Tag Archives: Blog Hop

On why I write it all down….

The prompt/question this week is do I keep a journal or diary.

Duh!!! Of course I do. I’ve been a life-long diarist since I was given my first “big girl” diary at the age of 8.

It was a 3×5 sized, hardbound book, complete with it’s own lock and key, hundreds of sheets of lined paper, and Barbie pink, my signature color. I kept the key on a ribbon that perpetually hung from neck. I wasn’t going to let anyone get a hold of that key and find out all my deepest, darkest, secrets, my newest boy crush, or my thoughts about myself.

I got to the last page by my tenth birthday. At that birthday, I received a new one – a little bigger at 4×6, but still pink, keyed, and the paper was lined.

I filled that one up by before birthday # 12.

I was a very diligent writer back then. I sat down on my bed most nights and just wrote. Anything. Stuff about how my day had gone, what teacher had reamed me for talking in class – this was a common occurrence and all my report cards back then had one common theme “Margaret-Mary needs to learn to sit quietly when she is done with her work, and not visit with the other children. She tends to be done faster than everyone else and has a tendency to disrupt the others who are still working.”

I would write about tv shows and the latest plotlines for my favs like Hawaii 5-0 ( the original one), The Brady Bunch ( hated Marcia AND Jan), Love American Style ( I learned everything I ever needed to know about sex with that show!).

I’d write about new books I’d read. Nancy Drew, Trixie Beldon and Agatha Christie were my absolute favorites.

I wrote a lot about what I was feeling at the time. My preteen, then Tween, then full teen angst was real, bold, and vibrantly displayed in the pages of my Barbie pink journal. Inadequacies about my body, my personality, my basic worth, were all tortuously categorized and detailed in vivid, descriptive words.

By the time I was in college, I was still writing down my thoughts and using a journal for an emotional outlet, a friend, and a confidant. The fact that the pages never offered advice, censure, or any kind of validation to my thoughts, didn’t seem to matter at the time.

Fast forward a few years and I got married, then pregnant. While I was waiting for my daughter to be cooked, I started a new journal just for her. It detailed all her vitals and personal stuff, how she was doing in utero – how I was, too. We didn’t know the sex and kept it unknown until she popped out. From day one of her actual life on earth, I started a new journal for her, again detailing all the events in her life, the milestones, my hopes and dreams for her.

I stopped keeping a diary for her when she started doing her own journaling at 7 years old.

What’s that dopey expression about apples and trees? Black pots and kettles?

Let’s see what the other authors in the hop think about diaries, journals, and writing all your thoughts down for prosperity.

Click the link here: MFRW AUTHOR HOP

 

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#SaturdaySeven Love Quotes #LASReviews

As a romance writer, I’m always looking for the most romantic way to state a declaration of love. In my opinion, these 7 authors have done it just right.

Jane Austen

Ernest Hemingway

Leo Tolstoy

A.A. Milne

Miss Austen, again

William Goldman

Jodi Picoult

I wonder what the other authors in this blog hop are talking about today. Find out HERE

Looking for me? Here I am: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

and one last shameless plug: Check out my new AUDIOBOOK version of 3 WISHES, available now at Audible // Itunes // and Amazon.

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#SaturdaySeven #LASreviews 7 Love Songs for the Ages ( or aged!)


Since I write romantic fiction, I like exploring all things romance-related and that includes music. I’m a woman of a certain age ( read old!!!) and have heard a great many love songs during my listening time on this earth. In no particular order, these are my favorite 7 love songs. And a little trivia: #7 is my wedding song.

  1. Can’t help falling in love with you. ~Elvis Presley   
  2. I will Always love you. ~ Whitney Huston   
  3. Because you loved me. ~Celine Dion     
  4. I just called to say I love you. ~Stevie Wonder      
  5. She Loves you. ~The Beatles     
  6. I think I love you. ~The Partridge Family ( David Cassidy) 
  7. I’m a Believer. ~The Monkees And because this is a weekly challenge, click HERE to read about the other authors and their 7 favorite things.

Looking for me? here I am:

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

and one last shameless plug: Check out my new AUDIOBOOK version of 3 WISHES, available now at Audible // Itunes // and Amazon.

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#L&SR Saturday Seven

 

Another week, another list of 7 things! Today, I’m writing about 7 book series that I love! And by love, I mean LOVELOVELOVE!

In no order, here they are:

JD Robb, InDeath SeriesFrom the very first page of the very first book in this series, I was hooked and hooked solid! Lt. Eve Dallas and Roarke are a love affair for the ages. In each book, they have grown as people, in their marriage, in their jobs, even in how they navigate through their tortuous pasts. JD Robb is a master plotter and every single story is a masterclass for authors who want to learn how to write witty and spot-on dialogue and banter, plus be guided in how to weave a story to a perfect ending. Start at the very first book, Naked in Death. Guaranteed, you will be hooked just like me. The InDeath books are on “auto-buy” for me at Amazon.

Janet Evanovich. Stephanie Plum Series

If I was ever going to write myself a best friend, it would be Stephanie Plum. In her thirties, with one disastrous marriage behind her and a crazy family by her side, Stephanie is a bail-bondswoman -and not a very good one, at that. But what she is, is hysterically funny. The cast of regulars in the books from her work BFF Lula, a retired “Ho” to Stephanie’s grandma Mazur, a gun toting, funeral-gawking octogenarian with the body of a 100 year old and the dirty mind of a teenaged boy, and even to the two men in Steph’s life, Pete the detective, and Ranger the security expert, you will always find something to laugh at. Evanovich has created a heroine anyone could see as their very own book BFF.

Jill Shalvis. Lucky Harbor Series

I first became a Jill Shalvis groupie when I read the first book in this series, Simply Irresistible. Witty banter, great secondary characters, sex(!) This book had it all. So did the upteen more that came after it, all revolving around the residents of Lucky Harbor. Do yourself a favor: if you’ve never read a Shalvis book, start with this one, Simply Irresistible. That’s what the series will be to you: Irresistible!

 

Lauren Layne. The Wedding Belles

I discovered my first Lauren Layne book, TO have and to Hold, on Netgalley. Liking the blurb I decided to request a copy and give it a shot. I devoured the entire book in one sitting and then went straight to Amazon and bought the rest in the series, plus her entire backlist. Set mostly in Manhattan, the characters and setting were as familiar to me as if Layne was writing about my friends. With an engaging writing style and dialogue that I read out loud because it is so spot-on, she is another one of my auto-buy authors. Start with To Have and to Hold, sit back, and prepare to fall in love with her characters and with Lauren Layne herself!

 

Nora Roberts. The Bride Quartet

There’s something about a wedding, a bride, and a romance book that just pulls at my heart! Nora’s The Bride Quartet tells the story of 4 girlfriends since the womb who support one another, lift each other up and would give up all they have and are for the other. The men they let into their inner circle must be strong and know they can never come between the friends. Each story builds on the one before it until the very last, where all the girls find their own HEA, Each journey is rife with emotion, conflict, and some hot loving!

Marianne Rice: The Rocky Harbor Series

I met Marianne at a writing conference and from the moment we started talking I knew I needed to read her books. This girl truly is my sister from another mister!! Her Rocky Harbor Series, set in Maine, revolves around a family of adopted, troubled kids who all grew into wonderful human beings due to the loving influence of their adoptive parents. Each book could be a stand-alone, but when read in succession, you feel as if you’ve become a member of the family, too! The emotions are raw, the conflicts are real, and the love is everalsting.

Kari Lemor: Love on the Line Series.

I love me a good romantic suspense book, especially one where the characters on the page are real and the stories are so true to life you feel like you’re watching a movie unfold instead of reading words on pages. Kari Lemor’s Love on the Line books are my idea of a perfect romantic suspense series. Each is a separate story and you don’t have to read the one before it to be “caught up.” But my adice? You should! Read the first, WILD CARD UNDERCOVER and then move on to the next. You will not be disappointed!!

 

When I’m not reading my favorite authors, you can find me here, writing :Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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Am I getting too personal?

Week 3 of the 2018 #MFRWauthorBlogChallenge, and it’s another good topic: How much of myself is in my writing. In all honesty? A shitload!

Let me ‘esplain, Lucy.

That old adage write what you know only gets you so far in fiction. I could write tomes about Nursing, Parenting, the psychological ramifications of divorce on children. Truly. Tomes. But’s that’s non-fiction. In fiction, I’d only get about 2 books out of all that first-hand knowledge and personal angst. So writing what I know for fiction isn’t going to cut it.

But….

I’ve written characters who were lawyers, doctors, artists, Olympic athletes, chefs, and government agents. I’m not now, nor have I ever been, any of those things. Research into their professions, plus knowing a few people who are those things have helped. When to gets down to the meat and potatoes of the characters, especially my heroines though, well a lot of me, my habits and quirks, and beliefs are woven into their psychological makeup.

For instance. People who know me know I lovelovelove Diet Mountain Dew. Unhealthily so. It’s my drug of choice ( heehee). In A SHOT AT LOVE, I made my heroine Gemma Laine a DMD addict as the way in which she gets her caffeine hit. Just like me.

In THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, my heroine Moira Cleary is known as the quiet, calm twin. When she gets really, really angry, though, her voice and manner become deathly quiet. She doesn’t rant and rave like her mother and twin brother. Her verbal missiles obliterate and all the while her voice is as quiet as an empty church. I’m the same way. When my voice lowers, look out.

Another way there’s a great deal of ME in my writing is in the moral makeup of my heroines. They are all strong-willed women. Loyal, smart, and spiritual. They will fight to the death if someone they love is being hurt and when they take a stand on a topic, it takes a bulldozer to ever get them to change their minds.

Yeah. Kinda sounds like me.

I will never write a doormat heroine.

Or one who sees herself as a victim.

Being a victim is quite different than seeing yourself as one.

I will never write a heroine who does something morally repugnant and unforgivable. I wouldn’t know how to make her sympathetic with those qualities.

My tagline for my books is that I write about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. You will always know the makeup of my heroines based on that line. Always.

And because of that, you will always know a little about me, too.

Let’s hop on over to some of the other authors in this challenge and see how much of themselves they put in their writing.

 

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What to grab???

As part of the FLAMING CRIMES BLOGFEST, I’ve been asked to answer a specific question from author Chrys Fey. Stick around, beacuse after I answer it there’s a little gift from the Chrys waiting for you!

What is something ridiculous you would save if there was a fire?

 This is a question I’ve never even considered before, but it prompted a memory of when I was working as a nurse in Wisconsin. One of my nursing staff had their house burn down on Christmas day due to a faulty tree wire sparking and setting the place ablaze. The entire family got out with their lives intact but everything they owned was destroyed. They never even had a chance to grab anything but each other.

I’m going with the thought that I’ll have a split second to make a decision if this ever happens to me.

Now, I could say I’d take my laptop because that has all my vital info and my work on it, but I’ve got that all backed up, so if it were destroyed, I’d be okay.

I toyed with the idea of my cell phone for the same reasons, and the same excuses pulled me away from that.

I’m gonna assume my hubby and family get out okay. Scrap books? No. Favorite signed book by favorite author? Nope. My communion dress? No. My daughter’s childhood stuff animal. Nope.

It dawned on me that I do have one thing that isn’t replaceable and only means something to me and that’s my framed picture of Nora Roberts and me.

This is the only copy I have and it was taken at my very first RWA conference in 2014 in San Antonio, Tx. This picture is irreplaceable and worth its weight in gold to me, so I’m not leaving it if the house is burning down!

 

 

BUY LINKS:

Amazon / Barnes & Noble

The Wild Rose Press

 

BLURB: Beth and Donovan are now happily married, and what Beth wants more than anything is a baby. Her dream of starting a family is put on hold as fires burn dangerously close and Donovan becomes a victim of sabotage.

Donovan escapes what could’ve been a deadly wreck. Their past enemies have been eliminated, so who is cutting brake lines and leaving bloody messages? He vows to find out, for the sake of the woman he loves and the life they’re trying to build.

Amidst a criminal mind game, a fire ignites next to their home. They battle the flames and fight to keep their house safe from the blaze pressing in on all sides, but neither of them expects to confront a psychotic adversary in the middle of the inferno.

Their lives may just go up in flames…

About the Author:

Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

 

Author Links:

Website / Blog / Goodreads

Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

 

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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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The way to my heart is through my……

Before I answer that, let me explain something.

Most of you probably know by now ( because I’ve mentioned it ad nauseum!) I’m the only child of divorced parents. My parents separated when I was an infant and quickly divorced, each realizing the mistake they’d made. Too bad they didn’t realize it before a child came into the mix, but that’s just my anger speaking.

Any way…

Mom worked full time and I rarely – if ever – saw my father. On the occasions I did, the day usually ended with tears.

Fast forward to my teen years. Suddenly and without warning, my father wanted to be a presence in my life. I was an overweight, myopic, shy, and wicked smart girl ( which earned me no points with my peers!) who had no friends. So when my father wanted to be a part of my life, actually asked to spend time with me,  I was, to say the very least, thrilled. Our weekend visits became more frequent, and I spent an entire summer at his home with him and my step-mother ( a truly lovely woman). For the first time in my life, I felt like someone wanted me around; wanted to spend time with me. Me.

Fast forward to the college years. My decision to go to nursing school instead of into medicine drove a bit of a wedge between our relationship. To this day I feel the only reason my father wanted me to go to med school was because he wanted to brag about “my daughter the doctor.” To an uneducated, never having graduated high school man, this was, apparently, a big ego boost to him and I’d shot an arrow into his happiness bubble by refusing to be a physician. Our time spent together turned infrequent again. He claimed it was because he was working hard. He may have been. But I knew the real reason.

More years go by and it’s time for me to get married. What should have been the happiest time of my life…wasn’t. Let’s just be truthful here and say when your parents are divorced and they need to be together at an event supporting you, there is a great deal of tension in the air. The tension at my wedding and during the time leading up to it was so thick even a Roncomatic knife wouldn’t have been able to cut through it.

I didn’t see my father for almost 4 years after I married. Then I had a baby. You’d think that as the only grandchild my father would have been all over this child like white on rice. He probably would have if I hadn’t been the mom.

My daughter is now 28 and I haven’t seen my father since she was 8 years old.

Why did I tell you all this? The title of this MFRW blog piece today is supposed to be 5 ways to win my heart. For me, there is really only one way to win, claim, and keep my heart. And that’s to give me the precious gift of your time. Time is so fleeting, that any amount of it we can spend with, and give to, the people we love most in the world, is a good thing. All I ever wanted was someone to think of me enough, love me enough, to want to spend time with me.

So, the way to my heart? Yeah. It’s a straight road if you only take…the time.

This piece was a little depressing even for me, but I bet the other authors in this blog hop have happier tales to tell. Why don’t you hop on over and see what they have to say?

 

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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

Book Pet Peeves…I’ve got a million!


Dialogue that doesn’t ring true to the characters. Misplaced modifiers. Sex just for sex sake. Hunky guys who don’t know they are. The alpha whose entire personality and being is changed overnight by the love of a good woman.

The list could go on and on and…you get the picture. I’ll pick one just for space saving sake ( that way this blog won’t be 50,000 words long!)

The one that really gets me is the last one. You’ve got an alpha male who basically is a walking, talking, take-no-prisoners-be-the-leader kinda guy. He rarely smiles. He’s built like a combat tank. He vows never, ever, EVAH to get close enough to anyone that he’d feel any kind of emotion for them. Your basic misanthropic hunkadoodle. I have a writing friend who calls these types of guys ALPHAHOLES. Perfect description.

Enter the heroine. In 250+ pages she does one thing  – it could be anything from biting her bottom lip to punching the hero – that miraculously changes everything that has gone into this man’s internal makeup for 30+ years. Overnight. One thing.

And he’s a changed human for the rest of his natural days. He’ll never again be the silent, sacrificing all for the mission, defender of the world at the sake of his own happiness kind of guy. His entire demeanor changes. His way of thinking evolves. Overnight.

Overnight.

I’m just not feeling it, peeps.

I read a lot. A LOT! And I’m a wicked fast reader. I’m a Netgalley reader/reviewer, plus my Kindle has more books loaded onto it than I think it was constructed for. I can read a book a day – and not the Harlequin 200 paged ones, either. I just finished the hardback version of COME SUNDOWN by Nora Roberts in a day and that baby topped out at 468 pages.

So, I read a lot and I’m a widespread reader. I’ve seen an awful lot of these silent but deadly alphas written lately by traditionally published and self-published writers. Some of the story arcs make sense and give a reason the male transitions his entire makeup when he realizes his love for the heroine – many do not. Actually, A LOT do not.  There’s no justifiable reason this guy turns from hating mankind to kissing babies in the street and adopting orphan kittens. And that just burns me because people don’t change over night. People, basically, if truth be told, don’t change. I understand this is fiction and we have a great deal of literary license when it comes to characters/people. I get that and believe me, when it’s written correctly, this situation can happen in romantic fiction.

 

Give me a redeemed criminal who’s rehabilitation is believable, that there’s a legitimate reason he went straight( JD Robb’s Roarke, for instance ) and I’m hooked. Show me how a wounded soldier who thinks he has nothing to live for works through that emotion -logically – with the heroine and I’m hooked( Marianne Rice’s WOUNDED LOVE for instance).

Don’t just give me an alphahole and have him change overnight because the heroine is spunky or cute or a ballbreaker! That just doesn’t ring true, folks. Not in romance, and not in life. Not in my experience, any way. IF you like these types of heroes and stories, then YAY. Have fun reading them. I don’t and when I realize I won’t get that hour or two I invested in reading an implausible character back, well, I’m not a happy camper.

‘Nuff said….

Because this is blog hop there are a bunch of other writers who have their own peeves. Stop by and visit them.

 

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Netgalley Reviewer, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women