Tag Archives: #amwriting #amblogging

Inspiration is close by….

So, after missing last week because I had nothing to contribute to the topic, I thought long and hard about this week’s prompt. Originally, I had an entirely different posting planned. Then the terrorist attack in NYC happened. I tell you this because of the person I’m going to highlight as my inspiration.

My beautiful daughter lives in Manhattan. Now, she lives nowhere near where the attack took place. But she was four blocks from it at a conference during the time it occurred. Sitting in my little cocoon of an office in New Hampshire, writing away, I knew nothing about the event until she texted. Once she did, I was all over the news wires like white on rice.

The text said If you hear about a shooting on the West Side, just know that *** ( her boyfriend’s name) and I are okay. Can you just imagine the ice water that sluiced through my veins when I read that? As I said, I immediately turned the news on and watched the entire event unfold — as most of America did — in real time. What in the world did we ever do before we had cell phone cameras?

My instinctual reaction was to tell my daughter to come home. Move from her apartment, give up her job, come home where it’s safe and sound and I know you are okay.

That, as I said, was my first reaction. I did no such thing, of course, because we’re talking about my daughter here. She’d already lived through the Boston Marathon bombings when she resided in that town. She’d sheltered in place with one of my nieces who was attending MIT at the same time,  and survived the ordeal a stronger, more determined person.

When I’d asked her to move home then so I could be assured she’d be safe, her response had been, “Then that lets the terrorists win because I’d be running away from my lifestyle and the life I’ve made.  Their goal is to instill terror so we bow down to them. I’m not moving. I’m not giving in. Aren’t you the one who taught me the Tao of NGU NGI?” ( Never Give Up Never Give In).

Well, yes. I was. It’s very humbling having your words tossed back at you, especially when they’re used to prove a point.

So.

This time, when terror struck, I knew better than to state my case for her coming home again. My daughter, who was born in a tiny town in Wisconsin, is a true New Yorker. She’s got the grit, the determination, the steadfastness I so admire in anyone. She will go about her living her life — as all New Yorkers do — more determined, more focused, more kick-ass.

Oh, and just to walk the walk and talk the talk? She’s running the NYC marathon this weekend. No crazed lunatic of a terrorist is going to make her change her life.

I guess it’s pretty obvious now that my lovely daughter is the person who inspires me the most. She inspires me to be strong, determined, steadfast, daring. She’s encouraged me to live outside my little box, explore the beautiful world we live in, and to make each day a testament to freedom and love. By living her life as she does, she’s setting an example to people everywhere, especially her mother.

Now, the other authors in this blog hop all have people who inspire them that they want you to know about, too. Click on the links below and visit them. Leave some love and pass it on. And be an inspiration to someone if you can.

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Filed under Family Saga, MFRWauthor, Strong Women

#NaNoWriMo2017

Yes, it’s November. You know what that means.

No, not colder days (Brrr), daylight savings time ( a stupid idea), or Thanksgiving.

It’s time for NaNoWriMo.

For the next 30 days, millions of writers around the globe will attempt to bang out 50,000 words in a new novel. Some will succeed. Some will…not.

I hope to succeed. More to come on that.

I can still be found here daily, despite being locked in a cave, typing:

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

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An interview with #author Karilyn Bentley

 

Today I get to introduce you to another of my wonderful, talented, and prolific Wild Rose Press sistahs, Karilyn Bentley. Karilyn writes in a genre I am ashamed to say I don’t know much about: Urban Fantasy. But I’m going to rectify that today because the little snippet of her current work she’s talking about today sounds amazeballs! Come and meet Karilyn….

Karilyn,The Writer Questions

  1. What drives you to write? The stories and characters in my head keep talking to me and I have to put them on paper or go nuts!
  2. What genre(s) of Romance do you write, and why? Currently, I write urban fantasy. I started off writing paranormal and fantasy romance, but something about the urban fantasy genre drew me in. I love to write in first person with a snarky female heroine.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Historical, paranormal, mystery, and urban fantasy are my favorites. I like to be taken to a different place when I read, and of course, I need the HEA.
  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I try to write every day but oftentimes am not successful. I work mornings at the day job, so I try to write either in the afternoons or the evenings.
  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? We moved last year and prior to that, I had my own office. When we moved, my desk went into the room where my hubby works from home, but instead of using that desk, I now write at the kitchen table. The view is prettier. And I don’t have to listen to hubby’s conference calls. J
  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 need almost total quiet. I can’t even put on headphones or listen to music. Spoken words distract me when I try to write. (Peggy here: me, too!!! I should live in a sound booth that keeps all noise out!)
  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? Nope, no music. Too distracting!
  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? It’s part of my urban fantasy series so I am trying to wrap up plot threads. J But, the original idea for the series was a cross between an old TV show and a nurse who has problems. I wanted it to be a little funny, a lot snarky, and have a bit of a mystery.
  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Usually plot, but for this series, the main character came to me first. I wanted to tell Gin’s story. But now that I have her character in my head, it’s the plot that comes for the other books in the series.

What 3 words describe you, the writer?

Slow. As in, I’m one of the slowest writers ever!

Pantser hybrid. As in, I have to know where the story ends but nothing else.

Creative.

Karilyn, The Person 

    • Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!
      • I can’t leave the house until the bed is made. (Peggy here: oooo! Me, too!!)
    • Who was your first love and what age were you?
      • I was in love with a little friend from the time I was 3 until I was 12. Yeah, crazy. As far as men goes, I’d have to say it was my hubby. J
    • 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….
      • Oh wow. I have no idea. But that’s a great question! There are a lot of things I’d like to do again (as in places to travel to) but I’m not sure about one day.
    • Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando?
      • Briefs
    • If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?
      • Lipstick
    • What three words describe you, the person?
      • Funny, a good friend, likes to listen (Okay, so that’s more than three. I’ve never been good at math. Ha!)
    • If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?
      • I can’t sing!!
    • 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? Claire and Jamie from Outlander. They always seem to be having an adventure, so I’d go along with them.
  • I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
  • Favorite sound — My windchimes
  • Least favorite sound – I know it’s cliché, but anything that sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard (am shivering just thinking of that noise!)
  • Best song every written – Too many to pick just one!
  • Worst song ever written – I don’t like country/western, but not sure it’s the worst ever written.
  • Favorite actor and actress – I love Harrison Ford and Robert Redford. Not sure about the actress, I like several of them.
  • Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead)
    • A guy, just to see how the other half lives. (Peggy here – this is one of the best answers EVAH to this question!!!)
  • What turns you on?
    • Umm…
  • What turns you off?
    • Rude people
  • Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date (here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)
    • I can’t believe someone asked you that on your first date! Here’s mine: “Let’s go to Hooters. They have good wings.” (they do have good wings, but let’s face it, that’s not why the guy wanted to go)
  • What’s your version of a perfect day?
    • Sleeping in late, drinking several cups of coffee while sitting on my deck and reading a book.
    • DEMON CURSED  
    • Blurb:
    • Gin Crawford, the world’s newest demon huntress, just wants to enjoy a football game, but finds herself hunting a serial killer minion instead. When his victims turn out to be the local football star’s female fans, she must determine if the player has joined forces with the minion, but her efforts lead her deeper into danger. When her mentor, Aidan Smythe, is attacked, Gin resolves to go to any lengths to save him, even if it exposes her most tightly held secret. Minions and demons, however, aren’t the only terrors she faces. Will she realize the greatest danger lies within—before it’s too late?
    • Excerpt:I shake my head at him before straightening my shoulders. And slapping a hand over my mouth and nose. Yuck. Hours-old death in humid Texas weather makes for a smelly situation. At least I’m not the only one with their hand, or handkerchief, over their mouths.“What happened?” Smythe meets the gaze of each guard and the hyperventilating janitorial women who clearly found the body.One of the women points to where the body lies in front of the Dumpster, flat on her back, hands resting in classic death pose on her bloody stabbed chest, a red rose clasped in her fingers. Her open eyes stare into the night, her mouth curled into a grimace of pain and death. Her clothes look like she came from a club: tight, short, and low-cut, with spiky heels. At one time, I would’ve been jealous of her hot-to-trot figure. Now all I notice is the pain and terror stamped on her face and the unfurling anger deep in my core.Fucking murderers. I might be a fancy-assed demon huntress, but I destroy minions, not human killers. Lucky for me, I can tell which type of kill this scene belongs to with little effort.

      Closing my eyes, I start to take a deep calming breath, think better of it, and focus on activating my minion sensors. Tapping into the power of the entity lying along my nerves, I open my eyes to a tactical grid display of reds and oranges, a clear indication of a minion’s presence at the scene.

      Looks like I’ll get my wish to annihilate the bastard who killed this poor woman.

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

       

      A little more about Karilyn

    • Karilyn Bentley’s love of reading stories and preference of sitting in front of a computer at home instead of in a cube, drove her to pen her own works, blending fantasy and romance mixed with a touch of funny.Her paranormal romance novella, Werewolves in London, placed in the Got Wolf contest and started her writing career as an author of sexy heroes and lush fantasy worlds.Karilyn lives in Colorado with her own hunky hero, a crazy dog nicknamed The Kraken, a silly puppy, and a handful of colorful saltwater fish.Connect with Karilyn here: Website // Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter //Blog // Goodreads // Pinterest //AmazonPeggy here: Karilyn, it has been such a privilege and joy getting to know you, today! Much luck in all your future endeavors! Keep writing.

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Life is a lesson unto itself

 

I will admit this freely: I hate a preachy book. You know the kind. The book that just bleeds with not-so-hidden messages for the reader. The book that condescends to the reader, the author making sure you know he/she is so much more educated than you on the topic.

It even happens in romance books. I read a book years ago by an author who I won’t name ( and never read again!) whose secondary character was basically a doormat and let every person in the book walk all over her because she thought that’s how she deserved to be treated since she was a bastard. All through the story, her internal dialogue droned on and on about how she was unworthy of ever finding love because of this. In the end, she winds up alone and caring for the heroine’s two children. The life lesson I took away from all that drivel, and the one I really think the author intended: bastard children don’t deserve happiness.

Yeah…that’s why I’ve never read anything by this author again.

When I set out to write a book I don’t automatically think about the life lessons that should be incorporated into the story. For me, I think the story itself and how the characters move in and out of their lives, should decide this. Looking back on my books I can objectively say these have been the basic life lessons I’ve written about:

  1. Trust is earned. Every day. (First Impressions)
  2. Everyone deserves a second chance at love. (There’s No Place Like Home, The Voices of Angels)
  3. You can’t be all things to all people and you are stronger when you let people help you  (Cooking with Kandy)
  4. First Impressions aren’t always the correct ones (A Kiss Under the Christmas tree)
  5. Forgiveness is a gift (3 Wishes)
  6. Family is more than just the people you are related to (Skater’s Waltz)

I don’t preach in my books. That’s not my job. My job is to entertain the reader. If the reader gains any insight into her own life, or sees parallels within it from the storyline, then that’s a good thing. What isn’t a good thing is if I’ve insulted the reader by presenting a situation or a problem that may be comparable to something in their own life, and then telling them this is how the situation should be solved. No. Not gonna happen.

Life lessons are important. No one is denying that. I just don’t want to get slapped in the face with it when I read. And, I also don’t want to be the one slapping!

I’m sure the other authors in this blog hop are just chock full of life lessons, so why don’t you hop on over to their sites and see who they handle writing these lessons in to their own books.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

RWA – from a different viewpoint

Today, I’m over on the Contemporary Romance Writers blog talking about the upcoming RWA conference. I’ve include dthe text here if you don’t want to follow the link.

Here’s the text:

A few weeks ago, I blogged about what to do if you’re attending the Annual RWA conference for the very first time. Being a first-time attendee can be daunting and overwhelming. So many fabulous courses to choose from; the amazing publishing spotlights; the free books, oh Lord, the free books. That moment when you realize your favorite author of all time is in the same elevator as you.

It’s all heady stuff and those of us who are conference veterans know the feeling well. Which is why I want to concentrate on us old timers today and what I think our responsibilities should be when we attend the conference.

My very first RWA was in San Antonio in 2015. First timers are given an actual stick-on to place on their name badges stating they are first timer conference attendees. Like everyone else, I attached my badge banner after registration. I was standing by an escalator nervously trying not to look conspicuous and awkward in my solitariness the next day, when author Shirley Jump approached me and introduced herself. She stated she was an RWA Board Member and asked how I was liking my first conference. She asked what I wrote, was I published, what chapter did I belong to, all questions that engaged me in conversation and put me at ease. She was absolutely charming, lovely, and (if you’ve never seen her) gorgeous. She made me feel so special, I went about the rest of the day feeling less like a fish out of water.

Knowing that she took the time to reach out to me, a total stranger, to welcome me to RWA and to encourage me to take advantage of the parties, courses and workshops, gave me such a feeling of acceptance and belonging.

The next year, as a seasoned conference attendee now (LOL) I remembered that encounter and did the same thing Shirley did: I reached out to several people who had first timer banners on their badges. I introduced myself and then engaged them in conversation about their experience the same way Shirley had.

It felt marvelous to reach out that way. I met three women who were much the same age as me, who were at that point in their lives where they wanted to devote themselves to their writing more and were attending the conference to network, see what was happening in the industry, and take advantage of some of the fabulous workshops and courses. They even asked me advice on publishing. Imagine. Me!

Ego-boosting stuff to be sure.

Every year since then I’ve made it my business to connect like that with first timers. And every year I’ve made more writing friends because of it.

Every one of us who write has at one time or another felt that solitary, awkward, what-am-I-doing-here feeling. RWA is a supportive community of writers in all phases of their publishing careers and we should embrace one another on all those levels. A smile and a word of encouragement go a long way when someone is feeling out of place or overwhelmed. So, I’m challenging all of us RWA seasoned members to reach out this year to a first-time conference attendee and welcome them into the community we all love so much. You just may make a novice writer’s day. And conference.

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

Mini-NaNoWriMo…#SummerWritingChallenge, #WordCounts

As the Secretary of my chapter’s local RWA, I’m always thinking of ways I can help get the writers in my group motivated. Okay…let’s be honest: I’m always thinking of ways I can get myself motivated to write and I just use them as the excuse!

I write every day. I’ve mentioned that ad nauseum in this blog. But just because I write every day it doesn’t’ mean I wake up every morning with happy butterflies swarming around me and snow-white unicorns frolicking in the living room, thrilled to start the day’s writing session, my brain filled with award winning ideas and storylines. There are mornings ( a lot of them, truth be told) where I am just brain-fart dead and thinking of what to write makes me queasy.

So…in an attempt to get myself to finish the two books I have due, I’ve promoted a summer Mini-NaNoWriMo session with my NHRWA chaptermates.

I mustn’t be the only one who needs a fire lit under them during the summer days because a whole passel of them are writing along with me.

The rules are a little different from the month-long NaNoWriMo of November. We have 2 weeks – not 30 days; we can set a daily word count, a weekly one, or a total two-week count of any choosing, not the standard 50,000 words dictated by the NaNo-Gods. There is no official website to track progress, just a little ole’ Google.doc where I’m keeping track of everyone’s counts.

Easy peasy. No pressure.

I’ve got motivational memes lined up, words of writing inspiration and motivation saved in a NaNo folder, and I’m going to have little writing sprint sessions throughout the days to pushpushpush, I mean, HELP, my fellow writers. And ultimately myself!

My goal is my standard 2500 words per day, so after 14 days I should have………….(sorry, math isn’t my thing) 35,000 words. We’ll see how that goes.

Pray for me!

When I’m not trying to motivate myself and others 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, Life challenges, NaNoWriMo, New Hampshire, NHRWA, RWA, Strong Women

Be it ever so humble…

I’m going to bet that the other authors in this blog chain are writing about fabulous places they’ve visited like Hawaii, Australia, Ireland, Bimini. All places that evoke images of sandy beaches, lush and verdant fields that go on for days, tropical temperatures and a slow, relaxing lifestyle. I was all set to write about someplace I’ve visited like that too. Until I realized something….I don’t have to visit other locals and write about the beauty of the land and the people.

I can write about where I live, one of the most beautiful places in America.

Growing up in New York City, it was a long-running joke that if you wanted to see a grove of trees, visit Central Park. Joke though it may have been, it was based on reality. Living in an urban setting is many things: exciting, fast paced, cultural. What is was not, to me, was beautiful.

Fast forward 30 years. Looking to relocate, my husband accepted a job in New Hampshire. I’d never been to the upper New England states before and had no idea what the region “looked like.” We moved in the summer. My first introduction to a Fall in New England was one of the most eye-opening encounters I’d ever had – and it solidified in my mind the move we’d made was the correct one. Colors I couldn’t even begin to identify and name surrounded me.

 

We bought a house in the woods and I think I spent more time just gazing out the bay windows at the trees turning colors than I did unpacking.

The town I live in celebrates Autumn in a number of ways: apple picking, a pumpkin festival, decorating the main street with fall themed items such as corn stalks, pumpkins ( again!) just to name two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For years we celebrated the PUMPKIN FESTIVAL where our town donated lit jackolanterns. It’s with pride I tell you we hold numerous Guinness World Records for lit pumpkins in a defined setting. For years, people from all walks of life and literally from all over the world, came to our town during the festival to add their name and pumpkin to the tally.

There’s even a cottage tourism industry in this neck of the woods called Leaf Peeping Season.

 

From September until November you can drive up any of the highways that connect New England to our sister Canada, and watch the leaves – literally- turn colors before your eyes. Artists from all over the world come to our neck of the wood to try and capture the beauty of the colors, hues, and shades of out trees as they wind down for a nap during winter.

Dorothy Gayle went searching for her heart’s desire and found it in her own back yard. That’s the way I feel about this blog piece. There are so many gorgeous places on earth to travel, but when it comes down to selecting a favorite, I’m choosing my own back yard.

 

Be it ever so humble…..

Now, I’m sure the other authors in the blog hop challenge have equally as spectacular places to show you, so please visit their sites. Who knows? You may just find your next vacation destination.

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, There's No Place Like Home

A sweet summer treat with #author Margaret Ann Spence…

Talk about a summer treat! Strawberries, a fab new writer-friend, and new release all rolled into one!  Today I’ve got one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs, Margaret Ann Spence, visiting with me and she has a brand new book that released TODAY, titled LIPSTICK ON THE STRAWBERRY. What a fabulous, fun title!! Read on and find out about this lovely writer, then stick around for a little sweet, strawberry goodness as she gives you an excerpt from the book.

Margaret, The Writer 

  1. What drives you to write?  Can’t help myself, I’m afraid. If I don’t put words on paper every day I feel weird.
  2. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? Everyone wants to love and be loved. I like my romance a little more textured, so I write stories about women with “romantic elements.” That’s what RWA calls women’s fiction.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?  I love contemporary and historical. The characters have to develop and change in relation to what’s happening to them and to the world around them.
  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?   I’m a morning person. Caffeine is needed to jump-start the brain cells. After I read Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, I realized “morning pages” do really work. That is, grab a cuppa and write longhand in an exercise book for half an hour. Seems to free up something.
  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? Well, given my response above, you may not be surprised to learn I am writing this on my laptop propped up on pillows in bed. You will not ever receive a photograph of this. However, later in the day I will sit on the couch or a comfy armchair. With a laptop you can write anywhere. I do make an exception of airplanes. Travel is so uncomfortable today I can’t write on a plane. But the most productive authors do take advantage of that otherwise wasted time.
  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 tunnel vision? I get fairly focused but don’t like distractions. Then again, my kids are grown and it is blessedly quiet around here most of the time.
  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?  No. I don’t listen to music because I do find it distracting. What calms me is a peaceful view out the window of my garden.
  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?   My WIP – at an early stage- involves a botanist, an animal rights activist, and a medical researcher. It’s amazing what scientists are learning about genes – that plants and animals share so many and yet there’s so much diversity. As a gardener, I’m fascinated by new research that seems to indicate that plants communicate with one another. So I started to think, if animal rights activists believe eating meat is wrong, why is eating plants better? Of course everything eats everything else. The questions started to spin around in my head, and I thought of a conflict between the characters and started to plot it out.
  2. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?  In the case of the WIP, I had the core of the plot based on an idea. But in my debut novel, Lipstick on the Strawberry, published by The Wild Rose Press July 5th, the character came first. This character was in conflict with her family, particularly her father. Family life is full of conflict. I think in order to achieve independence a young person must strike out positions that are different from her parents’. But in a strict, respectable, and religious family, how can a daughter break convention without causing a rift? Shaming shadows a person, thwarting relationships until it is really confronted. That’s partly what I wanted to explore. Then I added food, for fun. My heroine is a caterer. Food is sensuous and messy and delicious, and a contrast to the cerebral. Plus, I made my heroine English because I wanted to play with the perception that British food is terrible and to show it can be good.  So, to the title: Photographers do weird things to make food more visually appetizing. They spritz a cake with hairspray, decorate a pie with shaving cream, and swipe a pale strawberry with lipstick to make it glisten. When I learned that, I knew I had my book title. My caterer, Camilla, always felt unable to live up to her family’s expectations. She finds that beneath the veneer of respectability lie imperfection and secrets.

  1. What 3 words describe you, the writer?  Writing: Helps me think. In more than three words, this means, I often don’t know what I think till I write it down.

Margaret,  The Person 

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing.  I love to travel, and when I was young did a lot of crazy things that were more foolish than brave. One time, in a youth hostel, a girl asked for volunteers to help smuggle her cousin out of East Germany. I put my hand up, only to have it smartly smacked down by my friend Gail who had more sense than I did.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you?  I was eighteen and rebellious. My boyfriend and I would not have worked long term.
  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….    That’s a really great question. When I was in my twenties and living in London I signed up for a Peace Corps type of organization, thinking I must improve on my partying lifestyle. I didn’t hear for months and then got a notice informing me to bring lots of mosquito repellant because I’d be sent to help build a road for the people of Lapland. To be honest, I had to look up where Lapland was. It is in the Arctic Circle. I imagined myself up there, battling mosquitos while doing hard labor for a pittance and unable to return. I turned down this “job” offer. I sometimes think, what if I had gone up there? Could I have done some good? Or would I have been a victim of my own naivite?
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando?  For what? Why do they have them on at all? On the other hand, I love little guys in diapers, too.
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?   My lipstick! I have dark hair and pale lips make me look ghostly.
  6. What three words describes you, the person?   Love babies, books and bright colors. (not exactly three words, I know.)
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? I’ll have to stay up late enough to watch Jimmy Fallon. But I understand he talks about his kids a lot so we should sing Father and Daughter by Paul Simon.
  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?As a kid I loved Little Women. Because she had the same name and was also the oldest of four siblings, I totally identified with Meg. Of course the conventional thing was to love Jo because she was the brave one who dared to be different. But there it is, I was Meg. As it happens, one of my own children lives in Concord, Massachusetts, and I’ve visited the Orchard House, the home of Louisa May Alcott. So I’ve often imagined living there, picking apples, playing the spinet, even sitting up there in that tiny upstairs space where Louisa did her writing. We’d sit up there and chat about writing. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy all represent bits of Louisa May Alcott. Her characters are really alive to me.

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

 

  1. Favorite sound Children’s laughter. 
  2. Least favorite sound Ring tone on a cell phone in a theater.  
  3. Best song every written Lady in Red by Eric Clapton. Sexiest song ever! 
  4. Worst song ever written By December 23, Jingle Bells is the last song I want to hear.                                                                       
  5. Favorite actor and actress Actor: Ethan Hawke. Actress: Meryl Streep without question, followed by Cate Blanchette. Ever notice how male actors often just play themselves, over and over, while these two actresses blend themselves into the characters they’re playing, like chameleons. Maybe because women are trained to hide their true feelings?
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? (It can be anyone living or dead)   At the moment I am enthralled with Emma Stone’s performance in La La Land. So I guess I’d like to be her the day she realized she’d nailed the tap dancing.   
  7. What turns you on? Someone with a sense of humor.         
  8. What turns you off? Someone who takes him or herself too seriously.
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)  “I hate when people are late.” Not only does it put the recipient of those words on the defensive – did I keep you waiting? – but it indicates a mean and judgmental person. Should have feigned a headache immediately.
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? Planning, cooking and eating a wonderful dinner with friends, preferably on a patio with a water view. With or without the view however, there’s sheer sensual pleasure in setting a beautiful table, gathering and arranging colorful flowers from the garden, the sound of music selected by the music maestro of the house, my husband, the delicious waft of dinner from the kitchen, the hugs when the friends are greeted, the evening getting off to a great start.

 

Blurb: Lipstick on the Strawberry

Estranged from her English family, Camilla Fetherwell now lives in the United States and owns a successful catering business. Returning home for her father’s funeral, she reunites with her first love, Billy, whom she hasn’t seen since her father broke up their teenage romance.

Billy seems eager to resume their love affair. But after one blissful night together, things take a turn. Camilla suspects her father may have led a secret life, and when Billy reveals something he, too, has discovered, her apprehension grows. Billy holds her heart, but their relationship might be tainted by what her father hid. A reunion seems impossible.

Her life feels as splattered as her catering apron. As she watches her food stylist make a strawberry look luscious with a swipe of lipstick, Camilla wonders if a gloss has been put over a family secret? Can she and Billy survive what’s underneath?

Excerpt:

My fingers searched the back of the drawer and felt something glossy. I pulled, and saw in my hand a colored photograph of a woman who looked to be about the age I was now. She had hair the color of fallen leaves. Only the woman’s shoulders were visible below the head. Her blue and green scarf reflected the color of her laughing eyes. In the background was the blurred green of a field. I flicked the photo over. The penciled initials N.B. were the only notation.

A cold prickle ran down my back as I stared at it.

I tucked the photo into my pocket. How peculiar was it to find this woman’s image stuffed in the back of a drawer? Daddy had gone to pains to hide the picture.

In one hand, I lifted the plastic bags of trash, picked up the passport in the other, and went to find Tilda.

“Would you mind if I went home and rested?” I asked. “I feel a headache coming on.”

“Yes, of course. What did you find in there? Oh, good, Daddy’s passport. I’d like to keep that. How thoughtful of you. Anything else of interest?”

I turned so Tilda couldn’t see and fingered the pocketed photo. The letters N.B. intrigued me. Was this just the acronym to remind our father of something important? Or did it mean something else?

“No,” I said and hurried toward the door.

Buy Links:

Amazon /// Wild Rose Press // B&N // Kobo

A little more about Margaret:  

Margaret Ann Spence was born in Australia and has made the United States home for many years. In Lipstick on the Strawberry, she takes as backdrops Boston, Massachusetts and Cambridge, England, cities she’s lived in and loved. Lipstick won First Place, Romantic Elements Category, in the 2015 Beacon Contest, sponsored by the First Coast Romance Writers.

You can find Margaret here:

Facebook // Twitter // Blog& website // Goodreads //

Peggy here: Margaret, thanks so much for joining me today. Your book – and you! – sound fabulous! Much luck and keep writing.

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A visit to CRW…

Yesterday, I visited the Contemporary Romance Writers blog and gave a few tips about conference going.  Here’s the link: 

If you can’t access the link, here’s the article in its entirety

Memories from a first time RWA conference attendee. . .

(and what I learned to do- and not do – for the next conference.)

~ By Peggy Jaeger

In 2014 I attended my very first RWA conference in San Antonio. Not knowing what to expect from the conference, I’d gone with the idea that, as a trying-to-get-published romance writer, I was going to go all in, attend every workshop on craft and publishing, listen to every professional chat, set up as many editor and agent appointments as I was allowed, and basically do everything and see everything offered.

What’s that old saying: you make plans and God laughs? Yeah. Describes me perfectly.

The reality was so very different from what I’d planned, that it was almost comical.

First of all, there was no way I could attend every single workshop I wanted because so many of them overlapped or were at the same time as the others. I hadn’t realized I could see the full schedule on line before going, so I’d just assumed I’d be able to see what I wanted. Nope. Lesson learned? Plan ahead. Read through the online listing (now that you know it’s there!) and consider each class/workshop/chat for what it will bring to you as a writer. The conference is available on audio you can purchase, so if you miss classes, you can still hear their useful info when you get home.

I signed up for the Agent/Editor appointments. You were allowed one of each, so I scrolled through their names, saw a few big time agent names I recognized, then the publishers I knew about and made my choices. Again, God must have been chuckling big-time at my choices. Why? Because I hadn’t done any research on the people I was going to speak with. The Agent specialized in historical romance and YA. I write contemporary adult romance. The editor was from a house that was acquiring only through agents. Double flub on my part. Lesson learned? Research. Every single one of those agents and editors had a link to their websites, agencies, and publishing houses. If I’d done my due diligence and clicked on the one I wanted to meet with, I would have known before choosing them that they weren’t going to be interested in me or my work. Along with that, do not bring twenty typed copies of your manuscript to give to potential agents/editors. They don’t want to be schlepping a ton of unnecessary stuff home with them. This is the age of email and attachments.

Since this was my first RWA I had no idea all the “stuff” (and by stuff I mean swag and books) you receive at the conference. Every publishing house gives out complimentary books during their spotlight events; every breakfast, lunch and dinner has a guest speaker who also leave a book or two on every chair; the Goodie room is chock full of swag, free books, and just…stuff. I brought one suitcase with me that was already stuffed with my own stuff. Now I had over 6o free books and no room. Shipping them would have cost about $100.00. Lesson learned? Bring an extra bag/suitcase. You will be happy you did.

Again, since this was my first conference, I wanted to promote myself as a professional, so I brought nice clothes and outfits and shoes to go with them. Because I’m short all my shoes are 4 inches or above. If anyone has ever spent 12 hours in five inch heels you know the kind of agony I was in each and every night. Lesson learned? Dress appropriately, but comfortably. Kitten heels would have been fine! You want to make a good impression, especially on agents and editors, but you don’t need to look like you just stepped out of the pages of Vogue, or like you just crawled out of bed after a binge-drinking night at the hotel bar.

Realize you are going to see and possibly meet some of your all time favorite authors. It’s okay to fan-girl. It’s not okay to stalk. I stalked Nora Roberts at my first conference. The moment I saw her across the hotel lobby I simply lost my mind. She was on her way out of the building for a cigarette break. I am ashamed to admit this, but I followed her. It was like I was in some kind of trace. I knew what I was doing was illegal in 50 states, but I had no will to stop myself. When she stopped outside and lit up, I stood in the vestibule behind the glass doors just…watching her smoke. After a minute I realized what I was doing and snapped out of. Then I spotted Jill Shalvis on the escalator going down while I was going up. I jumped off and headed back down and followed her into the hotel coffee shop. Again… I was in a trance, I swear! Lesson learned? Be prepared to meet your writing idols but don’t do anything you could get arrested for!! When I spotted three twenty-somethings at the Literacy signing squeal like pigs when they met Jayne Ann Krentz, it drilled that lesson home.

One of the best things I did at the first conference was attend the RWA First Timer’s presentation. It was filled with helpful hints about how to get the most out of the conference without feeling overwhelmed, or as if you missed something. I highly recommend setting aside the two hours of the class and fitting it into your schedule.

This year the conference is in Orlando/Disney. In July. Florida in July is not a time frame for curly haired gals like me, so this year will bring its own set of problems and concerns! But I’m still going because I don’t want to miss the exciting, informative, and fun events and classes being offered. I’ll just need to pack an extra canister of hairspray.

Or maybe more than just one extra.

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.

Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.

In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.

In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader’s Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

Website/Blog || Twitter || Amazon Author Page || Facebook || Pinterest || Goodreads  || Instagram

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Labels and Titles and Slang….

We’ve become a society of label-ers. You know what I mean: everything, every person, every action, has to be categorized and labeled. For instance, who ever heard the term “Dad Bod” until a few years ago? I’ve heard it hundreds of times recently. The latest was on a fashion tv show. The hostess said to one of the male  models, “You’re really rocking the dad-bod.”  I know she said it as a compliment, but it had just enough snark and dig to make it really an insult.

Mom-jeans is another one of those labels that blows my mind. Again, I don’t think it’s meant to be insulting – just a descriptive word for high waisted jeans usually worn by women other than size zero teenagers – but it comes across as being so snide, you know it really is an insult.

 

Here are a few other labels for people and things that I’ve heard in my lifetime, and again, they are just this side of nasty when said:

going postal // chill pill //  chick  flick //  playa // wife beater // cray-cray // Barney-bag // hippy //  preppie //  yuppie //  D.I.N.K

How many of you recognize and know those?

How many of you wish you’d never heard them?

 

Yeah, me too!

Why do we put labels on everything and everyone? Why can’t we just say, things like, “Oh, yeah, Jennie” instead of “Oh yeah, Jennie. She’s that preppie chick, right?”

Why can’t you have a bad day and have someone ask, “How are you feeling?” Instead of saying, “You’re acting cray-cray today.” Or even worse, “You’re going postal, babe. Take a chill pill.” That one really burns my hide!! ( See what I did, there?! HeeHee)

I realize that these catch phrase labels are ways to shorten really in-depth thoughts and descriptions. I get that (did it again!)We’ve become a society that communicates in letters (BTW, WFT, TTFN, LOL) and shortens our verbal interactions to pithy descriptors. I know I’m getting older – and hopefully, wiser – but I long for the days when I could have a real conversation — a face to face conversation — that was a true imparting of words and information, not a drive by shooting ( Did it again!) of quick blurbs and bullet points.

Maybe I am getting just older and not wiser. I don’t know. Think I just need to chill? (heehee)

When I’m not waxing prolific about society’s intellectual downfall, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

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