Tag Archives: #authorlife #writinglife

On Surgery, a lousy Post-op period, and feeling my age…

Last month I finally had the shoulder I injured 2 years ago repaired, surgically.

Long story short: I fell in a department store while looking for a dress for a wedding. Pain lead me to my PCP who thought I’d simply bruised my arm. Xrays showed nothing so he sent me to Physical Therapy for 6 weeks. It helped…some. Pain continued and I was told a biceps bruise can take up to a year to heal. Didn’t think an MRI was warranted when I asked.

Okay.

A year came and went. Still in pain. Went to an orthopod. More xrays showed nothing wrong. He diagnosed a “frozen shoulder.” Never heard of that before, I gotta tell ya. Treatment was pain meds and exercise. Didn’t get better. In fact, got a worse. Sent me for a cortisone injection. Worked for 3 days. Pain increased. FINALLY, after 20 months of this crap, sent me for an MRI. Diagnosis? Torn Rotator Cuff, biceps tendon and muscle.

Ya think they’d have listened to me from the beginning when I asked for the MRI.

Treatment? Surgery was my only option because the more experimental ones aren’t done at my hospital.

Went for my surgical preop. The doc who did it ( not my PCP) diagnosed a heart murmur. I said I didn’t have a heart murmur. She insisted I did and wouldn’t clear me for surgery unless I had an echocardiogram.

I went for the echocardiogram

$5,000 later, no murmur.

Ya think they’d have listened to me when I said I didn’t have a murmur.

SO, surgery. Went well, according to my orthopod. Yeah…from his perspective it did. Textbook case of a repair.

From my perspective? Not so much. First, I’m allergic to narcotics so the typical stuff they give for the excruciating post-op pain of this surgery, I can’t take. And believe me, Motrin does NOTHING to alleviate bone pain. Once the nerve block wore off I was in agony and I don’t use that word lightly. Coupled with the fact you aren’t/can’t lie down after this surgery, but need to remain propped up, like in a recliner, on your back, and my agony was increased fifty fold because I don’t and can’t sleep on my back. The torture device of the rotator sling that needs to be worn 24/7 for 4 weeks doesn’t help with sleeping, either.

I’d asked my orthopod about my postop time frame. With any other surgery I’ve had over the years, I’m up and at’em and raring to go after about a week of down time.

His response? Well, because of your age now, you’re gonna take much longer to heal. You’re not 25 anymore but knocking at 60’s door. I almost knocked on his door when he said that.

So, I’m old, I take longer to heal, I can’t take anything for the ridiculous pain, I can’t sleep, and since this is my dominant hand I’ve lost all independence with normal things, like getting dressed and performing personal care issues. If you think I’m being dramatic, YOU try putting pants on with one hand and cleaning yourself after going to the toilet with a hand you’ve never used for that purpose before, then tell me I’m still being dramatic!

I can’t do simple things like brush my hair, put on makeup, feed myself without all my food continually dropping back to the plate.

I can’t drive.

The hair in my armpits is long enough to braid because I can’t lift the arms to shave them.

I haven’t slept more than 1.5 hours a night since the surgery. When you only sleep 3 hours a night to begin with, having half of those hours taken away from you will make you cranky, to say the least.

Getting out of the chair is tantamount to giving birth: I grunt, wheeze, sweat, and push myself to a standing position, then need to catch my breath from all the effort.

It’s not pretty, kids. Not at all.

I’m on week 4 of this post-op period now. Still in the torture sling; still trying to sleep ( and failing) in the recliner. Still cranky, still in pain ( although not as much), and still unable to shave my armpits.

Welcome to my life ~ Peg

 

 

 

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#SundaySnippet 9.15.19

Romance readers love series. So do writers of the genre.

Last week I gave you a sneak peek at book 2 in the MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN SERIES, TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS, which should be out in the book reading world sometime this year. Today, I want to give you a little insight into book 3, which I’m currently writing.

The title? BAKED WITH LOVE, and if you’ve read book 1, you know the sister who bakes is sister Number 4, Maureen. Maureen owns and operates Inn Heaven, the award winning B&B in her hometown, in addition to being a fabulous baker. This is the first scene I’ve written in the story. It’s unedited, but you can feel the relationship that’s blooming immediately.

Enjoy.

Oh, my God, Maureen.” My sister Colleen’s voice rose a good two octaves from its normal sultry timbre. “Are those…penis pops?”

“Lower your voice,” I told her as I continued to pipe buttercream roses on the cupcakes I’d made for tomorrow’s wedding. “My entire Inn doesn’t need to know I’ve got those”—I grinned—“hardening in my kitchen.”

“Why, in the name of all that’s holy are there”—she counted out loud—“seven chocolate candies in the shape of male genitalia on your counter?”

“Because your bride’s maid of honor special ordered them for the attendants. I tried to talk her out of it, but she paid me triple to make them and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Be happy there are only seven. Originally she wanted one for each of the fifty females on the guest list. I was able to talk her out of it by promising to make those”—I chinned the pops—“for the bridesmaids. She’s going to present them tonight after the rehearsal. Thinks they’ll be, quote, a scream, unquote.”

My wedding planner and getting-bigger-by-the-second pregnant sister plopped herself down onto one of my kitchen chairs and sighed. Heavily.

“Oh, good Lord. Thanks for the head’s up. I’ll make sure the moms are nowhere in sight when she gives them out. I don’t relish having to listen to one more complaint about this wedding. I’ve had enough for the past week to last me until junior here”—she patted her round tummy—“is off to college.”

I flicked a glance at her and said, “Put your feet up, Coll. I can see how swollen they are from here.”

With more effort than was probably warranted – she is after all, related to our grandmother, who corners the market on theatricality – she hefted her feet onto an opposing kitchen chair then extended and flexed her toes a few times. This time the sigh that blew from her lips was thick with fatigue, and if I wasn’t mistaken, pain.

“I can’t believe you’re still wearing those ridiculous heels when you’re almost eight months along,” I chided. “Standing in them all day can’t be good for the baby. Or your back.”

“Stop scolding me.” It was impossible not to miss the whine in her voice. “I refuse to take advice from someone who thinks flipflops are the greatest invention known to the shoe wearing population of the world. And just for the record, my back is fine and my feet don’t hurt.”

“No, they just look like flesh colored water balloons.”

“When did you turn so mean? You’re usually the supportive, quiet sister.”

In ordinary circumstances this was true. But with my heavily pregnant and three-inch heel wearing sister, I was more than willing to make an exception.

I piped the last rose on the final cupcake, laid my pastry bag down on the counter, and turned to face her. Camera ready face with her professionally polished outfit perfect and not a tendril of hair out of place, the middle of my three sisters looked something she rarely did: tired. With her hands folded over her protruding belly, she’d dropped her chin to her chest and closed her eyes.

The snarky remark I was going to make about the benefits of wearing flats died before I gave it breath.

Since lunch service had finished a half hour ago and my serving staff was done with cleanup, Colleen and I were alone in my kitchen. I put the kettle on for tea for the two of us and asked, “Did you have lunch?”

Colleen lifted head. Her eyes took a moment to clear and focus on me, lending credence to my thought she was tired. And maybe more than simply tired.

“There’s a salad waiting for me at the office. Charity texted me while I was with the florist that she’d gotten me one.”

“Text her back and tell her to put it in the fridge. I’ll make you something to eat.”

While she contacted her assistant, I plated the luncheon salad I’d concocted for today’s menu and then put half of a ham and cheese sandwich into my Panini maker.

“Eat this until the sandwich is done.” I handed her the salad and a bottled water.

“What is it?”

“Spinach, cranberries, walnuts, raisins and carrots with a light pomegranate dressing and shaved Parmesan.”

Colleen shoved a forkful in and groaned. “Oh. My. God. Honestly, Maureen, you should have your own cooking show. This is insane.”

“Everything she makes is insane,” a male voice said from the doorway.

I knew that voice well, since it was a frequent inhabitant in my dreams most nights. Husky and deep, with a dash of just woken smoke, it was a voice that could cajole a lover into seduction and cut off a criminal at the knees.

Unfortunately, I’d never been either.

“Truth,” Colleen said through a mouthful of salad. “Why are you here?” she asked Heaven’s Chief of Police, Lucas Alexander before I could. “Somebody call a cop?”

Lucas flicked his moss green, heavily hooded gaze from my sister to me, one corner of his mouth tilting up. I actually had to contract my pelvic floor muscles whenever he looked at me so I wouldn’t melt to the floor in a pool of want. My ninety-three year old grandmother, Nanny Fee, calls this girding your loins. As far as a descriptive phrase for the maneuver, it’s a good one.

“You got a minute?” he asked me.

I nodded. “A few. Then I have to get the dining room reading for tonight’s rehearsal dinner.” I turned and pulled Colleen’s sandwich from the press when the bell tinged. Lucas, always comfortable in my kitchen, moved to lean a hip against the counter and then halted mid stride.

I knew the cause of his sudden stop. I bit down on the inside of my lip while I handed Colleen her sandwich plate. She caught my eye, and my stifled grin, and realized the cause. Her lips lifted in a wicked grin.

Lucas cleared his throat. “Are those–? Wait. What, what are those? Are they…?”

“Are they what?” Colleen asked, innocence dripping from her voice, at the same time I asked, “Want one?”

Lucas turned to find the two of us staring at him, expressions blanked, and waiting for him to continue.

He huffed out a breath and dragged a hand through his hair. “Nothing,” he said, with a nervous shake of his head and shoulders.

Colleen glanced up at me, winked, and then took a huge bite of her Panini. “Oh, good Lord, Mo.”

I smiled and told her, “You’re welcome,” before I said to Lucas, “What’s up?”

He tilted his head to the right in a come-with-me move I’d seen him make innumerable times over the years.

In the breezeway that separated my private kitchen from the commercial one I used for the Inn I own and cook in, Lucas stopped, bit down on a corner of his mouth, and twirled his hat in his hands. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was nervous, but nerves weren’t an emotion that lived in this man. His training as an army sniper had taught him how to remain calm in any crisis, cool under the hottest of circumstances. I’d never even heard him raise his voice in all the years I’d known him.

I repeated the question I’d asked in my kitchen.

“I need a favor.”

I rolled my hand in a go on gesture.

“Cathy might have mentioned that Robert’s coming to spend the summer with me and dad. Nora’s getting remarried this weekend and then leaving on a month long honeymoon.”

I nodded. “I’d heard that, but not from Cathy.” To the question in his eyes I said, “Nanny told me the other day when I dropped off her scone delivery at the nursing home. She heard it from Tillie Carlisle who got it from Maeve Capshaw, whose granddaughter, Olivia, told her. Nanny said Olivia was the one who introduced Nora to her intended at a divorced-and-looking event she’d hosted.”

“Jesus.” Lucas shook his head. “Small towns.”

I couldn’t help but smile. “A curse and a blessing, as Cathy is fond of saying.”

“Yeah, well, your sister is one of the smartest people I know. Anyway. Nora doesn’t want to leave Robert home alone for the summer. He’s too old for a babysitter, but at fifteen, still too young to be left to his own defenses. He just started driver’s ed but doesn’t have a valid license yet, so it was easier to take him for the summer while she’s gone.”

“So he’s gonna live with you and your dad until school starts up again?”

“Yeah.”

“Why don’t you sound happy about that? I mean, whenever Robert’s visited for school breaks before you’ve always been thrilled since you don’t get to see him as much since they moved.”

He huffed out another breath and leaned a shoulder against the wall. My pregnant sister wasn’t the only one who looked exhausted.

“It’s not that I’m not happy he’s coming to stay with us. It’s more, things with dad now aren’t good and I’m afraid he’s gonna make the kid’s life miserable with all his complaining and griping all day. Last time Robert came for a weekend all dad did was harp on him. Get a haircut, stand up straight, stop mumbling. Poor kid couldn’t wait to get back to his mother, and that’s saying something, because she’s just as bad. But, that’s why I don’t want him to spend all his time with his grandfather.”

“And I’m assuming this is where the favor you need from me comes in?”

He nodded. “The kid needs something to occupy him while he’s here. I’ve gotta work and I can’t take any time. I don’t want him sitting home all day fighting with dad or locked in his room playing video games. I want him to get out of the house. Get a job. You hire high schools kids to bus tables and help serve at the weekend events here at the Inn. I’m hoping you’ll take Robert on as summer crew. That way I’ll know where he is every day, he’ll earn a little money of his own, and I won’t have to worry about coming home to World War III every night. Plus…”

“Plus?”

“Well, if he’s with you all day, I won’t…worry about him. I know he’ll be in good hands. That you’ll feed him, take care of him like he was one of your own. Like you do everyone else.”

To say I was thrilled by the offhand compliment was an understatement. I didn’t even need to think about his request because even if I wasn’t on the lookout for extra help, I would have hired Lucas’s son.

“Sure. I can always use another body, especially in the summer when I’ve got a full house every weekend with Colleen’s weddings.”

Lucas’s shoulders dropped a couple of degrees from where they’d stationed themselves at his ears and he let out a breath filled with relief. “Thanks, Maureen. Really.”

I waved my hand at him. “Don’t worry about it. When does he get here?”

“Sunday morning. Nora’s dropping him off before she leaves for the airport.”

I nodded. “Get him all unpacked and settled and then you can bring him by Monday. I’ll go over everything with him then, okay?”

“More than okay. Again, I can’t thank you enough. You’re truly a lifesaver.” He took my hand and squeezed it. Lucas had done this hundreds of times over the years and like every other time he had, the wiring in my heart went a little haywire.

And like every other time, I swallowed the temptation to tug on his hand and pull him close enough so I could kiss him.

Intrigued? Me, too. Can’t wait to see how it ends. ( hee hee)

You can catch up on the O’Dowd’s now with book 1, DEARLY BELOVED. As soon as book 2 goes up for preorder, I’ll let ya know.

 

Get your copy at these fine vendors:

Amazon // Kobo  // Barnes and Nobel  //Apple // Google Play//

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Contemporary Romance, Dearly Beloved, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#LongandShortReviews #BloggingChallenge 9.11.19

This week’s topic is BOOKS THAT I KEEP MEANING TO READ ( but haven’t).

In all honesty, I could make about 5 blogs out of this one topic! My life is so busy ( as most of our lives are) that my reading for pleasure has taken a back seat to everything else.

If I were stranded on a deserted island that happened to have a library somewhere in the jungle, I’d be able to get to these books that have been on my TBR list for eons:

The Handmaids Tale, by Margaret Atwood. I love the HULU show so much, I’d like to actually read the book for a more indepth knowledge of Gillead

The Stand, by Stephen King. Every teenage boy I have ever known who’s read this book has loved it. I want to know  why.

The complete collection of NORA ROBERTS books  in order of publication- all 679,000,000 of them! hee hee.

The complete works of Shakespeare. I’ve read about 10 in my lifetime.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. The movie was good, but I heard the book was better,

The complete works of Susan Mallery.   She’s a oneclick author for me!

The complete works of Sarah Morgan  Another one click!

That would get me through the first month of my stranded-ness (!)

Let’s see what some of the other authors in the blog challenge want to read: L&SR

Until next time ~ Peg

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Just when I think it’s over…..

I don’t usually post full face pictures of myself on this page for a number of reasons, but the biggest one being I hate full face pictures of myself!!!

Cindy Crawford I am not.

I’m not even Helen Mirren and she’s in the same age group as me.

But when I received this award over the weekend, I also received a letter from FCRW that asked the winners to take a picture with the award and their winning book to post on the FCRW Facebook and Twitter pages. Since it was going to be so publicly displayed anyway, I figured, why not blog about it, too,  and post the picture.

So…

I am still rehabbing from my surgery, so you can see a tiny speck of the immobilizer covering my right hand as I hold the beautiful award. Yes, I’m in my nightgown, there’s nothing on my face except Retin A, I’m wearing my daytime glasses and my hair isn’t combed because I can’t do that yet ( due to dominant arm surgery!) But it would have taken too much time, effort, and energy – none of which I have, to look camera ready.

But..all that aside, this award truly touched my heart.

The past two months have been filled with self doubt, feelings of inadequacy, and  frustration over my writing career. After being dropped by two publishers and receiving some horrible reviews for my books, in addition to still not seeing my sales and readers increase, I’ve been struggling with the concept that writing for publication is something I’m not cut out for. There’s so much more involved than just writing stories of my heart. The time and cash spent on marketing, the query letters, the waiting to hear back, the time delays between book publications – it’s all starting to take a toll on my psyche.

The endless questions: have I peaked out? Is this all worth the time and expense? What am I killing myself for?

Dramatic? Yeah, maybe, but hey: this is me we’re talking about. Drama in my confirmation name.

And then this happens.

I think sometimes the universe, and/or God knows just what to do to make me realize my decisions and my life are worthwhile.

So…no more moping, overthinking, doubting, bitching or complaining.

Now if I could just brush my hair…..

Oh, and because the marketing aspect NEVER ends, here’s the book that won the award, available in ecopy, print and audio.

CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS

Amazon ///B&N // AppleBooks //GooglePlay// Kobo // AmazonUK

 

With Christmas season in full swing, baker Regina San Valentino is up to her elbows in cake batter and cookie dough. Between running her own business, filling her bursting holiday order book, and managing her crazy Italian family, she’s got no time to relax, no room for more custom cake orders, and no desire to find love. A failed marriage and a personal tragedy have convinced her she’s better off alone. Then a handsome stranger enters her bakery begging for help. Regina can’t find it in her heart to refuse him. Connor Gilhooly is in a bind. He needs a specialty cake for an upcoming fundraiser and puts himself and his company’s reputation in Regina’s capable hands. What he doesn’t plan on is falling for a woman with heartbreak in her eyes or dealing with a wise-guy father and a disapproving family. Can Regina lay her past to rest and trust the man who’s awoken her heart?

Until next time ~ Peg

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

#SundaySnippet 9.8.19

I don’t have a cover yet for my next A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN book, just a title: TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS. This is oldest O’Dowd sister CATHLEEN’S story. Widowed, lonely, and bit of a workaholic, Cathy is despairing she will ever find another man to warm her bed at night and one she can love forever. She agrees to attend a speed dating night, organized by her high school friend, Olivia, a local matchmaker. This little scene is after the event:

The lights were still on inside the house when Olivia dropped me back home three hours later.

“I don’t want you to be discouraged, Cathy,” she said as I unbuckled my seatbelt. “This was just your first event.”

And if I had anything to say about it, it was my last.

“Tonight was a mish-mash of personality types and age groups. I’d invited you so you could get a feel for what’s involved in the process. I didn’t expect you to meet or connect with anyone. We need to get together privately so I can figure out the type of man you’re interested in. Then, I can set up something in the future more to your taste level.”

My taste level? Good Lord. If tonight was any indication, there were no men out there who even came close to an appetizer much less a main course.

“Liv, I don’t know if I’m ready for this. I’m busy with the practice, handling Nanny’s affairs.” I swiped my gloved hand in the air. “I’m not sure I have the energy to be involved at the moment.”

She smiled and nodded. “Going out to dinner or a movie with a nice guy doesn’t mean you have to sign a marriage contract, Cath. According to Fiona all you do is work.”

“Well, yeah. Because I’m busy.”

Duh.

“I get that. But you can take a break every now and again, you know. Just think about it,” she added when I opened my mouth again, ready to protest.

Resigned, I nodded.

“I’ll call you in a few days and we can grab some lunch, okay?”

“Sure,” I said.

The house was lit and warm when I walked through the front door. I’d thought Frayne had left the lights on so I wouldn’t come home to a dark, empty house. The moment I closed the door behind me I realized I was wrong, because the house wasn’t empty at all.

Mac Frayne was seated at my dining room table, a laptop opened in front of him.

“You’re still here.”

Why that blue-eyed and befuddled stare meeting me through those thick lenses was such a turn on is a mystery I don’t think I’ll ever solve, but the moment his dazed gaze zeroed in on me and then cleared, his eyes widening, then narrowing, my legs got a little wobbly and my pulse jumped.

He tugged the glasses off and tossed them onto the table, his gaze never wavering my face.

“And you’re back early,” he said, rising.

I draped my coat over my forearm, kicked off my shoes, and shrugged. “It wasn’t supposed to be a long, drawn-out evening.”

Frayne took a few steps toward me, the lines in his forehead grooving deeper. “How was it?”

“Horrible,” I said, before I could stop myself. I shook my head as I moved towards the hall closet. “That’s unfair,” I added, as I hung up my coat. “It wasn’t horrible, as much as something not for me.”

I turned and barreled into Frayne.

Jesus.” His hands shot out and braced my upper arms. “You don’t make a sound when you move.”

“A lifetime of apartment living,” he said. Once I was sure footed and guaranteed not to fall into him again, he lowered his hands.

If I’d had any nerve I would have asked him to put them back. Instead, I swallowed, turned, and walked toward the kitchen, as he asked, “Why wasn’t it something for you?”

I ignored the question. “I’m starving. Have you had anything to eat?”

I wasn’t surprised when he followed me.

“Not since lunch at the Inn. Maureen had soup and sandwiches today, which, like everything else she’s served since I’ve been here, were delicious.”

“Mo only knows how to do delicious.” I peeked inside my fridge. “And speaking of,” I pulled out a glass container. “This is fried chicken she gave me this morning. Want some?”

He leaned a hip against the counter and cocked his head.

“You don’t mind sharing?”

“We both have to eat.”

I put the mashed sweet potatoes she’d sent along in a microwave bowl, then set the timer.

“I hope you like your chicken cold because I’m in no mood to wait for the oven to heat.”

That darling little curl popped up in the corner of his mouth.

“Cold is fine.”

“Did you read any more of Josiah’s diaries?” I asked while I pulled plates from the cabinet.

When he didn’t answer I looked over at him. His quizzical head cock was in place again.

“What?”

“I’m curious why you won’t answer my question.”

I stared at the microwave, taking a moment to formulate my answer.

“The whole concept of dating is alien to me. I knew Danny since the second grade and we got married when we were eighteen. He was the only guy I ever went out with, and it wasn’t even what anyone would consider dating, since we’d been together forever. Having to start all over at this age is”—I lifted one shoulder—“mentally exhausting.”

“Why did you agree to go, then?”

“Because, as my grandmother succinctly put it, it’s time to move on.”

“And you thought hiring a matchmaker was the way to meet someone?”

“I didn’t seek Olivia out. I kind of got railroaded into it.”

I explained how the situation came about while I put the food on the kitchen table. Once seated, I continued.

“Before I knew it, I’d agreed to go to tonight’s”—I waved my hand in the air—“thing.”

“So, again, why wasn’t it for you? I don’t know a lot about speed dating, but from what I’ve read it’s popular among millennials. Along with right-swipe hookups.” The jagged shake of his head told me all I needed to know how he felt about the way people met these days.

“And that’s the problem.” I pointed my sweet potato-laden fork at him. “I’m in the wrong age bracket. Call me old fashioned but I prefer to meet someone and get to know them organically and over time, not try and stuff the story of my life into three minutes before an egg timer beeps. Even though I didn’t participate I was tense and stressed watching the others who were. It all seemed…desperate to me.”

I stopped, mortified I’d admitted it, because in truth, that’s what I’d been feeling watching the group tonight.

From the moment we’d arrived at the restaurant I could tell I’d made a big mistake. The women were all older than me, had hungry, hopeful gleams in their eyes and when they caught sight of me, a few of their stares turned hostile. I was all set to beat a hasty retreat when Olivia’s hand at the small of my back propelled me forward.

Part of the restaurant had been cordoned off, a half dozen tables for two set-up in a semi-circle. Six women, six men, I assumed.

What’s that saying about what happens when you assume something?

A quick glance back at the hostility bowling my way and I realized it wasn’t because of my outfit or my age, but the fact I had the wrong chromosomes.

With me included, there were eight women. I’m better at words than math, but even a five year old knew that left a smaller number of men.

With a gentle prod, Olivia shoved me towards the gaggle of women. For the first time in my life I understood any sympathized with how Daniel must felt walking into the lion’s den.

“Ladies,” I said, with head bob and a tremulous smile.

Silence came back at me. I could stare down the most antagonistic of witnesses in a courtroom without even a thought, but for some reason all my courage flew south as these women glared at me through overly made-up, amateurly applied smoky eyes.

I swallowed the golf ball of fear in my throat.

“How’s everyone doing tonight?” I asked.

Lame, I know, but I was truly out of my element.

“You’re new,” a voice said. “Haven’t seen you before.”

“Y-yes. I’m a…friend…of Olivia’s.” If they thought I posed no dating threat, I figured they wouldn’t disembowel me.

“You joining in tonight, then?”

“Just an observer,” I assured her.

“Hey, aren’t you Fintan O’Dowd’s oldest?” One of them asked. Well, accused would be more the appropriate word choice.

Another quirk of living in a small community, especially with a well-known parent: everyone knows who you are and who you’re related to whether you know them or not. Since I didn’t recognize the woman asking, I nodded.

“Thought you was married.” Yup, accused was the correct word.

“I was. I’m a widow. My husband died…was killed. In Afghanistan.”

Immediately, their collective animosity flew right out the restaurant’s front door. They approached me in a cluster, cooing, and clicking their tongues in sad support of my plight.

If I’d known that was all it took to get them to put their invisible pitchforks and blunderbusses away I’d have led with it.

And yes, I know that’s dramatic, but their facial expressions up until then were fifty shades of scary.

A few moments later Olivia clapped her hands and called us to order.

I stood with her off at the side while she read the rules and held a stopwatch. A small bell sat on the table in front of her. At the first ding, the room went into motion.

The seven women all took their seats while the five men inspected them like hunters evaluating prey, and then made their way to the tables of their choice. I felt bad for the two women who sat solo.

“Don’t worry about them,” Olivia said, when I voiced my concern. “Everyone will have a chance to meet. You want to sit down at one of the tables and give this a go?”

Having a root canal without anesthesia while simultaneously getting my fingernails removed had more appeal. I declined, nicely, and said I just wanted to watch.

Intrigued? I’ll be posting soon on the cover and the release date, so stay tuned.

And don’t forget, book 1 DEARLY BELOVED is available now: Amazon // Kobo  // Barnes and Nobel  //Apple // Google Play//

 

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Contemporary Romance, Dearly Beloved, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor

5 things I could not live without…

We’ve all played the game if you were stranded on a deserted island, what would you have to have with you in order to survive?

The routine answers are fresh water, toilet paper, shelter.

I think if you ask millenials, they’d say their iPhones and electronic devices before anything else.

But, assuming you have the things you need ( water, shelter, etc). what would be the 5 things other than the necessities you could not live without?

For me, the answers are easy.

#1 Diet Mountain Dew.  I’d need to have my daily fix

#2 My skin care products. I’m not going anywhere without my RetinA, sun block, body moisturizers, and eye cremes

#3 unlimited paper and pens. I can’t be stranded without something to write the tale of my deserted island experience about on.

#4 Flashlights with long lasting batteries. I don’t like the dark. Or things that crawl and creep in the dark, like on a deserted island.

#5 My kindle, loaded with 5000 books. Hey, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be bored, so books are the best friends that you can take anywhere!

What are the 5 things you couldn’t live without??

Until next time ~ Peg

 

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A matter of opinion…

This wasn’t the blog post slotted for today when I planned my week. Things have a habit of changing, though, so….

On Monday, two things happened at the same time and were in such direct opposition to one another, for a few moments I felt as if I’d been shot through a time warp and landed in a parallel universe.

Let me ‘esplain

My Limitless Publishing book, DIRTY DAMSELS, has been out in the book reading world since July 2 of this year. I have been roping in reviews from wherever I can because, as we all know, the more reviews you have – and good ones! – the algorithm powers that be at Amazon sit up, take notice, and help you promote your book to the masses. Before the book launched, I did a BookSprouts review campaign and did really well with all 4 -5 star reviews. People I don’t even know bought the book ( Bless their souls!) and also rated it, mostly as 5 stars, which is fabulous. Since it’s been two months since it was released, I wanted to ramp up some more publicity for it, so I had it listed on Netgalley. You’ve all heard me talk about this book reading and rating service before, because I’m  a Netgalley official reviewer. So, monday morning at midnight, east coast time, the book went up for read and review. Monday was Labor day in the US, so the masses had a holiday. When I logged on at 5 am that morning I saw the book was listed, noticed the number of cover “likes” and then saw that it already had one review. 5 hours after it was put up.

Let me repeat that: 5 hours after is was made available.

When the butterflies in my stomach quieted, I scrolled down to read the review.

That damn battalion of flapping insects went on hyper-flap again.

The review was…scathing, is the best word. The reader admits she didn’t even finish the book ( well, who could in 5 hours? Was she Evelyn Wood’s granddaughter, fer Chri’sake??) and then droned on about how she “knew she was going to be disappointed, but requested the book anyway.” Oh, and she gave me 1.5 stars. Then she proceeded to upload the review on to Goodreads. Under the review several of her “friends” commented that they were glad she put up her review because it kept them from requesting the book for their own.

Friggin’ lemmings.

I will truthfully say I have never not read a book because someone gave it a bad review. If her “friends” had thought to scroll down on Goodreads and see all the 4 and 5 star reviews listed, would they have changed their minds? I can hope so, but I doubt it. Once a lemming…..

Needless to say, I was pissed. I emailed Goodreads and Netgalley and asked how they could publish a review from someone who blatantly stated that they did not finish the book. Isn’t that…cheating? Wrong? Fraud?

No response from either entity yet.

Now, the part of my Monday where I felt like I’d been shot through a time warp came an hour later when I received a 5 star review from Reader’s Favorite.

This reviewer actually READ the book. How could I tell? Because she gave details that a reader wouldn’t have gleaned if they’d skimmed through the pages. That review went a long long long way toward making my Monday better, I have to tell you.

I consistently wonder if people ( and that’s being kind, my calling them that and not trolls) who do reviews who aren’t authors ever think about how their words effect the writer. Do they understand they are bashing what this person does for a living? Critiquing their livelihood? Netgalley is a free service to readers, so they don’t even have to pay for the books they request. I understand that everyone is entitled to their opinion, I’m not questioning that. What I object to is blatantly stating you did not finish something and then being able to rate it, in turn, lowering the chance of other people wanting to read it.

I will tell you when I request a Netgalley listed book and then find it is not for me and don’t finish it, I always click the DNF button attached to the book review page. That gets me out of having to write a review. I don’t give any books I read less than a 3, and if I have to give a three, I always always always make some positive remarks about the book, ending with, it simply wasn’t for me. I don’t bash the book or the author.

Obviously, I was raised right.

Those lemmings? Yeah. Not so much.

Thanks for listening to me gripe!

Until next time ~ Peg

 

 

 

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What makes a #book #bingeworthy ?

This month on N.N. Light’s Book Heaven, it’s a celebration of Bingeworthy Books

I’m lucky enough to have my current Limitless Release DIRTY DAMSELS as one of those books being celebrated as bingeworthy – an honor, believe me!!!

I’m thrilled to have any book of mine thought of as one that has to be finished in one sitting! I have several favorite authors, who, when they release a new book, I devour immediately, unable to put it down until I know how everything resolves. And even though I read mainly romance, with the ending a guarantee of an HEA, an ending I KNOW is coming, I still can’t wait to finish the book.

SO, this got to me to thinking ( you knew that was coming, didn’t you? Hee hee): what, exactly, must a book have in it to make it a bingeworthy read for me?

  1. A heroine that I can get behind who’s independent, strong willed, compassionate, snarky – if she can be – and willing to stand up to people and situations because she believes in drawing a line in the sand when things are wrong. She will never be weak willed, nasty or mean, and she will always, always, fight for the underdog. She doesn’t go along with the crowd like a lemming, but forges her own path. And despite any troubles or conflicts that come her way, she always believes in herself and her capabilities. Oh, and I don’t care if she’s a size zero or a triple XL. All of Nora Roberts/JD Robb’s heroines are examples of women like this for me.
  2. A hero who doesn’t have to be conventionally tall, dark and handsome, but can have a face he fits into. He must be smart, he must be inherently kind  ( even when he’s being an absolute prick), love the heroine as if his life depended on it, be honest and truthful ( even when he needs to lie for plot reasons, hee hee) it doesn’t hurt if he’s witty or snarky and his ability to remain calm in chaotic situations is a must.It also doesn’t hurt if he’s seen the bad parts of life and survived some trauma, either. Sandra Brown and Lisa Kleypas‘ heros are examples of men like this.
  3. A plot that is believable and not contrived. Sarah Morgan and Tami Hoag are experts at this.
  4. Dialogue that flies off the page and makes me feel as if I’m listening to two people actually talking to one another. It takes a special kind of writer who can do this, seamlessly, and make you flip those pages one right after the other, anticipating what these two are going to say to one another and how they are going to say it. Jill Shalvis and Lauren Layne have this gift. In spades.
  5. Secondary characters I could see as my friends if they were to walk off the page. Again, nobody does this better than Nora in her JD Robb persona ( In my humble opinion.) The characters of Peabody, McNab, Summerset, Mavis, et al are all people I could see myself meeting for drinks and going to book club with!
  6. A setting I’d love to visit or live in. The way Janet Evanovich writes her scenes of New Jersey in the Stephanie Plum books is perfect for an example.

Each of the writers I mentioned above is a binge read author for me. The moment they release new books I stop whatever it is I am doing, whether it’s cleaning the house or writing my own books, and readreadread until I am done.

My greatest, secret wish is that I am a bingeworthy author for a reader!!

Hey – did you know I’ve got a sale going on? DEARLY BELOVED, book 1 in my Match Match in Heaven series is on sale ( ebook only) for just 99cents until 8.23.

 

The sale is in anticipation of book 2, TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS being released soon! Get your copy now  – if you haven’t already – and get all caught up before book 2 comes out into the book reading world.

get your copy here:

amazon // B&N // ibooks

Hopefully, it will be a bingeworthy read for you!

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Author, Author Branding, author promotion, Contemporary Romance, Dearly Beloved, Dialogue, female friends, Limitless Publishing, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Book sales, Amazon rankings, and being dropped by a publisher….yeah; happened to me. Twice.

There are so many days I wish I’d started writing fiction for publication in my 20’s. That would have been the height of the 1980’s where writers lived like kings, publishing houses hired publicists for their talented authors and book tours really involved actually touring to different places and not all over the internet.

I peaked too late, it seems.

In a time where major, traditional book publishers are dwindling as fast as an anorexic’s weight, book sales can mean the difference between a royalty check and getting bounced by your publisher for lackluster – or nonexistent – sales. Here’s my cautionary tale and lament.

You all know I’ve had a long standing publishing relationship with the WILD ROSE PRESS, who I love beyond all else!!! I’ve also had three books published by Kensington/Lyrical and recently, a new series contracted by Limitless Publishing. The series for Lyrical was originally seven books, but they dropped me after the third was published. Why, you ask? I was told at the time is was because the line was moving in a different direction away from romance and more toward cozy mysteries. And yet I still see new authors being promoted monthly with Lyrical romance releases.

Hmmmm.

After the recent publication of DIRTY DAMSELS, book 1 in the DotComGirls series ( 3 books planned), I submitted the second book in the series, HELPFUL HUNKS, only to be told the company was not going to be publishing any more of my titles due to lackluster sales. When I submitted book 2, book one had been out in the world for a total of 3 weeks.

3 friggin’ weeks!

How many sales were they hoping I’d get in that time frame? I didn’t even have a book promotion planned until august when  I got back from RWA so I could devote time to it. I did a ton of preorder promotion and hoped my opening day sales reflected all that work. I was in London during the release and tracked my ranking the entire time I was there. According to my amazon results, I had the best release week of my life, with the second week even better. And this is my first book in Kindle Unlimited, which you don’t even see included in your ranking.

How can that possibly mean lackluster sales?

I think the major mistake I made was in submitting the second book so soon. I should have waited at least three months to do so. I don’t even get a royalty check until the end of this month, so that’s going to be interesting to see. The publisher was obviously basing contracting book 2 based on book 1 sales, which, at that time, weren’t even in.

Lesson learned.

I used to wonder why so many authors self published. I’m starting to get it, now.

And…because the promo never ends, don’t forget I’ve got a 99cent sale on  for DEARLY BELOVED until August 23rd. If you haven’t read it yet, do so soon because book 2, TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS releases soon and you’ll want to know what’s going on in the lovely town of HEAVEN, NH before it does!

get your copy here:

amazon // B&N // ibooks

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, author promotion, Dirty Damsels, Dot Com Girls Romance, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Another oldie, but goodie: A DREAM vs A GOAL…

 

Still taking a little break from the internet. Here’s another post I thought could do with a repeat: From 2017

So…I’m giving this motivational speech next month at a woman’s weekend retreat and I’ve starting putting my thoughts together on what I want to say, the points I want to highlight, and the ideas I want to leave the women with.  And by starting to put together I really mean I’m starting to panic about what to say!! I’m going to use this blog piece as a way of organizing my thoughts, so please bear with me!

I’ve always asserted that there is a distinct difference between having a dream for yourself and having a goal. To prove I’m educated in the difference between the two, here are the definitions:

A goal is: an aim or desired result

goals

A dream is: a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal

dreams

Now, just looking at the two you might think they really are the same thing. But I don’t think they are and here’s why.

I always had a little dream to write romantic fiction and have it published. My dream was to be able to support myself as a writer and have the people who read my stuff like it, be loyal, and want more of it.  That was it. Just a dream. A little fantasy that played out in my mind time after time. I’d  imagine myself going to book signings and have the waiting line for my table be out the door and around the block! I’d make every bestseller list out there, and talk shows would be clamoring to schedule me whenever I had a new book released. Amazon would list me as a preferred author and my Goodreads page would be off the chart with followers.

Okay, so it was a BIG dream and not really a little one.

What turned my dream into a reality was when I set a goal for myself centering on that dream to write and publish. I put an action plan behind my fantasy. I set a time frame for what I wanted to happen, the means to make sure it did, and took steps to promote and push it along to fruition.

See the difference? My dream was ephemeral, just a thought, an idea, a wish. My goal put action behind the fantasy to make it come true. To break it down even further ( for you literary and English majors!)  my dream was a noun and my goal was the verb.

Make sense?

Now, of course,  I’m going to expound on that a lot more when I give my talk. I do have to fill an entire hour and not just a three minute ready-to-read-piece like this one! But I think my idea is solid. How I got to live out my fantasy, my dream, how I made it happen, will comprise the majority of the speech. But for now, I have a starting point, so thank’s for listening and ANY WORDS OF WISDOM would not only be appreciated, they would be cherished…so feel free.

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