Tag Archives: #amreading

A fiery Artist and a Horse Whisperer find love in Passion’s Palette; #MFRWBookHooks

PASSION’S PALETTE, book 5 in the MacQuire Women series, releases on 8.4.17.

Blurb: Talented and witty portrait artist Serena MacQuire is successful in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivaled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.

But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. After he left his professional football career to become a veterinarian, his bitter wife ended their marriage. Now, as he starts his life over in a new town, love is the last thing he’s looking for. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.

Will he be the man who finally unlocks and claims her heart?

Excerpt:

Standing before her, his hands in the back pockets of his jeans, he wore a look of bashful sheepishness. “I guess I owe you an apology,” he said, tilting his head to one side. The sun was full force on his face, one eye winked closed from its glare.

“You don’t look apologetic. You could have told me you were David’s partner,” she said, cringing when she heard the whine in her tone, “instead of allowing me to believe you were one of the moving men.”

“Now, hang on a sec,” he said, moving closer to her. “You were the one who assumed that. I never told you I was one of the movers. In fact, you never gave me a chance to tell you who I was. You just assumed. Incorrectly, it turns out.”

“You could have said something,” Serena blurted, her lower lip pouting outward.

Links: Amazon // Wild Rose Press

Check out the other authors in this Book Hook Blog Hop:

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, female friends, Life challenges, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A visit and a debut novel….

 

Today I’m introducing you to another of my lovely and talents Wild Rose Press sistahs, Dee Gatrell. 

Dee’s first book SWEET SUNSET was released in December 2016 to wonderful reviews. Stay tuned after the interview because she’s giving me ( and you!) a little glimpse of the book.

Dee, The Writer

  1. What drives you to write? I have always been driven to write. When I was a child, I loved getting mail and answering letters. Writing helps to keep me sane, especially when life gets me down.
  2. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? I like all types of romance and mystery books. I like to mostly write Women’s Fiction, but have an inspirational romance at the publishers that I’m working on revisions now.
  3. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Over they years I have read many types of romance novels, except erotica.
  4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I try to write every day, but can’t always. I prefer writing in the morning and sometimes in the evening.
  5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? Well, you’ll love this. I used to have a bedroom that was my office to share with my hubby. Three weeks ago I fell off the treadmill and dislocated my right shoulder. We had given a couch and chair to my granddaughter since we had two sets, living room and family room. Then we set the treadmill and bike in the mostly empty living room. A nurse came to visit and suggested the living room would make a great office, much larger.. My husband agreed . There I was, arm in sling and hubby and one son decided this was the perfect time to make a switch. I’m giving the treadmill that nearl killed me to my older son as I’ll never use it again. My husband has multiple health issues, including cancer, and should not be moving stuff around, but he did with the help of son. Then daughter and grandson visited and finished the move for him. WE have both our desks in here, me facing the set of three windows with bushes growing in front of them, him facing the rest of the yard and the house at the end of the street that sits on three acres. We have one acre, which is plenty. All the things I said like we’d have to move the phone and computer lines? Wrong. They didn’t need changed. By the way, last week hubby was sitting on the love seat, stood up and so did Ellie, our large dog. Hubby tumbled right over dog, grabbed my bad arm, but thankfully for me he continued falling without taking my arm out of joint. Bad for him as he was bruised but thankfully didn’t break or displace anything.
  6. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? My house has always been chaotic, so I’m used to noise. Although I do ask my husband to quit talking out loud at times. Take last week, I had three grands here, ages 11, 10 and 7. They said they wanted to come help Gammy. Ahem. Well, they did do a few things, but the weather wasn’t great to be outdoors much, therefore they played hide and seek in the house. When my PT was here, they came sneaking into the bedroom and then hid in the bathroom, leaving the 7-year-old looking for them. Then I told them they couldn’t hide underneath the computers. They did play some board games and watched a few movies. The 7-year-old is the most helpful, asking to take out the trash, going to the curb to get the containers etc. And now it is us and the three dogs. I hope to get more writing done now.
  7. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? I like to listen to music but don’t always.
  8. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? I started this book, Sweet Sunset, several years ago. I think most of us have dysfunctional families. No, the story isn’t all about my family, but my mom did have dementia and did weird things that I used. My granddaughter went to high school wand was friends with a gay boy whose mother did commit him thinking he was crazy and was upset when they wouldn’t lock him up. One of my daughters was in an abusive marriage. And my one dog is named Zeus and we had another one named Coal. Oh, and June was the mother of friends and I had to use some of the stuff she used to say. The rest is my imagination.
  9. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Character. I have to have people to work with, give them problems and find happiness for them in the end.
  10. What 3 words describe you, the writer? Determined, dreamer, and humorous (Peggy here: I lovelovelove those 3 descriptions!!!)

Dee, The Person

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I once took belly dancing lessons.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? You mean besides Elvis? OK at age 16 his name was Gary.
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…. The day I won $8,000 on the lotto and nothing since then. So that day I would love to do over and over.
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Briefs
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? lipstick
  6. What three words describe you, the person? Wife, Mother, Writer
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? A Million to One (that was mine and hubby’s song when we got married, the words fit)
  8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? Gone with the Wind. Scarlett O’Hara. Probably get in trouble together.

Bonus round I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound:  Music
  2. Least favorite sound : Rap
  3. Best song every written: Too many to name
  4. Worst song ever written ????
  5. Favorite actor and actress : Tim Allen Sandra Bollock
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead): Sandra Brown. She’s a great writer and I got to spend time with her once. She’s really a nice person and admired by many. ( Peggy here: She’s one of my all time favorite authors and I am uber-jealous that you got to meet her!!!)
  7. What turns you on?: being at the beach
  8. What turns you off?: stinky smells
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”): Been too long to remember (Peggy here: LOL! that’s 5 words!!!)
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day?: Being with family and doing something fun

 

Blurb:  SWEET SUNSET

Myrtle Sue Henderson, widowed, didn’t count on her mother-in-law moving in with her when her husband passed over. But Myrtle Sue’s loopy in-law troubles aren’t her only family baggage-she’s ailed with three adult children who use her like a pair of Depends. With a daughter and two grandchildren attempting to escape an abusive husband, a second daughter who is pregnant with twins, and a son who refuses to grow up, she’s at her wit’s end.

Myrtle Sue didn’t figure she’d ever meet another man she’d care for, until she went to church to get away from her troubles, only to find more when her mother-in-law causes chaos and hits an elderly man with her cane and helps herself to money out of the collection plate. That’s how she meets Zack. She figures once he meets her dysfunctional family,  he’ll run as fast as he can-away from them.

Excerpt:

Hazel walked into the kitchen and glanced around. “Who’s here? Oh my goodness. It’s my son Harold. How are you, honey?” She bent over and kissed Adam’s cheek. “And why don’t you ever visit your mommy,  you naughty boy?”

I rolled my eyes and waved toward Adam. “Hazel, Harold’s been dead for twenty years. This is Adam, Sonja’s friend from the hospital. Remember? He’s a nurse and stays with you while I work.” I should’ve added whatever we paid him was worth every penny. He really was good to her.

“Oh yes, Adam, dear.” She frowned at me. “Why can’t you be kind like Adam, Myrtle Sue. You’ve always been so mean to me.”

Sonja grinned. “Hi, Nana. How are you?”

“I’m fine.” She took a seat and grabbed a muffin. “Who are you? Are you Violet’s daughter?”

Sonja narrowed her eyes at her grandmother. “Nana! I’m Sonja, your granddaughter. Myrtle Sue and Don’s daughter.”

“Of course.” She laughed and pointed at her head. “You know how it is when you get old. Some day your mother will be just like me.”

Shuddering, I mumbled, “God Forbid.”

“I hope you made roast beef for Father,” Hazel said.

“Yes, of course. And I made garlic rolls, too,” I lied, and then whispered, “Sonja, want some garlic tied around your neck?”

“Mom!”

I hope you’ll enjoy visiting Myrtle Sue and her wacky family. Drop by anytime for some good cooking.

Buy Links: Amazon // Wild Rose Press // B&N // Kobo

A little about Dee: 

 Dee Gatrell is a mother and grandmother. She spent time raising her children and didn’t attend college until she was in her thirties. She graduated from Seminole Community College and the University of Central FL.

When her husband’s job relocated them to Ohio, she worked as a reporter for the Galion Inquirer and later as a free lance writer for the Mansfield News Journal. When the family returned to Florida she accepted a job working at Seminole State College as an educational advisor. She also did freelance writing for newspapers and magazines during this time. She sold a story to Chicken Soup for the Soul and sold many stories to the confession magazines.

Deciding it was time to retire and do what she always wanted to do, write novels. Sweet Sunset is her first published novel. She likes to refer to the book as her dysfunctional family novel. Who doesn’t have a dysfunctional family? She always had a lot of quirky relatives and friends, so writing about these folks was natural for her.

She lives in Florida with her husband, Larry, one son, Doug, and three dogs. They also have two grown daughters, Michelle and Diana,  and a grown son, Chris, and a herd of grandkid (a happy dozen.) Their rescue lab, Ellie, finds them boring and loves it when the grands come to play with her. They also have two white schnauzers, Zeus and Icarus.

You can visit Dee here: Amazon // Goodreads // Wild Rose Press // Twitter // Facebook

(Peggy here: Dee thanks so much for visiting me today and for introducing us to Myrtle Sue!!! Her story sounds like a real corker!)

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Books are my thing…

I can go in so many directions with this blog choice. My favorite books to read over and over; the type of books I like to read; my favorite genres and subgenres. So many avenues to explore. Sooooo, I guess I’ll tackle them all and see what happens.

I. My favorite books to read over and over. I’ve read Gone with Wind 42 times.

I know…I’m a little obsessive. But every time I’ve read it as an adult I find something fresh or a connection I didn’t see before.

I’ve read Pride and Prejudice 27 times.

In fact, I’m re-reading it right now!

I”ve read the Thorn Birds 16 times. I only saw the miniseries once, so that tells you how much more I like the book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve read each Harry Potter book twice. The first time along with my daughter, the second time on my own.

And because I find reading the JD Robb IN DEATH series is like taking a master class in writing a series, I’ve read each of the 45 books at least 3 times. You do the math on that one!

II. The types of books I like to read. Well romances, of course! Duh! I’m such a sucker for that whole Happily Ever After thing. I love a heroine who’s snarky and a little obsessive; a hard worker, and a strong believer in family. Give me a hero who’s part alpha/part beta; one who can be a leader or a follower or both at the same time! He has to be committed on every level to the heroine – emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. Once he meets her there’s no one else he can envision himself with EVER! The same goes for the heroine. I love to cook and I love to laugh, so witty, engaging characters who eat like normal people and not super models getting ready for a photo shoot are my favorite people! I want to read about folks I could see myself being friends with. Make me laugh, make my cry, and feed my soul and I’m your reader for life.

III. MY favorite genre and subgenre books. This is gonna look a little like an Amazon key-word line! Stick with me here, folks: Romance-contemporary romance- foodie-humor -strong heroine- family. Let me esplan it, Lucy, in better terms.

Favorite genre: romance. Favorite subgenre of romance: contemporary romance. Elements of contemporary romance books – humorous stories about families with strong women. Add a dash of cooking into the mix and serve!

And just for full disclosure here, I also like the erotic contemporary romances of Jennifer Probst and Christina Lauren

   

and Regency romances ala Lisa Kleypas and Elizabeth Hoyt.

   

So, there you have it. My reading pleasures.

And because this is blog hop, click on over to these other romance writers to see what they consider their favorite books. You just might find a new author or series you’ll enjoy.


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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Historical Romance, Literary characters, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Commencement…a funny word for the end.

My facebook page has been deluged for the past two weeks with happy  pictures of graduations, both high school, and college. I love sharing in the excitement and joy of all my friends and their families at these monumental achievements.

These young people have so much in store for them, ahead of them, and concerning them, their futures, their successes, and –let’s be honest — their disappointments, too.

I can clearly see the days I graduated from high school, nursing school, college, and then from my Master’s program. Clearly! At each, I remember certain emotions of the day that seem almost prophetic now.

High school: “Thank God I can get legally get out of the house now!”

Nursing School: “Thank God I can get a good job now!”

College: “I did something no one else in my family has ever done – graduate from a school of higher learning! Thank you, God, for giving me the strength and fortitude to do this.”

Masters: “Done! Now I can get married knowing my formal education is done!” ( I never wanted a Ph.D., so I knew I was stopping here.)

I was 27 when I got my Masters degree and married the man who gave my life meaning.

I’m now 57 and all I can think about is how fast those 30 years went by.

Marriage, moves to different states, childbirth, back to work, family obligations, deaths, more births… yadayadayada. Those 30 years flew. Really. Flew by. If the insurance statisticians are correct and the average American born woman lives to 79 years of age, I’ve already lived more than half my life. Way more.

People call this The Second Act of your life. What you’re supposed to do now, since you’ve gotten all the obligatory things out of way, are the things you’ve always wanted to do. Travel, invest, take up those hobbies you never had enough time for before now. Retire, learn to do the things you’ve always dreamed about learning to do. In the great scheme of things I shouldn’t be writing – that should have happened in the first act. But…it didn’t. The writing career I wanted– the one where I could financially support myself with my writing and have it be my primary job, my career, my way of existing — didn’t happen when it was supposed to. No. It happened when I turned 55. Way after graduation. Way after my life was already settled.

At my college commencement, the speaker asked the graduates to evaluate their education. Did it prepare us for the future we wanted? Did we feel we were adequately informed and prepared for what was in front of us? Did we feel we could go out into the world and change it?

My answer was a resounding NO to all those questions. Looking back now, I’m changing that to “HELL, NO!”

Life is longitudinal. You keep moving on that line, having some success, having some failure, reformalizing goals and aspirations, but always moving. Sometimes the line moves up, sometimes down. Sometimes it just moves straight and steady from one point to another without fluctuating. But it always moves and we are always learning.

Our education doesn’t end simply because we’ve been given a piece of paper that says Graduate. No. We are lifetime learners. I learn something new every day. Every friggin’ single day. And yes, some of it I wish I didn’t know!

If I was giving a commencement speech the one thing I would emphatically tell the graduates if this: This is not the end of your education, of your learning, your schooling. Nor is it the beginning. It’s simply part of a continuum. Meet every day as a new challenge, a new learning experience. Keep your eyes, minds, and hearts open to new things, new thoughts, new ways of doing something. Don’t be static. Be dynamic instead. Embrace the new while learning from the old. Plan for the future, yes. Please do that. But don’t forget about the present. Enjoy it, don’t just look at it as a means to an end. Don’t NOT do something you dream about doing because you’re worried you might fail. Do it anyway. Failure is a form of learning; people tend to forget that.

 

 

Learn something new every day. Every. Day. You don’t want to get to a certain age in your life and think: “I wish I’d done that.  I wish I’d gone after that dream. I can’t now because it’s too late.”

It’s never too late, especially for a dream.

I really think Mother Teresa said it best:

I can usually be found learning something new every day here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Belly shakers and comedic genius.

I grew up a child of television. As a latch key kid there was no one around routinely to monitor what I watched after school and in the evenings my mother was so tired from working all day she never asked me what I was watching because she was just glad I was occupied so she could relax. Because of that I had a very extensive comedic childhood, watching way too many shows I probably shouldn’t have.

Having said that, the shows I watched were comedic gold and my favorites then are still my favorites today. If I happen to catch an errant episode on TV land, I’ll stop whatever I’m channel surfing for and settle in for a good old fashioned guffaw.

My favorites?
Well, I LOVE LUCY jumps to the head of the line. Remember VITAMEATAVEGAMIN?

And who could ever forget the Carol Burnett Show’s spoof, WENT WITH THE WIND?

I can recite every line, every nuance, every word of those two skits. Perfectly.  And when I’m not saying them out loud, I’m laughing out loud. Big, body shaking belly laughs.

Another one? The Robin Williams interview on INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO. Watch it and I dare you not to laugh. I double dog dare you!

Recently, I rewatched a comedy classic on Comedy Central, the REDNECK COMEDY TOUR. I will admit, I am almost embarrassed about how funny I find these guys! And at how loud I laugh when they’re on.

Since this is a blog hop, you might want to stop by these other authors and have a good belly laugh, too!

 

10.

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#RT2017 day 1, reflections

Yesterday was the first day of RT in Atlanta, and it was an abbreviated day. No morning sessions, or parties, or anything until 2:30 pm. I got my name tag, figured out all the rules and regs about the book signing, etc. I look a little cock-eyed in this picture, but I’m official, so that’s all that matters.

Since I’ve never attended an RT convention before, I attended what was called  RT CONVENTION VIRGINS. Yeah. It’s just like it sounds. A packed room full of people ( writers, readers, bloggers, industry folks) who have never….experienced RT before. You thought I was going to say something dirty, didn’t you? Admit it!. Anyway. It was an hour filled with stuff you need to know to have a good RT experience. The number one thing all the presenters said that will make your experience memorable and worthwhile? Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.

Yeah…I know. Maybe it’s the nurse in me but I thought this was just something common sense-y everyone knew.

Apparently not. Stories of people fainting while standing in line or getting urinary tract infections ran the gamut during the talk. Okay. So, of course, I drank. A lot. But I do anyway.

The next thing on my agenda was something called Naughty and Nice. Hosted by a bunch of authors, it was supposed to be an hour of mingling with cover models, sampling Peach bellinis, and tasting dark chocolate. I say supposed because I never got into the event. The one thing I wish the VIRGIN committee would have told me was that you need to line up, like, an hour before the event starts ( hence the fainting, dehydration, yadayadyada). I got to the event space at 4:50 for an 5:15 start and already the line was into the next state. They only admitted 150 people and I was, like, number 482. So, yeah…didn’t get that experience.

Two sessions down and I’m feeling a little…let down. But not to worry. CINEMA CRAPTASTIQUE was on the agenda with the amazeballs Damon Suede. This one was a blast, peeps, especially since I helped stuff goodie bags for the participants and was able to include some of my swag!Anyway, the movie that was watched was the turkey GLITTER starting Mariah “I’m a DIVA from Hell” Carey. Damon ran commentary the entire time the movie was on and I can tell you I needed to change my underpants when I got back to my room because I laughed so much I peed a few times! ( all that f**king water to keep hydrated!)

Today is jammed packed as it’s the first full day of the event. I’m meeting with a potential Literary agent, attending a few classes and then a big party tonight that my publisher KENSINGTON is co-sponsoring called ROMANCE ROCKABILLY. I’m sure I’ll have lots to tell about that on tomorrow’s blog!

I’ll be posting pix and live Tweeting during the event so you can find me here if you’d like to experience RT life vicariously!!:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Getting ready to Rock and Roll; #RT2017 #ConferenceTime

 

In a few days, I’ll be leaving for Atlanta for my very first RT BookLovers Convention. For those who don’t know, RT (Romantic Times) is a major romance industry trade magazine – now e-zine -and every year they hold a conference that is attended by almost 600 romance writers and thousands of romance readers. This is, for lack of a better phrase, a totally READERS convention, whereas RWA is more ( I think) of a writers conference.

Anyway.

This will also be the first time I am doing a book signing for my new publisher, KENSINGTON/LYRICAL and I simply can not wait. For years I attended book signings as a reader just so I could meet and totally fangirl my favorite authors. This year — I am that author. It still amazes me daily to say and write that.

In addition to the Kensington signing and author meeting, I am also taking part in the grand book signing for the event. I received the floor plan for this and has luck would have it I am at a table right by the entrance, not tucked away in a back alley somewhere. Yowza!!! Now I know I don’t have a big name – or even a little one – yet and that any “fans” that attend will not be looking for me per se, but it would be nice to sell a book or two and garner a few new readers and reviewers, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

I’ve never been to Altanta but I’ve heard it’s a fun town and I know the RT gurus have planned numerous day and night trips in addition to all the themed parties for everyone, so I’m sure to be able to find something to do. My day is jammed packed with scheduled classes and meetings already, and I know pop-up events are a big thing at this conference, so I’ll be adding to the list daily.

And, of course, I’ll be blogging and live tweeting about it, too, so stick around and stay tuned.

in 2014 I attended my very first RWA conference. I got a book deal at that one and made the decision to retire to devote myself to writing full time. I’ve never looked back, so it will be interesting to see what this conference hold for me.

While I’m in Atlanta at RT you’ll be able to find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Highway Cafe April Blog Tour

I just love a blog tour and hop!

The arrival of April signals–in my neck of the woods–the arrival of Spring. Or as we natives call it, black fly season. You know: those pesky, annoying, pain-in-the-a** noseeums that swarm around your face, ears, eyes and cleavage?

God, I hate those bugs. I really do. Since I live in the woods I typically get inundated from the very first beautiful dry day we have to signify Spring, right up until Memorial day rolls around. Having an outside barbeque becomes aggravating, not to mention dangerous from everyone running into one another armed with cutlery to try and escape the odious little buggers. Gardening is a nightmare unless you are swathed from head to toe like an uber-mummy or rabid beekeeper. Trying to get in a little exercise walk outside becomes an occupation just to make sure you are doused in every bug repellant known to man– and those little PIA’s still swarm!

Every year I hope, pray, and offer up sacrifices to the Gods that this year–this year–we will be spared the invasion. And every year…we aren’t.

I don’t anticipate this year will be any different. Le sigh.

Oh well. At least I can stay inside and read a good book. And speaking of a good book ( shameless plug coming) this is my latest from Kensington/Lyrical. COOKING WITH KANDY

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. . .

Buy Links:  amazon

And…since this is blog tour that means GIVEAWAYS and prizes. I’ll be giving one luck winner an e-copy to COOKING WITH KANDY at the end of the tour. Click here for the link to visit other author blogs and to qualify for prizes and giveaways! And good luck! BLOG TOUR 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Life challenges, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

On #Libraries, #Librarians, feelings of connection, and #books

Apparently, it’s National Library Week. This is one celebration I can get behind and actually enjoy. Enjoy writing about; enjoy celebrating.

I’ve mentioned many times before in this blog that I — for all intents and purposes — grew up in my local library. I was what was called ( during my youth) a latchkey kid, meaning, after school, I was on my own, home alone, because both the adults in my life had full-time jobs that didn’t let out until 5 or 6 each night. School let out at 3, so that meant five afternoons a week I needed a babysitter until I got old enough to be left on my own for a few hours, which in my case was at the age of 7.

I’m remembering what my daughter was like at 7 and am horrified that my mother believed it was an appropriate age for independent responsibility, but that’s another blog topic entirely.

Anyway….

Every day after school I would be dismissed after the bell and then trek to my local library to stay until it was time to get on home.

I loved the library.

I loved the safety of it.

I  loved all the books.

I loved loved loved the Librarians.

I loved the quiet.

Like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, all I wanted to do was read. I wanted to be transported to other places, live lives that weren’t my own;  be loved and cherished like a princess and rule a kingdom with wisdom and grace. I could be anything I wanted to be and I could explore everything. It was in the library that I discovered my imagination and my joy of storytelling.

Once I was through the library doors each afternoon, after a 15 block walk along city streets from my school, I’d let out a sigh, safe in the knowledge that nothing bad could happen to me here. I was secure now, protected. Bad people didn’t come into the library, only good ones. People who wanted to be educated,  and who wanted to escape from their everyday, boring lives and live richer, happier, more exciting ones. The library wasn’t the place where the bullies who tormented me in school “hung out.” I was free from the cruel insults, tormenting taunts, and physical violence that had become my daily life at school.

The Librarians all knew me by name and were my first, actual, REAL teachers. I learned facts in school. The Librarians taught me about life. They’d recommend books for me to read and once I was through the kids’ section selection, they moved me onto what would now be called YA ( young adult) novels. I may have been 8 or 9 years old, but I was reading about the lives of pre-teens and teenagers, living in their shoes as they drifted through life, and getting a feel for what was to come my way once I was their age.

The Librarians talked to me about books, asked me my opinion on ones I’d read. They actually valued my thoughts. They showed me the strength there is in knowledge and the beauty there is in imagination. They fostered in me that desire to tell a tale, tell it well, and change a reader’s life. They taught me how to be entertained, and in so doing, how to entertain. They taught me how to gather knowledge, the beauty there is in research, and how to prioritize. To this day, my home library follows a basic Dewey Decimal system. To some, that may be a bit extreme. But to me, it is a real tribute to the librarians who helped form my mind and fed my soul.

In the library, we spoke in hushed tones and whispers. We used the original inside voices. In my house, the voices were more often raised than hushed, loud than peaceful, tormented than quiet.

In the library, I found myself…as a girl, a person, a student, and, ultimately, as a writer.

Every day I thank God for the women and men who worked and still work in local libraries. They are unsung heroes to countless children and adults. Where some may think that the previous statement is a tad theatrical, it isn’t to me. The Librarians I knew as a child were my heroes. They kept me safe, loved and cared about me, and opened a world for me I never knew existed.

Heroes, every last one of them.

So, help me celebrate National Library Week. Support your local libraries by donating old, in-good-condition books, attend book sales and fund drives and become a Friend of the Library.  Encourage your children and grandchildren to get Library cards and to use them! Often and with enthusiasm.

Finding your local library is just a Google search away!

 

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Literary characters, New Hampshire, research, Strong Women

The art of #naming your characters

I love names. Especially names where you can actually see the origin. Like SIOBHAN ( Irish!) NICOLLETTE (French) ANTONIO (Italian.)

Naming characters has always been a little bit of an obsession for me because I like to find names that actually mean something inherent in the person. For instance, my name, Margaret, means PEARL. If I was going to write a story with that name as my heroine’s ( and I never will because I hate my name!!!)  I would most likely give her attributes associated with pearls – strong outer shells, they take a lifetime to evolve, they are rare. You get the idea.

When I start a new book I always start with my characters first and the naming process usually takes me a few days to get right, especially with my hero and heroine. I want their names to connect, to go together, to be individualistic, but nonetheless when you hear the names mentioned you think “couple.” Like Oprah and Stedman, Goldie and Kurt, Elizabeth and Darcy. See? They go together ( why does that song from GREASE keep playing in my mind??)

Some writers spend more time naming their fictional characters than normal, non-writing people do naming their children. I feel both are crucial. You don’t want to name your alpha hero Marmeduke and please don’t name your child Zippity Doo Cogwheel or FeMale Jones. Don’t laugh…I have a doctor friend who told me a story of her OB/GYN internship days and a couple named their daughter after the name tag the hospital gave her: Female. But they thought it was pronounced  Fe-mal-ay. People are weird. Names shouldn’t be.

There are as many books and websites detailing names as there are, well, names. Baby Naming books get new editions yearly, as the popular and trendy names for kids change with the culture. Old Bibles are great places to get names especially if you are writing an historical novel. Writers who cater to fantasy or science fiction have a great deal of leeway in naming their characters because they can call them whatever they want ( like Zippity Doo Cogwheel) since they are inventing their own world with their own rules.

You don’t even need a baby naming book – although they are a fast, easy reference tool. You’re on your computer, so just get to your search engine. If you click Google images and type in name-meaning ( and then the name you want, like Margaret) you will get an unlimited array of images with the meaning of the name. That’s how I got the Margaret sign above.

Naming your characters and then giving them attributes associated with the name is a fabulous way of actually bringing your characters to life and having them be memorable to readers. Would Scarlett O’Hara have been such an icon if Gone With The Wind was published with the original name Margaret Mitchell gave her of Pansy? “Frankly, Pansy, I don’t give a damn!” doesn’t have the weight of “Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn!”  Pansy means “thought”, Scarlett means “Sent from Heaven.” Now we all know Scarlett O’Hara never gave a “thought” to anything but herself and Tara, and as seen through the eyes of the men in her realm, sent from Heaven seems appropriate, no?

So, when you decide to name your characters ( or your children!) please please please give it careful, complete, thought. Don’t just pick a name out of the air or call them fruit ( anyone remember Apple Martin?) or weigh them down with a moniker they’ll never live down like Dweezle or Moon Unit. Give them normal, easily pronounced, meaningful names. After all, you want your readers to discuss your book with their friends and remember the characters names don’t you? You seriously don’t want them to struggle to remember what you called your hero and heroine. And if you’re really good – and very lucky – those character names will stand the test of literary time, like Elizabeth and Darcy, Jane and Rochester, Scarlett and Rhett all have.

When I’m not naming characters, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Author, Author Branding, branding, Contemporary Romance, Literary characters, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women