Tag Archives: contemporary romance writer

Public speaking isn’t for sissies…

So, this weekend I’ll be here:

womensweekendad2016-copy

I’m part of the Vendor’s event on Friday night,  hawking my books and pressing the flesh ( why that always sounds so dirty to me, I can’t tell ya, but it does! )

Saturday I’m giving two “talks” or classes, as the camp is calling them. One is titled DREAM BIG the other, WRITING A BOOK, two concepts I know a great deal about.

Anyone who knows me knows I love to talk. I’ll talk to practically anyone, anywhere any time. My grandmother used to say I’d talk to a rock if it would listen. She’s wasn’t wrong.

But speaking to another person one-on-one or in a small group of your friends is totally different from getting up in front of a bunch of strangers and commanding a topic.

publiscpeaking2

publicspeaking

I tend to babble when I’m nervous. I tend to go off on tangents if something strikes me as funny. I tend to avoid eye contact because I’m so nervous. None of these little idiosyncrasies warms a listener’s heart when they have paid cash-money to hear you speak about a topic you are supposed to be proficient in and an expert on.

There are a million tactics to dealing with this nervous anxiety. Picturing your audience naked is one of the oldest and most quoted pieces of advice. But folks, seriously? I’m a romance writer. I write about naked people all the time! If I started envisioning my audience naked I’d most likely start to think up stories to put couples in the crowd together! Not a good tactic at all.

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Someone else offered me the advice of speaking to the crowd as if they were all a bunch of my friends and we were just chatting. Again- do you know me??? I have more “friends” on facebook than I do in real life. I’m never around more than 4 people at a time. EVAH!!!

One thing I did do for these two talks was write out all the bullet points I wanted to speak about and then transferred them to index cards. At least this way I can stick to topic and not go off on one of my numerous side trips and a non-sensical conversations.

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Arghghgh, as Charlie Brown so correctly says.

What have I gotten myself into? It’s so hard being a 50-ish, chubby, nervous, introvert in today’s youth obsessed, anorexic, let-everything-hang-out-there world.

I think I’ll go back to writing now to calm myself.

When I’m not having anxiety attacks about public speaking you can find me here:

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Literary characters, Lyrical Author, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

When rejection turns to acceptance…

At RWA16 I was delighted to sit in on a seminar by the wonderful Christie Craig. She spoke of her years of hard work in trying to get published  and her disappointment with each rejection letter she received. Like her, I can relate. Over the years I’ve probably had enough rejections from editors and literary agents to fill a suitcase. Well, Christie Craig did. Fill a suitcase. And she brought it along with her to the seminar to illustrate just how many pieces of paper with her work rejected she’d received over the years.

rejectin3

I have to tell you it was eye opening.

I’ve always joked I’ve been rejected more times than there are books in the library. But I threw those rejection letters away and never thought about them again. This is my little psychological quirky way of dealing with unpleasant issues: out of sight, out of mind. Hey, it works for me.

Christie did not toss away her rejections. She saved them, accumulated them, stored them away so that one day she could take them out and say “Look. Look at what I had to suffer through to be a published author. Look at the fires I walked through to come out on the other side of my dream.”

Heady stuff.

rejectin1

She–and I–are not the only  ones who’ve lived through mountains of rejections and so-called failures.

  • R.H. Macy, yes that MACY, started 7 failed businesses before finally hitting it big with his NYC-based store
  • Thomas Edison had 1000 unsuccessful light bulb inventions and attempts before one finally worked.
  • After Fred Astaire’s screen test, the studio director stated that Astaire, “can’t dance, can’t sing, is balding and can dance a little.”
  • Theodor Giesel, who the world lovingly knows as Dr Suess, had 27 publishers reject his first book.
  • Stephen King received 30 rejections of Carrie, one of the most iconic horror books and movies of all time.
  • Jack London’s first story received 600 rejection slips before being accepted.
  • Elvis Presley was told by the manager of the Grand Ol’ Opry, “you ain’t going nowhere, son. Go back to driving a truck.” He then fired him after only 1 performance.
  • Ever heard of Harland David Sanders? His secret recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it, coated their chicken with it and Kentucky Fried Chicken was born.

I could go on…and on. But won’t because you get the idea.

Hard work, perseverance,  a backbone of steel, and total belief in yourself and what you have to offer is what differentiates a successful person from one who isn’t.

Think about it.

What are you going to do the next time you get rejected?

rejectin2

When I’m not being rejected(!), you can find me here:

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Filed under #RWA16, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Editors, Family Saga, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Laine Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A great idea: I have them sometimes!

So every now and again ( like, once a millennium!) I come up with an idea that just makes me happy. This is the story of one of those times.

Recently, I decided to upgrade. No, I didn’t buy a new house or trade in my trusty Subaru for that 1962 Corvette I’ve been salivating over for 40 years. I upgraded to professional publicity headshots. You may have noticed that the headline banner for this blog is different than it was a few weeks ago. If you check out my twitter feed, my facebook author page, and my amazon author page, you’ll see every one of them has a new look, a new picture, a new, well, me!View More: http://stephanieritaphoto.pass.us/peggyjheadshots

When I started my actual second career in the writing world 2 years ago, my best friend Jill – who is an amazing amateur photographer – helped me set up my website and took all my publicity head shots. She did a wonderful job and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people tell me how great the pictures are. And they are. Truly. But lately, I realized I needed to upgrade my sites. And for that, I sought out a professional photographer. I didn’t go far. In fact, I stayed in the same family. Namely, Jill’s daughter Stephanie, who is a professional photographer. Her business is Stephanie Rita Photography and if you are looking for wedding, family portraits, or headshots ( like me), she is the business to go to. Click on the above link and you can scroll through her beautiful site.

View More: http://stephanieritaphoto.pass.us/peggyjheadshots

Not only is Stephanie an amazeballs photographer, she’s also a visual  artist. Click on her site here: Letters From Rita and get a gander at her lovely work.

View More: http://stephanieritaphoto.pass.us/peggyjheadshots

I’ve known this beautiful young woman since she was five years old. She and my daughter were best friends from the first day of kindergarten and grew into life-long friends and compadres. I’ve been privileged and proud to watch her grow into the lovely woman she is now, in addition to a talented artist, and, as you can see, a gifted photographer. I say gifted because it’s not everyone who can take someone like me – who basically shuns a camera lens whenever she sees one – and actually make me comfortable with getting my picture taken! Truly gifted is the more appropriate term.

So, I hope you like the new photos and I can’t recommend this young lady enough if you’re looking for a photographer. When you get in touch, tell her I sent you!!

stefieandme

When I’m not getting my picture taken, you can find me here:

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, MacQuire Women, Netgalley Reviewer, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Book 3

So, I just started working on the third book in my WILL COOK FOR LOVE series for Kensington/Lyrical/Shine and it’s going a little slow, so I decided to take a break ( i.e. procrastinate!) and let you see some of the images I’m using for my characters.

Here’s what I imagine my heroine Stacy Peters looks like:Grace-Kelly-001

Here’s my hero, Dominck Nikko Stamp

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Here’s Dominick’s teenaged daughter, Melora

Kristen-Stewart-Marie-Claire-Photo-Shoot-2015-Video (1)

and last–but not least–Riley MacNeill, the chef  ( and Melora’s crush!)

joshduhameljs005I Know… I have such a hard job!!!!

Haven’t come up with a title yet, so I’m calling it: COOKING FOR COWBOYS right now. I just know that is going to change!!!

Stay tuned.

here’s where you can find me:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Something new…

Recently, I signed on with NetGalley, an online book reviewer site. The reason I decided to do this was because I read a lot  of books by new authors,  and I know – personally!- how hard it is to get reviews. Reviews generate buzz about books to people, and as an author, I appreciate how valuable a good review is to finding new readers to read my stuff.  A good review can up an author’s sales. A great review can propel a book and its writer into another stratosphere. Being a reviewer allows me to help the people I know who read my blog find great new and upcoming authors, and writers they’ve never read before.

I made a new page on my website to list the books and their reviews that I think are outstanding and worthy to be read. This is the link: Books I’ve reviewed .  You’ll find well known authors in addition to many names many you’ve never heard of before – but should be hearing about!

My standards for review are the same ones I hope other reviewers will use for me. I won’t write a written review for any book that I can’t give a 4 or 5, to. If a book scores lower than that for me, it usually means the story didn’t resonate with me. That doesn’t mean it won’t appeal to others, tho, and I don’t want to post something negative about it. I’ve read two books recently that I gave only 3’s to because there were so many grammatical and typing errors in the copy I couldn’t actually enjoy the story because of it.

I don’t ever want to be one of those mean reviewers who epitomize the haters gotta hate rule. Those are the reviewers who I always think are secretly writer-wannabes who just can’t – for whatever reason -write the story themselves, so they bash others that do. So. Not. Me!

So, if my humble opinion means anything, I hope you will check back periodically and read about the books I’ve given kudos to.

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, New Hampshire, NHRWA, research, Romance, Romance Books, The Wild Rose Press

Serendipity? You betcha!

Take a look at these 2 photos:

mywall          wall2

The one on the left is hanging on my bedroom wall. I bought it right before I got married 175 years(!)  ago in a little shop in NYC.  I loved the whole Victoria/Regency aspect of it. I believe it’s called Signing the Registry. The one on the right I took as a screenshot when I was recently on the treadmill – you can see my slow progress in the numbers above the photo. This picture I grabbed out of a scene from LOVE BENEATH THE COVERS a  documentary about the Romance Publishing business. It was shown at the #RWA16 conference last week in San Diego, but I couldn’t attend due to a prior engagement, so I rented it on i-Tunes for my daily treadmill tortur…um…exercise. You will notice they are one and the same picture of an 18th century marriage license signing ceremony.

Why is this significant, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

Every now and again my Guardian angels/karma/the universe ( call it what you like) deems it proper to remind me that I made the appropriate choice to retire early and devote myself to full time writing. Seeing this picture which I have always loved and always will, displayed not only in my home, but in a film about the romance writing industry, proves to me I’ve made the correct choices for my career path these past 2 years.

So…serendipity, much? You betcha!!

My most recent book, THE VOICES OF ANGELS.

Blurb:

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Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Buy Links: Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under #RWA16, Author, Contemporary Romance, Literary characters, love, Lyrical Author, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

How Pinterest made me a better writer! (or, Into the mind of a Writer, part II)

There’s a running commentary of questions in my brain in any given moment on any given day.

How did we cook on the fly before microwaves? How did we keep in touch with one another before cell-phones ruled the world? How did we communicate before the internet and email and texting? Does anyone know how to parallel park anymore? Do people actually still talk to one another at meal-time?

There’s a lot going on in my head at any one time and I certainly can’t remember a life before we had all these gadgets and  inconvenient conveniences.  But there is one computer application that has made me a much better writer because I can tell you exactly what I used to do before it was invented: waste time looking things up!!!

I’m talking- as if the title of this piece doesn’t give it away – about Pinterest. Before I had my boards all lined up on the Pinterest app, I spent a great deal of time flipping back and forth through files and notes to ensure I didn’t mess things up with my characters and storylines. I had a bad habit of not remembering that the hero had blue eyes on page 5 when I gave him green ones on page 200. I gave the heroine short curly red hair in the first introduction and then straightened it to hip length when she met the hero ten pages later. Dumb mistakes. Dumb.

For a while I tried flipping through fashion magazines so I could find pictures of what I envisioned my characters looked like, but most magazines had the same ads in each one, so nothing new was found, and all the celebrities of the moment were featured in each one, as well, in the same poses, etc, so there went the variety I needed.

When I discovered Pinterest I felt as if a dream I had never thought to ask for had somehow magically come true. I could spend hours – literally! – flipping through all the boards, categories, and other people’s boards to find what I wanted — and I did! Now, if I find a picture of what I want my character or her house, or even her pet to look like, I save that picture to whatever board I’m working on. My current favorite boards are AFTERNOON TEA and GEMMA, two new books I’m writing.

I don’t know who thought up Pinterest, but if I ever find out, I’ll be sure to write them and give them a big thank you from me. It is so much easier now to visually keep track of what my peeps, their clothes, what they eat, etc, look like. I usually print out the salient, important, pictures for my story/vision boards, so I can have an even quicker reference when I’m writing. You can see my current one for the GEMMA book ( not the real title, yet) on  a previous post.  All the factors of the book I need to know at a simple glance are on that board, the rest on the board on the actual Pinterest site.

If you are a visual person like I am, Pinterest is a great way for a writer to see their book come to life. And it’s not only a great application/site for writers. I know a few brides-to-be, and moms-to-be who also take advantage of the boards. But it doesn’t stop there. There are travel boards, architecture boards, pictures for refurbishing and rehabbing your house.  There are boards for people who are cat obsessed ( I know a few!), book cover obsessed ( me too!), hot guys obsessed ( duh! of course!)Whatever your imagination or needs dictate, you will find pictures and boards for it on Pinterest.

Using Pinterest as a writing tool has truly made me a better writer because I am more consistent, much more descriptive in my writing, and I have more time to actually write now that I don’t need to stop and look things up!

So… do you use Pinterest? let’s discuss…..

This board has all my book covers

Here’s where you can find me, other than Pinterest!:

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Life challenges, love, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Meanwhile at the grocery store….

I know I share what happens at the gym with you guys from time to time, but I want you to know what happened at the grocery store yesterday.

You know that person you always see who goes to the grocery story hungry, buys junk food they shouldn’t – because they are hungry(!) – and then, once they are in the parking lot, opens the junk food and eats it in the car? Yup. Me, yesterday morning. I went to the gym…I got hungry…the rest is history and  the results of my craziness will be showing up on my fat a** now ( not to mention the scale).

My husband asked me to get an adult beverage for him for the weekend because we are expecting guests and he wanted to have some beer in the house. No worries, I told him. At the checkout line, the checkout girl was someone I know. She says, “Mrs. Jaeger, I need to see your ID. I need to make sure you are legal to buy this ( beer). Now, This child could be my granddaughter….probably. Definitely my daughter. I was so thrilled to be 175 years old and getting carded, I sang the whole way home ( while I was eating the junk food!) I didn’t get carded when I was hanging out in bars when I was underage ( and this could be a blog topic all by itself!) To be this old and get carded – that girl made my week! ( it doesn’t take much, folks. I live a boring life.)

So, have you ever shopped hungry and regretted it because of a purchase you shouldn’t have made? Let’s discuss…..

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Gym Shame…

So, I want to put a disclaimer in this before we begin: I am a judgmental person. Anyone who knows me, knows this.

BUT...I never express my judginess to people I don’t know, and I never do it in public. Plus, my judgmental expressions are usually only about really stupid people, their actions, and prejudice.

ALSO… I freely admit that I am a reality show junkie when it comes to Bravo and E! Shows.

Okay, so….

Today at Planet Fitness ( and they should really start paying me for all the free publicity I give them!) I was on a treadmill  watching last night’s episode of KEEPING UP THE KARDASHIANS ( don’t judge me!), on my Ipad, minding my own business, ear plugs in place, and trying to burn off some of the delicious calories I took in over the weekend at the Angela James Conference/Workshop in Nashua. The show is 45 minutes long, which is a great treadmill workout for me because I can walk 3.5 miles in that time. Halfway through the program I happened to notice two women  talking who were….older… than me – and by older I really mean they were around my age, maybe a year or two younger/older, give or take – and very much…larger ( and you know what I mean by that!). They had stretched-to-the max-sweatpants on their more than ample backsides and concert t-shirts from a band that disbanded 40 years ago on their jiggly, un-toned, tops.  Anyway.

I happened to see one of them point to me and overheard her say “… stupid, mindless shit.”

My ears went up like Scooby Doo’s do when he hears the words Scooby Snack.

scooby

Surreptitiously,  I lowered the volume on the Ipad and eavesdropped.  Keeping my eyes on the screen, here’s what I heard (they didn’t know I was listening!)

#1. “How anybody can watch that crap is beyond me.”

#2. “You know who she is, right?” Lowers her voice when she says this and doesn’t understand the gym is like a wind tunnel. You can hear a whisper from across the room.
***I’ll omit the next part where #2 tells #1 who I am and who I’m married to.

#1.”She writes those trashy, sex books, right? I saw it listed in the  paper when she did an appearance at the Toadstool.”

#2. “Yeah. Probably why she watches that crap.” **** I figured this meant what I was watching on my Ipad. **** “Probably gets her ideas from those kinds of shows.”

Now, those of you who know me personally can guess what I wanted to do. Would it surprise you to know I didn’t stop my treadmill, turn, and rip them each a new one?? What I did do surprised even me.

I turned the volume back up and kept walking until I timed out. Then, when I dismounted, I turned to them, looked each of them squarely in the un-made-up lots of crow-feeted eyes, gave them each a shit eating grin, said, “Enjoy your workout.”

I know: So NOT ME! I must be maturing as I age.

You’d figure I’d be fat-shamed at the gym – not reality tv shamed! The lesson I took away from this ( aside from the fact these two were mindless, judgemental, bimbos): take the high road. I know what I write aren’t trashy sex novels. It’s obvious neither one of these women had ever read anything by me – that’s assuming they have the I.Q.s to be able to read – or they’d know that.

The motto and branding of Planet Fitness is, NO JUDGMENT ZONE.

planetfitnesslogo

Thing 1 and Thing 2 obviously didn’t realize that when they signed up.

‘Nuff Said for today.

For those of you who know I don’t write trashy sex stuff(!) here’s the latest:

THE VOICES OF ANGELS

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Buy Links: Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, MacQuire Women, New Hampshire, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Voices of Angels, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Almost Showtime…

I bet you were thinking this was going to be another blog entry about Keene DANCING WITH THE STARS. Wrong!  The showtime I’m referring to in the title is my own showtime – or more specific – my new writing schedule.

Today is my last day of work AGAIN!!! and from 5 pm tonight onward I get to live my dream AGAIN!!! of being a full-time writer. You all know I retired last year, and within 4 months got asked to “fill in”  because the girl that took over my job…well, let’s just say she didn’t work out. Because I had designated 2016 as the year of “yes” (Thank you, Shonda Rimes and insert the sarcastic tone right here) I felt I couldn’t say  no to my old employer because, 1. it was the year of saying yes and not the knee-jerk no’s I always gave; 2. I didn’t want my former patients to suffer, 3. this is, after all my husband’s business and it didn’t feel right to say no, and 4. it was only supposed to be for a few weeks until they found a replacement.

Fast forward 4 MONTHS – yeah! 4 -freakin’-months – and I finally said “no more.” It was a little more forceful than that, and may have been peppered with an expletive or two…or ten… but today I am done. Finito. Basta. No more.

So, starting bright and early tomorrow morning ( and by that, I mean the middle of the night because I still suffer from that damn chronic insomnia) I get to spend the days, all the glorious days, writing once again. And thank you, Jesus, it’ just in time because I’ve got three deadlines for this year all lined up with actual DATES!! Heaven help me.

If you don’t hear from me for a while, don’t worry. I’m fine. Just chained – intentionally – to my desk, my fingers splayed across the laptop keys, my brow grooved into two lines resembling caterpillars on my forehead, deep, deep, in writing mode.

The zone is calling and 5 pm can not get here soon enough…

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dancing with the Stars, Life challenges, Project Graduation, Romance, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor