It’s #Menopause Tuesday….

Another Tuesday, another posting about Menopause. This one’s a …trip. Stop by. See why. Here’s the link: menopause



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Is it Narcissism, or something else? Why I blog…

I had a random acquaintance ask me the other why I bother to blog. The way she phrased it was “does anybody really want to read about your daily life? I mean, all you do is write, right? That’s kinda boring.”

Those of you who know me probably think you know how swift, cutting, and murderous my reply to her was. You would be wrong. I actually stayed silent and just stared at her. She was probably thinking, “well she can’t even come up with a creative reply, so she mustn’t be that good a writer.” In reality, I was thinking something else.

And it wasn’t 75 ways to verbally vivisect her.

Her question got me thinking: “was she right? Would anyone who doesn’t know me, and even those who do, want to read a blog about my life as a writer? Why would they?” And the fact that I think people would, well, does that make me a little narcissistic in some way?

Heady stuff.

I had to take a step back and consider the reasons why I started writing a blog to see if I could truthfully answer that question.

The moment I signed my first book contract, the marketing instructions I was sent stated that I needed to begin an online presence so I’d have a platform to inform the public ( the people I didn’t know personally) about my soon to be released book. I joined Twitter, developed a Facebook author page, and then this blog. In the beginning, it really was just a venue to promote my book. It quickly turned into something more, though. I started writing about my life as a writer, my struggles, creative ideas to break through writer’s block that I’d learned from other industry professionals. It became a place to recap conferences for writers who couldn’t attend them, a place to promote good books I’d read, and new authors I’d found whose work I wanted to share.

And through all of this, I kept getting more readers and subscribers, to the blog- the majority of whom I’ve never met!

There’s a way on WordPress you can get your daily analytics to garner info on how many people are reading your blog, clicking it through it and when ( like, what time of the day). Every day when I check those analytics I see a lot of data and it’s all good, so that means people really do want to read what I have to say, receive what I want to share, get to know the authors I’m introducing. And that makes me feel good. Really good.

So, to the fringe acquaintance, if you’re reading this ( and who am I kidding because you’re probably not!) take that!

Oh, and those 75 ways to verbally vivisect you? Yeah, I came up with 143. In less than 10 minutes…just saying. So the next time we meet…

When I’m not being narcissistic, I mean, WRITING, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me


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#LASR #SaturdaySeven

Romance tropes are fun to read. Truly. I mean, who doesn’t love a secret baby, or a Women in jeapodary story? Things are tired and true for a reason, folks!

So, in no order, here are my seven favorite romance tropes to read:

  1. Second Chances. There’s really something so powerful about giving someone a second chance at anything: life; health; love. These stories take a relationship that failed – for whatever reason – and then allows that relationship to bloom anew. The h/h don’t have to start where they left off – and really, shouldn’t. A new day and a new depth to their love evolves. Truly, Madly, Yours by Rachel Gibson is a good example of this trope.
  2. A marriage of Convenience. Even though this trope gets used a bunch in historicals, it can also be used in contemporary’s if written the right way. The Weekday Brides series by Catherine Bybee and The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst are good modern day depictions of this trope. 
  3. Friends to Lovers. The first book I read with this trope was Emma by Jane Austen. Emma and Mr. Knightly are social friends, having known each other for years. When their friendship takes a wrong turn and then a right one to love, well, all I can say is that Austen was a master of romance writing for a reason.  In my own book. There’s No Place Like Home, I have two friends, Moira and Quentin,  use this trope. There’s something so wonderful about falling in love with your best friend! you share a lifetime of past memories, being with the other person is comfortable, and the love that blossoms is familiar. Love that!
  4. Opposites Attract. Who doesn’t love when two people who on paper seem so wrong for one another are in reality so perfect! Prime examples of this trope that are really good depictions are Bet Me, by Jennifer Cruise and Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas 
  5. Fake relationship. Lovelovelove this one! A good explanation of this trope ( but not the only one!) a girl’s been recently dumped by her boyfriend ( or she dumped him) and now needs a date to a wedding so she doesn’t look like the only girl in her crowd without a significant other. Good examples of this trope are Julie James’  A Lot like Love and Slow Heat by Jill Shalvis
  6. Enemies to lovers. A prime example of this trope is both the h/h want the same thing, say a job. They are each vying for it, trying to outdo the other, hating that the other exists. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is perfect for this trope.
  7. On-the-Run ( aka Women in Jeopardy) Anytime a guy has to protect the girl and take her on the run to do so well, that story is just rife with lots of sexual tension and intrigue. I used this trope with my Will Cook For Love novel, book 2 A Shot At Love.


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I’m not Inventor-y…

This week’s topic is a hard one for me because I’m not an inventor-y-type girl. I don’t even like to go to the beach, much less an island. If I got stuck on a deserted island, I’d probably be the first one the cannibals ate, anyway because, you know…I’m chubby! Lots of protein and fat.


So survival being the name of the game I’d need some kind of device that would be able to turn the water surrounding the island into water suitable to drink. It takes 3 minutes to die without air, 3 weeks without food and three days without water, so the water is a necessity. I know there are currently machines called desalinization thingies, but I’d need to be able to make this on the island from the raw materials around.

Don’t know how I’d do this, don’t have a clue where to being, but….that’s what I’d make. A thingie machine to make clean, drinkable water.

And then once that was off the drawing board and put into practice, I’d find a way to invent a pizza oven. Just saying. Food, you know?


Well, it’s uber obvious I’m not inventor-y, but maybe some of the other authors on this challenge are. Hop on over to their sites to see what they’ve come up with. And if it’s good, I’ll probably make arrangements to be deserted with them so I could survive.


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Research is spelled P-I-N-T-E-R-E-S-T!

This is a funfunfun topic for me. I sincerely don’t know what writers did before PINTEREST came along. The first time I was ever told about the site and then visited it, I was addicted. For Life. Seriously.

You all know I’m a huge plotter when it comes to my books. I have everything lined up, plotted out, and squared off before I ever start writing because I’m so anal. It’s that damn scientific background – I always need to know where I’m going. In the past I’d look for pictures of my characters or places or settings in magazines. Being able to visibly “see” how I wanted someone to look made it waaaaay easier for me to write about them. With the advent of Google, I tossed the mags and started trolling celebrity sites – because back in the day they were the only pictures you could really find.

It’s a new day, people. We don’t need google images anymore -we’ve got PINTEREST. Anyone can upload a picture of pretty much anything ( legal, that is!) From the moment I used Pinterest to categorize and help me plot/storyboard my books, my life got sosososos much easier. I had more time to write because I didn’t need to troll endlessly looking for images thru mags anymore. I simply plugged in something like “guys, 30’s black hair, green eyes” and 9,000,000 PINS instantly popped up for me to choose from.


So, for the first time, I’m giving you a little glimpse into how I storyboard my characters on Pinterest. The links below are to my Will Cook For Love Series books. These Pins/pictures are how I “saw” the books when I was writing them. (A few of the books haven’t been published yet so this is like a little teaser!)  Let me know your thoughts.

Will Cook for Love

A shot at Love/Gemma

Melora and Riley

Abby and Rick

Ellie and Sloan

And I even have an alternative, breakout, spinoff series to Cooking with Kandy called Bros, Inc.

You’re welcome for that last one!

When I’m not doing RESEARCH ( wink wink) you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me


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Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

If it’s #Tuesday it’s time to talk about #Menopause

And here we are again on another Menopause Tuesday! Click on the link to my other blog to see what’s up this week

Sweating to the oldies and feeling….old.

When I’m not hanging out on my blogs you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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Dear Diary….

Not too hard to figure out today’s topic, is it? Many of you know – because I’ve mentioned it ad nauseum – that I’m a lifelong diarist. It’s what first spurned me on to be a fiction writer. My childhood was so rife with strife that I used my diary to invent stories about girls who had adventures, loving families, who were smart and pretty and liked. Stories and characters that were so different from me. Mixed into the pages of those stories were actual diary entries about my life at the time.

I’m 57 years old and I still write in my diary most days.

I was about 6 when I got my first diary as a birthday gift.

I can’t remember who gifted it to me but it was one of those old girly-girl kinds with the lock and key. Of course, the lock broke within a week and I lost the key ( hey – I was  6!) so everything I wrote was open to viewing if my mother ever found it. She probably did because she was a world-class snoop. Anyway. The diary had about 120 pages and at 6 I filled those up within a few months. At 6 my penmanship was huge and one, brief entry could take up most of a page.

Fast forward to the teen years.

I’d evolved from the cutsie diary to a more angst-filled one. I’d doodle for hours about things that happened to me and in the world, about how I felt at the time (fat and lonely, mostly), and I still wrote stories about other girls who were not fat, lonely and unhappy; who had friends and boyfriends and were popular in school. The entires were pages upon pages, and since my penmanship was now indicative of a teenager, I was able to write more on the page. Emotions ran rampant throughout these diaries. Negative self-worth, anxiety about weight, feeling as if I didn’t belong anywhere because I was so different. I also started chronically the major events of the day that were unfolding during this time as a footprint of history. Events like Kent State, the Pentagon Papers, President Nixon and impeachment, the bicentennial, the first test tube baby. Emotions ran high across the pages. I was a girl who felt adrift in a world that was changing so rapidly I couldn’t keep up. I didn’t even know how to.

I left home for college and the diaries from those years are full of ramblings about crazy diets, all night study sessions, my flirtations with alcohol and unhealthy life choices, and my desire to make a difference in the world as a nurse. I devoted ten pages to when President Reagan was shot, detailing where I was ( in clinical) and what I was doing when the news broke (washing a comatose patient). My writing voice was getting stronger with every entry, more individualized, more…me,  and I could see a real progression in the fictional stories I added. I could also see the change in me as a person. From introverted and shy, the kind who never spoke her truth or gave a voice to her feelings, to strong and capable. An activist for change. A young woman who wanted better in all aspects of her life. ( I am woman, hear me Roar!)

When I was engaged in the process of getting married (at 27 ) my diary writing entries from that year are full of anticipation, expectation, and a unease. Would I be a good wife? Mother? Would I lose myself in the process of joining with another? There were no stable marriages/relationships in my family history. Everyone divorced, cheated on one another, drank and was generally miserable. Would I be able to break that mold? Would I know how to?


Then, when I had my daughter, I stopped writing in my own diary and now devoted journals to her. I documented every aspect, every hour, every milestone of her growing years.


She laughs to this day when she sees that I have a scrapbook and coincidal diary for every year of her life from birth until she graduated from college.


This is the time in my life I started putting all that lifelong storytelling to use. I began writing for magazines about motherhood and the nursing profession. It wasn’t fiction, it was real life, but the storytelling lessons I’d utilized since that very first diary came to full fruition and served me well.

I still write in my diary most days, only now that term has changed, like the times, and it’s called a journal. It even has a verb attached to it, as in “I’m journaling today.” Gone are the plain lock and key diary varieties, now replaced with inspirational covers and daily motivational saying on the pages.

I could use my computer to journal. There are about a thousand apps for journaling and diary entries, but I don’t. I’m old school when it comes to recording my thoughts, desires, dreams. I like the feel of a pen scratching across the pages of a book of my own. I like seeing how my thoughts, ideas, hell, even my penmanship (!) has changed over the decades.

I’d like to think that someday my grandchildren and their children will read what I’ve documented, get a feel for the person I was from a child to an adult. I like to think that my diary entries, the chronicling of a space in time, was relevant…interesting…worthwhile.

I’d like to believe that everything I’ve archived and recorded could – and will – in some way, give a greater understanding of the life I’ve lead.



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I’m #OnSale…. well, my books are!

In anticipation of WILL COOK FOR LOVE being released on 4.3.18, Kensington/Lyrical Shine has placed books 1 and 2 in the series on sale. If you’re looking for a new series of romance, where the women are smart, sexy and strong, these are the books for you. Just click on the links below the photos to order your copies today! The sale goes from 2.25.18 until 4.1.18


Sugar and spice and everything sexy make the perfect recipe for romance in this brand-new series by Peggy Jaeger. Look for exclusive recipes in each book!

Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .

Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .



Nothing’s impossible when love is on the menu. In Peggy Jaeger’s luscious series, the only thing more tempting than a delicious meal is a truly delectable romance . . .
Look for exclusive recipes in each book!  
Photographer Gemma Laine is looking for arresting faces on the streets of Manhattan when her camera captures something shocking—a triple murder. In that moment, she becomes a target for the mob—and a top priority for a very determined, breathtakingly handsome, FBI special agent. With deadlines to meet and photo shoots on her calendar, Gemma chafes at the idea of protection, but every moment she spends under his watchful eye is a temptation to lose herself in his muscular arms . . .

With two of his men and one crucial witness dead, Special Agent Kyros Pappandreos can’t afford to be distracted. But Gemma is dazzling—and her connection to Kandy Laine’s high-profile cooking empire makes her an especially easy mark for some very bad people. Keeping her safe is much more pleasure than business, but as the heat between them starts to sizzle, Ky is set to investigate whether they have a shot at love . . .

PreOrder now:


In Peggy Jaeger’s delectable series, delicious food is just an appetizer for life’s main course: the kind of love that feeds your soul. 
With three successful TV series under her belt, including her cousin Kandy’s, executive producer Stacy Peters is ready to helm her own show. But to make that happen, she has to do her network boss one favor first—spend two months on a ranch in Montana wrangling the notoriously difficult director of Beef Battles. Apparently, he eats producers for breakfast. Yet all Stacy can think when she meets the lean, rugged man is how hungry he makes her . . .

Dominic Stamp—Nikko to his very few friends—has had enough interference from TV newbies. And when Stacy climbs out of the car in Montana, he’s not convinced she’s even old enough to drive, much less produce his show. But he can’t deny that the long-legged blonde with the stubborn will and the dazzling smile whets his appetite. And as Stacy proves her talent with the crew and the budget alike, Nikko vows to prove to her that love is on the menu for both of them . . .

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#LASR #SaturdaySeven

For today’s Saturday Seven list, I’m talking about 7 bad-ass chicks in fiction that really speak to me as warrior women and game changers. I really could do this in at least 3 parts because there are so many, but these are my top 7.

Eve Dallas, the In Death Series by JD Robb.

A futuristic cop with the NYSPD, Eve Dallas is the survivor of a dark, tortured, and abused childhood. Raped, starved, and beaten until she finally kills her tormenter- her father – she grows into a woman who, although she doesn’t have superhero powers, is none the less the most powerful woman you will ever meet. Her sense of right and wrong is defined, clearcut, and as sharp as a razor. As her backstory unfolds in the first half dozen books of the series, Robb allows you to see that despite coming from the depths of humanity, you yourself don’t need to turn to the dark side. You have a choice: light or dark. Eve chose the light and for that she is an amazeballs woman and warrior.

Elinor Dashwood, from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.

 The oldest of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor is the “sense” part of the title. Composed, articulate, quick-witted and minded, although she tends to hide those characteristics behind the female conventionalism of the day, Elinor is the moral center of her family.  Even her mother looks to her to make decisions for the betterment of them all. She keeps her emotions hidden behind a cool and calm facade, but never for a moment think she doesn’t feel deeply. Elinor, to me, embodies the quiet warrior.

Stephanie Plum from the series of the same name by Janet Evanovich.

Who better exemplifies the woman of today in all her glorious angst, doubts, and confusion about life, sex, a woman’s role in society  than the gloriously klutzy and at times clueless bail bondsman Stephanie Hunter? From the moment you meet her – divorced, unemployed, and crushing on 2 men at once, you are drawn into her likeability, her openness, and her humor. Complete with a gun-toting grannie, a best friend who used to be a “ho”, and a cousin who is rumored to have performed illegal sexual acts with a duck, and you understand completely why Steph is the way she is. And to me, that’s perfect.

Bella Swan from the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer.

You may think this is an unusual choice for a grown-ass, approaching Medicare age woman to admire, but you would be wrong. Bella embodies what every girl possessed with a romantic heart embodies ( including me): the desire to be loved like no one else has ever loved you before, and to know you would rather die than be without the one you love. She will do anything to protect the ones she loves and has no regrets about her choices. To love and be loved is what motivates all she does.

Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. The penultimate spoiled southern brat, Scarlett is either loved and revered by readers or hated and despised. There is no gray with Scarlett. She is single-minded, determined, and forceful. She can pout and simper to get her way or fight back and rail. Plus she has the best resting bitch face of anyone in literature. Bar none.

Janie Crawford from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

Janie is an independent woman in a time in this country when black women weren’t seen as equal to their white counterparts. Janie keeps on going, no matter what her life throws her way her, and is able to hang on to her dignity and sense of self no matter what. She challenges the conventions and forces those around her to do the same.




Gemma Laine from A Shot At Love by …me.

I feel a little wrong including one of my own heroines here, but Gemma Laine embodies every trait I feel is necessary in a kick-ass woman in fiction. Coming from humble beginnings and deeply hurt by her parent’s divorce, Gemma knew from a young age she needed to fight for herself and her sisters against a society that looked down on them. She is proficient in martial arts and not afraid to defend herself or anyone else with her physical prowess if necessary. She doesn’t suffer fools, and she is loyal to a fault. When she loves there is no middle area about it: it’s all or nothing. She would die to protect someone she loved and she always, always has the back of those loved ones. She may not be the most pleasant woman you ever meet, but you will always know where you stand with her and if she considers you a friend, you are one for life no matter what.


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#MFRW I don’t like your voice….

The prompt of this piece is the worst writing advice I’ve ever gotten. I’m gonna share that, but a little backstory first so you can understand why the advice was the worst!

I’ve been searching for a literary agent since I started my journey in publishing. Haven’t found one yet but it’s not because I haven’t tried. At every conference I attend that allows agent pitches I sign up for a spot. In the past three years I’ve pitched myself and my work to 9 different literary agents. 6 were NYC based, 2 were from California, and one was from the NorthWest. They’ve all been industry  pros with great author pedigrees and clients,  but none of have them have offered to represent me. They’ve all asked for me to send them my work, which I have. Now remember, I’ve pitched to 9 agents. 4 never bothered to contact me back after I’d sent the work and waited the allotted 30 then 60 days for a response. When I did re-email them, no responses. 4 sent me form rejection letters within 15-30 days after I’d mailed my CV and work, not commenting on what I’d sent. The last agent I met with was last year. I’d actually connected with her via email  prior to the conference and she’d asked me to send her my work right away so that she could get a feel for what I wrote before meeting me. I complied.

I met her face to face for an allotted 15 minute meet/pitch and the first thing she said to me was “I don’t like your voice.”


I knew she meant my writing voice, not my actual voice voice. Even so, that was a bit…harsh as an opening line. She went on to say she’d read 5 pages of the 30 she’d requested and couldn’t get past the way I wrote. There was nothing technically wrong with it, she said, just that it was unappealing.


Okaaaaaaaaay. This had taken exactly 15 seconds of a 15  minute space. What was I supposed to do? Sit there and just stare at her until time was up? Stick up for myself? Cry?


I mean really. Talk about how to hurt someone’s feelings. Only, mine weren’t hurt, surprisingly. No, I was feeling something else entirely.

When I get really mad I tend to get very quiet. Deathly so. People around me have remarked that me, quiet, is terrifying.


I was so stunned by what she’d said, I couldn’t think of a response. That silence, I think, prompted her to say her next thing – the worst advice I’ve ever gotten. “You should think about changing your voice. Experiment with something different, because I just don’t think you’re going to sell commercially sounding the way you do.”


It was apparent to me that she hadn’t read the publishing CV I’d sent along. Last year I had already had 8 books traditionally published and had contracted for 3 more. So without an agent I’d already sold 11 book to publishers. If she’d read that she would have known that SOMEBODY liked my writing voice enough to publish me. 11 times. Traditionally.


Again, I stayed silent and smiling, even though I wanted to stick my tongue out at her and say, “so there!!” I know. Real mature. By now I knew even if she offered me a contract ( which she didn’t) I wouldn’t sign with her. If you have an agent you want her/him to be on your side, have your back, and promote you and your work and strengths. When I continued to stay mute she said, “Well, I have a lot of people to see today. I’ll be making decisions on who I want to take on, what work, and such, so  I’ll get back to you within a week or so with my decision.”


Hadn’t she just told me my voice was horrible and that I’d never sell commercially? That certainly didn’t sound like she wanted to represent me, does it? I couldn’t take it another minute. I stood, shook her hand and said, “thanks for meeting with me. Enjoy the rest of the conference,” and I bolted before she could say another word.

Weird, right?

Do I really need to tell you she never, ever, got in touch with me again? Not even a form letter.

Like I said: weird.

So that advice –  to change my writing voice – was simply the worst piece of writing advice I’ve ever gotten. Who would say that? WHY would you say that? Each writing voice is unique; distinctive; individual. I could understand that she didn’t like mine. You can’t please everybody. But as an industry professional to actually tell me to change something that’s so inherently part of me is like asking me to change my DNA makeup; my height; my personality. Would you ask Dr. Suess not to rhyme? Would you advise ee cummings to capitolize?  Make Janet Evanovich ditch the humor? Good God, would you ask Jane Austen to stick to writing letters and give up on the whole fiction thing?

Needless to say, I am still on that quest to find an agent. Preferably one who likes my voice.

Since this is a blog hop, click on the other authors in this challenge and see more example of bad writing advice!



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