Tag Archives: #authorlife #writinglife

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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#bookoftheMonth – I’m hoping, but I need your #VOTE to do it!!!

So, I found out yesterday that DIRTY DAMSELS is up for the AUGUST BOOK SELECTION at Love Romance Reads. I would so LOVELOVELOVE to be the book they choose to read and discuss, but I need your vote to do this!!! here’s the link to go and vote for DIRTY DAMSELS until August 7: LRR

Thanks for any help you can give!! !I adore my readers and my writing friends – we’re all in this together, peeps.

DIRTY DAMSELS

What if Cynderella had a one-night stand with a man named PRINCE???

When I first saw Cynderella all covered in soot in that sexy maid uniform, I knew I wanted to be her Prince.

She’s a small and savvy businesswoman who’s built her cleaning company from the ground up. But now that Dirty Damsels is booming, I’ve been hired to arrange a hostile takeover.

But the temptation of having her was too much to ignore… We ended up spending one night together—a night neither of will forget. Now, I want more. I need more. I want to spend every night, skin-on-skin, with my beautiful Ella.

Problem is, when she finds out who I really am, she’ll never forgive me.

The bathroom door opened.

In his tailored suit he’d been impressive and striking. With a white bulky towel wrapped around his waist, and the humidity in the bathroom sluicing off his damp torso, he was downright magnificent. Those wide and solid shoulders tapered down into biceps I could tell regularly attended a gym with him, and then into forearms corded with strong sinew and veins.

“I-I’m sorry,” I stammered. “I’m almost done. I’m sorry.” I blushed again and I cursed my fair skin. But really, how could I not blush and stutter when faced with this unbelievable specimen of hotness standing five feet away from me, all wet and hard muscled and gorgeous?

He moved like a panther across the rug, soundlessly stalking, as if playing with his prey, until he came to the opposite side of the bed.

He took one corner of the sheet in his hand and yanked it. “Do you have enough on your side?”

Speech was impossible because I knew I’d start blabbering again, so I nodded and tucked the sheet under the mattress.

“Hospital corners.” He nodded and then mimicked my motions. “I love a tight sheet.”

I couldn’t help but stare at the way his biceps swelled when he lifted the mattress as if it weighed nothing, and shot the sheet under it. Nor could I forgo glancing at the thick mat of black hair crisscrossing from one side of his pecs to the other and then down, disappearing below the towel. And I’d have to have been struck blind and stupid – which I’m neither – not to notice and admire the trim, tight waist and abdomen the towel was securely wrapped around.

At least I prayed it was securely wrapped.

I grabbed the comforter, shook it out and he helped me place it over the bed.

“Toss me one of those,” he commanded when I grabbed a pillow and began tugging the case on.

He caught both in midair.

The bed made, I turned to tell him about the platter of food, but stopped before the words could leave my throat. He’d moved without a sound again, coming to stand so close to me I could smell the citrus scent of the soap he’d used wafting off his body.

He placed a hand on my shoulder and gave it a little squeeze. I swear my body temperature went up ten degrees. I figured by now I resembled one of those cartoons where the character’s head turns beet red and then explodes upward.

“Thanks, Cinderella.” A devilish grin tripped across his tired face. “But I need to crash now, so…”

I truly could have stood there for the rest of the afternoon basking in his hotness, but I got the hint.

I nodded and made one last visual sweep of the room.

“Do you want me to close the blinds?” I asked, turning back just in time to see him drop the towel and slide – gloriously naked – into the freshly made bed.

Holy Mother of God. The man had a butt made for grabbing. Two perfect, round, and tight cheeks dipped from that narrow waist, leading downward to two thick and powerful thighs. Since his back was to me he didn’t notice my jaw hanging open to my knees while he burrowed under the comforter.

“Mmm…sure. Thanks, Cinderella.”

Even half asleep his voice made my heart skip a few beats and my girlie parts go zing.

Thanks for your vote, and if you missed it, here’s the link to do so: LRR

Until next time ~ Peg

 

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Filed under Dirty Damsels, Dot Com Girls Romance, Romance, Romance Books

#RWA2019 #RWA19 Wrap Up… And an open letter to the RWA Board.

On the train back home on Saturday, I had a few hours to ponder on this year’s RWA experience for me and I came up with quite a few things.

When I was first published 5 years ago and went to my very first RWA in San Antonio, every class I took was craft-related. I wanted to hear from the experts about how to master the art of romance writing. I didn’t even know that the publishing houses gave away free books! I was so intent on taking every craft class I could to make myself a better writer.

The second year I did know they gave away free books and I split the time 50/50 between craft classes, (fangirling) and going to book signings.

Third year I only went to book signings! hee hee

Fourth year I attended nothing but marketing classes ( and a few book signings) because now that I had over 10 books published I figured I knew what I was doing, writingwise, but now needed to know how to effectively market and sell those books.

This year, no book signings other than my own, and nothing but marketing classes. Well, that one on RomCom writing. How much my perspective has changed over these five years!

This year, for the very first time ( which is disgraceful that it took so long) the first and second black women were awarded RITAS. This was an historic RITA ceremony and while I am thrilled for the AOC who won, I am disheartened that it took so bloody long for it to happen. The board’s directive to solve this issue is imperative.

That’s all the good stuff. Now…the not so good.

Dear RWA Board Members.

I recognize that this was a hard year for you all. Cockygate, then the plagerism scandal; the #dontattendtheRitas movement because of the diversity issue. These have been tough hills to climb, I get that.

But…..

  1. Attending RWA in NYC is wicked expensive. The rooms alone are bankruptable to most writers who don’t make 6 figures ( hell, even 4 figures) a year. There must be some hotel that can accommodate this group for less money.
  2. And while we are on the subject of expensive hotels, 37 dollars for a breakfast buffet is ridiculous! I can’t believe there wasn’t some cost reduction that could have been given due to the large volume of guests RWA provided for the hotel.
  3. Now…the elevators. We’ve been in many hotels for RWA and this hotel has, hands down, the absolute worst elevators of any we’ve stayed in. They  broke down 3 times, took between 4 and 7 minutes to arrive most days ( yes, I timed them) and simply could not accommodate the amount of writers who needed to get to classes, all at the same time.
  4. The cost of registration is very high. Very high. And this year ( as last year) I personally don’t feel the cost was worth it for the mediocre quality of the workshops given. DOn’t get me wrong – some of them were fabulous. Truly. But overall I found the choices lacking.
  5. And having said that, there was a greater emphasis on indie and self publishing than ever before. Many of us are still traditionally published – like I am – and have no desire to switch to Indie.  It would have been nice to have a 50/50 split instead of the topheavy indie offerings. Just sayin’
  6. Now, the RITAS. In the past we’ve had desserts on the table to snack on during the long ( and long winded) ceremony. Little petit fours, snack cookies, delicious desserts to help sugar us up and get us through the event. This is what we had this year:

A box of lemon drops. LEMON DROPS. Really? I paid $499 for a lousy 8 pack of vile tasting hard candies that looked like the came from the land of Halloween candy rejects? Badly done, RWA. Badly done. And while we’re on this subject, $8.00 for a shitty 8 ounce glass of soda and $20.00 for a half glass of champagne was insulting. We’ve already been monetarily gouged for the cost of registration, the hotel, the food and now add insult to injury and charge penurious amounts for a drink at a ceremony?

Yeah, I think I’m skipping San Francisco for sure. I simply can’t afford it.

You can do better than this, RWA. You really can.

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You can take the girl out of the city….

but apparently you can never take the city out of the girl.

I arrived yesterday in NYC from sweet home New Hampshire, and the heat slapped me silly the moment I stepped out of Grand Central Station. The Hotel this year is only about 3 avenues and 2 blocks from GCS so, ever the money conscious chick, and knowing this burg like I know the back of my hand –  having spent my youth as a citizen of these fine streets – I hoofed it from the train to the hotel.

In the heat.

At midday.

In the busiest city in the world.

Lugging my suitcase behind me.

Yeah…didn’t think that one thru all the way, did I?

Got here ( sweating like a working farm animal) and THANK YOU JESUS my room was ready because if they told me it wasn’t, it wasn’t gonna be a pretty sight.

My room is big enough to house 4 people comfortably and no, I’m not offering any space to anyone, so get that outta your heads asap.

DOn’t have much of view by daylight

But night time is pretty cool, with the lights of 42nd street lit…

Oh, and that heat that was apparent when I arrived? About 5 pm tonight severe weather loomed in, enough so that a storm hazard warning blared on my phone. Torrential rain for 2 hours. Flash flood warning. Whipping winds.

Felt like home….

Until next time ~ Peg

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#ConferencePacking…the bane of my existence

So today’s the day I start to try on clothes I haven’t worn in a while ( okay, a year!), figure out how many “travel sized” personal care items I need to buy, do laundry to ensure I have enough underwear to last a week, and find shoes that go with more than one outfit so I don’t have to pack my entire shoe closet.

Stress, they name is Margaret-Mary.

Cause of stress? I need to pack for RWA.

I am, usually, a fabulous packer. I just came back from a week in London with one suitcase and a backpack, and my packing skills are enviable. When you fly international, you’re only allowed so much poundage per stored luggage. I came in under, more than 20 pounds lighter than what they allow.

Score! If the plane had crashed due to overpacking and overweight, it wouldn’t have been because of anything I’d contributed to.

You’d think since RWA is in NYC this year, I wouldn’t have to worry. No planes, no airport parking, just a drive to MetroNorth, hop on a commuter train and then hail a cab from Grand Central Station to the Marriott Marquis.

Easy peasy.

Yeah., not so much.

Backstory: I have 2 torn rotator cuffs and a bunch of ancillary damage to both shoulders. Due to scheduling issues I’m not having my first surgery to repair one shoulder until the end of august. What that means is that I’m severely limited in how much I can pull/lift/push with my arms. I’ll be attending RWA solo, as always, and getting my suitcase filled with a week’s worth of stuff and then carrying it to NYC is going to be a pain in the…shoulder.

So that’s one point.

Point 2 is since I haven’t been able to exercise much due to the pain and immobility issues of the shoulders, I’m a little….chubbier….than usual, and I haven’t bought any new clothes, so I need to be able to fit into the stuff from last year. And fit into stuff where I won’t look like  a stuffed sausage!!! Can you lose 4o pounds in a weekend?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Le sigh….

Oh well. Let me go try stuff on and see what — it anything — fits and doesn’t make me look like a tent.

And don’t forget to come see me in NYC. I’m doing 2 book signings this year:

And

Come see me and get a free book!!!

Until next time ~ Peg

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#ConferenceTime

In one short week I head to NYC for the annual RWA conference. Can I just tell you how happy I am that I don’t have to fly  to the event this year??!!  A quick drive to New Haven and then a hop on board Metro North and I can be in NYC much quicker than if I have to fly to ports west of here.

Any hoo…

This annual conference has become for me, a time to re-energize, revitalize, and reevaluate my writing career. I get to see writing friends I only see at conferences since we live in different places, and I get to fan-girl my favorite authors and do a little harmless stalking. Hee hee.

I’ll be updating the blog daily with fun stuff from NYC and the conference, so be sure to check out my hashtag #peggyworksaconference on my twitter and instagram feeds.

Until next time ~ Peg

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A working vacation? Is that an oxymoron?

So if you can see the date in the bottom right hand corner of the above banner, you know my newest book, DIRTY DAMSELS,  released on 7.2.19, smack dab in the middle of my summer family vaca to England.

I didn’t know when the trip was planned and booked that I’d be having a release during the time away. And not only time away, but in another country. In another time zone. With lousy wifi ( Sorry, London, but it’s true).

Any hoo.

The day this book released my family went to Hampton Court to see where Henry VIII romped about, then to several other museums before finishing up at the Sherlock Holmes restaurant for dinner. (  I made dinner, but skipped the rest of the day because I had to be available for blogs and interviews during the day.)

Having a book published when you are, a: in a foreign country and, b: 5 hours ahead of home, was tough, to say the least. I spent 12 hours in my hotel room, glued to the computer and hoping the lousy wifi held. Luckily, it did. I didn’t have to reconnect and reboot more than twice, so thank you Jesus for that.

I was able to watch my Amazon rating all day during the release and I think this was my number one preordered seller yet. I guess I’ll know for sure once the royalty check comes in.

So the question my family asked that night as we all settled around the dinner table was, was it worth missing a great day of touristing to sit in the hotel during release day. I had to be honest and tell them…it was. A book is like a new baby. You want to be there for it, nurture it, watch it grow. In this case I was watching it grow in readership, but you get me, right? I’m not sure the extended members of my family did, but that’s okay.

Would I ever want to be away from home on holiday with another book release. Hell, no. Hopefully, this was a once in a lifetime thing. Or at least a once in a decade thing for me!

When I first saw Cynderella all covered in soot in that sexy maid uniform, I knew I wanted to be her Prince.

She’s a small and savvy businesswoman who’s built her cleaning company from the ground up. But now that Dirty Damsels is booming, I’ve been hired to arrange a hostile takeover.

But the temptation of having her was too much to ignore… We ended up spending one night together—a night neither of will forget. Now, I want more. I need more. I want to spend every night, skin-on-skin, with my beautiful Ella.

Problem is, when she finds out who I really am, she’ll never forgive me.

Available in KU and here:

Amazon US:

Amazon CA:

Amazon UK:

Amazon AU:

Until next time ~Peg

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Dirty Damsels, Dot Com Girls Romance, Limitless Publishing

A little 4th of July #Beachreading fun courtesy of the #RomanceGems

The Romance Gems are having fun this month with our favorite book boyfriends. Do you have a fav BB? I do, except he’s married…yup, my BB is Roarke. And if Eve Dallas knew how I lust after her hubby,  she’d rip me a new heart in a flash, so why don’t we just keep that our little secret, hmm?
And while we are, don’t forget to join The Romance Gems daily as we blog about summer, BBs and the like, and then, enter our monthly rafflecopter. The link is below.

FYI, my other Book Boyfriend ( please don’t tell them about one another ) is Buddy from my new release DIRTY DAMSELS. He’s a honey, for sure!!

 

Don’t forget to enter: Rafflecopter July contest

And you can see all the book boyfriends featured here on Joan Reeves’ video:

Video

Until next time ~Peg

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