Tag Archives: Fiction Writers

Rags to Riches; #L&SR #WednesdayBlogChallenge

 

Today’s topic – WHAT I WOULD DO WITH A MILLION DOLLARS – is a timely one for me( And probably the rest of America, especially those effected by the Government shutdown).

I’d like to be humble and say I’d donate all of the million dollar windfall to varying charities; adopt a few families in need; give to my church so they can build a new, badly needed, kitchen. I’d like to be truthful and say I’d invest some of it so it could grow and I could help even more people.

That’s what I’d LIKE to say, but…

Let’s go on the premise that my church is set, the government is back to work, and charities are bursting from  holiday donations. Then, there really is only one thing I’d like to do with the money, and it’s a very frivolous thing, but don’t judge me. Please.

Let me explain…

My darling daughter recently got engaged. She’s an only child, the love of my husband’s and my own heart, and she’s truly one of the best people we’ve ever known. I’d like to take some credit for that, but I can’t because she is her own person and has been since she came from my womb! Any way. She recently got engaged to a man who loves her as much as we do and of course, as loving parents, we want to give her the wedding of her dreams. Well, the wedding of her dreams is estimated to be $ 375,000.00 all in, as she says. The venue is the major cost.

It’s Ellis Island.

For those of you who don’t know what that is, or have forgotten your American history, once upon a time every immigrant who came to these shores had to stop at Ellis Island in NYC to be officially documented. People from every nation passed through it’s doors, were examined by doctors, and then documented as visitors to this country. Many people were denied entry due to diseases they contracted and then carried from spending long ocean voyages  in cramped cargo ships, packed in like rats– all for the chance to be a free American. People were quarantined; families were torn apart; original names were changed to sound “more American” by the ones doing the documenting and registration.

Ellis Island is located in  New York Harbor.

It’s the location of the NYC/Hudson River 4th of July fireworks spectacular every year.

It’s also been declared a national Monument. So, in order to have a wedding (or really any event) there, permits must be obtained from the States of NY, New Jersey, and probably the National Government, too. Assuming those are granted, since the venue is a museum and on an island, not your typical hotel wedding site, everything has to be brought in for the reception.

And I mean everything.

Flowers, linens, chairs, tables, glassewear, food, people. And how are they brought in, you ask? Via a ferry from Manhattan Harbor. Do you have any idea how much it costs to rent a ferryboat? Yeah, I don’t either but I’m assuming it’s not a couple hundred bucks and a nice thank you to the ferryman!

The wedding planners that my daughter spoke with gave independent values to having her wedding there and they estimated that the cost would be that ridiculous $375,000.00 mark. There’s no way her father and I can afford that. I’m a little romance writer, happy if I actually get any amount of a royalty check every three months. My husband is entering retirement age and we’ve been planning for our own future so we aren’t left destitute and on the streets when the time comes ( exaggerating, folks, but you know what this economy and the stock market are like right now!)

But, if I had a million dollars…..

Hee Hee.

And talking about weddings ( shameless plug segue), my newest book DEARLY BELOVED is about a – wait for it –  wedding planner. Timely, no?

Available here: Amazon // Wild Rose Press // B&N // Kobo // Apple // Google Play // Books-a-million

See what other authors are saying they would do with a sudden cash influx on Long and Short’s Wednesday Blogging Challenge.

 

And you’re always able to find me if you need me, here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

and here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, author promotion, Contemporary Romance, Dearly Beloved, Long and SHort Reviews, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#SundaySnippet 1.13.19

Continuing with the old school theme, here’s a little something from my second book, THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME from The WIld Rose Press.

This scene is a long one, but it shows how much the relationship between these 2 friends is strong and loving.

Blurb:

Symphony pianist Moira Cleary comes home after four years of touring, exhausted, sick, and spiritually broken. Emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of someone she trusted has left her gaunt, anxious, and at a crossroads both professionally and personally.

Moira’s best friend, veterinarian Quentin Stapleton, wants nothing more than to help Moira get well. Can his natural healing skills make it possible for her to open her heart again? And can he convince her she’s meant to stay home now with the family that loves her – and with him – forever?

She couldn’t read the expression in his eyes as he nodded, and turned to go.
Moira felt an intense overwhelming emptiness engulf her when he left. She started to open the front door but stopped when Quentin abruptly turned back and started up the porch steps again.

“I forgot something,” he told her.

“What?”

When he came up the last step and crossed to her, he said, “this,” and without another word pulled her into his arms.

Her first and last coherent thought was her best friend was going to kiss her goodnight. After a heartbeat, she forgot the best friend part and knew down to her toes friendship had nothing to do with this.

His lips slid across her mouth, soft and gentle, testing, tasting. Moira’s mind went blank as she succumbed to the sensation of them, hot and hard, pressing against hers in a kiss like none he’d ever given her before. Slowly, he traced her bottom lip with the tip of his tongue, silently asking her to open for him. When she did, he entered her mouth and began to explore, each movement becoming more demanding, more insistent. Moira fell against him, fisting his jacket lapels to steady herself. When she felt his heartbeat pounding under her hands, she grew lightheaded with need. Quentin framed her face with his fingertips, softly tugging down on her chin, changing the angle of the kiss.

She’d been kissed before, but never, never with such all consuming need and longing. She heard a deep moan and was shocked to realize the sound had escaped from her. One of Quentin’s hands left her face to slide down her back. When he pushed against her backside and molded her body to his, Moira’s stomach jumped. This time, though, it wasn’t with the painful contractions she’d come to expect, but with a heart- stopping craving.

A craving for him.

She unfurled her hands from his jacket and, without thought, wound them upwards, weaving them over his shirt collar and up through his hair. She grabbed onto the ends, pulled his head down closer, and held on fast.

All aspect of time was lost. Nothing mattered but the delicious feel of his strong hands caressing her back and the taste of him as his tongue mated with hers.

This couldn’t be happening. It had to be a dream.

But no dream had ever made her want like this, feel like this. When he skimmed his lips across her jaw and down her throat, stopping to take her lobe into his mouth, Moira knew this wasn’t a dream. That same feeling she’d had when she looked at him in the movie steeped through her again, tickling her stomach muscles. With a jolt, she realized the sensation was desire. Pure and simple.

Quentin pulled back and stared down into her face. With a heavy sigh, he laid his forehead against hers, a small grin tugging at the corners of his lips. “I’ve wanted to kiss you for so long. So damn long.”

“Q—?”

He traced one finger lazily down her jaw and across the lips he’d just caressed, silencing her. “Remember when your cousin Tiffany got married in the backyard here?”

Confused, Moira nodded. She licked her lips, running her tongue across his caressing finger. The hiss that blew from him made her thighs shake.

Quentin rubbed her bottom lip with the pad of his thumb. “When the Reverend told Cole ‘you may now kiss your bride,’ and he swooped her off the ground, spun her around, and kissed her silly? Remember what you said?”

Moira tried to conjure the scene. “I think I said it was the most romantic thing I’d ever seen.”

He nodded. “The exact quote was ‘I hope someone kisses me like that some day.’”

Her grin was quick at the memory. “Pat snorted and said I’d better be satisfied with licks from the horses and Rob Roy because no guy was ever going to kiss me like that.”

“He wasn’t known for tact back then,” he said, rubbing a hand down her back as he held her next to him in the soft lamplight from the porch. The soothing, rhythmic smoothing of his hand made every nerve on Moira’s body stand at attention.

“Later on that day, behind the barn, remember what happened then?”

Because she did, she couldn’t stop the heat from spreading up her face like wildfire. When she merely nodded, he traced a kiss across the area he’d just caressed, and said, “You wanted to know what it felt like to be kissed like that and since I was your best friend, you thought I should be the one to do it, because you—quote—felt safe with me—unquote.”

“What was I? Eleven?” she said, finally finding her voice, and unnerved to hear it whining.

“Thirteen. We both were, and I was more than willing to do it. Almost broke my heart in two when you said afterward, ‘I don’t see what all the fuss is about.’”

His lips twitched at the corners when he said it, and Moira felt the warmth of her blush intensify.

“Q—”

“Hush.” He kissed her forehead. “Ever since that day, all I’ve wanted is a second chance. Now,” he pulled her body closer, wrapped both arms around her small waist, his hand resting just above the dent in her spine. “We’re both a little older, a little more mature. Some of us are much more experienced—”

“And conceited.”

“Experienced,” he said, the laugh in his voice quiet and seductive, “and things can be so much better.”

 

Intrigued? You can find a copy – where most of them are on sale even as I post this – here:

Buy Links:

Amazon // WRP // B&N // Walmart // Apple // Google Play // Kobo // Books-a-million

and as always, you can find me here if you need me:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

and here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, MacQuire Women, Romance, There's No Place Like Home, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A chat with my #WildRosePress sistah, Jennifer Wilck

 

It’s always a good day when I have one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs visiting me. Today, Jennifer Wilck drops by and I finally got her to answer my author interview questions. Hee hee!! She did a great job, too! And Jenn’s got a new WRP book out titled LEARNING TO LOVE that she’s giving us a little taste of after the interview, so stick around!

Jennifer Wilck, The Author 

What drives you to write? The voices in my head. No, I’m not crazy, but characters pop into my brain demanding their story be told. Plus, I like taking control of something and making things work out exactly as I’d like.

What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? I write contemporary romance because I like setting things in the current time and world, and then improving upon reality.

What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? I love reading historical romance because I’m fascinated by history and what life was like hundreds of years ago.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday? Schedule. Ha! That’s funny. I try to write every day, and in a perfect world, I do. Unfortunately, life isn’t perfect, so it doesn’t always happen. But when all the stars align and everyone cooperates, I typically get business-stuff done in the morning (blogs, marketing, etc.) and then write until my daughter comes home from school in the afternoon. At that point, if she doesn’t need me for anything, I’ll do some more writing or editing until it’s time to get ready for dinner. 

Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I’m kind of a nomad, actually. With my laptop, I can go anywhere, so while I start at the dining room table while I eat breakfast, I move to the couch or onto the deck in the nice weather, or sometimes my desk. As long as I have a window I can look out of to see the trees and flowers, I’m happy.

Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel-vision? I prefer quiet, so I don’t listen to music or have the TV on in the background. I can filter out background noise if I’m sitting in Starbucks or Panera, though. Actually, sometimes writing there is really good because it forces me to concentrate on what I’m doing and not on what’s going on around me.

How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? My current WIP is a four-part series about men who are philanthropists and the women who challenge them. It’s a damaged-hero trope and I love working on it. The idea came to me while my oldest daughter and I were away on college visits in Boston. I’m not sure what happened, but we were sitting in our hotel room while she completed some homework, so I took out my laptop and started to write. Five thousand words later and she said she was hungry for dinner.

Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Usually my characters come first. They’ll start talking to me in the middle of a scene and I’ll have to flesh it out. Once I see that it can work—it doesn’t always—then I’ll figure out the character’s backstory and motivation and create a story around it.

What 3 words describe you, the writer? OMG, you’re limiting me to three??? Pantser, emotional, quick.

Jennifer, The Gal 

Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I always look at the dessert menu first when going out to dinner so I can plan whether or not I want to leave room.

Who was your first love and what age were you? His name was Teddy and I was in elementary school.

If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…. That’s a tough one. I’d have to say one of the vacation days with my husband and two girls. We always have a great time together.

Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? All three?

If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? I guess concealer. That way everyone would see how tired I actually am and maybe come up with a solution?

What three words describe you, the person? Friendly, snarky, caring

If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Well that would never happen because I can’t sing. J But if I had to pick, maybe “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt. Or a girl-power song.

If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? Dumbledore. This world needs fixing and I’m starting to think he’s our only hope. Plus, you know, magic.

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

  1. Favorite sound—my daughters’ laughter
  2. Least favorite sound—whining
  3. Best song every written—that’s way too hard! I love Christina Perri’s Thousand Years, though
  4. Worst song ever written—um, some of the rap songs my daughters’ listen to
  5. Favorite actor and actress—George Clooney and Catriona Balfe
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead)—Christiane Amanpour. I think she is fascinating and I’d love to experience her life for a day.
  7. What turns you on?—humor and intelligence
  8. What turns you off?—ignorance and bigotry
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)—Is that what you’re wearing?
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day?—spending time with my family without conflict, just enjoying each other’s company and doing something together.

And here, as promised, a little sumthin’ sumthin’ from LEARNING TO LOVE

Dina Jacobs is a single librarian who has never fit in due to her off-the-charts intelligence, frizzy hair and rounder-than-socially-acceptable figure. She left her past behind until she receives an invitation to her ten-year high school reunion, and all her insecurities return.

Adam Mandel is a single corporate attorney who just missed his third deadline at his father’s law firm, the law firm where he is up for junior partner. With his reputation on the line, Adam needs all the help he can get to convince his father that he deserves the promotion.

When Dina and Adam run into each other on a deserted road, Dina thinks Mr. Flashypants can’t possibly be interested in someone like her. Adam thinks Dina is just the person to help him improve his reputation. Lies and insecurities force them to take a look at themselves. Can they trust each other to look beyond the surface?

Excerpt

What the hell just happened? She wanted to be friends.
The only kind of “friend” he wanted to be with her had “boy” attached to it. No, that wasn’t true. He enjoyed her friendship because he loved talking to her, hearing her opinions, sharing himself with her.

But he was becoming more attracted to her. So far, they’d only kissed, but that one kiss, that unbelievable kiss, haunted him. His lips still burned where they’d touched hers, his insides still turned to jelly when he thought about it. In fact, he’d been hoping there would have been more kissing in her apartment once he’d apologized for his gaffe.

But she’d focused on their arrangement and her overreaction, and here he was pulling away from the curb into rush hour traffic.

She thought he was dating her only to impress his father. If he were one hundred percent honest with himself, he’d acknowledge the partial truth in that statement. But the more time he spent time with her, when he wasn’t royally screwing things up with her, the more he wanted to move beyond their arrangement.

His head was another matter. It was still focused on not making a fool of himself, on maintaining the right reputation, on spinning the right message.

But listening to his head was probably what had gotten him into this mess in the first place. As unbelievable as it might sound, it was time to follow his heart.

Buy Links:

Amazon // Apple // B&N 

A LITTLE MORE ABOUT JENNIFER

Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.

In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. When she’s not writing, she loves to laugh with her family and friends, is a pro at finding whatever her kids lost in plain sight, and spends way too much time closing doors that should never have been left open in the first place. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.

She writes contemporary romance, some of which are mainstream and some of which involve Jewish characters. She’s published with The Wild Rose Press and all her books are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Connect with Jennifer here:

website // facebook //FacebookReader Group // Newsletter // Twitter // Instagram // Book Bub

 

 

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My #word for 2017: #Compromise…

compormise5

Every year I take a theme or a word that epitomizes what I want to accomplish for the following 356 days. Last year, 2016, it was “the Year of YES.” Which basically meant I was going to be open to saying yes to things I usually knee-jerked a NO. A loud, emphatic, I don’t want to, NO!

It worked out pretty well. I did a bunch of stuff that I ordinarily would have shied away from or outright avoided. No one died. No one got maimed. And I didn’t have a stroke, heart attack, or lose my dignity.

Well….

Nevermind.

Anyway….

For 2017 I wanted to continue with the new, open, and willing to put myself out there mentality, so I’m going to be doing something I rarely– if ever– do. Compromise.

compormise

The dictionary defines it this way: an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.

My definition is a little more specific in that I will be the one making the concessions. Again, something I rarely, if ever, do. I’ve come to realize after viewing the turmoil this country has found itself in politically, spiritually, and morally, that I like many people, do not often see both sides of an argument. We, and by we, I mean me, tend to form an opinion based on whatever information we happen to see, and then stick with it, oftentimes becoming loudly obnoxious and righteous in expressing that opinion.

compromise3

Not anymore. If’ I’ve learned anything in 2016 it’s that every argument and stand has at least 3 sides: mine, the other person’s and the — wait for it — compromise position between the two.

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In 2017 I vow to see that third option as many times as I can and to make the effort to come to compromises which will benefit all sides, not just only my own. When you know better you do better.

compromise4

Maturity, thy name is Margaret-Mary. ( let’s hope!)

 

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, branding, community advocacy, First Impressions, Life challenges, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

#Christmas2016, done…#2017 #plans…

Well, Christmas  has come and gone with a bang. As has 2016.

Almost.

As I look ahead to the next year I see lots of interesting events on the horizon. I’m taking 4 trips this year for business/reading/writing.

New England (NECRWA) conference in April

RT Convention in May

RWA in July

and.. Fall in Love with New England Readers and Writers Conference in October.

Holy Cow!! That’s a lot of air fare, gas, and room rentals…but so worth it.I’ll be doing book signings, and in one case ( NECRWA) a class. Too much!!!

I’m also having 2 new books published ( so far!) with my new Publisher, Kensington/LyricalShine. The first is in April, COOKING WITH KANDY, available for preorder – just click the link. The second, (I believe) will be in October. Much more on that info in the coming months.

cooking-with-kandy

So, as I kick 2016’s ass to the curb, the plans for 2017 are shaping up nicely, no?

You still have time to purchase my latest 2016 book before the New Year begins, though, so if you are looking for some light, fun, funny and family reading, give A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS a gander!

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And when I’m not planning trips, you can find me here:

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

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, NHRWA, research, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

Facebook Blog Hop

New Year Hop
Happy 2016!
The new year means it’s time to start anew and the best way to do that is to find a new author ( or 2, or 3!). The New Year New Author Facebook Hop is the perfect way to find new-to-you authors and also gives you a chance to win ebooks, gift cards, and more. So grab your laptop and start hopping along…
Today I’m giving away an e-copy of my 2/8/16 release 3 WISHES ( A CandyHearts Romance). Please read the instructions below carefully so you’re not disqualified!
 You must do all 3 things to be qualified to win:
1. Like this post.
2. Like my facebook author page: Peggy Jaeger, Author
3. Comment below by telling me your favorite book or the book you’re currently reading.  And wouldn’t it be nice if it were one of mine! ( Conceited, much?)

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romance Books

Ticks, Quirks, and Traits..oh my!

I had fun talking about character mannerisms the other day, so today I’m going to go a little more in-depth into the differences in mannerisms ( which has a sort of positive connotation) and ticks, quirks and traits ( which lean more to the negative side of the mannerism scale.)

Woman Biting Lip --- Image by © Jupiterimages/Brand X/Corbis

We’ve all known someone who had an annoying habit – like chewing gum incessantly while talking, eating, etc – or has a little quirky laugh after every sentence. I personally know someone who purses their lips at the end of every sentence. I always want to ask, “Did you want a kiss for saying that?”  But luckily have refrained from doing so. And every one of us has at least one person ( usually a teen or 20-something) in our lives who use the words “like, um, ya know” without end.

These little individual ticks quirks, traits and habits make the people in our world three dimensional and real, because, lets face it, they are! When you read a character like this, you believe them more because you can actually see their behavior coming to life on the page. Where this gets frustrating and absolutely annoying for the reader, is when the habit is mentioned every time the character is on stage.

Businesswoman looking away and twisting hair

I read a book recently that everyone who read it said was great. Good characters, great plot, sound ending. I hated it. Why? The main character was so flat and one dimensional I couldn’t get passed it. Plus, she had two character ticks that were mentioned every single time she was on scene – and that was almost in every scene of the book. She bit her bottom lip and opened her eyes wide when she was nervous ( which was the whole damn book!) Mentioning it once or even twice seemed more than enough, but every frickin’ scene? The part that really tans my hide is that this book got published by a major house.

Crazy.

So, enough ranting. The way to make your characters as believable and likable as possible is to make them seem real to the reader. We all agree on that, yes? It’s up to us, the writers, to decide whether to give the characters positive quirks or  negative ones.

Examples always work best for me, so here goes: ( and these are just some that I thought of. You could fill a book with all of them, truly.)

Negative habits, ticks, quirks: nail biting, lip pursing, sighing, leg shaking, toe tapping, finger snapping, gum chewing or snapping, frequent eye rolls, smirking, twittering laugh, nervous laugh, whining, poor use of language, frequent cursing, profanity in place of proper English and word use, interrupting others while they are speaking, hair twirling . You get the picture…think up some more of your own.

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Positive habits, ticks, quirks: frequent head nodding, intense smiling, frequent touching of the other person ( not in a sexual way), overly compassionate, cries at the drop of a pin, laughs at everything. Again, fill in your own here.

My point with this post was to get writers to recognize the things their characters do while on the page and to find that simple yet oh-so-hard balance of making them come to life for the reader. There is nothing that turns me off a book faster than one-dimensional characters, or those that are so over the top I can’t get vested in them because they are unbelievable to me as actual people.

It’s a fine line we ride as writers to make our characters as real as possible. Adding in individual mannerisms, etc, is a wonderful way to make the character pop to life. Too much of it though, is a reader turn off.

So ( you saw this coming, I know!), what are some positive and negative traits you’ve used for characters that worked, and which ones didn’t. Let’s discuss…..

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Life challenges, research, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A visit with Author Joanne Guidoccio

Today, Author Joanne Guidoccio is my guest.  She has new book coming out this week that promises to be a winner! She’s also having a giveaway – read on down to the end for a RAFFLECOPTER chance at an Amazon gift card.

Joanne, I’m so excited to have you here today.

bannercountdown

4 More Days!!

Peggy, thanks for participating in the countdown to A Season for Killing Blondes.

I consider protagonist Gilda Greco to be my literary twin. She’s approximately 70 percent of me and shares many of my interests. As non-athletes it took us a while to find a preferred physical activity, but once we discovered yoga, we were hooked.

In my case, it took over three decades of yoga trials…

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March 1984

The blonde willow was out of her comfort zone.

As she removed a borrowed parka, four sizes too big for her perfectly toned size zero body, she sighed deeply and tossed her Farrah Fawcett curls. The California yogini was not impressed by winter in March and seven less-than-enthusiastic students in Sudbury, Ontario. She spoke eloquently about her personal journey, and then demonstrated her pretzel-like ability to contort her body in unimaginable poses.

Impressed and intimidated, we dreaded the short lesson that would follow.

She did not consider our beginner status. Instead, she continued with her favorite poses, and we struggled to follow.

Within minutes, I developed a tickle in my throat and started coughing uncontrollably. I quietly left the room and closed the door behind me. I had a drink of water, but my cough still persisted. I assumed the walls were soundproof, but I was wrong. I found out later that my loud and persistent bark was heard throughout the remainder of the short yoga session. When I re-entered the room, I received several looks of concern and pity. As for the blonde willow…she had transformed into a blonde oak.

Fast forward twenty years.

After sharing the usual advice about portion control, exercise and stress management, my oncologist urged me to take up yoga. Memories of the blonde willow/oak still lingered and I tried not to show my frustration. But my oncologist persisted and I agreed to give yoga another try.

I bought the clothes—sleek, black yoga pants from Roots and several Life is Good t-shirts—and signed up for a weekly yoga class with a very charming (and highly recommended) instructor. He gave each of us individual attention during the first class. At the beginning of the second class, he distributed business cards and chatted about his multiple sideline businesses. By the third class, the other students were writing checks for his wonder products. I was not impressed and did not return.

A few months later, I heard about a new yoga instructor who was offering classes in her own home. When I called, she assured me the course was geared for complete beginners with no previous experience. She sounded surprised when I asked if she had a sideline business and stressed that yoga was her main focus.

Reassured, I showed up and was pleased to see only two students in the room. Within a few minutes, an active and poorly trained Boston terrier joined the class. She eyed me with interest: I was the new girl, fresh meat. The dog spent a lot of time circling and sniffing me throughout the hour-long class. As for what happened during Downward Dog…I shall leave that to your imagination.

Three yoga trials. Three strikes. Yoga was out.

All that changed during the second summer after retirement.

I had just picked up Wayne Dyer’s latest book, Excuses Begone! and read the entire book in two sitting. I was drawn to his suggestion for practicing yoga and imagined myself having a conversation with the motivational guru.

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“You must give it another try, Joanne. I’ve been practicing ninety minutes every day for the past four years and I’ve noticed a lot of positive changes. I got rid of all those aches and pains I inherited from three decades of running and tennis.”

“That’s wonderful, but I can’t see myself doing yoga every day. For one thing, I would have to take lessons. I don’t like following DVDs or books.”

“Take a few lessons. What’s the big deal?”

“I’ve tried that before.” I gave him a brief summary of my three yoga trials.

He shook his head. “You have to give yoga an honest thirty-day trial.”

“Thirty days!” I couldn’t imagine lasting that long. “Do you know how expensive that will be?”

He repeated, “Give yoga an honest thirty-day trial.” He added, with twinkle in his eye, “You’ll feel better and you may just stop making so many excuses.”He pointed to the cover of his book.

I was skeptical, but I had to admit he was right. I had not given yoga a fair trial, and I had a tendency to make excuses. I decided to wait until the fall and then investigate the different yoga studios in town.

A few days later, the following ad appeared in a local paper:
Unlimited Yoga during the months of July and August for $160

I imagined Wayne Dyer laughing and whispering, “The universe has spoken. No more excuses.”

I planned to attend three classes a week and see how I felt by the end of the summer.

I was hooked after the first week.

The classes were small and the instructors were able to work with me on an individual basis. I test-drove all the instructors and then zeroed in on my favourites: Amy, the social worker from Newfoundland who had completed her training in India; Claudia, the young mother who offered a structured class that appealed to my left brain tendencies; and Lisa, the quintessential (and kind) willow.

It was reassuring to discover that all my body parts were working and reporting faithfully for yoga duty. I felt myself growing healthier and stronger with each stretch, breath and positive thought. And I didn’t feel pressured or frustrated when I struggled with a pose. I kept repeating Lisa’s mantra: A yoga pose is a journey, not a destination.

I still have my personal challenges, but I am less reactive and more inclined to let things go. Instead, I gravitate toward that beautiful place where I can step out of time and leave all my concerns behind.

Namaste

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                                     A Season for Killing Blondes

Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.

When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.

As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.

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Meet Joanne:

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In high school, Joanne dabbled in poetry, but it would be over three decades before she entertained the idea of writing as a career. She listened to her practical Italian side and earned degrees in mathematics and education. She experienced many fulfilling moments as she watched her students develop an appreciation (and sometimes, love) of mathematics. Later, she obtained a post-graduate diploma as a career development practitioner and put that skill set to use in the co-operative education classroom. She welcomed this opportunity to help her students experience personal growth and acquire career direction through their placements.
In 2008, she took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
Where to find Joanne…
Website: http://joanneguidoccio.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/joanneguidoccio
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjoanneguidoccio
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanneguidoccio
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jguidoccio/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7277706.Joanne_Guidoccio

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What season do you favor?

I recently visited the Roses of Prose blog-site (http://bit.ly/1Rq2ph8) and talked about how Fall has been a big factor in my romance novels. It’s the season I love the most because of the beautiful changing patchworks of colors, the cool crispness in the air, and the notion the world is slowing down, getting ready to rest and hibernate for the winter months ( much like I do!)  I love the symbolism of falling in love in the Fall. It just feels good to me. This got me  thinking: what do the other seasons represent to writers?

Would the Legend of Sleepy Hollow been as good a read if it had taken place in the summer? I don’t think so. The symbolism of the darkening and shortening days, and the cold, harsh descriptions of the dying foliage add to the utter creepiness of the story of the Headless Horseman. It wouldn’t have the same effect on the reader if took place during an 85 degree day at the beach.

Does the children’s book How the Grinch Stole July 4th make any sense? No, it’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas, which takes place in the winter with it’s cold, frigid air – much the same as the Grinch’s tiny heart, and the joyous spirit of the season helping him to find his love and kindness again. It wouldn’t feel the same if the Whos were giving out firecrackers instead of Christmas gifts. That’s just wrong.

Think of other stories where a specific season was highlighted. Would the story have been as good or rewarding if the season had been switched? And in your own writing. Do you favor a season more than others? If so, why. What does that time of the year bring to your story that enhances it?

I’d really be interested in hearing responses to these questions,so please, feel free to comment and pass the link on to other you think might be interested.

 

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A visit with Angela Hayes…

Hi all.  Greetings on this lovely June day.

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Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Angela Hayes and I’m an author with The Wild Rose Press. My debut novel, Love’s Battle, a fantasy romance is available on Amazon at http://bit.ly/LovesBattle, Barnes and Noble at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/loves-battle-angela-hayes/1119985601?ean=2940149742493 , and on The Wild Rose Press website at http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=indexHYPERLINK “http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=1103″&HYPERLINK “http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=1103″manufacturers_id=1103 .

I’d like to invite you all over to my blog www.authorangelahayes.blogspot.com where Peggy has graciously agreed to be a guest.

We’re talking all about her new book, There’s No Place Like Home. You don’t want to miss out.

If you like what you see, be sure to follow me either by email or by Google to get the latest blog postings.

You can also follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/imahayes and Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/imahayes.

It was wonderful meeting you,
Happy Reading,

Angela Hayes

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