Category Archives: Writing

When you hit the bottom, the only direction is…back up. But you need a plan.

So, I’m not the type of person who puts it all out there. I know that sounds ridiculous because I write a blog where I post about my writing life, a few weird and wonderful things that happen to me, and introduce my readers to other authors I love. I tell things about myself that are public knowledge and that don’t really dig deep into my psyche. I don’t write a great deal about my family because they didn’t ask to be used in a forum such as this and I value their privacy.

I do, too.

But…

There comes a time in life when you simply need to get a few things off your chest and admit you have a problem.

I’m putting on my big girl Depends today and doing that.

Bear with me for a little backstory and explanation, first.

The past year hasn’t been one any of us will remember with pleasure. Covid, for lack of a more sophisticated phrase, sucks moose. Big time. Not being able to see friends or family, not being able to hug my daughter, having her postpone her wedding at 3 different times, none of that has been grand. My parents have basically seen no one but each other and me for the better part of 12 months.

Fast forward a bit.

My husband and I adopted a dog in September 2020. I missed not having a dog in the house – but it’s been 21 years since I did. Being the parent of a puppy at the age of 60 is not like it was when I was 28 and we adopted our first lab. I’m older, more tired, and not as strong. Plus, I hate to admit this, my patience is not what it was, either. These past 7 months have been challenging, to the say the least, with her. But we love her to the moon and back, so…

Fast forward again.

A few weeks ago my mother fell at home and broke the one hip she hadn’t broken yet. Three years ago she broke the first. So now she’s 2 for 2. As of last week she is in a rehab center with very strict Covid restrictions. She can have no visitors who are not fully vaccinated, and even then, she can only see someone for 20 minutes twice a week. My stepfather is at their home, bored, lonely, and let’s be honest- not at his mental best at the age of 83. I have been shuttling to and fro ( they live in another state, 25 miles 1 way from me, so 50 miles round trip) several times a week to take care of him, make sure he is okay, and even take him to visit my mother when he is allowed. I am not allowed to visit her yet because I only received my second vaccine dose this past Wednesday. I need to quarantine from her for 14 days, so by the end of the month I can see her in person.

Trying to write has been…trying. There is no other word for it. I am exhausted from caring for the puppy – who has been sick monthly since we got her with various ailments – traveling to my parent’s, taking care of my own house and husband and basically, trying to get a shower in once in a while.

My mental status reads OVERWHELMED on a daily basis. So much so, that today I did something I haven’t done in twenty years just to attempt to comfort myself. More about that in a sec.

It’s accurate to say I have reached a mental and physical low point. I haven’t been able to go to the gym because…Covid and restrictions, so my body is as gelatinous as it has been in decades. If I were able to get it measured, I would venture to state there is not one hard part of my body.

Well, maybe my head. But that’s it.

There aren’t many ways I can comfort myself and try to perk myself up, other than writing, which…read the above! So I’ve been eating.

A lot.

A way lot.

Today, after bringing the dog to the vet for the second time in two days, and after traveling in a wonderful April Nor’Easter to Vermont to bring stepdad to the rehab center, then back home again, I was feeling so low, basements looked as high as sky scrapers to me. So…I went to McDonalds.

Were you expecting that? Maybe not. But here’s the thing: I haven’t eaten fast food like that since my daughter was 9 years old, won the State Spelling Bee and one of her prizes was free Mcdonalds’ for a year.

Things have changed since the last time I was there. First…Covid, so everyone wears masks and gloves. Two, the drive thru is high tech. No more screaming into a speaker that distorts your voice and makes chicken mcnuggets sound like “licking maggots.” Three, you pay in a different place on the drive thru line than where you pick up your food. How they keep it all flowing and get the orders right is a mystery I don’t want to know the answer to. Suffice it to say, my #1 ( Big Mac meal) was perfect when I got it. Last…supersize. That’s a thing now. No wonder our country is so overweight.

I won’t bore you with the details of how my taste buds all stood at attention – happily- the moment I opened the fries bag and got my first whiff of grease and salt. Or tell you how I don’t even think I chewed the burger, just bit and swallowed. Or even how my stomach revolted a half hour after eating. Just know that Nightshade allergies are a real thing. I’m not supposed to eat potatoes in any form. And no, I didn’t forget french fries are really potatoes.

Somethings are better off left unsaid, you know?

What I will tell you is that, for me, this was the rock bottom of the bottom. When I have to get fast food that I know makes me sick to eat in order to comfort myself and try to pull myself out of a funk, I have truly reached the bottom: emotionally, mentally, and physically.

And when you’ve reached the bottom, there really is no place else to go except back up. For me, that only means one thing. I need to get a handle on my eating again and not use food to attempt to comfort myself. The way I have done that in the past, when my emotions have run away with me, is to go back on Weight Watchers, which is what I’ve done.

I re-upped my membership and am determined to get my life off this rollercoaster of bad, non-thinking eating.

Weight Watchers has changed, just like McDonald’s has.

First…Oprah owns it now. That’s cool.

On their points program, fruits are zero points, instead of in the past when every banana, apple, or grape I ate cost me 2 points out of a daily 20.

I get points for exercising now, so yay to that! Once my 14 post-vaccine days are over, I am hitting the gym again.

My self disclosure may not seem like much to you. But for me to admit I have an eating problem at the advanced age of 60 when I should have figured this shit all out by now, is HUGE with a capital HUGE! And doing so in this forum makes me accountable, because people will read it and in the back of their minds remember it. Since I am at my core a people pleaser, I don’t want to fail at this because I don’t want to disappoint people.

And let’s face it : I don’t want to disappoint myself this time, either.

I’m debating whether or not I want to take the dreaded BEFORE picture, though. Everyone (and by that I mean the WW people) says you should, so in the future you can see how far you’ve come, but I don’t know. That will force me to really see what I look like – something I don’t want to do. Okay, let’s be honest: it’s something I’m terrified of seeing!

What’s that old saw? If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger?

Here’s hoping I don’t drop dead when I see myself in celluloid!

Thanks for listening and not judging…. Peg

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Happy Birthday to ROCK HOUSE GRILL by D.V.Stone

My wonderful and talented Wild Rose Press sistah, D.V. Stone, stopped by the other day so we could celebrate the 1 year anniversary, or as we writers say our BOOK BIRTHDAY, of her novel ROCK HOUSE GRILL. D.V. was all faklempt – and so was I – when she told me about her road to the book’s publication. I think you’ll enjoy the story, too, so here’s D.V…..

I can’t believe it’s been a year already since publication. The road to get there was filled with potholes and detours. Rock House Grill started out as a NaNoWriMo challenge in November of 2015. The challenge is 50,000 words in 30 days. I was able to complete the first draft and received my certificate. Then, like many manuscripts, it was set aside while I finished other projects. I had a couple of independents in the hopper and focused on those.

Fast forward to 2019. I pulled up some old files, and there sat Rock House waving at me. “Hey, remember me?” I did, and with fresh eyes, began to revisit. I’d always dreamed of becoming a traditionally published author. To be able to say, my publishing house—my editor. I began to send out query letters. Let’s just say most places don’t even send a response, much less express an interest.

I sent several letters out in May. Word of warning. Be careful to look things over before you hit send. In horror, I realized the salutation in the email to The Wild Rose Press had another’s name on it. Panic ensued, and a new email went out. “Wild Rose Press. I know you’re The Wild Rose Press!”

Well, I blew that one. Wait. Not necessarily. A few days before my birthday, there was a ding in my inbox. Please send… OMG! Then came the next. Please send the full manuscript. After a couple of starts, stops, and a change in editors, this came on Jul 13, 2017.

Dear Donna,

My name is ELF and I am the editor who has been assigned to evaluate your story, “The Rock House Grill,” for The Wild Rose Press

Poor ELF didn’t know what she was getting into. At one point, she had to use tough love and warn me I had one more chance.

So here we are in 2021. You do the math. Publishing for me is not a straight road. I imagine for many, it’s a long pothole-filled one. But don’t give up. Even when you send the wrong email.

Rock House Grill and I are celebrating our first birthday together. Coming soon is the second Impact book Jazz House. Who knows when that book birthday will be. But I’m sure it will be as sweet as this one. You want to know why? Just like having more than one child, holding each of your subsequent books is an amazing feeling.

My final word to you? Go forth and be bold. Don’t let fear or worry hold you back. I promise it’s worth it.

Rock House Grill

One man’s choices—One woman’s impact

Winner NNLights Book Heaven 1st place Sweet Romance

Author Shout Out Recommended Read 2020

Aden House, successful but driven chef and TV personality, refuses to slow down. His life implodes one night, damaging him both physically and emotionally. He’s rescued by a woman he thinks of as his angel.

Shay McDowell has rebuilt her life after her divorce. She juggles volunteer EMT duties and her job, while dreaming of becoming a chef. She finds her way to Rock House Grill and back into the life of the man she helped save.

Can love be the ingredient needed to survive the many obstacles they face?

Reviews

This engrossing story had it all, mystery, suspense, and romance. The twists and turns made it impossible to put down. I enjoyed the supporting characters as well. I will be looking for more from this talented storyteller.

This book is a delightful, savory, hopeful, fun, romantic, and warmhearted read!!

I really enjoyed this romantic suspense. The author portrayed a vivid description of the glamorous world of the high-end restaurant business. The characters were believable, and I rooted for Shay, the heroine, to overcome the many obstacles in her quest to find true love with Aden, the physically and emotionally damaged hero.

Excerpt

“Easy, you’re going to be okay.” A soft voice eased through the chaos around him.

The owner of the voice grabbed his arms and held them in a firm but gentle grip. “I’m right here with you. You are not alone.”

“Can hardly m-move.” His voice slurred. “C-can’t see anything.”

“You’ve been in an accident. I’m an EMT with the ambulance squad,” the velvety voice calmly explained. “You can’t see well because we’re under a tarp. Hold still, okay?”

“‘K.” A small light flickered at the edge of his vision. It shone into a bag next to him. Penlight.

“You’re restrained to a board. It’s to keep your head from moving and causing more injury.” She continued to talk to him.

The voice reached down somewhere inside him, calming and peaceful, so he focused on it. A glow from spotlights on the outside lit whatever covered them. The shadow gave the woman the appearance of a halo—like an angel.

About the Author

Hi, my name is D. V. Stone. I am a multi-genre author of two independently published books. Felice, Shield-Mates of Dar is a fantasy romance. Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake is a mid-grade paranormal. Recently, Rock House Grill was released by Wild Rose Press. Rainbow Sprinkles, a novella released on July 8th. I also host Welcome to the Campfire and A Peek Through the Window, both weekly blogs. Here’s a little more about me.

Born in Brooklyn, D.V. Stone has moved around a bit and even lived for a time on a dairy farm in Minnesota before moving back east. Throughout her wandering, she always considered herself a Jersey Girl. She met and married the love of her life, Pete—a lifelong Jersey Man, and moved this time to Sussex County.  They live with Hali, a mixed breed from the local shelter, and their cat Baby.

D.V.’s career path varied from working with the disabled to become a volunteer EMT, which in turn led to working in hospital emergency rooms and then in a women’s state prison. After a few years, she took a break from medicine and became the owner of Heavenly Brew, a specialty coffee shop in Sparta, NJ, and a small restaurant in Lafayette. Life handed some setbacks. She ended up back in the medical field, but this time in a veterinary emergency hospital. 

“Thank you for taking the time to read about me. Each time you open the pages to one of my books, I hope you’ll be swept away by the story and find encouragement in your own life, never to give up on hope.”

D.V. Stone

Buy Links

Amazon          Barnes & Noble         iBook’s      Google Books       Kobo

Find out more about D. V.

Website         Facebook      Twitter          Instagram

Pinterest        Bookbub       Goodreads    Newsletter

Welcome to the Campfire Blog     Amazon Author Page

One-stop link https://linktr.ee/d.v.stone

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#goodThingsTuesday 4.13.2021

My good thing this week is a very good thing. I get my second Covid vaccine tomorrow morning. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I can’t wait.

In 14 more days I will fully be vaccinated. The peace of mind that is bringing me is the best good thing I’ve felt in a while.

So, tell me: What good thing happened to you this past week?

Until next time, peeps ~Peg

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#MugshotMonday 4.12.2021

See you next week, peeps!

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InD’Tale Rone Award Nominee – wk 1: 4/12-18 Steamy Contemporary Category!

I am so over the moon. THIS IS MY VERY FIRST RONE NOMINATION!!! to make it to the finals, though, people have to vote for the book. Here’s the letter with the instructions of voting from the Rone Committee:

It is extremely important that you let all your readers and fans know! ( THAT’S WHY I’M PUTTING IT IN A BLOG POST! LOL) We would hate to think a superior quality book lost only because people were unaware of the time limit. Also, make sure that they understand they MUST be registered on our website at www.indtale.com in order to vote. ( IT COSTS NOTHING TO REGISTER!)

*****Once you are registered, you will be required to click the verification link sent to you via email. If you do not verify you registration with this link, you will be unable to vote. This is very important to help ensure that the voting is fair and maintains the high-quality standards required for this top-tier award.

Once the voting is final and the winning books announced, the finalists in each genre will then be read and judged by a group of professionals in the industry to determine the very best book in the indie and small published world!  The winners will then be announced and awarded the prestigious RONE Award at the formal ceremony at the InD’Scribe Conference, October 7th, 2021. An announcement with all the information will be coming soon! Be sure to check out our website and Facebook Page! http://www.indscribe.com.

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#teasemeThursday 4.8.2021

Today’s tease is in honor of brothers. I don’t have any but if I did I’d want them to be like the 4 Keane men in Brothers, Inc.

So, for your reading and teasing pleasure, here’s a little something from A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: AIDEN ( release date sometime in 2021). Aiden has just arrived home from a two month assignment out of town and his older brother Dylan is picking him up at the airport.

Enjoy!

At the bottom of the escalator he spotted his older brother, Dylan, waiting and holding a sign reading, Welcome Home, Brain.

Dylan tossed him the cocky, shit-eating smirk he reserved for his baby brother. The one that, when he’d been a scrawny, shy, sickly kid, filled Aiden with insecurity. Not any longer. Now that he matched his brothers for height and strength, Aiden’s insecurity was a thing of the past.

“Hey, baby bro,” Dylan said, tugging his brother close and banging him on the back a few times.

“You’re an asshole,” Aiden said, “with that sign.”

“Yeah, but ya love me anyway.”

Aiden shook his head, while his brother tossed an arm over his shoulder and tugged him along.

“Car’s right outside. And I brought a little lady along with me.”

His mood lifted considerably. “You been taking good care of her for me? I better not find out she gained ten pounds and got lazy from laying around all day.”

“Cool your jets. She’s as fit as always. But I think she’s forgotten all about you. Absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder and she now knows, firsthand, I’m the better brother in every way. She’s grown quite used to being with me.”

“Don’t bet on it. She’s as loyal as they come.”

He’d parked the Jeep outside the loading zone barrier, it’s flashers on, the motor running.

“As least you kept the air conditioning on,” Aiden said when he spotted the vehicle.

The moment he opened the passenger back door he was set upon by one hundred and twenty pounds of pure muscle and love.

Laughing, Aiden allowed himself to be licked and pawed, while he rubbed and loved on the dog that meant more to him than most people he knew.

“I missed you, too, girl. Did Uncle Dylan take good care of you?”

The dog answered by jumping and placing her paws on his shoulders, her tail swishing like a windshield wiper, and gracing his face with another slobbery lick.

“Dog’s more spoiled than you were as a kid,” Dylan said as he slid into the driver’s seat. “Come on. I don’t want to get ticketed.”

Once the brothers and the excited chocolate Labrador were settled in, Dylan pulled out into traffic.

“She give you any trouble?” Aiden asked as he continued to rub the dog’s neck where she peeked in between the front seats.

“Not an ounce. I don’t think she even barked once while you were gone.” He glanced at his younger brother, a sly grin gracing his face. “I never knew a dog was such a babe magnet. Whenever I took her for a run in the park, chicks flocked around her, and by extension, me. I got more numbers shoot my way than I could deal with.”

Aiden frowned at him. “I don’t like the idea of you using my dog to score with women.”

“I didn’t use Bronte for anything unseemly, but I couldn’t help how many women thought she was quote, the most beautiful dog they’d ever seen, unquote, and just had to pet her and ask me all about her.”

“I’m gonna bet you sang your own praises more than my dog’s.”

“I’m not taking any part of that bet.” Dylan’s smug grin pulled a headshake and a wry smile from him.

Intrigued? I certainly hope so. heehee

Until next time, peeps ~Peg

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#backlistThursday 4.8.2021

Today’s backlisted book isn’t that old, but since it isn’t new, either, I figured it would be a goodie to add.

If you like ice cream, summer vacations, and sweet romances, VANILLA WITH A TWIST ( One Scoop or Two series) is for you. Set in the fictional New Hampshire seaside town of Beacher’s Cove, this novella was a pleasure to write – especially since I had to do a lot of research on ice cream flavors…hee hee

Tandy Blakemore spends her days running her New England ice cream parlor, single-parenting her teenage son, and trying to keep her head above financial water. No easy feat when the shop’s machinery is aging and her son is thinking about college. Tandy hasn’t had a day off in a decade and wonders if she’ll ever be able to live a worry-free life.
Engineer Deacon Withers is on an enforced vacation in the tiny seaside town of Beacher’s Cove. Overworked, stressed, and lonely, he walks into Tandy’s shop for a midday ice cream cone and gets embroiled in helping her fix a broken piece of equipment.
Can the budding friendship that follows lead to something everlasting?

Excerpt:

For a few moments, she regarded him with a look his mother would have called insightful. The corners of her eyes narrowed, she dipped her chin a hair, and she pulled her mouth into another appealing pout he was tempted to kiss.

“I bet,” she said after a long, drawn-out sigh, “you were the kind of kid who took apart clocks and fans and vacuum cleaners to see how they worked.”

“It was more washing machines and lawn mowers and anything with a motor, but yeah. I was.”

She shook her head, her own lips forming a lopsided grin. “Your poor mother.”

“She survived.”

Tandy rolled her eyes and shot her hands to her hips. “So it’s working again?” She thrust her chin at the ice cream machine.

“For now.”

“Okay, well, I can live with for now. And you think you know the real reason it’s been acting up?”

“I definitely do. But like I said, the water to the machine needs to be shut off to fix it.”

“Okay. Well, we close at nine.”

“I’ll come back a little before then. Get things ready. Is that okay with you?”

“I guess it’ll have to be.” She bit down on the inside of her cheek as her brows pulled together. “And you’re sure you want to do this?”

“If I weren’t, I wouldn’t offer, Tandy.”

Why her reluctance to have him help was such a turn-on was something he considered while he waited for his ice cream.

Intrigued? I hope so, hee hee.

Until next week, Peeps. Happy reading ~ peg

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#mugshotMonday 4.5.2021

Today’s mug is a silly one I got in a gift basket. It was at a fundraiser for Foster Parents of Keene. At the time of the auction I was in the height of raging hormones from menopause and I was hot flashing 20-30 times per day. This mug was perfect for that time!

So, I showed your mine…show me yours. No theme today, just a cute mug.

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April giveaways, courtesy of N.N. Lights Book Heaven

Spring has arrived and N. N. Light’s got spring fever.

It could be all the flowers in bloom or it could be the birds singing in the trees.  Hurry and hop like a bunny over to N. N. Light’s Book Heaven and enter to win some amazing prizes including a few new releases, autographed print books by bestselling and award-winning authors, audiobook codes plus e-books galore and a couple of Amazon gift card. In fact, I’m one of the authors participating and you could win BAKED WITH LOVE . The list is long and personally, I’d love to win myself but alas, I can’t. So, I’ll just live vicariously through the lucky winners. If there’s a particular book or prize you’d like to win, be sure to say which prize you want when you enter via Rafflecopter. Enter below and good luck!

Spring Into Freebies Giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/92db7750104

Literary Giveaway Portal:  https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/literary-giveaway-portal

Good luck, peeps!

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A RECKLESS HEART Facebook party 4.3.2021

Tomorrow, Saturday 4.3.2021, I have the honor of being one of several authors to help one of my favorite authors, Jennifer Wilck, celebrate the release of her newest book, A RECKLESS HEART. We’ll be having fun at the Facebook party for A Reckless Heart from Noon until 7pm EST.

I go on livelivelive at 2:30 pm and I’d love to “see” some friendly faces, hee hee!

Here’s a little about Jenn’s book:

Meg Thurgood, former society girl, took the blame for her friend and paid a steep price. Now all she wants is solitude and a chance to rebuild her life. She thinks she’s found that in an isolated house she rents from a mysterious stranger.

Simon McAlter has hidden in his house on the coast of Maine since a fire left him scarred. A successful landscape architect who conducts his business and teaches his classes remotely, he’s lost his inspiration and is trying to pretend he’s not lonely.

Simon’s new neighbor is more than he bargained for. When he learns Meg’s secret, will he retreat into the shadows or will he learn to see past the surface and trust in Meg’s love?

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Here’s my review: Goodreads

Hope to see you at the party.

~peg

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