Category Archives: Writing

Author Kathryn Hills talks about SECONDHAND HEARTS, a Last Chance Beach story..

I’m involved with a great bunch of authors over on the ROMANCE GEMS blog and 14 of them have just collaborated to put out a fabulous Boxed set titled LAST CHANCE BEACH – Summer’s End. One of those wonderful and talented authors happens to be a dear friend of mine and she agreed to stop by today and talk up the books a bit. Kathryn Hills and I are NHRWA sistahs and I’m one of her biggest writing fans! I’m gonna let her take it over now to introduce you this great series of stories.

Kathy….

Secondhand Hearts by Kathryn Hills

A Last Chance Beach: Summer’s End Story

 

August and the end of summer. *sigh* It’s a bittersweet time for me. You see…I’m a fall-loving, Halloween-addicted, paranormal/fantasy romance author living in New England, the epicenter of Autumn. BUT I grew up near the ocean, and I have spent countless happy days on the waves. As a matter of fact, I’ve never lived more than one hour from the coast. And that is perfectly fine by me. So, when I was given the opportunity to write for a boxed set of short romantic stories, set on a vacation island paradise called Last Chance Beach, I was all onboard!

It was an exciting new experience for me, writing for a collaborative effort. Fourteen bestselling and award-winning authors, all coming together to create a setting of sun, sand, and salty kisses. My little corner of this lovely island community includes Secondhand Antique Shop and Sandpiper Cottage B&B. Still, my characters get to visit other author’s settings. There are restaurants, bars, hotels, cottages, a lighthouse, and a pier… Many cool places to explore.

What else was new for me is that I wrote SHORT (all stories are under 10K words), SWEET (I’m what’s considered a Spicy writer), and CONTEMPORARY (my previous books are time travel/fantasy, so historical in part). Yet that didn’t slow me down. I wrote Secondhand Hearts in record time. A book of my soul. A story that has been rattling around in my head for over a decade, because it’s based on real places I’ve been and loved. So, without further ado, let’s go to the beach!

SECONDHAND HEARTS

Life takes you down many winding paths. Will theirs lead to love on Last Chance Beach?

 

Blurb:

Tasked with convincing her beloved grandmother to move back to the mainland, Kat Worthington returns to Last Chance Beach. This vacation island paradise is filled with cherished memories, and the thought of relocating her loved one weighs heavy on Kat’s heart. Is the alternative to uproot her life, stay on the island, and help run Gran’s charming B&B and antique shop?

Handsome neighbor, Ben Hadley, sure hopes it is. He and his playful pup are doing their best to upend Kat’s plans. Will their efforts convince her to stay?

Or will it require some of Gran’s special island magic?

“Look at that… Didn’t even break the pot.” Gran gave her a sassy little wink. “You’ve always been one for divine timing, Kitty.”

“Pot?”

“Yup, I knew I had a matching teapot to the set that came in yesterday.” Gran stood a little straighter and squared her chin. “Besides, I’m not alone. Ben is here.”

“Who the heck is Ben?”

“That’d be me.” A deep voice came from behind, startling Kat. Spinning with a gasp, her eyes widened when connecting with six feet plus of drop-dead gorgeous, dark-haired man. He met her stare full on without so much as a hint of humility, and he nodded a curt greeting.

“Haddie Marshall are you up to your old tricks again?” Ben brushed passed Kat. “I told you to wait and I’d look with you.”

“Well, I didn’t want you to fuss. I know you’re busy.”

“Excuse me,” Kat interrupted, not bothering to disguise the irritation in her voice. “Who are you, and why would you allow my seventy-seven-year-old grandmother to climb to the scorching top of a barn and up a ladder for a teapot?”

The man stared in silence. One dark brow cocked in obvious annoyance.

“Ben Hadley meet my first grandbaby, Kitty Worthington,” Gran announced with a proud smile.

“It’s Kat, Gran. Or Katrina,” she grumbled. “No one has called me Kitty since the fifth grade.”

“Oh, shush child, you will always be Kitty to me and Grandpa Mike.” The elderly woman’s smile fell away. She took a wobbly step forward to hand Ben the box. “Be a love and take this down for me. I think I’d better hang on extra tight to the railing after all this excitement.”

“I’ll take the box,” Kat snapped. “You help my grandmother back to the house, where we can turn on some air conditioning.”

 

About Kathryn Hills

The rich history and many mysteries of New England are the perfect backdrop for most of KATHRYN’S books. Winding roads lined by old stone walls, forgotten cemeteries, grand homes with shadowy pasts…all sparks for her imagination. Whether it’s a quaint seaside town or the vibrant city of Boston, it’s easy for this “hauntingly romantic” author to envision the past mingling with the present.

Taking it further—to have characters experience the past and present, opposite to “when” they belong—is the fun part. No surprise, some of Kathryn’s favorite stories involve time travel. And ghosts! Sprinkle in some magic, and you’re off on a great adventure.

When not writing, this award-winning author is researching, taking photographs, gardening, or cooking up something special in her chaotic kitchen. Kathryn shares her colonial home in the north woods with those she loves most – her wonderful husband and daughter, and three crazy dogs.

Connect with Kathryn here:

AMAZON | WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

and here’s a bit about the entire LAST CHANCE BEACH set…

 

 

LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer’s End, 14 all-new romantic short stories set in the island paradise where Dreams go to live again, and Wishes may come true.

The beach houses, condos, and hotels are full for Summer’s End, but there’s still time left to find love, new romances, second chances, hot alpha males, heartwarming heroes, love at first sight, romantic delight—and time left for enemies to become lovers and opposites to attract.

Throw another log on the beach bonfire and celebrate LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer’s End, stories created especially for this romance collection by NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors and other bestselling and award-winning authors. These summer love stories will thrill the hopeful romantic in you. Some are sweet: some are sizzling! Some are humorous; some are serious. All will make you want to book a vacation to this island of legend and love.

LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer’s End, the place where soul mates find each other and love at first sight happens all the time!

Get your copy here: Amazon:

There’s also a special add-on book – Cocktails on Last Chance Beach! And it’s FREE!

Free Book Buy Link: https://books2read.com/last-chance-cocktails

I’m just gonna sneak this in here, too. Here’s my review of Kathy’s story – which I lovedlovedloved so much, hee hee. Goodreads Review

 

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#tuesdayTeaser 8.4.2020 – WIP

In order to be a real tease(r) I figured I give you a taste of the Christmas book I’m releasing independently this year. It’s in final edits and I don’t have a cover yet, but I finally decided on a title after putting up a poll on my facebook page : MISTLETOE, MOBSTERS, & MOZZARELLA. Just from that you can surmise it’s a RomCom!

Here’s the burb, then the little tease from between the pages:

Finding a body in the freezer of the family deli isn’t the way Madonna San Valentino planned to start her day.

Adding insult to injury, the investigating detective is the one guy she’s never been able to forget. After seven minutes of heaven in the back seat of his car when they were teenagers, Tony Roma skipped town without so much as a thanks for the memory.

Just when Madonna thinks the present situation can’t get any worse, Tony is ordered to go undercover at the deli to ferret out a killer. Forced to work together, she vows to keep their relationship cool and professional. But with the sexy, longing looks he tosses her at every turn, Madonna’s resolve is weakening.

With Christmas drawing closer and Tony’s investigation taking an unexpected turn, Madonna is at her wit’s end. Can she really be falling for him again? And will he wind up leaving her broken hearted and alone like the last time?

Advice for surviving in a big Italian family: Family comes first, last, and always. No excuses.

I sent up a prayer to St. John the Silent in the hope it would keep my father from divulging what Tony had informed us about Chico. I should have saved myself the trouble because with no thought to the promise he’d given the good detective, my father vomited everything up to my uncles.

Christ on the cross, what a mess,” Joey said, rubbing his fingers over his eyebrows.

“I heard’a this piece’a work, Archetti,” Sonny said after sipping his espresso. “Low-level drug scum. Got shanked. Good riddance.”

I was cut short from adding something when my mother blasted into the room.

And that’s not an exaggeration.

Grace Liliana Chicollini San Valentino is a force of nature. There’s really no other way to describe her.

At five foot eight, she towers above all her siblings, leading some in the family to ponder if nonna had done the nasty with the milkman when nonno was off fighting the Fascists. She’d been born and blessed with the northern Italian DNA of fair hair, blue eyes, and light skin, unlike my father’s Sicilian genes, which were dark, dark, and darker. I’d always considered it a crime against nature my brothers all took after my mother while I got the lion’s share of Daddy’s genetic makeup.

At sixty, my mother appeared ten years younger in any light. Nary a line warped her skin, due to the religious rubbing of extra virgin olive oil she applied to her face and neck nightly. When I’d been a little girl and plagued with night terrors, the familiar smell of my mother’s skin while she hugged me, soothed away the fears. It’s probably the reason to this day pizza or pasta dripping in oil still calms my soul.

What it does to my ass is another story entirely.

My mother has miraculously kept the figure she’d been gifted with when she sailed through her teen years, even after birthing six kids. Breasts like a screen siren’s, a tiny waist, and hips built for pregnancy, my mother’s silhouette is a classic hourglass and she still dresses in ways that accentuate her assets. The movie star bombshells of Hollywood’s heyday have nothing on my mama for natural sexiness.

As a teen, being her daughter hadn’t been easy. My brother’s friends all fell in pubescent lust with mama. Standing next to her I paled in the female comparison department and looked more like another of her sons than her darling daughter.

But she had a heart of gold and when she loved you it was for life. That military expression I’ve got your six could have been devised for mama because no matter what stupid things my brothers had done, any trouble they’d gotten into, and even through my turbulent and emotional teen years, she’d always had our backs.

“Louie. Louie,” she shouted as she blew like a sirocco into the room. “I just heard from Frankie about a dead guy at the store. Mi amore! Your heart. Are you okay? You ain’t hurt are ya?”

She flung her fur coat off and it landed on the floor in a heap behind her. Wrapping her arms around my father, who’d stood the moment her worried voice boomed through the back door, she cried, “Are you okay?” She ran her hands over his head, down his shoulders, to his chest, her gaze raking along with her movements, making sure all his parts were intact and he wasn’t spouting arterial blood.

My father, ever calm and controlled, took her hands with his and brought them both to his lips. After he kissed each one he continued to hold them as he told her, “I’m fine, Gracie. I’m okay. It was Donna who found Chico, not me. And he was already dead.”

My mother whipped her head in my direction. With her forehead a mass of furrows and her eyes pinched at the corners, she pulled a hand from my father’s grip and grabbed my arm. “You okay, bambina?”

I squeezed her hand and nodded. Then, without any warning, an unusual need to fall into her arms and cry overcame me. When a sob escaped me full-force, she pulled out of my father’s hold, clicking her tongue on the roof of her mouth, grabbed me, and hauled me against her chest, my nose crushing into her well-supported cleavage.

Her arms were like steel traps and she kept me glued to her body while she rubbed my back and cooed in Italian. A quick whiff of her knock-off L’air du temps combined with a hint of garlic and I closed my eyes as the tears fell.

I’m not gonna lie: as a thirty-four year old, grown-ass woman, nothing made me feel better when I was off-kilter than when my mama held me in her arms. I’m not one iota ashamed or embarrassed to admit it.

As I cleaved to her she asked my father, “You’re sure you’re okay?” He told her he was, then, “Why don’t you take Donna into the kitchen, mi amore? Get her something hot to drink. It’s been a long morning for her.”

My mother nodded then slipped an arm up and around my shoulders. “Come on, bambina. Let the boys talk.”

I allowed her to propel me into the kitchen she’d had remodeled the year before.

“Sit.” She pointed to one of the breakfast bar chairs.

I grabbed a paper napkin from the holder on the marble topped counter, did as she commanded and sat, then swiped at my wet eyes.

This is mama’s domain. Daddy may run a successful deli and is an amazing cook in his own right, but Mama rules the kitchen in our house. When nonna was alive she could be very stingy with any kind of praise, but she always complimented my mother on her cooking skills, honed—of course—at nonna’s knee.

Moving with the finesse of one who knows where every single item is to be found in her world, Mama filled the teakettle then put it on the ceramic-topped stove to boil. She didn’t even look when she reached into one of the cupboards and pulled down two porcelain cups with one hand, the other disappearing into one of the pottery containers on the counter that held the teabags.

I sat, silent, watching her move with efficiency from one task to the other, and marveled as I’d done my entire life at what a dichotomy she was. While she had the body of a pampered goddess and could cook like one of the world’s finest Italian chefs, she wasn’t – what my Uncle Sonny often remarked – the sharpest tool in the drawer. I’d always thought this was mean, but in reality, it was God’s truth. My mother wasn’t a member of Mensa – not even close—and on any given day she was known to pop out with things that made most of us cringe or she’d ask a question a bit too intrusive for the person being asked. She had a habit of saying exactly what came to the front of her mind at any given moment with no regard to filtering it. This was one of the reasons my father never let her work in the deli. She couldn’t be trusted around the customers to self-censor. But, despite this one flaw, he adored her, as did I.

She reached into the cabinet under the sink and grabbed the bottle of brandy she kept there for emergencies. When my nonna had been alive, the bottle had gotten a great deal of use, especially after one of her visits. Mama poured way more than a shot-glass full into my teacup after adding the boiling water. She let it steep for less than a minute then handed it to me.

“Drink this. And then tell me everything ‘cause I know your daddy won’t. He’ll gloss over details thinking he’s protecting me.” She waved a hand in the air with a dismissive flick.

Intrigued? More to come when I have a cover, but I’m thinking an October release. I’ll let ya know.

Until next time, peeps ~ Peg

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The argument for #DNF (did not finish)

I seem to find myself embroiled in a few doozies of online chats of late. The most current one involves a bunch of reviewers and authors debating the DNF option of Netgalley and Booksprout.

I happen to do reviews for Netgalley and put my books up on both sites to garner reviews, so I know how both systems work.

Many times on Netgalley I have received a 1 star review and then the reviewer has said they did not finish the book. This seems unrealistically unfair to me.

I have no problem with a reader not finishing it. Not every book is for every reader and I do my own share of DNF’ing. What I object to is Netgalley allowing a rating on a book that was not read to completion. They have a DNF button on the site for reviewers to use. Why some people don’t is beyond me. Same thing goes for Goodreads. Why review a book you didn’t finish? Just to tell people that you didn’t like it? Again, sounds a little nasty, doesn’t it?

I sincerely don’t mind a DNF on my work. In fact, I would prefer it to an abysmal rating that destroys my ranking on Amazon and Goodreads.

I don’t think I’m the only author who feels this way, either.

 

 

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A BEACH READS BOOKISH EVENT from N.N. Light, featuring WOKE by Peggy Jaeger

 

I’m participating in a monthlong reading event from N.N. Light called BEACH READS BOOKISH EVENT. There are scores of fab authors represented in the event, and you can enter a contest to win an ebook bundle of all the books featured, including 2 of mine! WOKE (featured today) and Vanilla with a Twist (featured on 7.21.2020)

Here’s where to enter to win an e-book bundle of all 51 books featured in the Beach Reads Bookish Event: RAFFLECOPTER

Contest Runs July 17 – 22, 2020.

Winner will be drawn on July 30, 2020.

So what have you got to lose?

 

 

 

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The horror and heartache of getting hacked!

I always try to learn from the bad things that happen to me and boy-o-boy did I learn a valuable lesson yesterday.

Yesterday, on a beautiful, hot and sunny Sunday, while I was attempting to edit my upcoming Christmas book, my email account was hacked.

Hacked.

What a horrible word that is.

I had no idea and would never have known had my daughter not texted me that she received a weird email from me about needing help. She sent me a screen shot of the email. This is it:

She texted me immediately saying “YOU GOT HACKED.” How did she know? Anyone who is close to me knows that, 1. I would never ask for a favor in an email, and, 2. I would never sign off like that: Awaiting your response. It just doesn’t sound like me at all. 3. My email return name was wrong.

I’d like to tell you that I took the bull by the horns immediately and dealt with it like the organized, take no nonsense gal I like to think I am.

Nope.

First response? Panic. Widespread, stress-sweat producing panic. Like, my daughter had to literally talk me off a ledge panic.

Yeah, I’m a little embarrassed at how crazed I was.

When I got down from the ledge, it took about two hours of figuring out what to do to fix the hack, then notify everyone, while I was simultaneously getting numerous text messages, instant messages, and facebook calls about the email asking if I was okay. I think I typed I’ve been hacked 1,000,000 times today.

So, because I always like to learn from the bad stuff that happens to me, here are a few things I learned today.

  1. Don’t panic ( yeah, you saw that one coming, didn’t you? heehee)
  2. Immediately, change your password to your email. But don’t stop there. I found out that you need to do one more step, and that’s change who gets the reply. I sent an email to my daughter after signing in under the new password and she called and said the “reply to” was still the hacker, so I had to change this setting. Here’s how ya do it: a. sign into your email. Go to SETTINGS. Go to MORE SETTINGs, Click on MAILBOXES, Click on your mailbox list, scroll down to REPLY-TO Address
  3. YOu will see your address and the hacker’s. Delete the hacker’s address, scroll down to FORWARDING and you will probably have to delete the hacker’s address from there,
  4. too, then hit SAVE.
  5. Exit out and sign out of your email then sign back in with your new password and you should be golden.
  6. Then, send a test email to someone and ask them to make sure your correct reply address is listed.
  7. Lastly, go change every other password if it’s the same as the one you use for your email. Yeah, I know you’re not supposed to have only 1 but most people do.

It took about 3 -4 hours before I stopped shaking and calmed down totally to realize that I wasn’t the first, and unfortunately won’t be the last, person that this happened/happens to.

New rule of thumb: change all my passwords quarterly and never assign the same one to the important accounts.

A quick thank you from  the bottom of my heart to all the people who notified me yesterday of the weird email they rec’d from me. Bless you all for following thru and letting me know.

Now, I’m gonna go get a Cosmo.

Maybe more than one.

Be vigilant, peeps. Until next time  ~ Peg

 

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Words hurt and reviews can be crushing…

I really have had some weird – but exact – blog titles lately, haven’t I? Hee Hee

I’ve talked about book reviews here many times – the good, the bad, the mean. Today I’m going to add confusing to that short list.

WOKE released the other day to good (mostly – 95%)  to excellent reviews. I’ve come to realize that the people whom I know personally are always kind even if they don’t like one book more than another, they always say kind words in their reviews. But I know a book is good if reviewers I don’t know from Adam ( or Eve) say something wonderful.

For an example, this review was put up on Bookbub and Amazon by a reader I don’t know:

Drugged at her 21st birthday party, Aurora nearly died, then spent 10 years in a coma. She moves forward after waking, thanks to her devoted mother and their housekeeper, to the point of training to run the NYC marathon, and meeting and dating someone she met at a fundraiser. AJ, as she’s now known, wants to know what happened, and goes in search of someone who can help her. I’ve read two other books from this author, both very nice romances. But holy crapoly – I had no idea that Ms. Jaeger could write such a captivating and suspenseful romance. This story roped me in at the beginning, and never let up. The romance is wonderful. Cade and AJ are just perfect together, until he omits something that she might think to be important. Her mother is a bit overprotective at times, but considering all that AJ went through, fairly understandable, and Mom is supportive. Maeve, their housekeeper, has worked for the family since she came to the US, and she’s so much more than just “the help” – she gave up her chance at forever to take care of AJ when she was comatose. Nick, the detective who worked her case, is a really great guy, and I love AJ’s matchmaking attempt. Best quote in the book: “Forgiveness is a gift, according to Maeve, that should be doled out often, and without incurring interest.” She gave it 5 stars

Great review, right? I think so and it made me feel I’d done my job as a writer well.

Then there are the confusing ones. The reviews that makes no sense to me, like this one, for example:

The plot had its engaging moments, the characters were interesting and their secrets were gradually relieved throughout the story.
It had mystery and twists, single pov, nicely paced.
Regarding the solution of how and why was Aurora poisoned, it was neither brilliant nor mind blowing. It was far fetched and spoiled whatever my mood was.
Is there a part two??? Where was the epilogue???? Where was the hea???? There was a hea, but for a secondary character!!! I was left dumbfounded, looking for an epilogue that never appeared and I could not believe how abrupt the story ended!!! 😲She gave it 2.5 stars.

I didn’t promote this book as a romance because, to me, it really wasn’t one. It was more a woman coming to grips with the hand of cards she was dealt in life and trying to learn how to grow from it. The book ended when it was appropriate to end. It didn’t need an epilogue and why does this reader think it does??? See? Confusing.

There certainly are days when I wonder why I ever wanted to be a professional, published writer, that’s for sure…

Oh well. Today I start writing Book 2 in my Pride of Brothers series. Different genre, different voices. I’d better just concentrate on that and forget about the confusing world of reviews for the moment.

Happy 4th, American peeps. Until next time ~ Peg

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My past week at a glance…

I was all over the place this week, blogging about summer, vacation, and my 7.1.2020 release.

Here’s a recap:

6.27 I was on the Romance Gems

6.26 I was on Romancing the Genres

6.25 I was on Love Romance Reads

6.24 I was on Long and Short Reviews

6.23 I was on my own blog with a Tuesday Teaser

All that, plus the trailer for WOKE dropped. Produced by the uber talented Nancy Fraser, this may be my fav trailer yet….

This next week is gonna be even better and busier!

Until next time, peeps ~ Peg

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#TuesdayTeaser 6.23.2020

So today’s teaser is from the book I currently wrote THE END for on the first draft. It’s a Christmas story and I plan on having it out by October. One of my big Italian family RomComs, this one takes place in NYC ( of course!) in a family deli ( lots of recipes) and has a little dash of mystery/suspense because a murder occurs. The love story revolves around a second chance meeting between the heroine, Madonna ( Donna) and the detective in charge of the investigation, Antonia ( Tony) Roma.

Enjoy! And remember, this is a work in progress. Any spelling or grammar issues are okay for now. They will be dealt with in editing!

Advice for surviving in a big Italian family: Family comes first, last, and always. No excuses.

“You shoulda called me first,” Uncle Sonny declared as he sat down at the dining room table across from my father. Uncle Joey flanked him, nodding. “Now that the cops have taken over we lost our window to figure out what went down last night and to keep a cap on it. Everyone in the neighborhood knows now a guy got dead in your store. That’s bad for business, Louie.” Sonny shook his head, his mouth flattening in a line of rebuke.

“It’s worse for Chico,” I said as I went around the table filling their espresso cups.

Sonny tossed me a squinty-eyed glare. “That goes without saying, little girl, but there’s nothin’ we can do for him now. We gotta concentrate on helping Louie get the deli back open.” To my father he asked, “Roma give you any reason why the kid was capped in your store?”

I sent up a prayer to St. John the Silent in the hope it would keep my father from divulging what Tony had informed us about Chico. I should have saved myself the trouble because with no thought to the promise he’d given the good detective, my father vomited everything up to my uncles.

Christ on the cross, what a mess,” Joey said, rubbing his fingers over his eyebrows.

“I heard’a this piece’a work, Archetti,” Uncle Sonny said after sipping his espresso. “Low-level drug scum. Got shanked. Good riddance.”

I was cut short from adding something when my mother exploded into the room.

And that’s not an exaggeration.

Grace Liliana Chicollini San Valentino is a force of nature. There’s really no other way to describe her.

At five foot eight, she towers above all her siblings, leading some in the family to ponder if Nonna Costanza had done the nasty with the milkman when Nonno was off fighting the Communists. She’d been born and blessed with the northern Italian DNA of fair hair, blue eyes, and light skin, unlike my father’s Sicilian genes, which were dark, dark, and darker. I’d always considered it a crime against nature my brothers all took after my mother while I got the lion’s share of Daddy’s genetic makeup.

At almost sixty, my mother appeared ten years younger in any light. Nary a line warped her skin, due to the religious rubbing of extra virgin olive oil she applied to her face and neck nightly. When I’d been a little girl and plagued with night terrors, the familiar smell of my mother’s skin while she hugged me, soothed away the fears. It’s probably the reason to this day pizza or pasta dripping in oil still calms my soul.

What it does to my ass is another story entirely.

My mother has miraculously kept the figure she’d been gifted with when she sailed through her teen years, even after birthing six kids. Breasts like a screen siren’s, a tiny waist, and hips made for pregnancy, my mother’s silhouette is a classic hourglass and she still dresses in ways that accentuate her assets. Sophia Loren in her heyday had nothing on my mama for sexiness.

As a teen, being her daughter hadn’t been easy. Any guy friends of my brothers  fell in lust in a heartbeat with mama. Standing next to her I paled in the female comparison department and looked more like another of her sons than her darling daughter.

But she had a heart of gold and when she loved you, you knew it was for life. That military expression “I’ve got your six,” could have been devised for mama’s motto because no matter what stupid things my brothers had done, any trouble they’d gotten into, and even through my turbulent and emotional teen years, she’d always had our backs.

“Louie. Louie,” she shouted as she blew like a sirocco into the room. “I just heard from Frankie about a dead guy at the store. Your heart. Are you okay? You ain’t hurt are ya?”

She flung her fur coat off and it landed on the floor in a heap behind her. She wrapped her arms around my father, who’d stood the moment her worried voice blasted through the back door.

“Are you okay?” She ran her hands over his head, down his shoulders, to his chest, her gaze raking along with her movements, making sure all his parts were intact and not spouting arterial blood.

My father, ever calm and controlled, took her hands with his and brought them both to his lips. After he kissed each one he continued to hold them as he told her, “I’m fine, Gracie. I’m okay. It was Donna who found Chico, not me. And he was already dead.”

My mother whipped her head in my direction. Her usually unlined face was pinched as she dragged her gaze down my body. Her forehead was a mass of furrows, her eyes squeezed at the corners. She stretched out a hand and grabbed my arm, the other still held by my father. “You okay, bambina?”

I squeezed her hand and nodded. Then, without any warning, an unusual need to fall into her arms and cry overcame me. When a sob escaped me full-force, she pulled out of my father’s hold, clicking her tongue on the roof of her mouth, grabbed me, and hauled me against her chest, my nose crushing into her well-supported cleavage.

Her arms were like steel traps and she kept me glued to her body while she rubbed my back and cooed in Italian. A quick whiff of her knock-off L’air du temps combined with a hint of garlic and I closed my eyes as the tears fell.

I’m not gonna lie: as a thirty-four year old, grown-ass woman, nothing made me feel better when I was off-kilter than when my mama held me in her arms. I’m not one iota ashamed or embarrassed to admit it.

Hope that brought a  smile to your day.

Until next time, peeps ~ Peg

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Getting back to normal…or what looks like normal, but really isn’t….

Heck of a blog title, isn’t it? Confusing? Yup.

So let me ‘esplain.

First, please know that I started self isolating before it was a “thing” where I live. From the first time I heard about Covid, back when it was simply called Coronovirus, in late January, I had a premonition a shit storm was coming, so I stayed home starting in February, after first stocking up on enough medical supplies, non perishable food items, and other things, to last a while.

Then the order to stay home came and, since I already was, my life didn’t change much.

Oh, there were a few things like going out to eat, and attending church that did, but we were able to do Door Dash and drive by pickup so we did get to eat some things other than what I cooked a few times. Not many.

One thing we didn’t do was attend church, though, because the Catholic diocese in my state ordered the churches to close.

For the first time in my memory the Church put personal safety ahead of religious practice.

Now, not attending actual Mass for almost 3 months was something I hadn’t done since my confirmation at the age of 11, so when this past weekend the diocese finally did open up again, of course Hubby and attended.

We were masked ( as we are anytime we go out the door now) and we were delighted to find that the Knights of Columbus volunteers were directing people where to sit ( 1 pew apart, only 2 people in a pew) the Priest was masked during communion, he sanitized his hands after every giving of the host, and the host itself was airdropped into the parishioners’ hands. No “shake of peace” – a practice I don’t like on non-pandemic days for sososo many reasons, and no processional out the door with a priestly handshake.

Yes, it was weird. Yes, it was different. But it was safe and sanitary, so…

As we drove home we spotted most of the restaurants in our tiny town opened again with only outdoor seating. I felt good about the fact so many people were seated and dining – good for the owners of the restaurants because I know how they were struggling and good for the servers because they were back at jobs instead of foundering on unemployment. All the servers wore masks and even though I didn’t think the tables were exactly 6 feet apart, as least they weren’t jammed on top of one another.

So, this will be the norm for the next year or so or until a vaccine is discovered. While I will not be dining outside at the restaurants because I actually don’t like dining outside in restaurants ( personal preference) I am happy to see others don’t have the open air seating phobia I have, and I am delighted to be able to attend Mass again. Even though I pray and have prayed every day at home during this trying time, there’s something about doing in in a designated house of the Lord with someone ordained that just elevates it, in my humble opinion.

Hope your new normal is something you can live with, too.\

Until next time, peeps ~ Peg

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Focusing on the future – post Covid 19 – my career & a new #visionboard…

I’m a big planner – you  know that because you know I like to plot my stories before I ever write a word.

Part of planning for the future – be it an event, a wedding, a trip, or even where you want to go in your career – involves thinking, researching and in some cases ( like mine!) doing a vision board.

5 years ago when I set out on my publishing journey, I made a vision board of what I wanted to happen in my life. One of the things I plastered across it was a meme that read 3 YEAR PLAN. I had originally intended to update it after 3 years, but life gets in the way, you know?

Since the world stopped a few weeks ago for the majority of us, I decided to finally update my board. I truly believe in my heart and soul that seeing ( visualizing) what you want to happen in your life is the first step in making it happen.

This is the updated version of my writing career path, wants and desires, 5 years in:

There are lots of little Peggy-isms on this board that I want to highlight for you:

First, I believe you can only grow by learning from others. Those two people in the top left of my board are my mentors ( even though they don’t know it!) If it weren’t for Jack Canfield giving me the tools on how to live my best and most successful life, I probably wouldn’t be published today. And Nora Roberts’ career path is one I so admire and want for my own! The sign says it all: KEEP CALM AND LEARN FROM THE BEST. In my humble opinion, these 2 are the best. And look: I met them both!

I am so intune with this statement and the one in blue below it: I believe that I can and I will, and She believed she could and she did! You have to believe in yourself, your dream, and your path to success. If you don’t believe in it/yourself, no one else will.

There’s a line from an old Kevin Costner movie that goes “If you build it, they will come.” I Peggy-fied that to read “if you think it, it will come to you.” Notice the three different Best Seller tags on this part. One of my life goals is to be a bestselling author, but Jack Canfield always says why stop at just one? Magnify your goal and dream x10, so…. I want to make as many best seller lists/categories as I can. Is that big enough? For now, yes.

This time, there’s no time stamp on the board. Why? Well, my career is not going to stop once I achieve the goals I’ve set forth on it here. So, once I do achieve them, I guess I’ll make a new vision board.

And then another…and another…and……

 

 

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