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A chat with my #WildRosePress sistah, Jennifer Wilck

 

It’s always a good day when I have one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs visiting me. Today, Jennifer Wilck drops by and I finally got her to answer my author interview questions. Hee hee!! She did a great job, too! And Jenn’s got a new WRP book out titled LEARNING TO LOVE that she’s giving us a little taste of after the interview, so stick around!

Jennifer Wilck, The Author 

What drives you to write? The voices in my head. No, I’m not crazy, but characters pop into my brain demanding their story be told. Plus, I like taking control of something and making things work out exactly as I’d like.

What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? I write contemporary romance because I like setting things in the current time and world, and then improving upon reality.

What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? I love reading historical romance because I’m fascinated by history and what life was like hundreds of years ago.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday? Schedule. Ha! That’s funny. I try to write every day, and in a perfect world, I do. Unfortunately, life isn’t perfect, so it doesn’t always happen. But when all the stars align and everyone cooperates, I typically get business-stuff done in the morning (blogs, marketing, etc.) and then write until my daughter comes home from school in the afternoon. At that point, if she doesn’t need me for anything, I’ll do some more writing or editing until it’s time to get ready for dinner. 

Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I’m kind of a nomad, actually. With my laptop, I can go anywhere, so while I start at the dining room table while I eat breakfast, I move to the couch or onto the deck in the nice weather, or sometimes my desk. As long as I have a window I can look out of to see the trees and flowers, I’m happy.

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 tunnel-vision? I prefer quiet, so I don’t listen to music or have the TV on in the background. I can filter out background noise if I’m sitting in Starbucks or Panera, though. Actually, sometimes writing there is really good because it forces me to concentrate on what I’m doing and not on what’s going on around me.

How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? My current WIP is a four-part series about men who are philanthropists and the women who challenge them. It’s a damaged-hero trope and I love working on it. The idea came to me while my oldest daughter and I were away on college visits in Boston. I’m not sure what happened, but we were sitting in our hotel room while she completed some homework, so I took out my laptop and started to write. Five thousand words later and she said she was hungry for dinner.

Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Usually my characters come first. They’ll start talking to me in the middle of a scene and I’ll have to flesh it out. Once I see that it can work—it doesn’t always—then I’ll figure out the character’s backstory and motivation and create a story around it.

What 3 words describe you, the writer? OMG, you’re limiting me to three??? Pantser, emotional, quick.

Jennifer, The Gal 

Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I always look at the dessert menu first when going out to dinner so I can plan whether or not I want to leave room.

Who was your first love and what age were you? His name was Teddy and I was in elementary school.

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…. That’s a tough one. I’d have to say one of the vacation days with my husband and two girls. We always have a great time together.

Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? All three?

If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? I guess concealer. That way everyone would see how tired I actually am and maybe come up with a solution?

What three words describe you, the person? Friendly, snarky, caring

If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Well that would never happen because I can’t sing. J But if I had to pick, maybe “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt. Or a girl-power song.

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? Dumbledore. This world needs fixing and I’m starting to think he’s our only hope. Plus, you know, magic.

Peggy here – I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound—my daughters’ laughter
  2. Least favorite sound—whining
  3. Best song every written—that’s way too hard! I love Christina Perri’s Thousand Years, though
  4. Worst song ever written—um, some of the rap songs my daughters’ listen to
  5. Favorite actor and actress—George Clooney and Catriona Balfe
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead)—Christiane Amanpour. I think she is fascinating and I’d love to experience her life for a day.
  7. What turns you on?—humor and intelligence
  8. What turns you off?—ignorance and bigotry
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)—Is that what you’re wearing?
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day?—spending time with my family without conflict, just enjoying each other’s company and doing something together.

And here, as promised, a little sumthin’ sumthin’ from LEARNING TO LOVE

Dina Jacobs is a single librarian who has never fit in due to her off-the-charts intelligence, frizzy hair and rounder-than-socially-acceptable figure. She left her past behind until she receives an invitation to her ten-year high school reunion, and all her insecurities return.

Adam Mandel is a single corporate attorney who just missed his third deadline at his father’s law firm, the law firm where he is up for junior partner. With his reputation on the line, Adam needs all the help he can get to convince his father that he deserves the promotion.

When Dina and Adam run into each other on a deserted road, Dina thinks Mr. Flashypants can’t possibly be interested in someone like her. Adam thinks Dina is just the person to help him improve his reputation. Lies and insecurities force them to take a look at themselves. Can they trust each other to look beyond the surface?

Excerpt

What the hell just happened? She wanted to be friends.
The only kind of “friend” he wanted to be with her had “boy” attached to it. No, that wasn’t true. He enjoyed her friendship because he loved talking to her, hearing her opinions, sharing himself with her.

But he was becoming more attracted to her. So far, they’d only kissed, but that one kiss, that unbelievable kiss, haunted him. His lips still burned where they’d touched hers, his insides still turned to jelly when he thought about it. In fact, he’d been hoping there would have been more kissing in her apartment once he’d apologized for his gaffe.

But she’d focused on their arrangement and her overreaction, and here he was pulling away from the curb into rush hour traffic.

She thought he was dating her only to impress his father. If he were one hundred percent honest with himself, he’d acknowledge the partial truth in that statement. But the more time he spent time with her, when he wasn’t royally screwing things up with her, the more he wanted to move beyond their arrangement.

His head was another matter. It was still focused on not making a fool of himself, on maintaining the right reputation, on spinning the right message.

But listening to his head was probably what had gotten him into this mess in the first place. As unbelievable as it might sound, it was time to follow his heart.

Buy Links:

Amazon // Apple // B&N 

A LITTLE MORE ABOUT JENNIFER

Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.

In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. When she’s not writing, she loves to laugh with her family and friends, is a pro at finding whatever her kids lost in plain sight, and spends way too much time closing doors that should never have been left open in the first place. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.

She writes contemporary romance, some of which are mainstream and some of which involve Jewish characters. She’s published with The Wild Rose Press and all her books are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Connect with Jennifer here:

website // facebook //FacebookReader Group // Newsletter // Twitter // Instagram // Book Bub

 

 

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What do you click on? #MFRWauthor week 43

The prompt for this week’s blog is MY FAVORITE APP.

Until about 4 years ago I didn’t even know what an app was. I thought it was an abbreviation all the cool kids were using for appetizer or appointment. No lie!

Now I know what it means ( I think!) so I really am in with the cool kids. I will admit I had to email my daughter before writing this blog just to make sure I was getting the APP definition correct.

Hi. My name is Peggy and I’m tech-NO-savvy.

If you’ve ever read my blog posts – not just the MFRWAuthor ones on Fridays – you know I typically sign off with a cutsie saying and then this:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

I feel like I need a self-help group when I say that.
Me: Hi. My name is Peggy and I’m a Pinner. 
The group: Hi Peggy!
Hee hee.
Truly though, there is nothing more fun for me to do when I want to waste ( not a good word choice, peeps) an hour trolling through all kinds of celebrity pix, holiday themed gifts, DYI stuff, even book recommendations.  Recently, I took my mother to the hospital to have her first cataract surgery and I brought my iPad with me because I knew I had a couple of hours of waiting ahead of me. The entire time she was in pre-op holding, through the surgery, and until her ophthalmologist came and brought me to her room, I was pinning.
Here’s a secret – and I’m totally outing myself here: while I was writing this blog piece, I was scrolling through Pinterest boards looking for cute apron sayings for an upcoming book about a an InnKeeper. This is the board I was saving everything to: Maureen’s Aprons.
Maybe I really do need a support group: P.A. (Pinners Anonymous)
Hee hee
Let’s see what favorite apps the other bloggers in the group like best: MFRWauthor
And at the chance of being redundant: When I’m not pinning you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me
Hee. Hee.

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Where do I Begin? #MFRWauthorBlogChallenge Week 42

So, last week we discussed when to end the book. This week it’s how to begin it. Or more importantly, where to begin it.

I’ve heard from several traditionally published authors that most editors despise a prologue. They find them wordy, too backstory-laden, and don’t do much to push the story forward or get readers engaged.  They think most prologues are too much tell and not enough show. The editors feel  writers should be able to weave all the story details they want to tell before they tell the actual story, into the actual story and not weigh down the beginning with details that could be divulged elsewhere.

There’s something wise about this, I think.

But….

The very first book I had published, SKATER’S WALTZ, had a three page prologue that showed my heroine winning her first Olympic gold medal. I felt it set up her emotional makeup and allowed the readers to know a bit about why she was the way she was when the book opened in chapter one.

 

My editor ( whom I lovelovelove with all my heart) didn’t agree. For all the reasons I gave above she felt we should nix the prologue and start the story in chapter one. Since this was going to be my first time being published I bowed to her wisdom, bit my lip, and agreed to trash the first 3 pages.

Did I regret it? At the time, yeah. Do I now? No, because she was right. The book started where it needed to start. And I was able to incorporate those winning moments into the story without any problem. Where I placed them actually made sense for the scene, too, so yay for that!

Fifteen books later and I still struggle with wanting to put in a prologue for some on my novels. It still feels right to me and I get all angsty about giving too much info away at the beginning and knowing when to pull back. Or thinking the reader simply needs to know these details now so they’ll understand where the story is going. I think I’d be a better writer if I remembered to simply tell my story the way it should be told – with the reader learning everything she needs to know as she is reading the book and not beforehand. Foreshadowing is a good literary tool when used effectively within the story. But too much is, simply, annoying.

Many famous and well-selling authors use prologues all the time and their readers don’t seem to mind. I certainly don’t. I like a good prologue because to me it sets the story up, let’s me know that something good ( or evil) is coming, and gives me a sense that the past events that happened to these characters is going to mold their story.

I’ll be honest and tell you I haven’t published a book with a prologue yet. Have I written them? You betcha. Published? No.

Maybe one day…..

Let’s see what some of the other authors in the blog hop think about prologues. MFRWAuthorBlogChallenge.

And, when I’m not struggling over whether to include prologues or not in my stories, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

 

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Why I love #Pinterest

When someone says they are obsessed with something I always take it to be a little over the top as a way of describing how much they like something. The word has been given a Kardashian-elevation in our current pop culture and like literally was a few years ago, the word has become cliched and, in my opinion,  annoying to hear.

The true definition of obsession states: an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind.

Well…I’m going to eat that proverbial crow here because there really is no other word that can adequately describe how I feel about my Pinterest page. I am, ( sorry, peeps!) obsessed with it.

I discovered Pinterest a few years ago when I was looking for pictures to give an actual face to my characters. In the past I’d torn-up fashion and celebrity magazines in my attempt to find the perfect depiction for the  fictional person I was creating. I had scores of notebooks with taped-in cut outs from those mags filling my office. Along came Pinterest and my cutting-taping-hoarding ways were finished!

I’ve made Pinterest boards for all the books I’ve written since I discovered this gem of a site. For the three books coming out between 11.5 and 12.12.18, I’ve been going hog-wild with pins. Here are a few you can click on to see what I mean:

HOPE’S DREAM Vermont Series

DEARLY BELOVED ( this book has quite a few boards attached to it:) Izzy’s Shower  // Nanny Fee // O’Dowd

CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS Baked with Love

I was talking to someone the other day about microwaves ( weird segue, I know, but hear me out) and what we did before we had them, like putting a pot on the stove with water to heat a baby’s bottle, for instance, or to actually turn on the oven to reheat leftovers for dinner. With the advent of the microwave,  heating and reheating got so much easier, that now I wonder how we ever actually survived with out it.

I think the same way about Pinterest. It’s made creating vision boards so much easier. Yes, they are virtual vision boards, not the old fashioned 3-D ones that we made from cutting and taping, but they’re so much easier to create now. And they take up no space in your office at all anymore since they are on the computer.

So…

My apologies to all those people I silently made fun of and gave an-in-my-head-eyeroll to when they said the word obsessed. I understand what you mean when you say it about something now.

I really do.

You can visit my Pinterest page and all my other obsessive sites here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

 

 

 

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Something new…part 2

Last week I wrote a blog post about a new marketing strategy  I’ve adopted to connect with new readers ( and old ones, too!). Facebook Live Videos. 

If you know one thing about me, you know that I absolutely cringe when I see myself on film and hear myself on audiotape. A perpetually scratchy, whiney voice plus a really crooked face are the reasons I never went into the performing/visual arts. In all honesty, people would have paid me to NOT speak.

But….

In this ever-changing-by-the-minute publishing industry I am now immersed in, I need to not only frequently connect with the people who are already reading my books, but with new readers who haven’t heard of me yet. To that end I’ve been taking a month long author marketing class. It was here I first heard about author facebook live videos for promotion.

 

Now that I’ve started doing the videos, the next step, according to the marketing guru I’ve been listening to, is to find alternate ways of promoting them. Facebook is great, but you want to increase traffic to those videos, and not have them seen by just the people who are already your “friends” nor do you want to solely depend on those friends to share the vids with their friends who might not be your friends.

Confused? Think how I feel.

Next step, then, is to offer them on a bigger, wider, platform. Well, what platform for videos is bigger and wider than You Tube?

Yup, peeps. I’ve become a You-Tube queen. I actually, freely, and of my own volition, put my crooked mug – my videoed crooked mug – on display for all the world to view and comment on. Butterflies have nothing on the nerves flapping in my stomach.

But I’ll be honest and tell you that first video I did had more hits, likes, and shares than any  post I’ve written or put up in over a year, so yay for that!

I’ve added the youtube link to my “find me here” spiel at the bottom of most of my blog pieces and I’m hoping that people who have no idea who I am click on that link if they read one of my  posts.

It seems that the marketing and promo end of the publishing-a-book-business is never going to end for me, so I’m trying to embrace it as best  I can. And I’m smiling while I do it. Well….trying to smile and not cry, at least.

 

If you’re looking for me, here I am: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

 

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#MFRWauthorBlogChallenge Week 41 ….How do I end it?

Have you ever gotten to the last page of a book and thought….and? What happens next?

Even though the story has been resolved, the lovers have reunited and declared their love, the detective has gotten his man, the world has been saved from the dreaded bio-virus, sometimes it just feels that there should be…a little bit more, before the book is done. A little sumthin’ sumthin’ else before I put the book back on the shelf ( or in the case nowadays, close the Kindle app.)

These are the times where a really good epilogue comes in and saves the day…and the book.

The definition of an epilogue is a section or speech at the end of a book or play that serves as a comment on, or a conclusion, to what has happened.

The way I define an epilogue is by saying it’s what comes after the end. In a mystery, the detective solves the case and in the epilogue the author tells you what happened after that. In a science fiction/dystopian tome, the epilogue will show you how the protagonists are rebuilding and renormalizing their world again. In a romance, the couple confess their love and their desire to be together always. The epilogue will tell you how they are doing, maybe a year after,or even give you a glimpse at their wedding or the brith of their baby.

An epilogue in a series book can actually set you up for the next book. In a romance the epilogue might show you what the secondary character is now doing, and you just know she’s gonna start out on her own journey for an HEA.

I love a good epilogue. I know they fell from writing grace for a while, especially in romantic fiction, because the ultimate goal, the end game, was the declaration of a promised lifetime together, and assumption the couple was going to have an HEA.

But…

I like a little glimpse into the what comes next. I want to know the plans for the wedding, or did Great Aunt Who-sis bless the happy couple, or did Cousin What-sis agree to be the Maid of Honor. I want deets, peeps. Deets!

Sometimes the promised HEA-end just feels…unsatisfying to me.

So, enter the epilogue. To me, it’s the final wrap-up, the place where every potential question is answered, the real end of the story.


Then, and only then, can I really feel my characters got their final say and their true HEA

So, before this blog needs its own epilogue, I’ll end it here and suggest you check out the other author blogs in the challenge to see how they feel about the inclusion of an epilogue. MFRWAuthorBlogChallenge

And when I’m not writing epilogues, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me

 

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#TheGreatAmericanRead, Villains and Monsters, #PBS

This week’s edition of The Great American Read   ( my current TV watching obsession!) was all about VILLAINS AND MONSTERS in books. And the monsters aren’t exactly the kind that appear from under your bed!

This episode was fascinating for me because it made me take a second look at books I typically would never read: dark, tortuous anti-heroes, creepy villains, and tales of obsession. I like to stick to happy, peppy, HEA stories usually. Hee hee

So, the breakdown for the Villains, Monsters, and Evil Forces books on the 100 list are as follows.

OBSESSION. My dictionary defines it thus:an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind. The books in this category are pretty recognizable. The Picture of Dorian Gray and Moby Dick.

  

Dorian is obsessed with growing old and Ahab is obsessed with the great white whale who bit off his leg.

 Thrillers. As a society we love to be scared. Truly. There’s nothing like being placed in a situation – like a movie theater -where you scream with fright at what’s on the screen, and then take a breath because you know it’s not real. The favorite books in this category are Gone Girl and then classic And Then there were none

 Written decades ago, this book started the genre of crime thriller. 10 people are invited to a secluded island under a false pretense and then systematically, to the words of an old children’s poem, are killed to serve some skewered sense of justice. Brilliant writing. Brilliant ending. No one did it better than Dame Agatha

Our next category is the dark side of human nature. George R.R. Martin has a great quote in this segment. He says, “the villain is just the hero who’s on the other side. ” Love that. Here, we have the classic DuMaurier Rebecca and Game of Thrones.  Has there ever been a creepier housekeeper than Mrs Danvers?

   

Institutional Evil is next on the list. These are the books that turn their attention to societal evil. Books such as The Handmaids Tale and Beloved fall into this category.

We see the United States during two courses of its history real and imagined. First, it’s slavery past in Morrison’s book, and then an imagined future where America is now called Galead and run by a group of men who rule over women. Even though this is a work of fiction, the parallels to what is going on in our society today is pretty terrifying.

The corrupt and all powerful Villain is next. This is where the phrase absolute power corrupts absolutely is a perfect description. The Harry Potter books, The Stand, and Alice in Wonderland fall into this category.

  

Voldemort covets all the power in the universe as his own. Randall Flagg can read people’s minds and souls to get them to believe in him and him alone, and who can ever read about the Queen of Hearts and not see her as a totalitarian nincompoop?

The last category of Evil concerns those characters who choose ambition over ethics. The Watchers and Frankenstein explore this topic in full detail. Everyone always forgets that Frankenstein is not the monster’s name. Victor Frankenstein is the doctor who wants to reanimate a man and create life. He sees himself as a human God above the spiritual one and he, it turns out, is the true monster in this tale.

 

My takeaway from this episode is that evil, monsters – real and imagined, and villains who live on the dark side of society are just as readable and fascinating as the good guys in white hats who combat them.

Watch the Great American Read every Tuesday at 8 pm on PBS and vote for your favorites anytime here.

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Author Maria Imbalzano on Persistence, or Stubbornness?

Today, one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs, Maria Imbalzano, is joining me and we’re talking about the impetus behind her new series and the first book in it, SWORN TO FORGET, which released into the book-reading world in July 2018. Sit back and listen to how she came up with idea for her new series. It’s pretty cool!

Persistence or Stubbornness – Is there a difference?

Book 1 of my Sworn Sisters Series entitled Sworn to Forget  was released in July, 2018. However, the idea for this story/series began in 2001, a mere 17 years ago.

During that year, I began a manuscript about four high school girlfriends who were now in their early 30s. The manuscript was titled “Weekend Diaries” and the main story was about Samantha Winslow, a divorce lawyer in NYC, who learned her husband was cheating on her. Forced to take a leave of absence from work due to her mental state, she retreated to the Jersey Shore town of Crescent Beach for the summer. Her best friends helped her through the devastation of her separation and divorce from her husband and also encouraged her to open her heart to a new possibility – the local prosecutor who had also been Sam’s high school crush.

“Weekend Diaries” was very ambitious in that it also delved into the lives of each of Sam’s girlfriends and their life issues. I thought this manuscript was going to be my entrée into the publishing world. I had won the New Jersey Romance Writers’ Put Your Heart In a Book Contest in October of 2003 and Kristin Hannah was one of the judges! Soon thereafter, I obtained an agent who was excited about the story. All was right with the world.

Until it wasn’t. Two years later, I parted with my agent who hadn’t done much in the way of sending my manuscript out and I felt like I was starting all over. I wrote another book and then another book, which was actually my first published novel – “Unchained Memories.” After my second book was published – “Dancing in the Sand— I went back to “Weekend Diaries.” After all, it was the story of my heart and I couldn’t just stick in a drawer with my other unpublished manuscripts.

Revisiting Sam’s story in 2015, I decided to turn it into a series, giving each of the women their own story. I always thought Sam’s story would be the first of the series, but after writing Nicki’s story, that became the first (Sworn to Forget).

Unfortunately, I couldn’t send either of those books to my publisher until I had completed the first draft of the third and fourth books—just in case I changed something about one of the characters—which I did.

It wasn’t until November of 2017, that I finally submitted Book 1 of the Sworn Sisters Series to my editor and it was accepted. I can happily say that Sam’s story, Book 2 of the Sworn Sisters Series, entitled “Sworn to Remember” is currently under contract and with my editor.

These unfortunate women, Sam, Nicki, Alyssa and Denise, have waited 17 years to meet my readers – although they have not aged a day during that time.

My persistence, or some might say my stubbornness, has paid off. Readers are loving “Sworn to Forget” and I’m loving that these Sworn Sisters have made it out into the world.

Blurb for “Sworn to Forget”

By all appearances, Nicki Reading is a star. PR director at a major music label, Nicki is sharp, successful, independent and confidently calls the shots. She dates whom she wants, when she wants, with no strings attached.  But beneath that shine, loneliness flickers.  Events from her past prove love leads only to pain. Commitment is not an option.

Until Dex Hanover, a classy, principled, and prosperous CPA, enters the picture. Undeterred by his unhappy childhood, he has an amazing capacity to be both caring and generous; giving his free time as a mentor for a child from the projects. Dex wears his paternal yearnings on his sleeve and he is at a point in his life where commitment is the only option.

Despite their opposing views, Nicki and Dex ignite each other. But will events from their pasts ruin their challenging relationship and prevent them from experiencing everlasting love?

Excerpt:

“How did the seminar go?”

“Slowly.” His libido kicked up a notch as he raked his eyes over Nicki’s attire— black leather pants and a red silky halter top. He arched his brow. “What is your plan for us today?”

“I have options.” She took his arm, drawing him into her living room. “There’s an art show at the Third Eye Gallery. Ed Kolsky’s work. He’s kind of edgy, vibrant. I thought it would be fun. Or we can go to The Philadelphia Museum of Art. There’s a Picasso exhibit.”

She eyed him, awaiting his choice.

“At this moment, only one option seems preferable, and it’s not on your list.” He didn’t want some paintings to get in the way of other, more carnal possibilities.

She seized his tie and tugged him closer, giving him a sensuous kiss, proving she was game for his plan.

“Nice,” he whispered.

He tenderly traced a line from her temple to her collarbone, then boldly dipped his hand beneath the fabric of her top, caressing her breast. Her breath hitched, causing pure desire to roll through him.

He covered her mouth with his, pulling her into him, embracing her curves. Nicki’s hands roamed up his chest and over his shoulders, sliding his suit jacket off, then tossing it onto the couch. Next, she worked the knot of his tie until it slipped from around his neck and onto the floor in a snake-like coil.

Amusement tinged by desire flashed through Dex. “This is much more fun than analyzing art work. Although you look pretty close to a masterpiece to me.” His palm skimmed her arm, sending a promise of much more.

Buy Links for SWORN TO FORGET

B&N // Amazon // I-tunes // The Wild Rose Press // Kobo

A little about Maria:

I  was born in Trenton, NJ , in the heart of Chambersburg, the Italian section of town. My father was a barber and my mother, a State employee, who also taught me to jitterbug at the tender age of four. We loved to dance in the living room while watching American Bandstand. Hardly star material, but I was driven nonetheless. The product of a Catholic School education, I learned the basics, and took for granted I would be successful doing something, even if it entailed cutting hair. I attended Rutgers University as a psychology major, but after three years decided I liked political science better. My first job led me to Manhattan where I worked as a paralegal for four years before attending Fordham University School of Law. There I learned to think like a lawyer, write like a lawyer, and speak like a lawyer, all while living like a pauper in the city of my dreams. Living in New York City, albeit on a tight budget, allowed me to indulge my love of ballet, art museums, and theater. Did you know you could walk into a theater after intermission and no one checks your ticket? I enjoyed the second half of many plays as well as ballets.

My love of reading dates back to my childhood when I would borrow at least four books from the library every week. During the summer, I would sit in the house and read, until my mother, totally frustrated, would send me outside to play and lock me out. I always found my way back in. However, I must confess, I hated to write. In every English and writing class throughout college, I dreaded trying to be creative. As a friend from law school so aptly put it, “The reason why we’re here is because we don’t have a creative bone in our bodies.” I agreed.

Despite my dislike of creative writing back then, I embraced legal writing, and was first published in Volume 5 of the Fordham International Law Journal. My article was entitled “In re Mackin: Is the Application of the Political Offense Exception an Extradition Issue for the Judicial or Executive Branch?” I would advise you against reading it, for you will surely fall asleep.

Following law school, I returned to central New Jersey and took a job at a local law firm where I have been a partner for many years. My area of practice is divorce, and while emotions run high and clients are living through the worst time of their lives, I find the practice very satisfying. In addition to litigation, I have added mediation and collaborative divorce to my repertoire, which are much more civil ways of dealing with issues in family law cases.

In addition to practicing law and raising two daughters, I’ve been working towards my second career. Memoranda of Law and Legal Briefs, although fascinating, pale in comparison to writing romance/women’s fiction. So how does one transition from divorce lawyer by day to romance writer by night? That’s the beauty of having two distinct passions

You can find and follow Maria here:

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Peggy here: Maria, thanks for visiting today and for introducing us all to your new series!!! It was worth the 17 year wait, for sure!!!!

 

 

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The Demise….

I figured I’d get your attention with that title! Did it work? Hee hee.

So I decided to stop sending out a newsletter. It never really took off, subscription-wise anyway, and it was a lot of work for not a lot of return on the work involved. The other reason I decided to render it defunct had to do with a workshop I attended over the weekend on writing newsletters.

I’m pretty sure the person who gave the workshop didn’t have as one of her objectives that the writers in the class will kill their newsletters! But that was my decision.

Let me ‘esplain. 

There are a few new privacy rules involved in sending emails with newsletters to people. The reason is for something called GDRP.

This rule requires you to show proof that a person actually wants you to send them your email/newsletter, plus you have to give them an easy out if they want to unsubscribe, all to protect the privacy of person you are sending stuff to.  It’s kinda like  publishing HIPPA. Today, with the surge in blogs, and internet sites, protecting privacy is a huge factor in how companies deal with their customers. I put my newsletter together before this edict came down and when I tried to rework the form to sign up to include all the new GDRP verbage, I screwed it up six ways from Sunday and it became a huge pain in the a** to fix.

Then, when I did fix it, I was worried I hadn’t done it correctly, which led me to trying to fix it even more, and the whole thing snowballed into an afternoon spent frustrated and now afraid I was going to be sued by the GDRP powers-that-be.

In addition to this dilemma, the workshop speaker had a list of things you should and shouldn’t be doing in your newsletter.

Can I just tell you I did every single one of the things you shouldn’t  be doing? Yeah. Who knew??

Any hoo.

The newsletter was just one more thing I thought – and kept getting told by other writers – I needed to connect with readers. Well, you know what? I blog 4-5 times per week, I tweet dozens of times daily, I share Triberr feeds, I live on facebook and my Instagram is burning up. I don’t need a newsletter to connect with people because everyone knows everything about me anyway from one of those other sites. So, bye bye newsletter and GDRP worries, hello more time to….do everything else!!

heehee.

When I’m not worrying and obsessing, you can find me here:

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

 

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Did you know I can juggle?

I’d better clarify that title in case people think I’ve gone circus-mad!
No, I can’t toss things in the air with the greatest of ease and catch them in a synchronized pattern of flawlessly timed manual dexterity. ( how’s that for a sentence? Hee hee) But I can — and do — juggle things in life every single day. Of course I do, because I’m a woman in the 21st century with a career, family, personal life, dreams, and desires.

Let me ‘esplain it, Lucy.

Like so many woman nowadays, I not only have a family I care for – which includes my husband and daughter but also now my rapidly aging and health diminishing parents – I have a career that depends on me and me alone to -literally – get the job done because I’m a solo writer. If I don’t put the words on the page, no one else will. I have a personal life and circle which includes people outside my family whom I love getting together  and socializing with. I also have hobbies, those things I do for my self, my sanity, my creativity, in the privacy of my own home during any free time I can spare.

When my daughter was a wee bit younger and still living at home, I was her chauffeur to school, after school activities and everywhere else she needed to be or wanted to go. Even when she started to drive, I was still the one who did her laundry, cooked for her and made sure she was healthy, balanced, and happy.

My husband has a demanding career and is often gone up to fourteen hours a day. Even when he is home he still has to take phone calls and manage problems, so that leaves little time for him to do the things that he’d have to do to run his life if he were single. That means I am tasked with cooking, cleaning, shopping, paying bills, and doing all these sundry other tasks that require our home to  run. I draw the line at mowing grass and taking out the garbage though. Those things – my little feminist heart aside – I classify as man tasks. Don’t judge me!

My writing career depends on my getting my stories on the page in a coherent, concise, and quick manner. At this point in my career when I am still an unknown in the publishing world I can’t take up to a year to write one book. Luckily, I write fast, so I’ve been able to average 3 books in print a year since I began my journey in 2015. In order to do this effectively and in a timely manner, I need to juggle the time I spend on everything else so that I have enough time to write.

In the purest sense of the word, my life is a juggling act.

Those of you who know me know I don’t sleep much. Chronic insomnia rules my life. I utilize this sleepless state to write, put together book promo marketing, and do other sundry writing things ( like this blog, for instance. – it’s 2 am EST right now as I type away.) Most days I write between the life stuff. I’ll go to the gym ( because my a** has gotten larger since I sit most of the day) then write for an hour. Grocery shop, then edit. Visit my parents to give my mother a shower, then bang out a blog post. Once I actually finished a scene while I was at the dentist office waiting for a cleaning.

I’m not alone in doing this. Every female writer I know juggles every single day just to carve out time to write, exist, and keep the family happy, fed, and healthy. The key is to find that elusive balance needed so that no one – especially the juggler ( Moi!) feels like they’re missing out on something.

They kinda go hand in hand, don’t they? Juggling and Balance.

Think about it.

On any given or random day, you can find me juggling here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe

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