Tag Archives: #MFRWauthorBlogChallenge

The best gift I ever gave….#Mfrwauthor Week 22

Last week we wrote about the best gift we were ever given and I thought this week it was going to be the worst – just stood to reason in my mind. MY BAD. I have to tell you about the best gift I ever gave  someone today.

Another easy peasy post to write!

Only one thing comes to mind and that’s the gift I gave my husband 28 years ago on a sunny, warm, day in September: our daughter.

From the moment she came into our world she changed our lives for ever – for the better – in every way possible. She was truly a daddy’s girl from the very start.

28 years later and she still is!

 

Since this is a blog hop, let’s see what some of the other authors here have to say. Click here: MFRWauthorBlogChallenge

 

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#MFRWauthor If I know you…be prepared to be written about!

This week’s blog post may get me in a little hot water with some of my friends ( who may not be my friends anymore after reading this! heehee).

I will admit, most of the characters I write about are complete creations of my own. I’ve said I’m a people watcher and characteristic voyeur, and I am. I watch strangers all the time when I am out and about and then think up story lines for them that work their way into my writing.

But….

There are some people I personally know who have such defined characteristics, quirks, or ways of speaking that I just haven’t been able to NOT put  them in a story.

For instance: I have a friend who is a marathon runner. Obsessively a marathon runner. Some of  the things she does to train I attached to a character in one of my books who runs. I’m not gonna tell you which book or character, but I know my friend knows which it is because she nailed me on it. In a good way. She was actually flattered. Dodged a bullet on that one, folks!

I have a fringe acquaintance who is a real P.I.T.A. when it comes to always having the last word. No matter what subject we are discussing, what the context, or even if he/she knows nothing about it, he/she will always, ALWAYS need to have the last word. It’s almost pathological. I’ve written a character with that trait and you know what? The person didn’t even recognize themself when they read it. Pathetic.

I know a man who has the annoying habit of saying “yeah, huh?” after every sentence. It doesn’t even make sense in some usages, but he does it anyway. You know sure as the sun shines in Poughkeepsie I’m using that in a character. Soon, too!

I heard Jackie Collins give an interview once where the interviewer asked her where she got her inspiration for all her Hollywood heartthrobs and heroines. Jackie had always said she never based any of her characters on one specific person but an amalgam of people. In this interview she slipped and said, ‘The character based on Madonna–” she stopped herself from saying more, snapped her fingers, and then said, “Oh, fudge, I swore I was never gonna say that!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happens to us all.

Since this is a blog hop, head on over to the other authors participating to see how they deal with real people and the characters they create.

 

 

 

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Things only my family would understand

Goodness! Week 10 already. Today’s topic is a little, well, I don’t want to say intrusive, but it kinda is, because I’m wondering if I have to explain WHY only my family would understand. I’m gonna take the easy way out here and just list them without explaining why. It’s not only easier, it’s less embarrassing. You guys have enough imagination, you might be able to answer why I’ve listed these things. If you can’t…oh well!

In no apparent order, only my family would understand:

  • my insane, almost pathological need for privacy
  • why shopping gives me a panic attack
  • my love for old black and white movies from the 30’s and 40’s
  • the reason I don’t remember my sophomore year in college
  • why I consider mayonnaise sandwiches comfort food
  • my uber-defined personal space bubble
  • my issues with food.
  • the reason I dislike Tom Brady
  • why I’ve dyed my hair since I was 16

It’s gonna be interesting to see if the other authors on this blog challenge put up their reasons and don’t take the embarrassed coward’s way out that I did! Click on their links and find out.

 


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#MFRW I don’t like your voice….

The prompt of this piece is the worst writing advice I’ve ever gotten. I’m gonna share that, but a little backstory first so you can understand why the advice was the worst!

I’ve been searching for a literary agent since I started my journey in publishing. Haven’t found one yet but it’s not because I haven’t tried. At every conference I attend that allows agent pitches I sign up for a spot. In the past three years I’ve pitched myself and my work to 9 different literary agents. 6 were NYC based, 2 were from California, and one was from the NorthWest. They’ve all been industry  pros with great author pedigrees and clients,  but none of have them have offered to represent me. They’ve all asked for me to send them my work, which I have. Now remember, I’ve pitched to 9 agents. 4 never bothered to contact me back after I’d sent the work and waited the allotted 30 then 60 days for a response. When I did re-email them, no responses. 4 sent me form rejection letters within 15-30 days after I’d mailed my CV and work, not commenting on what I’d sent. The last agent I met with was last year. I’d actually connected with her via email  prior to the conference and she’d asked me to send her my work right away so that she could get a feel for what I wrote before meeting me. I complied.

I met her face to face for an allotted 15 minute meet/pitch and the first thing she said to me was “I don’t like your voice.”

 

I knew she meant my writing voice, not my actual voice voice. Even so, that was a bit…harsh as an opening line. She went on to say she’d read 5 pages of the 30 she’d requested and couldn’t get past the way I wrote. There was nothing technically wrong with it, she said, just that it was unappealing.

Huh?

Okaaaaaaaaay. This had taken exactly 15 seconds of a 15  minute space. What was I supposed to do? Sit there and just stare at her until time was up? Stick up for myself? Cry?

 

I mean really. Talk about how to hurt someone’s feelings. Only, mine weren’t hurt, surprisingly. No, I was feeling something else entirely.

When I get really mad I tend to get very quiet. Deathly so. People around me have remarked that me, quiet, is terrifying.

 

I was so stunned by what she’d said, I couldn’t think of a response. That silence, I think, prompted her to say her next thing – the worst advice I’ve ever gotten. “You should think about changing your voice. Experiment with something different, because I just don’t think you’re going to sell commercially sounding the way you do.”

Huh?

It was apparent to me that she hadn’t read the publishing CV I’d sent along. Last year I had already had 8 books traditionally published and had contracted for 3 more. So without an agent I’d already sold 11 book to publishers. If she’d read that she would have known that SOMEBODY liked my writing voice enough to publish me. 11 times. Traditionally.

 

Again, I stayed silent and smiling, even though I wanted to stick my tongue out at her and say, “so there!!” I know. Real mature. By now I knew even if she offered me a contract ( which she didn’t) I wouldn’t sign with her. If you have an agent you want her/him to be on your side, have your back, and promote you and your work and strengths. When I continued to stay mute she said, “Well, I have a lot of people to see today. I’ll be making decisions on who I want to take on, what work, and such, so  I’ll get back to you within a week or so with my decision.”

Huh?

Hadn’t she just told me my voice was horrible and that I’d never sell commercially? That certainly didn’t sound like she wanted to represent me, does it? I couldn’t take it another minute. I stood, shook her hand and said, “thanks for meeting with me. Enjoy the rest of the conference,” and I bolted before she could say another word.

Weird, right?

Do I really need to tell you she never, ever, got in touch with me again? Not even a form letter.

Like I said: weird.

So that advice –  to change my writing voice – was simply the worst piece of writing advice I’ve ever gotten. Who would say that? WHY would you say that? Each writing voice is unique; distinctive; individual. I could understand that she didn’t like mine. You can’t please everybody. But as an industry professional to actually tell me to change something that’s so inherently part of me is like asking me to change my DNA makeup; my height; my personality. Would you ask Dr. Suess not to rhyme? Would you advise ee cummings to capitolize?  Make Janet Evanovich ditch the humor? Good God, would you ask Jane Austen to stick to writing letters and give up on the whole fiction thing?

Needless to say, I am still on that quest to find an agent. Preferably one who likes my voice.

Since this is a blog hop, click on the other authors in this challenge and see more example of bad writing advice!

 

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#MFRW Top 5 things on my bucket list

Until the movie THE BUCKET LIST came out, I’d never heard this term before.

Once I knew what it meant I kinda ignored the term for about 10 years or so because I wasn’t ready to make a list of things to do before I die. I mean, come on. It’s not like I’m imminently north ( or south) bound. I don’t have one foot tipping over to the hereafter yet.

Yet is the definitive word in that previous sentence.

So, since I can dream about what I want to do someday, here are my top five thoughts on the bucket list in no real order of when or how I want to do them.

GO skydiving.

My daughter went a few years ago and said it is unlike any feeling or emotion you will ever have.

TUSCANY. I want to visit Tuscany for an extended stay and take cooking lessons from real, old world Italian chefs. My pasta making needs expert instruction!

Testify before the House Committee on Funding. These life-long bureaucrats need to hear from real people about why funding for Mental Health, Cancer research, and Education needs to be fully funded. I’m sick to death of my tax dollars going to pork spending. These guys need to hear from me in person!

Start a public service organization dedicated to PAYING IT FORWARD. I’ve been so blessed in my life; I think if a person can, they should pay that blessing forward in any way possible. We’re all in this together, folks. We need to boost each other up. I know I personally have stood on the shoulders of all the women who came before me who fought for reproductive rights, voting rights, mental health rights, employment rights. I want to be able to do the same for the next generation of women and the generations to come.

Plant a tree in all 50 states. I can see some eyebrows rising with this one, but it goes along with the paying it forward thought. Every day, millions of trees are cut down for various reasons. I understand most of those reasons, but if we cut down one, shouldn’t we replace it with another so the cycle can continue? If we continue to destroy our natural landscape without any kind of replenishment, the future will be a vast wasteland. I don’t know about you, but I want my great grandkids to be able to climb trees, take a walk in a forest, and breath in clean air!

So, those are my top bucket list items. Stop by the other authors in this blog hop to see what they’re planning on doing with the rest of their lives!

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Dead or Alive, I’d be thrilled to meet’cha!

Here’s a simple truth: I’m a fangirl. Always have been and always will be. I think I’ve mentioned the very first time I ever met NORA ROBERTS I burst into tears. I was 54 years old, not exactly a hormonal teenager meeting her idol. Well, the hormonal part is true because…you know…menopause.

But I digress.

Today’s MFRW topic is 5 authors we’d like to meet, alive or dead. Now, talk about misplaced modifiers! Do I really want to meet a dead author? Like, now? Wouldn’t that be kinda gross and smelly and…gross? Haha. I get it – we can pick any author from any decade or century and pretend they’re alive.

So, in no defined order, here are my WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE Authors.

Jane Austen. (Dead) This was a no-brainer, right? Girl wrote the first definable romance book and gave us Fitzwillian Darcy. I’d like to sit down for a cuppa with ol’Janey-girl and find out one thing: did Elizabeth marry Darcy because she really loved him, or because she loved Pemberton? I’ve never really been able to reconcile that question. Inquiring minds ( mine!) want to know.

 

Janet Evanovich. (Alive) If you’ve ever read any of Janet’s Stephanie Plum books, you know what a laugh riot the author is! I’d like to sit down and have a glass of wine ( or a few) and find out where all that family humor comes from. Does she have her very own Grandma Mazur? A pet hamster? Has she been in love with 2 guys at the same time like Steph? A few vinos, a few hours of girl-talk, and I’d be satisfied.

Joan Hess. (Alive) Arly Hanks is a girl after my own heart – and appetite! Her mom, Ruby Bee ( you need to read the books to find out what her name really means!) owns a diner and when Arly isn’t chasing after moonshiners, the pesky and malfeasing Buchanans, or traffic violators speeding through the one traffic light in the tiny town in Arkansas, she’s usually at the diner, scarfing away. The characters in these books are over the top, hysterical, and never, ever predictable. I want to have a beer and some ‘wings with Joan and find out if she made these characters up, or if she has some Buchanans in her own family tree!

Carol O’Connell (Alive) O’Connell is a very reclusive kind of writer. You don’t see her tweeting, trolling facebook, or promoting her wonderful work. Even her author page on Amazon doesn’t carry an author picture! But her books are amazing. Really. The character of Mallory, an abandoned, almost feral child living on the streets of New York, grows into such strong, secure woman, rife with abandonment issues and a computer chip for a brain. She’s loyal to a  fault and is always three steps ahead of any crooks or murderers. I’d like to meet Carol in a corner cafe, have a cup of strong coffee ( Mallory’s lifeblood) and discuss just how she gave birth to one of the most fascinating characters in fiction.

Kendra Elliot ( Alive ) I was introduced to Kendra Elliot’s work through Netgalley and boy-o-boy am I glad I was. If you haven’t read any of the Mercy Kilpatrick mysteries/crime/police procedurals, you need to remedy that. Mercy skirts two worlds – that of a modern-day FBI agent, and that of a “prepper” a person who believes in being prepared at all costs for when the apocalypse or a government disaster and meltdown occurs. She was raised in a cult of preppers and lifelong habits are hard to break. I’d like to ask Kendra how she came up with the character of a prepper and if she has walked the walk and talked the talk of this lifestyle.

Now, since this is a blog hop, why don’t you hop on over to some of the other authors and see who they’ll be sitting down with for a confab – dead or alive!

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and when I’m not writing blogs you can find me here:

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How a children’s book forever changed my way of thinking…


What a great topic prompt today!! This blog piece is writing itself because my answer is so easy – and is one I’ve covered a bunch of times on my website.

Without a doubt, THE book that has influenced my life more than any other is THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD. 

First published in 1930, in 2007, the National Education Association named the book one of its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children”.

In the tale, a long train must be pulled over a high mountain. When other, larger engines are asked to pull the train, they refuse. One small engine agrees to try. Repeating to itself over and over, “I think I can,” the little train succeeds in pulling the bigger one over the mountain to its destination. The book ends with the little engine declaring, “I knew I could!”

I’ve said this several times over the years, but this book is, for me, the best version of self-motivation I’ve ever read.

The engine tried to do a task he’d never done before, or even considered doing. He set his mind to it, thinking he could accomplish his task,  he told himself he could – believing it and putting his desire into words, then action – and then did.

What an amazing message for children – and adults, too!

When I started out on my journey to book publication, the first thing I told myself was “I can do this- I can write a book. I’ve got the story in me and I just need to get it on the page.” Telling myself that and believing it, I wrote my first book Skater’s Waltz in a little less than 3 months, mostly between the hours of midnight and 3 am because, well, menopause insomnia! Once I finished the book I then told myself, “you need to get this published.” I not only thought it, I put action behind the desire, entering contests and seeking out agents. Contest won, a publishing deal came next. All because I told myself I could do it and believed I could. Me. A 55 year old, bottle blond, chubby, menopause induced insomniac.

Many times during those first few months when the book was released I thought back to The Little Engine that Could, the book’s underlying message, and how true it was then and is today: If you believe you CAN, you WILL.

I tell myself that every single day. Every. Single. Day. It’s my one undeniable truth.

If you’ve never read THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD, do yourself, your children and your grandchildren a favor, and do so. The message may be simplistic, but I’ve often found that the best lessons to learn in life are the simplest ones.

And since this is an author blog hop, hop on over to these other writes and see which books influenced them in life. I’m sure you’ll find one that resonates with you, as well.


 


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Because I’m nosy…..


Week 4 of the #MFRWauthor 52 Week blog challenge brings us a topic that should be fairly easy to write about, because most of us didn’t spring from the womb with a pen in our hands and a publishing contract in our arms, but had other lives and occupations before being published. At least, I think we all did!! Maybe I should just speak for myself. Hee hee.

Anyhoo…

If I wasn’t devoting myself full time to writing, I imagine I’d still be employed as a Nurse, or a Contact Lens technician. But I’d like to take that thought a little bit further. If I couldn’t write AND I wasn’t a nurse/CLT/ what would I be doing? I think I’ve mentioned before how nosy I am. Several times, in fact. So nosy that I’ll talk to a rock. And the nice thing is that people never seem to mind my obvious inquisitiveness, especially when I preface a question with, “Now, I’m only asking because I’m nosy so don’t think you have to answer me if you don’t want to…”

Yup. They answer me. Every time!

So I think if I wasn’t a writer, I’d be a perfect Private Investigator.

I can see it now… Me, in a well-tailored black trench coat ( because Khaki washes me out!), thigh-high leather boots under the coat, and over them a large men’s white tailored shirt cinched in at the waist and that comes to mid-thigh. I can even see myself with a fedora atop my golden (Bottle blonde) hair, looking uber sexy and all mysterious as I grill bad guys and follow suspicious perps in cars with my own hot, fast, ride.

Everyone would, of course, talk to me. After all, I’m charmingly nosy. And sexy!

 

Jessica Fletcher’s got nothing on me.

Neither does Mrs. Peel.

I’d be the chick who discovers the identity of the master jewel thief, or where the hidden treasure is kept. I’d help the police solve the unsolvable cold case, or figure out who killed Major Barret in the solarium with a gun…oh, wait, that’s something else!

Hee hee.

I think I’d make a pretty cool P.I.

Now, I just have to find a trench coat on sale…..


 

Since this is a blog hop, hop on over to these other authors and see what they’d be doing if they weren’t writers. Wonder how many would be PIs


And when I’m not out being nosy, you can find me here: 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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My favorite thing I’ve written…

Welcome to 2018 and the newest 52 week Blog Challenge. This year I’m getting on board from day 1 and the first prompt is a goodie.

Parents of multiple children will tell you that they love each of their children equally. I only have one child so I can say for me, that’s true. I love my daughter over all other children. But I tend to think that parents with more than onlies are giving themselves a line. I may be wrong, but I’ve seen it in families I know. One child is usually more favored by a parent whether they mean to show it to the world or not, than the others. **For you parents of multiple children, please don’t yell at me or send me angry tweets. This is simply my opinion, and I’ll explain why next.

This week’s prompt is the Favorite thing I’ve written and why. Now, authors are like parents. Each of their books are considered to be their babies and are treated as such. Most authors will tell you if you ask them which is their favorite book they’ve written, that they love them all equally ( just like parents of multiples will.) Each new book is like a new child, to be loved and cherished and adored.

I get that, I really do.

But….( you knew that was coming, didn’t you!)

After 10 books published ( and a total of 41 written) I do have one favorite that stands above all the others. The reason is simple: it was the first book where I had the HERO fully flushed out in my mind before I ever had a heroine for him.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS is the love story of Padric Cleary and Clarissa Rogers. Pat’s a veterinarian and Clarissa is a family doctor. Before I ever had a thought about Clarissa, Pat was a fully formed person in my head. He’s my favorite male character because he’s so misunderstood by everyone, including his twin sister, Moira. Everyone in Carvan thinks Pat’s a playa. It’s true that he does date a lot of girls, but its because he’s looking for the one.  He wants the same kind of love his parents have – everlasting, complete, and romantic. Every girl he dates thinks they can change his love ’em and leave ’em personality. But Clarissa Rogers isn’t interested in Pat and – of course- that makes her the perfect girl for him.

This was the third book in the MacQuire Women Series that Wild Rose Press published for me and I love it the best of all my books so far simply because I adore Pat Cleary!

Here’s the official blurb: Family Practice Doctor Clarissa Rogers’ first impression of Padric Cleary is biased and based on gossip. The handsome, charming veterinarian is considered a serial dater and commitment-phobic by his family and most of the town. Relationship shy, Clarissa refuses to lose her heart to a man who can’t pledge himself to her forever.

Pat Cleary, despite his reputation, is actually looking for “The One.” When he does give his heart away, he wants it to be for life. With his parent’s marriage as his guidebook, he wants a woman who will be his equal and soul mate in every way. 

Can Pat convince everyone – including Clarissa – she’s the only woman for him?

Now, since this is the first blog of the year in the MFRW blog challenge, stop by some of these other authors and see what they consider the favorite thing they’ve written is.

and if you’re looking for me, I can be found here :

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