Tag Archives: #amblogging #amwriting

My very own food delivery service…LOL

Many of you may know that I cook meals for my parents every week so that they don’t have to bother fiddling with food prep and their ancient stove. I’ve been doing this since Covid started because I realized they don’t eat well. Vegetables don’t exist in their minds, so I’ve devised ways to sneak them into casseroles and other dishes. This makes me feel better about their overall nutritional health. They don’t care because they don’t have to cook! lol.

What you may not know is that I also cook for my 10 month old Labrador, Maple. Since she was seven months old she hasn’t had commercial dog food, but home cooked meals I make in bulk, freeze, and then feed her daily.

Let me ‘esplain.

Maple has many allergies and sensitivities to things ( hey, she’s my dog. It figures, since I do too!). For the first six months of her life she was at the vet’s frequently with gastric issues, allergic responses to things, and generally not doing very well. We tried her on a about 10 different commercial dog food formulas and none of them really helped. She’d be good for a day or two, and then things would start up again.

After exhaustive google searches, I discovered a website for allergic dogs ( yes, it’s a thing) and they suggested making your puppy’s meals yourself and eliminating the food made commercially. I figured at this point, why the heck not try it.

Here’s the recipe they suggested:

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken

2 cups brown rice or barley

6 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

6 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 24 oz package peas or lima beans

56 fl. oz diced tomatoes with juice from a can

3 Tablespoons fresh parsley or oregano

1/2 cup fish, safflower or olive oil

Place all ingredients ( raw and uncooked) into a stock pot and add enough water to cover well. Bring to a rolling boil uncovered, then cover and simmer for 2.5 hours. If needed, add small amts of water to keep mixture from going dry.

This recipe makes enough to feed a medium sized dog 2 cups a day for 16 days.

I’ve been making this once every two weeks for 3 months and Maple no longer has any gastric issues, and never – ever scratches from allergies any more.

SOmetimes I will add some stew meat to the mix along with the chicken for an added bonus. And since I grow my own oregano and parsley, I always have fresh herbs to go in the pot.

This was yesterday’s cook:

She gets one of these every morning and devours it!!!! And she hasn’t been sick once. Just look at this face!

The look of a happy, healthy almost-11month pup!

Hee hee.

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Wedding season continues on N.N. Lights Bookheaven

BAKED WITH LOVE tells the story of a Innkeeper, Maureen O’Dowd and Police Chief Lucas Alexander. Friends forever, these two are reluctant to share their feelings for one another. One has a secret, the other is unsure of the reaction to a love declaration.

Innkeeper Maureen O’Dowd lives to cook and bake, spoils her family and friends, and is an expert at keeping secrets, especially about the man who’s held her heart for years.


Police Chief Lucas Alexander is dealing with an aging father and a moody teenage son, and he’s in love with a woman who only wants to be friends.


How can these two fiercely private people reveal their feelings for one another without destroying the friendship they already have? And if they’re successful, will another secret, if revealed, drive a wedge between Maureen and Lucas that can never be repaired?

I’m so excited to announce BAKED WITH LOVE is also a FINALIST in the 2021 RONE AWARDS from InD’Tale magazine in the STEAMY/Contemporary category!

I’ve been so thrilled to have all three books in this series featured in this event and I want to give a big shoutout to NN Light for the wonderful promotional opportunities they give authors.

If you’ve read the books, I hope you’ve enjoyed them. If you haven’t, now is the perfect time of year to do so because…June Wedding season! Heehee.

Happy reading, peeps. ~Peg

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Wedding Season on N.N. Lights Bookheaven event!

Today, I’m lucky enough to have TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS featured on N.N. Lights Celebrate Weddings Bookish Event.

Here’s the post that’s up on the website, enter the rafflecopter and if you haven’t read TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS yet, here’s a little about it:

Lawyer Cathleen O’Dowd wants to break free from her boring image. Widowed young, she’s toed the good-girl line but now wants a little fun and laughter in her days…and nights. Living in a small town, though, she can’t do anything that would tarnish her professional reputation.

Mac Frayne’s tragic past has turned him into a sullen loner. In town to write a book on the city’s founder, his plan is to get it done, then head home to his solitary existence.

When circumstances force them to work together, their opposing personalities clash, but the sexual attraction between them is palpable.

Can a simple affair with an end date be just the thing to brighten up their lives?

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Celebrating a 10 year anniversary with a top 10 list!

It’s my turn over on ROMANCING THE GENRES blog this month and I’m helping them celebrate their 10th year in the blog-o-sphere! I love a top 10 list, so hop on over and see the one I devised for their anniversary:

RTG

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Another RONE NOMINEE to vote for!

So if my ego wasn’t already swelling, A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: RICK is a RONE NOMINEE in the suspense/thriller category this week. Voting goes from April 26-May2

The rules for voting are the same. You have to log into www.indtale.com and then click on the SUSPENSE/THRILLER category to see the nominees. A PRIDE OF BROTHERS:RICK should be at the top to vote.

Thanks so much to anyone who gives me a vote/shoutout. This has been such an ego booster for me lately, when I’ve been lamenting poor sales and writing angst.

Elite bodyguard and P.I. Rick Bannerman’s job is to protect. He doesn’t get emotional with his clients, but when a woman from his past is threatened, his next job becomes personal.

Family lawyer Abigail Laine is the target of a client’s vengeful husband, but refuses Rick’s offer of protection. He walked away from her four years ago, and she swore to forget him.

Now her reluctance to accept his help could cost Abby her life.

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#goodthingsTuesday 4.20.2021

My good thing today came from a post I wrote this past Saturday. You can check out the post here for reference.

The good news?? I’ve stuck to the eating plan 2 days in a row! That may not sound like much to the average person, but to me, it’s HUGE!!!

Heehee

So, tell me, what good thing has happened in your life this past week?


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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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#TeaseMeThursday 4.1.2021

Last Christmas season, I was part of a 10 author holiday anthology titled CHRISTMAS COMES TO DICKENS. The series received such amazing success and reviews, Christmas is coming back to Dickens in 2021 with another series of stories set in the fictional New England town. This year, each story will be longer and published individually.

As such, many of the authors are doing prequels to their upcoming stories, myself included. SANTA BABY ( Dorrit’s Diner) will be released in july. It’s a novella/prequel to the full-length story, FIXING CHRISTMAS, that will be published on November 9th of this year. Here’s a little tease from SANTA BABY:

38 years ago, on a cold Christmas Eve morning in the tiny town of Dickens….

Amy Dorrit considered it one of life’s simple gifts that she didn’t have to commute to work each morning. She could jump out of bed five minutes before she needed to be ready, and, courtesy of the shower she religiously took each night to rid her of the day’s clinging aromas of grease and coffee, could simply run a quick washcloth over her eyes to rid them of the sleep nestled there. A dab of deodorant, a speedy dance with her toothbrush, a tug of her shiny, waist-length, honey-colored hair into a ponytail, and then she threw on her work uniform of old and much-loved jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers, before skipping down the thirteen steps from her apartment to the diner.

As the owner and operator of one of Dickens’s favorite eateries, and the only one opened 364 days a year, Amy turned the closed sign to open each day and then reversed the act every night. A dedicated work ethic had been drilled into her from the time her parents brought her home from the orphanage at the age of three.

As a child, she’d completed her homework sitting at the lunch counter every afternoon while her mom poured her a glass of milk and her dad cut her a slice of the day’s pie. As a teen, she’d filled out her college applications sitting in one of the booths with her mother and her mother’s best friends, Corrine and Matilda, looking on, giving sage advice and opinions. She’d bussed tables and learned how to brew a delicious cup of coffee before she learned to ride a bike. She’d washed dishes, and when she could be trusted not to burn herself, learned to sling hash and grill a mouthwatering Dickens Burger the locals still asked for by name.

In the two winters since her parents’ deaths within days of one another from the flu, running the diner and serving the citizens of Dickens consumed the bulk of Amy’s life. To honor the parents who’d loved her unconditionally, and to keep their memories alive, Amy kept the diner flourishing.

On this cold Christmas Eve morning, Amy bounded down the stairs, her lips lifting at the knowledge Santa would visit the children of Dickens tonight. The smile broadened when she considered how long she could linger in bed the following morning since the diner would be closed.

And who she’d be lingering there with.

As she moved through the breezeway connecting the diner to her apartment, Amy heard a mewling sound at the back alley door. Her cook, Willie, often left scraps out for strays, especially in winter, and sometimes when she took the trash out at the end of the day, Amy would find a mamma cat searching for something to feed her kittens.

When she opened the door, expecting to see a hungry animal looking for a handout, Amy got the shock of the century when she found a baby carrier, complete with a bawling infant nestled in it.

And so begins the tale…hope this intrigues you! hee hee

 

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Lucky in Love is this month’s theme on The Romance Gems…

It’s my turn to blog over on the Romance Gems blog today and out topic is LUCKY IN LOVE. Stop by and read about some of the ways my Irish roots have shaped my writing.

Here’s the link: ROMANCE GEMS

Happy reading! ~ peg

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#TeaseMeThursday 3.25.2021

Something new for me today – TEASE ME THURSDAY where I share books I’m currently working on.

Today’s little tidbit is from BALANCE, the next edition of the Uptown Girls series I hope to release in September. The heroine, Phillipa Doubletree, has survived an abusive marriage and is trying to forge a life on her own for the first time in her 38 years.  This is the opening -so far – unedited as of yet. Hope you like it.

The other day while waiting for a manicure, I took one of those rate your life tests you find in old editions of Cosmo and Elle. You know the ones. Your overall score gives an empirical value of how your life’s going at the moment.

Not exactly the healthiest way to take stock of your present situation, I know. But I had a few minutes to kill before my manicurist finished up with her previous client and I figured, what the hell?

I scored a whopping 41 percent on the test.

The only question garnering a complete 10 was the one that asked if your finances are in order.

Mine are.

When you’re the only child of a father with a seat on the Stock Exchange and a mother who was lucky enough to be born into one of the oldest families in the country, you can’t help but be fiscally sound.

Legend has it in my family that trust fund baby were my first coherent, spoken words.

Unfortunately, the rest of the questionnaire’s results were anything but stellar.

~Do you feel fulfilled in your work situation?

I don’t work.

~ Are you happy with your current love life?

What love life?

~Does getting up each day fill you with a sense of purpose?

Okay, that one I’m seriously working on, but I still only rated it a 5. I gave myself that much for the effort I’d been making of late to become a better person.

~Do you have any mental health issues you are grappling with?

I should have given myself a 10 for this one since I was still in therapy twice a week, but since I wasn’t so much grappling with as learning how to deal with my issues, I scored it low.

By the time my name was called, a deep, dark, funk had invaded my soul.

Here I was, staring 38 in the face and had nothing tangible to show for a life of spoiled riches except a few grey hairs and a frown line my mother suggested—strongly and often—I get botoxed away.

I’d married young – way too young – for the wrong reason, and then stayed in the emotionally abusive relationship out of fear. I’d abandoned my best friend when she needed me the most and I’d never taken advantage of all the, well, advantages, my parents’ social standing and financial security offered me.

In essence, from the age of twenty-one, I’d stopped participating in being an adult and went through the next fifteen years in a zombie state. The reason is something I was still coming to grips with, hence the twice-weekly therapy sessions.

And I sound like I’m whining. I’m not.

Well…maybe a little.

But in truth, I was trying, hard, to fashion something for my future aside from therapy, society lunches, and shopping.

Which explained why I was in the back seat of a cab at two in the morning, holding an hysterical, bleeding woman twice my age, while commanding the driver go faster so we could get her to the nearest emergency room. I offered him twice the amount on the meter and told him I’d pay any speeding tickets he got along the way.

In order to give some purpose to my life, I’d been volunteering at a women’s center for the past three months. My best friend Aurora – who’d I’d reconnected with after a fifteen-year separation – got me the position after I told her I needed to do something constructive with my life. Aurora had been a volunteer at the center for a few years and felt my participation would help both the marginalized women there who were in need, and myself. Since I’d been in a relationship that had taken over my mind, body, and spirit, and I’d managed to come out on the other side of it emotionally and physically intact (mostly), she figured I’d be a good role model to women in similar, and even worse, circumstances.

Because I could walk the walk and talk the talk of a woman who’d been subjugated and made to feel less than by the person who was supposed to love me unconditionally, Aurora figured I could relate to the women’s fears and worries. I’d actually been through the fire they were currently navigating through.

She wasn’t wrong. Despite our economic and social differences, the women I’d dealt with found in me a sister in arms. Since joining the team, I’d woken on volunteer days with a sense that I was doing actual good in the world (which explained the score of 5 on the questionnaire.)

Here’s the tentative cover – which I may change. Not sure yet:

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