Tag Archives: #amwriting #amblogging

#Celebrating some good news.

Just found out that my Wild Rose Press book from last Christmas holiday season A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest from the Contemporary Romance Writers RWA chapter! I’m one of 3 finalists in the Contemporary Romance – short division.

Can you just say “YOWZA!!!”

I am uber-stoked. A KISS came in 3rd in the NECRWA 2017 Reader’s Choice awards, and now this!!! My little romance writing heart is all aflutter today. And probably will be until July 28 when the winners are announced at RWA2017.

Yikes! I need to get to the gym so I can fit into a nice dress for the announcements…

See ya……………………

But before I go, if you haven’t read A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS yet ( and why not???) here’s a little taste:

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind. Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not. Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

 

Excerpt:

At twenty-four I still lived under my parents’ roof, had no full-time paying job other than helping my father with his business books and those of a few of his business associates, and my love life was nonexistent.

It wasn’t that I didn’t get asked out or date. I did. Often. Plus, I was perpetually being set-up by the aunts and uncles. I’d had a steady boyfriend all through high school, but we went our separate ways when we each left for college. My choices had been limited in recent years to guys I met in college–who were all looking to score, not forge a lifetime commitment—and then in accounting school who were, for lack of a better word, boring and absorbed either in numbers theory, finding jobs after graduation, or in just getting into my pants. The men my extended family routinely set me up with were mostly thick-necked, uneducated, wiseguy wannabes who wanted a conventional Italian bride they could keep barefoot, pregnant, and cooking.

So. Not. Me.

I needed to make some decisions about my life and make them soon. First, pass the exams and get licensed. Then, look for a real job so I could afford to live on my own. This one might be the hardest to accomplish since my parents were old-school thinkers who believed girls should stay home until they were married. They couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to go from their house to a husband’s house, and never experience what it would be like living on my own.

Lastly, I wanted to find the one special guy I could commit to. A guy who’d be family oriented like me, want kids, the minivan, a house in the ‘burbs, the whole family-comes-first-and-always mentality I’d been breastfed on.

I wasn’t too picky. Obviously, I didn’t want him to look like a troll, but nice looking wouldn’t hurt since I’d be spending eternity staring across the kitchen table at his face. A good-paying job would be nice in a career where I didn’t need to worry he’d make one wrong move and wind up as fish food in the Meadowlands marshes.

Don’t laugh: have I mentioned my Uncle Sonny?

BuyLinks:

Amazon // Wild Rose Press//  Kobo // Nook

When I’m not celebrating, 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 A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Candy Hearts, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Foodie, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Commencement…a funny word for the end.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

I really think Mother Teresa said it best:

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

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Filed under Author, Life challenges, love, Strong Women

An #interview with A HUNDRED KISSES #author Jean M. Grant

I’m pleased and delighted to introduce you to another new writer to me today, JEAN M. GRANT . Jean is one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs and her first book, A HUNDRED KISSES is available now. SO, sit back and learn a little sumthin’ sumthin’ about this new author you’re sure going to be hearing about.

 

Jean, The Writer

  1. What drives you to write? I’m a sucker for happy endings that I can control. I love beautiful landscapes and to escape into fictional worlds. I am a daydreamer and it extends to the written word.
  2. What genre(s) of Romance do you write, and why? Historical, with a supernatural twist. I’ve considered a time travel and contemporary, too (those manuscripts are on the planning phase as I work on the prequel to A Hundred Kisses).
  3. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Historical, contemporary, time travel. I also dip into women’s fiction, mainstream, thriller.
  4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I don’t write every day as much as I would like to. I write in nooks and crannies, morning, day, and night. I usually go through a stretch of heavy writing for a few days or weeks, and then I need to take a break for “life.” Then back to it again. It’s hard to write for a few minutes here and there; I like to allot big chunks of time. The worst thing for a writer is to get interrupted in the middle of a great scene! You lose the flow.

5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? Most writing is done on my laptop at the kitchen island/counter or dining room table. Sometimes the couch. Rarely my desk. Not the most ideal places for proper back and wrist position though.

  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 am pretty good at filtering, as many times, I have my young children running around. I love to have music on. Sometimes the music must get turned off and I work in complete silence for particular writing projects or sections of work.
  2. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? I listen to a variety of music, depending on what I am writing, and what the scene (or project) is about. The music matches the mood. A good deal of Enya gets me through, but I mix it up with some Ed Sheeran and Maroon Five, as well as movie scores-type of music.
  3. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? I had written three historical romances (unpublished; dare I say as practice, over the years) in 12th century Scotland. For my current book, A Hundred Kisses, I decided to jump ahead a century and apply the feedback I’d received from beta-readers, agents, editors on the first three. I really learned a lot from those manuscripts. I honed my skills. I also threw in some magical/supernatural elements to the current book. And that’s how that one came to be! My current WIP is a prequel to A Hundred Kisses, about the heroine’s mother. It’s got Vikings and more magical elements, too. I also have a Women’s Fiction/Mainstream book I am querying to agents – about a widowed mother on a journey to locate her missing child, after a natural disaster, with her other high-functioning autistic son at her side. That book is inspired by my own parenting journey, while being a work of fiction. And yes, she meets a man with his own tortured past along the way, so there is a romantic element!
  4. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Plot. I love stories. I do love to connect to characters, feel their emotions. But for me, I am a plotter, so that comes easier. I always have ideas! Then I need to assign characters that suit those ideas.
  5. What 3 words describes you, the writer? Patient, Resilient, Daydreamer (Peggy here: LOVELOVELOVE those 3 words!)

Jean, The Person 

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I love to travel. I love to hike and tackle mountains big and small. I have a weakness for green rolling hills. I also love sharks and have a degree in Marine Biology.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? T.C. from early elementary years
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….my hike through Abel Tasman in New Zealand (I picked this over other more grueling hikes, because who wants to repeat over and over those torturous hikes that left me limping for days after?!)
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? boxers
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? Chapstick/lip balm. I would die without it.
  6. What three words describes you, the person? Daydreamer, nurturer, resilient
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Daydream Believer (aka Cheer up Sleepy Jean) by The Monkees (Peggy here: We could be BFFs. My all time fav group is the Monkees, in fact, my wedding song is I’M A BELIEVER)
  8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? Claire and Jamie Fraser (both). Why? Why not? J Sexy Scot and strong-willed English nurse. What would we do? Hmm, not sure. Hang out at some standing stones or by Loch Ness?

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

  1. Favorite sound – water or rain, birds chirping at 4:30 a.m.
  2. Least favorite sound – cars idling
  3. Best song every written – Sleepwalk by Santo and Johnny
  4. Worst song ever written – Barney’s theme song ( Peggy here: I can’t stand that song!!!)
  5. Favorite actor and actress – Kit Harrington and Ewan MacGregor, Emily Blunt     
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) – I’d actually like to just have dinner with (not be) The Rock, Dwayne Johnson for one day. Silly, right? He seems like an amazing, funny, nice guy. If I could be somebody for a day, it would be my oldest son, who has Asperger’s/ Autism. I want to feel, see, and experience life through his eyes.
  7. What turns you on? – coffee and sweets and my husband playing with our kids
  8. What turns you off? – mean people
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date (here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) – I’ve not had too many first dates so I am not sure what to put here!
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? – writing at sunrise, then a daytime hike through some breathtaking place (New Zealand and Scotland top the list), finished with a frothy latte on a porch with a remarkable view (lake, ocean, mountain); all with my husband and kids of course

And now, for a little treat, here’s an excerpt from Jean’s debut novel  A Hundred Kisses

Blurb

1296

Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.

Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.

Under the façade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.

Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…

Excerpt

She sensed no colors in the murky, lifeless water, and it was freeing. All breath escaped her. Muted visions passed before her eyes—her mother, her father, Gordon, and Cortland. Just a moment longer, she thought…

Suddenly, a burst of warm light invaded her thoughts as air filled her lungs. Red-hot hands burned her shoulders and ripped her from her icy grave. She breathed life into her body. She coughed, gagging on the change.

Muffled words yelled at her.

Oh, God, so hot. His fingers were like hot pokers. Her head pounded as she slowly returned to the present. Heat radiated from her rescuer. Somebody had pulled her from the water.

“Wh—?”

“Hush, lass. You nearly drowned.”

His voice was as soothing as a warm cup of goat’s milk on a winter’s day. A red-hot glow emanated from his body. Never before had she felt such a strong lifeblood, and it nearly burned her. She struggled in his arms to get free. She blinked, only seeing a blurry form before her. “Release me!”

She splashed and wriggled, and he did as told. She clambered to the shoreline. Numb and shaken, she began to dress. It wasn’t easy as she fumbled with slick fingers to put dry clothes over wet skin. She instantly regretted her naked swim. She pulled on her long-sleeved white chemise first.

She faced the forest, away from her rescuer. He quietly splashed to shore. His lifeblood burned into her back. He wasn’t far behind, but he stopped. She refused to look at him until she was fully clothed, not out of embarrassment of her nudity, but for what had just happened. He released a groan and mumbled under his breath about wet boots. His voice was not one of her father’s soldiers.

When she put the last garment on, her brown wool work kirtle, she squeezed out her sopping hair and swept her hands through the knotty mess. She fastened her belt and tied the lacings up the front of the kirtle. Blood returned to her fingertips, and she regained her composure. Belated awareness struck her, and she leaned down and searched through her bag for her dagger. She spun around.

She gasped as she saw the man sitting on the stone-covered shoreline, his wet boots off. Confusion and the hint of a scowl filled his strong-featured face. She staggered back, caught her heel on a stone, and fell, dropping the dagger. Dirt and pebbles stuck to her wet hands and feet, and she instinctively scrambled away from him.

His glower, iridescent dark blue eyes, and disheveled black hair were not unfamiliar. Staring at her was the man she had seen in her dream—it was the man from the wood.

Buy Links: Amazon // WildRose Press // B&N // Kobo

More about Jean:

Jean is a scientist, part-time education director, and a mom. She currently resides in Massachusetts and draws from her interests in history, science, the outdoors, and her family for inspiration. She enjoys writing non-fiction articles for family-oriented and travel magazines, and aspires to write children’s books while continuing to write novels. In 2008, she visited the land of her daydreams, Scotland, and it was nothing short of breathtaking. Jean enjoys tending to her flower gardens, tackling the biggest mountains in New England with her husband, and playing with her sons, while daydreaming about the next hero to write about…

You can find Jean here:

Website // Twitter // Facebook 

 

I hope you enjoyed meeting Jean as much as I did! Jean- thanks so much for joining me today and much success with A HUNDRED KISSES.

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, love, Romance, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

Winding down in Atlanta; #RT17

I skipped a few days in my RT17 reporting because…life, you know?

Hee Hee. It actually was because my days were so jammed packed with events, workshops, signings, and meeting people that I didn’t have much free time to blog. Right now it’s a little before 4 a.m. and since I’m up and the gym is beckoning, I thought I might jot a few lines together.

Since we last met I attended my very first Kensington Books booksigning as one of their authors. thank goodness the  room provided for us all was the size of a football field and a half because there were truthfully close to 1000 — if not more — fans who attended. My book supply went in less than 15 minutes of the 90 minutes we were allotted!  I’d been fearful I’d be sitting there twiddling my thumbs and trying not to look mortified I wasn’t handing any books out. Never a worry, apparently! I met so many people who told me they were also going to be attending the giant book fair signing on Saturday and that they would see me there as well. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Romance readers and the BEST and most loyal fans in the universe of readers. The lines were long and some people waited almost an hour to meet their fav author, but no one seemed to mind. I saw no crankiness, bitchiness, heard no complaining, and everyone— EVERYONE– was smiling. What an amazeballs event! I can’t wait to do it again at RWA in July.

Last night was the RT Reader’s Choice awards. At first I was going to attend because I was tired, missing my hubby, and needed a break from people-ing, ya know? But I sucked it up and went. Boy-oh-boy am I glad I did. Not only did I get to sit next to my newly “adopted” daughter ( My wonderful Lyrical Editor!!) I saw up close and personal some of my all time favorite authors and industry giants. I don’t want to make this piece too long by mentioning everyone but here are the ladies who have made my reading romance years the pleasure it has always been:

Karen Slaughter – one of the funniest chicks you will ever meet. Give her a microphone and just let her go!

Elizabeth Hoyt – writes historical sexual tension like nobody’s business.

Iris Johansen ( she’s a little tiny thing! Who knew??! She’s such an industry giant I figured she was 1o feet tall!)

Beverly Jenkins ( one of the most amazing women I’ve ever seen, for sososo many resons)

Sonali Dev – if you haven’t read A CHANGE OF HEART, run, run I tell you, to upload it, buy it, or however you read. Just GET IT!

Sherrilyn Kenyon – a true Georgia Peach

Karen White – beauty and brains rolled into one fab author

I’m here, writing today, and standing on the shoulders of these intelligent, articulate, and fabulous female writers. Some day, I hope an aspiring writer can say the same for me. These women simply make me want to write better.

So, today is jammed packed. I’ve got the giant book fair at 1030 this morning, and then another big party this evening. I may, no, make that WILL, need a nap somewhere in between

Be well and more to come…

If you want to see live updates from me during the events, 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, Cooking, Family Saga, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Highway Cafe April Blog Tour

I just love a blog tour and hop!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Links:  amazon

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

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

Musing on #Siblings

A few days ago, according to my oracle source, Facebook, it was National Siblings day, a day I have never celebrated and will never have the opportunity to.

I am an only child. My parents divorced when I was a little kid, each remarried quickly thereafter, and still I have no siblings, either step, or real. An only child between 4 “parents” and 8 grandparents shouldn’t necessarily be something any child would complain about. After all, you’re it. The only birthday that gets celebrated is yours; you get all the Christmas gifts; you never have to share toys, clothes, food, friends, a room. You never wear hand me downs, and all the school pictures displayed in the house on the walls are of you.

But….

Being an only child also comes with a lot of negative emotions. I never really felt connected to anyone in my family because there was no one around my age to contend or commune with. I was raised with grownups. Parents, grandparents, aunts and very old great-aunts and uncles. I was always the youngest human being in the room. Always. And I was raised in a time where children lived that proverbial seen but not heard edict so common during the era. If I had a problem, I had two choices: take it to a grown up or solve it myself. Since many of the problems I had encountered bullying in school and dealing with my alcoholic relatives, I really couldn’t take it to the adults in my family. Back then, you were taught not to confide in anyone but family, so taking a family problem to a teacher was like committing an act of homicide in my family! There were no safe havens for troubled kids with questions, and the Priests and Nuns in my church were mean with a capital MEAN!!

Being an only child wasn’t a picnic as a kid and as I get older, it only gets worse because as I age, so do my parents. I have four people who I am responsible for as they age, get infirm, and need to have decisions made for them. Decisions I have no one else to bounce off. A sibling would be a lifeline during hard decision-making times. AM I making the right choice? What do you think they would want? What’s easiest for them? All questions you can ask a sibling when dealing with your parents.  I have no one to ask those questions. NO one to help me make the correct decisions. No one to tell me what I’ve done is right, or wrong, or horrible.

Please, I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining and feeling burdened by this. I’m not. I’m simply stating that if I had a sibling, making these decisions would be easier.

So. A little advice to those of you who are and have siblings.

  1. Cherish them. You may fight like wild animals and hate one another at times, but there is truly no one you are closer to than a sibling.
  2. Support them. There have been so many times in my life I needed someone I could go to in order to talk things through to decide if I was doing the right thing. Having a sibling trust your opinion and offer support is a gift from God.
  3. Have fun with them. My husband’s brothers and sisters are all in their 50’s and they still laugh, giggle, and enjoy one another’s company whenever they are together. Their shared history, the similar references they use, the memories, all make them happy to be around one another. Spend time with your siblings.
  4. Love their children. When you – God forbid- die, you’ll want people around your children supporting them, loving them, helping them to remember you. I don’t have that. There’s no one my daughter can turn to when I go who knew me when. Who can tell her what it was like when I was a kid, or what I was like.  Luckily, she has that with my husband and his family.

I didn’t write this to be morose, or give you a woe-is-me view of my life. I simply want people to understand that being an only child isn’t a bed of rosebuds and that having a sibling connection is one of the greatest gifts anyone can have.

If I was going to get a little Psych 101 here, I would tell you that the reason I write so much about large, loving families is because I always dreamed about being in one…yeah…pretty psych 101 profile, indeed.

Find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

My new series is about sisters – the 7 Laine Sisters in the Will Cook For Love books. Book 1, COOKING WITH KANDY is available here: kindle // Apple // Google //  Kobo //Nook

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Friends, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

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

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

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

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

Anyway….

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

I loved the library.

I loved the safety of it.

I  loved all the books.

I loved loved loved the Librarians.

I loved the quiet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heroes, every last one of them.

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

Finding your local library is just a Google search away!

 

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

Why I need to see my characters before I write them

I love a good vision board – especially for one of my own books. Since my writing tends to fall out of a visual tendency, I make vision -or story- boards for each of my books. Knowing what the characters actually look like while I am writing about them helps me “see” the story as it unfolds from their eyes and viewpoints. For instance, here’s the board I worked with for my October 2017 release, A SHOT AT LOVE:

You can see how I envisioned Gemma Laine and Ky Pappandreos, plus how I categorized aspects of their lives, such as photography info for Gemma and law enforcement stuff for Ky.  I sent their pictures to Lyrical when I was asked how I “SAW” my hero and heroine looking. I think they did a great job with portraying my vision on the cover:

This is my working vision board for the third book in the series, tentatively titled CAN’T STAND THE HEAT”

This book has  few more integral characters, but the H/H look like Grace Kelly ( Stacy Peters) and Pierce Brosnan ( Nikko Stamp)

I’m currently working on 2 more books in this series. and the first one, (working title: IT STARTED WITH HIS KISS) looks like this:

You can see I don’t have too much filled in yet, but I will….no worries.

More about vision boards and how they help writers in tomorrow’s edition of PEGGYJAEGER.COM

In the meantime, did you know that COOKING WITH KANDY, book 1 in the WILL COOK FOR LOVE SERIES releases next week on April 4?? Here’s a little sumthin’ to whet your romance-reading appetites.

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. . .

Excerpt:

“Clock stops at five-thirty,” she told him, spying the way he glanced at the empty desks. “That’s a rule I never break. No matter how busy we are, or what our deadline is, I make sure everyone up here is out by then.”

“Why? I would think in this business long hours are the norm.”

“Everyone deserves free time, time with family, time to wind down. I won’t have people working for me when they’re exhausted, or thinking about the soccer game they’re missing for their kid. No one’s productive then. I like everyone to be rested, fresh and on the ball. I realized early on it was the way to bring out the creative, productive best in people.”

“But you don’t adhere to your own rules.”

She leveled a gaze at him. “That’s because I’m the boss. I thrive on deadlines and do some of my finest work when I’m exhausted.”

The slow grin that spread across his face made her stomach muscles giddy-up again.

“I bet you give great holiday bonuses,” he said, rocking back on his heels.

Because it was true, she smiled.

“My office is in here.”

She pushed through another set of doors and preceded him in.

While he took in the surroundings Kandy wondered if he saw the room the same way she did. She’d chosen this space simply because of the windows. A corner office, it had full-length, floor to ceiling matted glass surrounding the outer perimeter of the office on three sides. Her view was of downtown Manhattan, an unobstructed visage of Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty.

The interior design was her own and she’d gone for comfort and ease in the furnishings. Three couches circled one another in the center of the room, and in the middle sat an impressive glass table, currently covered with files, paper, magazines, and a few fabric swatches. A grandfather clock sat, unwound, on the far wall, the hour hand stuck at nine, the minute hand at twelve.

A large, cherry wood desk faced the windows, not the inner room, complete with two computers, a laptop, and two printers on a pull-out stand next to the desk.

“Interesting.” Josh gazed around the room. “I assume the reason your desk faces this way is for the great view?”

She lifted her shoulders to her ears and then brought them down again. “Why waste it by having my back to it?”

“Good thought. What’s up with the clock?”

She glanced over at it. “That’s the exact time my first book went on sale.”

“So, what? Time stopped for you then?”

“No. The way I see it my life started precisely at that moment.”

His eyebrows rose. “Says a lot about what you expect and want out of life.”

“Don’t read too much into it,” she said, unaccustomed embarrassment washing through her. Without even knowing her he’d hit her personality right on the head. “The clock also has sentimental value. It was Grandma’s.”

Kandy moved to the couches. “Come on, have a seat. Let’s talk specifics.”

Josh sat opposite her, leaned back into the couch, crossing one long leg over the other.

“I’m going to say this once because I feel we should get it out of the way,” she started. “I don’t think I need a body guard, and I don’t think anything that’s happened recently can’t be explained away. I find this whole situation of having someone follow every move I make unnerving. I’m not used to it. Not used to working this way. I don’t want to have to stop every five minutes to explain where I’m going, who I’m going to be meeting with. I just go. I have too much to do in a day to worry about someone keeping up with me.”

When he nodded, she continued. “I’m willing to go along with the entire scheme until you prove there’s really no reason for it, which I think you’ll discover pretty quickly. But I won’t be hampered in going about my day in any way. Understand?”

Buy Links: Amazon //Nook // Kensington/Lyrical // Kobo // Apple // Google

available in e-copy and Print on Demand ( POD) fro Amazon and Kensington.

 

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

#InternationalWomensDay2017; #StrengthknowsNoGender; My Super power is that I’m a Woman!

As a woman, a mother, a mother of a woman,…today I will embrace the celebration of National Women’s Day 2017. Today I will remember what it means to be a woman and all the wonderful things that go along with that. Things that only a woman can do, like give birth. Hey, men can’t…just saying.

But in celebrating I will also remember the things that women can’t do.  There are still parts of the world where women can’t choose for themselves who they will marry, or even if they want to get married. There are still countries where women can’t drive, go to school, walk about free in public. There are still places where women are viewed as the property of the men and are treated and abused as such. And there are still governments that would rather see a woman die, shamed and vilified than give birth to her eight  ( or more) child.

I grew up in the time Title IX came into effect. Prior to that, girls sports in schools weren’t funded.

My mother grew up in the time where if she didn’t want to have a baby she had 2 choices: don’t have sex, or procure an illegal abortion.

My grandmother grew up in a time where she was struck down and beaten in the streets by men when she protested for the right to vote for the leaders of HER country.

That’s just three generations of women who saw the need to effect change for the better. And did.

My daughter lives in a world where she knows no limits on what she can do with her life. She has the benefit of education, status, choice. What she still doesn’t have is equal pay for equal work. And if things keep going the way they are currently, she will lose even more of those hard-fought RIGHTS the women who came before her died for.

Today, in 2017,  I proudly stand on the shoulders of the courageous, fearless, determined women who came before me. Who fought convention, misogyny, and hate. I won’t forget them or their struggles.

And I will continue to fight –EVERY DAY — to ensure that they didn’t die in vain.

But today…today I will celebrate my gender. Tomorrow..well, tomorrow is another day.

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, female friends, Life challenges, Strong Women

#Release day for #author Kari Lemor’s WildCard Undercover; #LyricalPress

interview2

In a week of firsts, I’ve got another one today. Author KARI LEMOR  is visiting me and she’s a fellow Kensington/Lyrical Press author, my new publisher. Kari’s new book WILDCARD UNDERCOVER releases today and she is super stoked. She’s having a huge facebook party today to promote the book as well and I’m pleased to be joining her. Click the link so you can stop by. There’ll be prizes, interviews, and lots of fun stuff going on all day.

Sit back and learn a little about my new writing sistah.

 

Kari Lemor,  The Writer 

  1. What drives you to write?

The voices in my head. And my muse who never leaves me alone and constantly pings me with new ideas that won’t go away until I do something about them. The characters themselves will sometimes haunt me in my sleep until I agree to write them. It can be very annoying trying to make them shut up.

  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you write, and why?

I write suspense and contemporary. Suspense because I love adding a little (okay, maybe a lot) of danger to my stories. It gives us the hurt/comfort that my romantic soul craves. I write contemporary because I’m too lazy to do any kind of historic research.

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

It might be better to ask what I don’t read. I was never much for Historical until Julia Quinn spoke at a conference I was at and we got a free book. I was hooked. But it’s not a genre I read as much. Same with paranormal. Not my thing unless it’s my Critique Partner, MA Grant, because she can WRITE!! And make me like it. She’s got a new M/M fantasy series that she’s working on that I am in love with. Who’d have thought? But mostly I love contemporary with every day people. Keep those sheiks and billionaires away from me. Totally can’t relate to that. I want the boy next door or a law man or firefighter. Someone who’s good with their hands…in many ways!!

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

I have a full time day job (groan) so can’t always put coherent words on a page after that. But I always do something related to writing each day. Reading, networking with other authors, promo, editing. I try and do all my new words on weekends and vacations. I’m a teacher so I get lots of time in the summer.

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

Now that my kids are all grown and moved out, I actually have a nice office. My son painted it a lovely shade of peach for me (my favorite color). I always have some pretty smelling candle lit and my little water fountain going and my salt lamp turned on. I have tons of books in a series of book shelves that I made myself with wooden crates. And my desk is even made of wooden crates as well. Everything in there is just snuggy and cozy and makes me feel so good.

  1. 6. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision?

I can’t have it too noisy. When my kids were younger I would put a classical channel on the computer while attempting to write. Now I just like the sound of my water fountain gurgling. I definitely can’t write in a coffee shop or somewhere public though I love being outside in the summer and hearing the sounds of nature.

  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?  No, although I could if it didn’t have words but I really love the silence especially after being in a noisy classroom most of the day.
  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

This book actually started as a dream. Not the whole thing, but the first scene. My heroine grabs the hero and kisses him and then accidentally pushes him in the pool. I was intrigued at what was happening and wouldn’t get out of bed until I figured out why they heck she had done that. Then I had to get out of bed and scribble about ten pages of notes. I didn’t actually start writing the story though for about another 5 years.

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

I’m not sure which comes first. Usually, I get an idea of a character and something they are doing. I probably don’t have a full deep knowledge of who they are or exactly what they are doing but I have a basic premise. Then I start fleshing them out and as the story unfolds so do they. Sometimes they’ve surprised me with a few facts.

  1. What 3 words describes you, the writer? Goal-oriented, determined, verbose

Kari, The Person

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

My great (x 5 or 6 ) uncle (Joachim Murat ) was married to Napolean’s sister Caroline

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

This boy named Jim who sat in front of me in History class in college. I was around 20. That was a long time ago and he’s still my only love (and husband for 30 years.

       3.  If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….

The day after my first child was born. I was still in the hospital being waited on. They brought her to me and said she was hungry. I held her and drifted off again (tired from labor and delivery) and she stopped crying. When the nurse came back in I said I hadn’t fed her. She said, “I guess she just needed her mom.” Thinking of that moment still makes me cry.

      4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? I’m liking these new boxer briefs.

       5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? If I had to give something up… I guess it would be concealer. I’d use the face powder instead to hide my bags and dark eye circles.

       6. What three words describes you, the person? Loyal, maternal, gregarious

       7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? No one would ever ask me to sing.       Take my word on this one. My children beg me not to. But if I could sing with Jimmy Fallon, then Paradise By the Dash Board Light. Fun song!

        8.  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? Hmmm, maybe Pollyanna because she’s always so perky and glad. We’d go fishing and picking berries and just hanging out in a sunny field relaxing.

 

Bonus round

  1. Favorite sound – water, any kind, ocean, lake, waterfalls, stream.
  2. Least favorite sound – the ice cream truck. Talk about an ear worm
  3. Best song every written – Desperado by The Eagles
  4. Worst song ever written – anything rap that talks trash about women
  5. Favorite actor and actress – Joe Flanigan and Kate Hudson
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) Peirce Brosnan’s wife. Because …duh!
  7. What turns you on? Dads with their kids
  8. What turns you off? Intolerance
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) “Oh, I figured it out” (the plot twist of the movie we are watching – and then proceeds to tell me) And yes, this happened on a date.
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? Bar Harbor, Maine, sitting listening to the ocean or Jordan Pond with the sun beating down and a cool breeze keeping it from being too hot. Top it with a good book and I can’t think of anything better.

Kari’s newest book  WILD CARD UNDERCOVER releases today!! Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to whet your reading appetite:

All that glitters in Miami is not gold . . .

kari1

Lured in by a bad ex-boyfriend and the moonlight of Miami, Meg O’Hara is trapped in a nightmare situation, waiting tables for a crime boss and fearing for her life. When undercover FBI agent Christopher Shaunessy offers her a way out, she seizes it. Getting the goods on Salazar Moreno might not be easy, but she’ll do anything to be freed from her servitude and Moreno’s sexual advances, even if it means moving in with the charismatic agent.

Chris Shaunessy pretends to be Meg’s lover in order to keep her safe, but he steels his heart against further involvement. Passion has no place in the sordid world of organized crime. And yet, the closer they get to cracking the case, the stronger his feelings for the spirited waitress shine. It’s a dangerous game he’s playing, and taking Meg in his arms for real could prove a fatal misstep . . .

Excerpt:

“Does that man never have a day off?” Margaret Kathleen O’Hara grumbled, grabbing her tote bag and sarong to move surreptitiously along the chairs by the pool. If the hotel manager saw her here again she’d be toast. He’d more than toss her out. Threats to call the police had been thrown at her for months now. Although in her case, that might be a better deal.

With her eyes trained on his location and the Miami sun beating down on her exposed skin, Meg backed along the water’s edge attempting to leave the area before he spotted her. She needed to shower the chlorine out of her tangled hair and change for work soon. He looked in her direction and she rushed behind the closest object. It was six-foot-plus of blond-haired gorgeousness. The man’s eyes were glued to something on the upper deck. Her boss was sitting there with one of his expensive bimbos. Did Blondie like that type? Maybe he wouldn’t notice her little game of .

She leaned around him, ducking back when she saw the Pool Nazi still present. Getting caught was not an option. She already owed more than she could ever repay.

“Are you okay?” Forest green eyes stared down at her, puzzled. Would he buy that she was simply looking for shade? He was big enough to provide it.

With strong hands, he reached for her shoulders and Meg reflexively batted them away. She got enough of people groping her at work. Scorching curses froze before erupting from her mouth as the hotel manager moved, staring in their direction. Her mind kicked into overdrive, scrambling for a way to hide in plain sight.

“Sorry,” she squeaked. Grabbing the man’s head, she planted her mouth solidly on his. Short, thick strands of hair tickled her fingers. Firm lips yielded no resistance to the increased pressure of her mouth. Better make this look good.

An electric current skittered over her skin causing her heart to race. Maybe too good? Slowly he pulled her closer with his muscular arms. Her eyes flew open and she broke the connection. His hair-covered chest was too close for comfort. And much too tempting. Distance, she needed distance.

Her eyes darted around, seeing no signs of the manager. A sigh escaped. Time to make her exit as well.

“Sorry,” she mumbled again, looking up. Big mistake. The stranger’s curious eyes captivated her. They were soft and tender and filled with something she could…trust? If she still had any of that left in her. His hands were gentle as they held her. A tiny smile played about the full lips she’d brazenly kissed. She couldn’t believe she’d done it. Her mother would be appalled. But it had worked.

The chlorine scent from the pool faded into the background as sweat and suntan lotion wafted off the man’s damp skin. Her stomach did cartwheels followed by a few back flips. Dangerous.

“Let me go,” she hissed as reality returned. She gave a swift shove at his well-defined pectorals, rushing to get past, to escape from this distraction and the possibility of being caught. Her head whipped around at the sound of a splash and water droplets from behind. Gorgeous was just breaking the surface of the pool. Had she pushed him that hard?

“Oops.” No time for apologies. He looked like the forgiving type. She had to blow this joint before the Pool Nazi came back. Grabbing her fallen sarong, she ran across the deck to hustle inside the luxury hotel.

“Damn.”

The manager stood sentry near the front door. A crowd appeared at her back making that way impossible. The stairwell to the left would have to do. She’d go up a few floors then down to the side entrance. She wrapped her sarong around her as she carried out her plan to avoid being seen…and caught.

Meg should stop coming here to use the pool: this proved it. Sneaking in was adding to her already hellish life but swimming always helped work out the stress and the pool here was more accessible than any other on the strip. Pretending she had money to stay in a place like this, rubbing elbows with all the beautiful people, yeah, that got her through too. She’d learned the best times to come and not be seen. Well, for the most part. It was well worth the risk to get away from her dump of a room and its enchanting neighborhood. She’d leave this all behind her soon. She kept telling herself that. Had to believe it for her own sanity.

Footsteps behind her pushed those thoughts away. Her bare feet padded silently along the lushly carpeted hallway. Heart racing, she ducked into the ice machine alcove, her sigh echoing in the silence. She glanced down. Her bag? She must have dropped it as she rushed off. How had she not realized? It couldn’t have been the threat of being arrested. Or the crooked smile of the handsome stranger she’d kissed. The one with the kind eyes and gentle hands. No, she couldn’t allow herself to be led astray by a pretty face. Not again.

She continued down the hall, her trip cut short when someone grabbed her by the arm and spun her around.

* * * *

Buy Links: Amazon // Kensington // B&N

Bio

Kari Lemor grew up as one of those kids who read all night under the covers.  Once she had her first glimpse of a romance novel at age 12, it was all over. Romance was in her blood.
It would be many years before the stories that ran rampant in her head finally drove her to put words to paper, though. She wrote self-indulgently for the first few years and only recently began penning stories to share with others.
She still writes stories that are self-indulgent but hopes others might get some enjoyment from them too.   Now that her children are all grown and have moved out, she uses her spare time to create stories of love and happily ever after romances where heroes ride to the rescue of damsels who have already saved themselves.
She lives with her husband in a small town in New England dreaming of warmer weather.  But only if it’s near the ocean.

You can follow Kari here:  website // facebook // twitter // Pinterest // Goodreads

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books