramped up my eating disorder. Just like James Corden says in his video, shaming someone leads to depression, decreased feelings of self worth, and ineffective coping mechanisms. For me, that means an increase in my bulimia.
There. I said it. I admitted it out loud. Well, in print, anyway. But you know what I mean.
The first step towards fixing a problem is to admit you have one. Just like with alcoholism and drug addiction, you first need to recognize, name and accept that you have an issue, before you can begin to heal, fix, and help yourself.
So here’s my admission. My name is Peggy and I’m a bulimic.
First step? Check.
The second step is to come up with a plan for dealing and/or changing the issue. Way easier said than done, for sure. But now that I’ve said out loud what my issue is, I can devise a plan to fix it.
First step in this is to stop binging and purging whenever my emotions get out of hand.
Again, easier said that done, but if I think it, speak it into the air, and tell it to myself often, I know I can combat the desire.
Maybe this is all a little TMI for you. Maybe it is for me, too, but I am determined at almost 60 years old to finally FINALLY squelch this behavior. If writing about the struggle will help me attain that goal, so be it.
My goal is to eradicate my eating disorder, lose the excess weight pulling my health down, and in so doing, be the best, healthiest Peggy I can be. If that means that ultimately I am a size 8 or a size 18, so be it.
Until the next time I feel the need to talk about this again! ~ Peg
Full disclosure here, kids: I rewrote this article three times before hitting publish. The first time was written from a place of emotion and anger. Not a good head space to write from. The second was a little better, but still sounded too mean girl to me. Third time’s a charm, right? I hope so.
***takes a breath.
Okay, here goes…
Two days ago, this article was circling around the internet, twitter and facebook. It concerns a debut author, the advances she received on her books, and her claim that no one told her the real meaning of the advance and the true workings of the publishing industry when it came to money, promised money of the future, and the possibility of no money in the future.
The author makes ( or tries to make) several points in the article, that had she known the true workings of the publishing business with regards to marketing, author and book promotion, and royalties, she would have done several things differently when she received her advances for her debut novel and the series that came after it. The series she was contracted for and for which she received an ADVANCE.
Let’s look a little closer at those words: Her ADVANCES on her DEBUT novel.
She got an advance – a large one – on her DEBUT NOVEL. She was an unknown author and by the grace of GOD ( and probably a really good Agent) she received a sizable advance against the sales of her books. And she spends the entire article restating that no one told her what an advance really was and that the large one she received on her first book was not promised on future books.
Girl, for real? ( this is the part I had to edit because I didn’t say girl the first time, but something not very nice.)
It’s literally called an ADVANCE against Book Royalties. Even someone who isn’t in the writing/publishing business can deduce from that description that the publisher is giving you money BASED On the projected sales of your book. I find it hard to believe the author didn’t understand what that term meant, and because she didn’t, but thought she’d be making oodles of money in the future, she made some not great financial decisions.
She does admit, that’s on her, so good for that. But then she states that she grew up poor, and never learned the concepts of saving or investing. Well, I’m sorry, but that doesn’t wash with me. I grew up in the PROJECTS. We weren’t even able to live paycheck-to-paycheck because my mother had so many jobs when I was a kid, continual paychecks were never a guarantee. I grew up before social reform and there was no welfare, SSI assistance, or even a free lunch program in my public schools. But you know what? Even though my mother was barely literate, never finished highschool and could barely do basic math, she KNEW that when we did have a little money from a job that lasted more than a month, we saved it. Since every day was a rainy day, we saved it for a catastrophe day.
No one taught her to do this; it was basic common financial sense, something that this author states NO ONE TAUGHT HER.
To quote the author, “Did anyone working with me — agency, publishing team — tell me that a staggering advance was not something I should depend on or get used to and that, in fact, it’s extraordinarily common in the publishing industry for untested debuts to be paid large sums they will never see again? No. Did anyone in the publishing house take me under their wing and explain to me how the company made decisions about future book deals? No. Did the publisher tap a more seasoned author on their list to mentor me, as many major corporations encourage within their companies? No. Did the MFA in Writing program I was part of in any way arm me with the knowledge to protect and advocate for myself in the publishing world? No.”
She then goes on to state (blame) that no one in her publishing realm told her about how to market her books and the publisher didn’t really market them for her. Again, if she truly had an agent, I wonder why the agent never helped her with this or steered her toward the knowledge of how to do it. You can see where this was going for her: her sales weren’t great and future advances were lower than that $100,000 advance she got for her first two books.
$100,000. That amount is mind boggling to me. Why do I not feel sorry for her? Because I really don’t.
I’m a traditionally published author of 15 + books and have never received an advance of any amount on ANY OF MY BOOKS. Not one. Any money I’ve made has been solely royalty based.
And you know what? I KNEW THAT going in. I knew that was the way traditional publishing worked. No one taught it to me. No one sat me down and gave me a blueprint for how to make money with my books. No one had to tell me I had to hustle and sell my soul so I could sell those books.
The article’s author makes the point because she ASSUMED she would be getting more and more money and higher advances for future books, she never thought to save the advance she received. Instead, she spent it. She spent it and racked up more debt, almost to the point that she was bankrupt.
While I find her NO ONE TOLD me defense suspect and, let’s face it, whiney, it’s not an uncommon phenomenon. Athletes who come from humble beginnings and go on to sign multimillion dollars playing contracts, tend to spend their new-gotten money like no tomorrow. If they get hurt, fired, or if their careers end because of injury, and all that income now stops, they have nothing to fall back on either because they didn’t save for the rainy day that was sure to occur.
And we’ve all heard the stories of people who’ve won Lotto or Powerball who wound up penniless and in debt because of bad investments or hungry spending.
So, from that perspective, the author’s point about not knowing how to manage her money is correct. What I really find issue with is the fact that she thought she was all that and a bag of chips and would continue to ring in the cash with her books. To quote the article:
“After that second advance came through, I stepped into my dream life: quit my day job to write full time, moved to New York City, bought fifteen-dollar cocktails, and learned with astonishing speed to not bother worrying about the prices when I ordered at a restaurant.”
She goes on to state, “I said yes to travel (often book research I wasn’t reimbursed for), said yes to concert tickets, to new shoes, to finally being able to buy people the kind of presents I felt they deserved. I gave large sums of money as donations to organizations I cared about, delighted to feel like I was making a real difference. Did I pay off my student loans? No, just a few large payments. Did I set money aside for retirement? No. My reasoning was that the next book I sold, I’d take care of all that. “
I’m being 100% truthful when I say if I won Powerball tomorrow, or, if by the Grace of God I was given a $100,000 advance, I would SAVE SAVE SAVE and not spend with abandon. And you know why? Because I WAS that poor kid who never knew if there was going to be food in the cabinet come the end of the week, or if a paycheck was going to cover more than the rent with little else left for food. Once you’ve been without, once you’ve experienced real hunger, you learn to never take any money you get for granted, and, like squirrels storing nuts for the winter ( and yes, that’s a miserable analogy, but you know what I mean) you always ALWAYS save.
That’s just my opinion for the two cents it’s worth.
And just FYI, when the article hit Twitter, the twitterverse went nuts with people jumping on the author about her complaining and whining. The author tweeted that she received nothing but supportive comments OFF TWITTER from authors who told her that they felt just the way she did and they thanked her for her honesty in bringing this “problem” to the forefront.
Again, just my opinion here, but the only problem I could identify in the article was the author’s hubris, arrogance, and conceit in assuming she was going to continue to make oddles of money in an industry in which only about 0.001% make any real, livable money.
I know many people are going to disagree with what I’ve written, and that’s fine. This is still America and we are all entitled to our opinions. Since this is MY Blog, this is MY opinion.
Until next time ~ an-always-dreaming-of-an-advance-Peg
This wasn’t the blog post slotted for today when I planned my week. Things have a habit of changing, though, so….
On Monday, two things happened at the same time and were in such direct opposition to one another, for a few moments I felt as if I’d been shot through a time warp and landed in a parallel universe.
Let me ‘esplain
My Limitless Publishing book, DIRTY DAMSELS, has been out in the book reading world since July 2 of this year. I have been roping in reviews from wherever I can because, as we all know, the more reviews you have – and good ones! – the algorithm powers that be at Amazon sit up, take notice, and help you promote your book to the masses. Before the book launched, I did a BookSprouts review campaign and did really well with all 4 -5 star reviews. People I don’t even know bought the book ( Bless their souls!) and also rated it, mostly as 5 stars, which is fabulous. Since it’s been two months since it was released, I wanted to ramp up some more publicity for it, so I had it listed on Netgalley. You’ve all heard me talk about this book reading and rating service before, because I’m a Netgalley official reviewer. So, monday morning at midnight, east coast time, the book went up for read and review. Monday was Labor day in the US, so the masses had a holiday. When I logged on at 5 am that morning I saw the book was listed, noticed the number of cover “likes” and then saw that it already had one review. 5 hours after it was put up.
Let me repeat that: 5 hours after is was made available.
When the butterflies in my stomach quieted, I scrolled down to read the review.
That damn battalion of flapping insects went on hyper-flap again.
The review was…scathing, is the best word. The reader admits she didn’t even finish the book ( well, who could in 5 hours? Was she Evelyn Wood’s granddaughter, fer Chri’sake??) and then droned on about how she “knew she was going to be disappointed, but requested the book anyway.” Oh, and she gave me 1.5 stars. Then she proceeded to upload the review on to Goodreads. Under the review several of her “friends” commented that they were glad she put up her review because it kept them from requesting the book for their own.
I will truthfully say I have never not read a book because someone gave it a bad review. If her “friends” had thought to scroll down on Goodreads and see all the 4 and 5 star reviews listed, would they have changed their minds? I can hope so, but I doubt it. Once a lemming…..
Needless to say, I was pissed. I emailed Goodreads and Netgalley and asked how they could publish a review from someone who blatantly stated that they did not finish the book. Isn’t that…cheating? Wrong? Fraud?
No response from either entity yet.
Now, the part of my Monday where I felt like I’d been shot through a time warp came an hour later when I received a 5 star review from Reader’s Favorite.
This reviewer actually READ the book. How could I tell? Because she gave details that a reader wouldn’t have gleaned if they’d skimmed through the pages. That review went a long long long way toward making my Monday better, I have to tell you.
I consistently wonder if people ( and that’s being kind, my calling them that and not trolls) who do reviews who aren’t authors ever think about how their words effect the writer. Do they understand they are bashing what this person does for a living? Critiquing their livelihood? Netgalley is a free service to readers, so they don’t even have to pay for the books they request. I understand that everyone is entitled to their opinion, I’m not questioning that. What I object to is blatantly stating you did not finish something and then being able to rate it, in turn, lowering the chance of other people wanting to read it.
I will tell you when I request a Netgalley listed book and then find it is not for me and don’t finish it, I always click the DNF button attached to the book review page. That gets me out of having to write a review. I don’t give any books I read less than a 3, and if I have to give a three, I always always always make some positive remarks about the book, ending with, it simply wasn’t for me. I don’t bash the book or the author.