Tag Archives: #amreading

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

#CoverReveal A SHOT AT LOVE; #KensingtonPublishers #ContemporaryRomance

I’m sosososososo excited ( again I sound like the Pointer Sisters!) because the second book cover for my WILL COOK FOR LOVE series is being revealed today and here it is:

Book 2 features Kandy Laine’s sexy, sassy, and smart, photographer sister, Gemma. Kandy makes a few appearances in the book as well, but the heat that screams from the pages is all about Gemma and uber-hot FBI SPecial Agent Ky Pappandreos. Here’s the blurb:

A SHOT AT LOVE 
by Peggy Jaeger
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pub Date: 10/3/2017
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 . . .
Amazon // B&N // GooglePlay // Kobo // Apple
If you’re looking for me, I’m usually here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

#Reviews, #Comments, and saying “Not Nice” things.

I posted about this topic a few weeks ago, but it hit home for me yet again yesterday when I was reviewing another book I’d been given through Netgalley.

As I do, I read the other reviews posted that are either listed on the Netgalley page or on GoodReads 

to get an idea of what other people think of the book. The reason I do this is to see if I’m totally off the mark with my opinion of the work – which I can be,  no lie – or if I somehow missed something along the way that would make me not like the book I’m reviewing.

So. The book I read was really pretty weird. The story was told in three voices, all with their own consecutive chapters. Luckily, the names of the person “talking” appeared on the heading of each chapter, so at least I knew whose Point of View ( POV) I was in. The story itself was a depressing tale of family secrets, murder, and abuse. It was billed as a “suspense/mystery.” Well, I didn’t think there was any suspense, and I figured out the “mystery”  50 pages into the book.

Now, when a story just doesn’t resonate with me, I simply give it a 3 rating ( never less) and don’t write a review. This way at least I rated it in the middle of the curve ( 1-5 stars) and I don’t have to write any negative comments.

Not so much the other people who reviewed it – and I say “reviewed it” in the lightest sense. 10 ratings/reviews were posted ( not including mine). 6 people rated it DNF for did not finish, and then went on to explain why they didn’t. Every one of those explanations was….brutal. Really. Nasty, harsh, and on the cusp of bullying-speak. The other 4 rated it between 1 and 2 with equally critical words.

All I could think was this book was published by a big-name publishing house by a moderately well-known author who probably had an agent ( who read the book before sending it out to publishers) and editors who also devoted time to it, thinking it was worthwhile to publish.

Why? What did they think was so publishing worthy about the story that this random sampling of readers did not?

Out of 10 reviews, plus my own rating, no one had anything good to say.  What did this do to the books’ sales? What did this do to the author’s ego? Or sense of writing-self? I agonize over those answers because I’m a writer, too. I hate when anyone says anything derogatory or uber-critical about my words. I know I should let it flow – like water off a duck’s back – but I can’t! My ego is so fragile, (and God I hate how that sounds!)  but it’s true. I don’t like to hear bad things about my creative babies.

I wonder how the people who write such nasty, negative reviews would feel if someone they didn’t know wrote something really horrible about them, or something they did for a living? I really do.

And that question is what keeps me from writing a scathing review.

So…if you see my name attached to a review with a 3 rating, just know the book didn’t resonate with me as its reader. But it may with you….just saying

When I’m not losing sleep over reviews 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 Author, Contemporary Romance, Editors, Netgalley Reviewer, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

My Writing process; #MfrwAuthors; week 11

So this week, we are talking about our own writing processes, namely, PLOTTING.

I am a plotter. ( When I say that I feel like I’m in a self-help group; “Hi, my name is Peggy and I plot.” 

But, as always, I digress.

So. Plotting. I am a dyed-in-the-wool plotter for several reasons none of which counts more than the other, but just goes to explain why I am the way I am.

  1. I am a Nurse so, therefore have a scientific background. I need to now if I do A, then B or C will happen ahead of time.
  2. I hate to be surprised. I have impulse control issues, so when someone surprises me I never EVER say the right thing or act the appropriate way. I have ruined enough birthday parties and drop-in visits from people to fill a lifetime.
  3. I am a linear thinker. I like going from A to Z in a straight line. It’s logical for me and alleviates anxiety.
  4. I like knowing what will happen to my characters before it happens to them. I have never been the type of writer who says, “My characters just insisted I have them say this or act this way. NO. Not gonna happen to me.
  5. I like, no actually LOVE, being in control. The one thing I have absolute dictator control over in my life is my writing, my characters, and what happens to them.

If I didn’t know where my story was going. what was going to befall my characters, what their storyline was, I think I would write a pretty horrible book.But that’s me…just saying.

When I’m not plotting out my next novel, 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 Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, love, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A visit with #author Gary Guinn; #TWRP #mysterywriter

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This is a first for me. Actually 2 firsts. One, I’m introducing you to a male author today – something I’ve never had the pleasure or opportunity to do before, (yay!) and two, he doesn’t write romance – but mainstream mysteries and thrillers (Yay, squared!) Gary Guinn is a fellow Wild Rose Press brothah, not sistah, and he’s got a new book out titled SACRIFICIAL LAM.  He graciously answered all my nosy questions recently and agreed to be featured here today. After the interview, he’s sticking around to give you a little sneak peek at his brand new release. So, let’s get to know a little more about Gary….

Gary Guinn,  The Writer 

  1. What drives you to write?

I wish I knew. The rewards are there. When someone tells me about their emotional reaction to something I’ve written, it makes me happy. A woman once told me she gasped when she read a particular passage in my first novel. That felt really good. But there have to be intrinsic motivations that keep you coming back day after day, sitting there alone, pecking out words in a narrative. For me, the most intrinsic motivation is a beautiful line, in which the language itself makes me smile. When later I read a passage I wrote, and that little emotional bubble of joy trickles up my spine, it makes me want to sit down at the computer and do it again.

  1. What genre(s) do your write, and why?

I write both mainline literary fiction and mystery/thriller fiction, and occasionally I write poetry. I write literary fiction because I like to get lost in the language and let a couple of characters go wherever their yearnings take them. No formulas, no expectations except that they will act like predictably unpredictable human beings. I write mystery/thriller fiction because I love working out the plot, creating the thrill of discovery, the intensity of the action scenes.

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  1. What genre(s) do you read, and why?

I read the same genres that I write, and mostly for the same reasons. I read Louise Erdrich and John Irving to get lost in their beautiful language and to fall in love with their crazy characters. I read Georges Simenon, Colin Dexter, and Hakan Nesser to be mesmerized by murder and the quest of the inspector who finds the murderer. I have a special affinity for what is called Nordic Noir, the dark Scandinavian crime fiction that reflects in its ambiance the land in which it’s written.

  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?

I try to write every day, but I average maybe five days per week. I wish I were an early morning person, who got up before the house stirred and wrote for two hours in the beautiful silence. I do get up fairly early every day, but there are other things I do to start my day—yoga, exercise, Tai Chi. And so I might get a little writing in before lunch, but most days I write for a couple of hours in the afternoon, and if I’m really in the flow of a piece, might write into the evening. I do have to stop for Happy Hour, of course, even then.

  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

            My writing space looks pretty traditional. Being a retired college English professor, I have a study, with bookshelves covering most of the walls. Desk by the window. Persian rug covering most of the floor. There’s not much wall space because of the bookshelves, but on the little bit that is available, I have a black-and-white print of the Eifel Tower. Hanging at the corners of the second window, a Keffiyeh I brought back from an archeological dig in Jordan and my old doctoral Tam, the only piece of academic regalia I kept when I retired from teaching.

  1. 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?

            I prefer total quiet. Occasionally I put on music that reinforces a particular mood for a scene I’m writing. But I usually have no trouble filtering out extraneous sounds, except for excited conversation with loud laughter.

        7. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

Fairly early in my career at the university, a disturbing incident occurred, which stuck with me through the years. Three of my colleagues at the university, who were all liberal, progressive professors like myself, received anonymous threats couched in violent terms. The university was a very conservative place, and liberal professors like ourselves were in a real minority and sometimes found teaching there an uncomfortable fit. At the same time, we felt a sense of purpose in being the source of divergent, more open, views in the areas of politics, social issues, and religion. The threats created a tense environment, and though nothing could be proved, there was a pretty strong suspicion of who was responsible. As it happens, nothing further came of the threats, but that situation became the kernel for developing the series of mystery/thrillers featuring English professor Lam Corso, a liberal who teaches at a small, conservative southern college. Sacrificial Lam is the first in the series. The second, which I am about halfway through, has the working title A Lam to Slaughter.

         8. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?

I would say usually character comes first. In most of my short fiction and in my four novels, I begin with a character that intrigues me and build a plot around the character. The reason is simple. I find certain people, and certain character types, fascinating. When I come across someone who grabs my attention, and when that person sticks in my mind and keeps popping into my thoughts, then I have a character for a story. I begin to imagine that character in a situation, and the story builds from there. The exception to this rule is that for several of my short stories I have been attracted first to a news story that becomes the catalyst for a work of fiction. The best example of that is a story published in Carve Magazine about ten years ago, titled “The Scar.” It grew from a newspaper story about a pickup truck that ran off a curb and drove through the back wall of a country church

         9.What 3 words describes you, the writer?

        Rational, Patient, Empathetic (Peggy here: I think those are fabulous qualities for a professor!!)

Gary, The Guy

1.Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!

            I brew beer. Good beer, all-grain, from scratch. I hand-grind the malted barley. For my two grandkids, I brewed a strong beer, a barley wine, that will age until they come of age, at which time the family will celebrate their birthday by drinking it. Of course, I have to drink a bottle once a year to be sure it is progressing satisfactorily.

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  1. Who was your first love and what age were you?

Truthfully, the first woman I remember being in love with was the oldest of my three older sisters. She was beautiful, popular, the homecoming queen, the whole nine yards, and my best friend and I, who were six years old at the time, were always asking her for a kiss. When she left home a year later, I was broken hearted.

Then there was my second grade teacher, Mrs. McElvane. Every boy in the class was in love with her. Many years later, her daughter was a student in one of my first-year English classes at the university, and when I met her mother at a school function, my heart still fluttered just a bit.

But when it comes to a real first love, the one that made me toss and turn and sigh at night, it was the typical high school sweetheart story. Pursued her, had to beat out my best friend for her, spent every waking moment with her or wishing I were with her. We planned our lives together, named our kids. Then we graduated from high school and, like most high school sweethearts, drifted our separate ways. ( Peggy here – as a romance writer, I can see 3 potential books from these answers. Bravo!

  1. 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….

For our twenty-fifth anniversary, my wife and I spent a month in the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District in England and in Paris and the surrounding area and finally the French Alps. One of the days in the Alps, I might be able to live again and again. We stayed in the little town of Chamonix, at the base of Mont Blanc, popular with skiers and climbers, the highest mountain in the Alps and marking the border with Italy. We spent a full day in the mountains, ascending to the Aiguille du Midi, a stark, forbidding, and stunningly beautiful peak, by cable car, then descending halfway again by cable car and hiking along gorgeous mountain trails, stopping for a picnic lunch with broad views of the Chamonix Valley, and finally descending in time for dinner and wine at an outdoor café in the village. Our room at the little hotel opened out onto a small balcony with Mont Blanc rising across the valley. As dusk settled over the mountains and the lights of the village came on around us, we might have agreed to do it again. And again.

          4. What three words describes you, the person?

Rational, Introverted, Impatient (grandkids call me Grumpy Granda)( Peggy here: awwwwwwwww!)

          5. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?

“I Heard It Through the Grapevine”

           6. 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?

I love this question. Thanks for asking it. There are so many beautiful characters in fiction who have stuck with me for so many different reasons. John Irving’s character Owen Meaney, with his strange voice and crushing guilt. Nicole Karuss’s character Leo Gursky, from The History of Love, waiting to die, trying to connect with the son who doesn’t know him. Lewis Nordan’s unforgettable alter-ego Sugar Mecklin, living in Arrow Catcher, Mississippi. The list goes on, but I’m convinced that, if I were going to spend a day with one of my favorite characters, it would be with one of three great detectives—Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret, or Hakan Nesser’s Inspector Van Veeteren, or Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse. All impatient, thoughtful, quiet people, they catch the killers more by sitting in a pub drinking beer and thinking than by chasing them through the countryside. I’d choose Inspector Morse because he drives an old restored Jaguar and listens to recordings of the great operas. We’d sit in an English country pub and drink draft beer, then drive to the station listening to Verdi’s La Traviata.

Bonus round

  1. Favorite sound: The silence after I mute a commercial (Peggy here: my husband agrees!)
  1. Least favorite sound: A sitcom through the hotel room wall
  1. Best song every written: Stairway to Heaven, by Led Zeppelin
  1. Worst song ever written: Christmas Don’t Be Late, by Alvin and the Chipmunks
  1. Favorite actor and actress: Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca; Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca.
  1. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or

dead)

            Barak Obama because now that I am no longer president I could forget about the world and spend the day with Michelle at the beach and then take her out to dinner at a great little restaurant at the end of the pier and eat lobster sautéed in butter and garlic and drink a really good Pinot Noir and then walk the boardwalk hand in hand and then, well, and then see where it goes from there.

  1. What turns you on? The moment just before my lips touch her earlobe and then her neck. (Peggy here: are you sure you’re not a romance writer???!!!!)
  1. What turns you off? Belching
  1. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date: My mother’s coming with us.
  1. What’s your version of a perfect day? An island. Yoga on a deserted dock before breakfast. An egg, bacon, onion, cheese omelet with fresh pineapple and coffee. A walk on the beach. Reading a good book under the palm trees, the fronds moving gently in the breeze off the sea. Lunch from a street vendor—jerk chicken, grilled plantain, rice and beans, beer. A nap. Writing on the front porch of the cabana, a cold beer at my fingertips. A dinner of Red Snapper sautéed in olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, with maybe a touch of Allspice, and a good Merlot. Watch Casablanca for the hundredth time with my wife. A few minutes back on the front porch, a fingernail moon with Venus close by. Bed.

SACRIFICIAL LAM

Blurb:

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When English professor Lam Corso receives a death threat at work, he laughs it off. A liberal activist teaching at a small Southern conservative college, he’s used to stirring up controversy on campus. It’s just part of the give and take of life. Even when violently attacked, Lam is convinced it has to be a mistake. He can’t imagine anyone who would want to kill him for his beliefs.

When his home is broken into and his wife’s business vandalized, Lam is forced to face facts. The police can’t find a single lead. Lam’s wife—a passionate anti-gun crusader—is outraged when Lam brings a gun into the house for protection. Left to their own devices, Lam and Susan must examine their marriage, faith, and values in the face of a carefully targeted attack from an assailant spurred into action by a different set of beliefs.

What will it cost to survive?

Excerpt:

The sudden shock of something hitting him hard from behind knocked him into the bike and the rack. His glasses fell to the pavement, and his stocking cap came down over his eyes. His first thought was that someone had tripped and fallen into him, and he pushed away from the bike rack, sat up, and turned.

He shoved his cap up, but without his glasses, he saw only the shape of a person standing over him and reaching down toward him. “That’s okay,” he said, “I can get up all right.”

When he rolled to one side to try and stand, a sharp blow struck him in the back of the ribs, and he grunted in pain and went to the pavement face down.

A distorted, almost metallic voice said, “You don’t get it, do you?”

“Jesus!” Lam groaned through gritted teeth. “Get what?” The pain in his ribs and the strange sound of the voice disoriented him.

Then came the kick to Lam’s thigh, and he yelled with the pain. “What the hell are you doing?” But he knew the answer to his question as soon as he asked it. This was it. Someone was attacking him. No matter what he had thought or felt over the past few days, the threat had not been real until that moment. Fear shot through him at the sudden clarity that this person was carrying out the threat. He said between tight breaths, “I’m Dr. Corso…from the English Department… Settle down and…we can clear this up.”

The distorted voice said, “You think I don’t know who you are? The mighty Lambert Corso, who thinks he can stop the earth from warming? Well, suck it up, and take what’s coming, Dr. Corso.”

Lam patted the pavement for his glasses, but he was grabbed by the back of his coat collar and jerked up and thrust hard back down on the ground. His head bounced on the pavement, stunning him. He kicked out at the dark figure, who picked up a bicycle that wasn’t chained and slammed it down on top of him. Lam roared at the pain, the bike pedal digging into his stomach. The attacker threw the bike out of the way, grabbed the front of Lam’s coat, and punched him hard three times in the face before he could raise his arms in defense.

When he dropped Lam back to the pavement, he said, “You dodged a bullet Friday afternoon. My bad. I won’t miss this time.”

And then the attacker stepped away and waited, breathing hard. Another shock of fear and clarity ran through Lam. The car had been trying to kill him. He’d been a fool. He thought of Susan, sitting with the boys on the sofa, watching TV and sipping a glass of wine. He couldn’t let go of her, he couldn’t bear to leave her and the boys, the thought of himself lying dead in an empty parking lot. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He had imagined dying hundreds of times—cancer, car wreck, drowning, plane crash—but never this, beaten to death by a lunatic who didn’t like his politics.

A desperate sound, short, high, and strained, broke from him. Blind without his glasses in the dark, he was helpless, but he refused to lie there and be killed without a fight. He tried again to stand. But as he struggled to his knees, a blow to the side of his head sent him sprawling against the bike rack, and he thought he was passing out.

The voice came again, “Time’s up, Lambert.”

When Lam looked up, the man stood above him with something—a knife Lam thought—in his hand. The voice said, “You were warned.”

Laughter came from the far end of the parking lot, and a girl’s voice yelled, “Last one to the bike rack buys the lattes!” Racing footsteps echoed on the pavement.

A split second later the figure standing over Lam slipped the knife into a side pocket, turned, ran over the lip of the hill behind the cathedral and was gone.

Buy links:  Amazon // B&N // KOBO // TWRP

Book Giveaway

BIO

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Gary Guinn taught literature and creative writing at a small private college for more than thirty years. His short fiction and poetry have been published in literary magazines and anthologies. His first novel, A Late Flooding Thaw, was published in 2005, and his second novel, Sacrificial Lam, is scheduled to be released March 3, 2017. He loves traveling, dogs, and brewing beer.

You can connect with Gary here:

Website // FaceBook // Goodreads // Twitter

 

 

Peggy here: Gary, thanks so much for agreeing to be tortured – I mean INTERVIEWED  – today! It was my pleasure hosting you and getting to know about a fellow Wild Rose Press writer. Be well and happy writing!

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Filed under Alpha Male, Author, Literary characters, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Words that make me go “ick”; #Mfrwauthor #52WeekBlogChallenge

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I could write a dictionary here, folks. Truly.

Okay. Words have power.

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Anyone who’s ever been bullied or taunted as a child ( or even adult) knows this in their soul. Words can spear you straight through the heart, cut you off at the knees, and slice into your gut.

 

Late comic George Carlin made a million bucks doing a routine called the 7 Dirty Words. In 1972, he said these 7 words in a comedy club, forever immortalizing them:

Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.

It is now 2017.  45 years later than when Carlin first spoke those words in public. Since that time, society has shifted in what it deems inappropriate language use. Even just a few years ago you wouldn’t hear commercial television characters uttering anything worse than an occasional “Crap!” as an invective or a curse. In a recent show on NBC, I heard two characters say the second and last words above before the first commercial break.  Cable television has no such restrictions on language and I can tell you truthfully, I have heard every one of the above words – and a few more I hate – said without a flinch by the actors.

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In America, we live by the law of freedom of speech. It’s a good freedom. We can share opinions that differ, dialogues that intrigue us, and books that elevate and entertain us. And while that basic freedom is challenged every single day, it still stands strong.

But…

There are some words, expressions, and phrases that shouldn’t be said aloud. Remember, words have power to hurt, maim, and incite.  As a writer of romantic fiction, there are some words I would never use in a book. You probably think those words are slang ones for things related to the sex act. You would be wrong. I have no problem using words – slang or otherwise – to describe anatomy. What I do have is trouble using words that are mainly pejoratives. Words that do not belong in public speech or on the pages of books.

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So…words that make me go “ick.” In no particular order, here they are:

twat, cunt, retard,  any variation of the “N” word ( I can’t even write it, it’s so hateful). Any word that is derogatory to an ethnic group ( kike, wop, etc. You know the words I mean) I truly hatehatehate the word MOIST. I shudder when I write it.

Every word mentioned above ( except for moist, because that’s just my own particular hatefest word) is a pejorative. A word that makes me quiver and quake with anger, because they are used in totally negative ways. I see no positive translations in any of those words.

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Words that DON’T make me go ick? Any word that falls into this category:

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‘Nuff said.

Because this is week 9 of the 52 week MFRW authors blog hop, here are some other authors who are also writing about words that make they go “ick” today. Check them out…

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A #visit with #author Anita Kidesu; #WildRosePress

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Last year I was part of a collection of Valentine’s Day novellas for the Wild Rose Press titled THE CANDY HEART ROMANCE SERIES. There were over 40 WRP authors represented in that collection, one of them, ANITA KIDESU, my guest today.  Anita is one of the rare – and for me enviable, writers who have a dual personality – she not only writes in several genres, but she does it under two names ( love that!) She’s got a new Wild Press Release out that’s a sequel to her Candy Heart’s Book, Surprise Me, SURPRISE ME AGAIN. After the interview, there’s a little gift for you all in the form of an exclusive excerpt – and believe me: you’ll want to read the book after the excerpt! Here’s Tina:

Anita Kidesu, The Writer

What drives you to write: I’m not sure, I just know that if I don’t get to write for a while I get antsy. I miss my characters.

What genre(s) of Romance do you write and why? I actually write under two names. As Anita Kidesu I write erotic romance. I’m not sure how that happened, except my characters “told” me what they wanted and I decided they knew best. As Tina Susedik I write romantic suspense/mystery/humor. I know it sounds strange, but my writing is different with both names. As Tina, the erotic part never comes up.

What genre(s) of Romance to you read and why? When I first started reading romance, it was Kathleen Woodiwiss, so that meant historical. Now I read most anything except science fiction, paranormal. I do find I tend to like mystery or suspense in my stories.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I try to write every day. In the mornings I take care of bookkeeping, promotion, etc. Unless I have something going on at school (I volunteer at my grandchildren’s school) I write in the afternoon. If I have time, I will write in the morning. I try to write at least 2,000 words a day.

Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. In the winter, ( I live in Northern Wisconsin) I move between the couch in my living room to the couch in the basement. Because of a back and neck injury I can’t sit at my desk for long periods of time, so I prop my laptop on a pillow and write on the couch. In the summer, I love, love, love to write outside. I sit on the deck, or go to a park, or go camping and write. Just to be outside.

Do you listen to music while you write? Yes, I do, but it has to be instrumental. I use it more as background. I have a cd player that holds five cds. I can replay those five cds over and over because I never really listen to them.

How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? Last year I was part of the Candy Heart Series with The Wild Rose Press. My candy heart was “Surprise Me.” As I was writing the story, I knew Josie and Carson’s story wasn’t over, so I wrote “Surprise Me Again,” which was released on Feb. 10th. As I was writing, that one, I realized I needed to write a story for their sons. That one is now with my editor and is unnamed right now. As I was writing the boys’ story, a female character popped up, and I realized she needed her own story. I have that one roaming through my head right now.

Which comes first for you – character or plot? I think plot comes first. I always have these ideas popping up in my head and I come up with characters to go with it.

Which three words describe you, the writer? Wow, that’s a tough one. Dedicated, always learning, pantser

Anita/Tina, the Person

Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing: Another tough one. I think I’m rather boring, but I love photography – especially nature photography.

Who was your first love and what age were you? Easy-peasy. Duane Strong. Third grade. We shared a kiss on the school bus.

If you could live relive one day, which would it be? It would be a toss up between my wedding day and the birth of my kids, although I do without re-living the pain of childbirth. I would love to relive the total full-out feelings of bursting with love as I looked at my children for the first time.

Do you like guys in boxers, briefs, or commando. All of them

 

If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be. Mascara. As a redhead, my eyelashes, while long, can barely be seen. Sometimes all I need is to put on mascara and my whole face shines.

What three words describe you as a person? Caring, smart, loving ( Peggy here: I’m sosososos happy you said, “Smart.” Many women don’t own that word and should. Brava!)

If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it be, why, and what would you do together? I would love to meet LaVyrle Spencer. I love her books. They are so real. Vivid characters. I would love to find out how she created her stories. We would go out to supper, then find someplace to have wine and talk writing and life.

Bonus round – fun stuff!!!

Favorite sound: Rushing water

Least favorite sound: People chewing

Best song ever written: Thank You by Led Zepplin – it’s my husband and my song

Worst song ever written: Too many to mention

Favorite actor and actress: I have to admit I have a crush on Harrison Ford. Actress – I’m not sure.

Who would you want to be for one day and why? The first thing that came to me was a woman traveling on the Oregon Trail. I love history and I recently wrote a book involving the Oregon Trail.

What turns you on? A man’s smile

What turns you off? Arrogance

Give me the worst five words ever heard on a first date? You’re kinda small on top. (Peggy here: I can think of sososo many retorts to that! Hope you gave him several!!)

What’s your version of a perfect day? Camping with my husband. Going for a hike or bike ride. Reading at the campsite, then sitting around the campfire.

Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin about Anita’s new book, SURPRISE ME, AGAIN

Blurb:

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Charged with trespassing and indecent exposure on Erik Stenson’s private beach, Carson and Josie Sandberg return to South Padre Island to take care of the ticket. However, their reunion with Erik is not what they expected. An invitation for a drink turns into a weekend of passion that fulfills fantasies and leaves all parties wanting to explore a threesome outside the bedroom. Will time, distance, and family issues stand in the way, or will they be surprised again?

Excerpt:

“What about you?” Josie said. “Have you ever been married?”

“I was. Years ago. It didn’t last.”

A flicker of sorrow passed over Josie’s eyes. “Can you tell us what happened?” She frowned into her drink. “That is, if you want to.”

“It’s okay. I married Jessica about…” Hell how long had it been? Where had the time gone? “I guess nearly twenty years ago. Like you, we met in college, fell in love, married. Things were good for a few years.”

Josie leaned to her side, allowing the waiter to place a plate before her. Ignoring her food, she folded her hands under chin and kept her attention on him. “What happened?”

“We wanted children. Jessica ached for children. It became an obsession.” Eric took one of the large shrimp from the platter in the middle of the table and began peeling it with trembling fingers, giving him a chance to get his emotions under control. Lord, how he’d wanted children, but not enough to end his marriage.

“After a few years when we didn’t conceive, we looked for answers. By that time Jessica was convinced she was the problem and fell into a deep depression. Nothing I did helped. She wouldn’t agree to see a counselor. My mother finally convinced us to seek a fertilization doctor.” Eric threw the shrimp on his plate and took a long swallow of beer. “Turns out I was the problem, not her. Seems those mumps I’d had as a kid did a number on my little swimmers. Killed them all.”

“Hell, that’s awful, man,” Carson said while Josie placed her hand on Eric’s.

Their sympathy nearly did him in. He swallowed around the lump in his throat and squeezed his damp eyes.

After all these years, the pain was still buried under his heart only to surface on dark, lonely nights and like now as he recounted the story. They were the first ones he’d opened up to. None of the other people in his threesomes had even cared to ask.

Carson took a sip of his beer. “What happened then?”

“I wanted to adopt. Wanted to create a family with Jessica. It didn’t matter if the children were of our blood or not. The doctors had talked about in-vitro. Turns out Jessica didn’t feel the same way.” He took deep breath and tried to calm his pounding heart. He wiped his palms on his shorts.

“I came home one day with information on adoption and some on in-vitro fertilization only to find her and her stuff gone. She had left me a note, telling me she wanted children from her own body. Wanted to create them naturally. Didn’t want to be married to a man who wasn’t a man.”

“The bitch,” Josie said, her eyes filling with tears. “Oops, sorry. I shouldn’t have called her that.”

“Don’t worry. I’ve called her that and worse.”

“How the hell did you handle it?” Carson asked. “I would have been devastated if Josie had done that to me.”

“I drank and buried myself in my writing. I wrote my first novel during this time.”

“If I recall, that book was rather cutting against women,” Carson said.

Eric shook his head and chuckled. “Yeah. I enjoyed killing off my heroine. Coincidentally, she closely resembled my ex.”

“Did you get in trouble for it?” Josie asked, peeling her third shrimp.

“Since I use a pen name, I don’t think she even knows I write. Besides, she was too busy finding another husband to father her eight children.”

Carson choked on his beer. “Eight?”

“Yeah. She really did want kids, but I’m not sure I would have agreed to that many. I was also told she’s gained about a hundred pounds.” Under Josie’s quiet scrutiny, he dropped his gaze to his plate.

“It still hurts, though, doesn’t it?” Josie asked.

Eric shrugged. “It’s not as bad as it was. I sometimes think about how I could have kids in college or be a grandfather by now.”

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

A little more about Anita:

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From the time she was a teenager, Anita would sneak her grandmother’s romances and read them until all hours of the night. She never thought about creating one herself, but fell into it with a few friends. On a long road trip, they started talking about their favorite authors and why they like their books. To kill time, they started making up their own characters and plot.

From that point on, Anita had story ideas and characters filling her head. Finally, to shut them up, (or so she thought), she started writing them down, surprised at how erotic her characters wanted to be. Her first book with The Wild Rose Press, “South Seas Seduction,” was published in March, 2015. Her short story, “Surprise Me,” part of the Candy Hearts Series, was published in January, 2016. The continuing story, “Surprise Me Again,” was released on February 10, 2017.

Now, in between being a pharmacist, taking care of her two cats, and spending time with her family and friends, she writes. Her stories are about love and romance on the edge.

ANita loves to here from her readers. You can connect with Anita here: Website // Facebook // Pinterest // Blog // Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Candy Hearts, Characters, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

What’s in a title? A lot more than you think, #MFRWauthor

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I’m sure this is an easy feat for most writers, but not for me. I agonize over book titles. Are they too long? Too short? Do they convey the correct theme of the book? Do they even convey the theme of the book? Will it be a memorable title, or one that is easily forgotten in the myriad of published books these days?

Titles can, in all truth, make or break a book. Would you have read any of these books if these were the titles?:

  1. The High-Bouncing Lover
  2. The Last man in Europe
  3. The Dead Un-Dead
  4. Mistress Mary
  5. Nothing New in the West
  6. Wacking Off
  7. The Don’t Build Statues to Businessmen
  8. The Kingdon By The Sea
  9. At this point In time
  10. Private Fleming, His Various Battles

I was a bit surprised at a few of them, and I can in all truthfulness say I wouldn’t have read any one of them except for the Dead Un-Dead, because I think it was a cool, really out-there title. To see the titles these books were actually published as, scroll down when you’re done reading.

You can’t, apparently, trademark a  title. I found this out when I wrote my third book, FIRST IMPRESSIONS ( which, BTW was the original working title of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) and did a  search to see how many books with the same title there were (423). My second book I called THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. 366 other authors also called their works of fiction that. SO, how the heck can I can up with a title that (1) hasn’t been used before, and (2) will make the random reader interested in it enough to pick up the book and check it out? Again, no easy feat.

I used to make lists, pages of lists, with book titles. Even then, choosing just one was torture.

I’m so lame at coming up with my book titles I  left the naming of my second book in the Will Cook For Love Series from Lyrical/Shine to the editors. They came up with A SHOT AT LOVE. When you read the book you’ll know it’s the perfect title, but I didn’t have anything even close to that I was working with! Thank God for the people in the know who really really really know what they are doing.

Naming your book is an awful lot like naming your child. You want to give it something with character, essence, personification, and beauty. And your book, to the writer, is your baby, your child, your creation, so you don’t want to let it down by giving it a crummy moniker; one that will inspire ridicule and laughter. Honestly, I pity the poor children of celebrities who have been named after fruits, compass directions, and astrological projections. Sad.

See? You probably thought the title was the easiest thing to come up with.  I bet you didn’t know how hard it really was to name a book? Well…at least it is for me!

Here’s what the above titles were actually published as, and thank goodness they were!!!

  1. The Great Gatsby
  2. 1984
  3. Dracula
  4. The Secret Garden
  5. All Quiet On the Western Front
  6. Portnoy’s Complaint
  7. Valley of the Dolls
  8. Lolita
  9. All the President’s Men
  10. The Red Badge of Courage

When I’m not agonizing over naming books, you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

Since this is a 52 week blog hop challenge, here are some other authors who are also taking about how they name their books today. Stop by and check out their blogs.

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, First Impressions, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A little #gift from #Lyrical/Shine to you…

As a promotional gift, my new publisher Kensington/Lyrical Shine is giving you a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to whet your appetite for my 4.4.17 release of COOKING WITH KANDY: the first chapter FREE! Click on the following link and read how Josh and Kandy meet. Then, I’ve given you the link to preorder the entire book!

And if you’re a NETGALLEY reader and honest reviewer, I’ve included the link for you to request, read, and review it as well.

Blurb:

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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. . .

Free chapter COOKING WITH KANDY

Buy Links: Amazon ///Kensington // Nook // i-Tunes //Kobo //Google

Read and Review on Netgalley

And when I’m not out promoting my books, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, female friends, Friends, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

The #book that changed my life…

The other day I was re-reading ( yes, I do this often!) THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ by  L.Frank Baum.

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Now, the first question you are probably going to ask yourself is, why in the name of all that’s holy is she reading this when she can watch the movie? After all, it’s a classic for a reason and the time involved to watch it is a mere 2.5 hours instead of days to read the book.

Good question. Trust me, I have my reasons.

You all know I lovelovelove Pride and Prejudice

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and Gone With The Wind.

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I’ve written several times in blog posts about how those books literally carved a romance writing career out of the dust for me. But, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the first book I ever remember reading that actually made a difference in my life.

 

Let me ‘splain it you, Lucy.

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Like Dorothy, I was a solitary child, a bit of a misfit ( okay, more than a bit!), and a dreamer. The only child of divorced parents who both had their own issues, I was often left to my own devices and sometimes found it difficult to stay out of trouble. Not bad trouble where the police and child services were needed, but stupid, risk taking stuff that I would absolutely lock my daughter in her room for if I ever found out she did the same things!!

I used to spend every afternoon after school at the local library. Back when I was a kid there were no such things as afterschool care, and my mother couldn’t afford a babysitter to watch her NOT-baby until she came home at 7 after work. So  I would walk each and every day after the dismissal bell to the library. Homework was always ridiculously easy for me so I spent the majority of my time reading through the book selections.

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Now, if you’ve ever actually read the Oz book you know it’s a little different from the movie. I hate spoilers, so I won’t say how. What I will tell you is the moral of the story, There’s No Place Like Home hit me at a time when I was considering doing something really dumb: run away from home.

I won’t bore you with the reasons why I felt this was a viable option for me. Suffice it to say, I had my reasons. And to me, at the time, they were valid and non-negotiable ones. I’d been planning how to run away, what to take with me, where I’d go, etc..everything that was needed for a successful fleeing. Even back then I was a list maker and had filled page after page with my plans and what I needed to accomplish before I could go and start a new life away from…well, my old one.

My plan was sound. I was going to leave Friday after school. When the bell rang I would disappear. Thursday, though, I was sitting in my usual seat in the library, reading the Oz book, when I finished it. That moral I told you about? There’s No Place Like Home? Yeah, it hit me hard. After reading about all the troubles and problems and terrifying situations Dorothy had gone through, only to discover her heart’s desire was to be right back where she belonged – home – I had a tiny breakdown and a big change of plans.

That book quite literally changed the course of my life. As an adult I can see that my plans to run away were stupid, ill-conceived, and could have ended in potential tragedy. As a child, all I could see was heartbreak and depression. Somehow, I connected with Dorothy and her story. True, it was bald fiction, fantasy at that, but Baum made me feel as if Dorothy knew me. And more, got me.

I’ve never told this story before. It always seemed a little, well, to be honest, stupid. But I realize now that it’s not. I realize now, with perspective and the wisdom of age, that reading saved me, in more ways than one. It not only opened a word of imagination and joy to me, it also helped me appreciate the life I had.

So when people ask me what book changed or influenced my life and why, the answer is an easy one on both counts.

There–really–is no place like home.

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‘Nuff said.

I have a home library now, but if you need to find me I can usually be seen hanging out in these places:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Romance, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press