Tag Archives: #MFRWauthors #MFRW #MFRWblogchallenge

When I’m not writing I’m….


So today’s prompt is “creative outlets I enjoy.” You already know I lovelovelove to cook. But did you know I also like to paint and restore old steamer trunks?

I’ve done 5 trunks over the past 3 years using a decoupage method. When they are complete, I give them away as gifts to people around me who ask. My daughter has 2, my BFF has one, and I’ve got the other 2. This one is sitting in my office behind the couch I use to take naps in when the words aren’t flowing as fast as I want them to.

I also like to paint – crafty paint. I  hand paint canvas bags  and give them away at my book signings to readers. Since I write a romance series about cooking, the bags are all food themed:

 

Now, it’s always been my DREAM to have a hard-back book contract. Because I’m one of those people who believe in  putting actions behind dreams to propel them into reality, I also handpaint wooden “books” and then insert my own POD ( print of demand) paperbacks into them, also for readers at book signings as a gift from me;

The readers I’ve given them to have been thrilled because the “book” is a nice way to keep the actual book fresh and new-looking.

So…crafting and painting is my superpower, er…creative outlet. What’s yours?

Let’s see what other creative outlets the writers in this hop have: MFRWauthors

And, of course, when I’m not writing, painting, cooking, or restoring stuff, you can always find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

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Clothing…required. #MFRWauthor Blog challenge Week 27

This week the MFRWauthor blog prompt is THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE WHILE DRESSED.

Hmmm….so many possibilities, esp. for a romance writer, (heehee).

But if I’m going to be truthful, the most fun I have while dressed is when I’m cooking.

It’s no secret I lovelovelove to cook – and eat! I even wrote a romance series about a chef and her family – all of whom cook. Many of my treasured recipes where incorporated into those stories and I have to admit, people who’ve read them have commented many times they got hungry while reading them.

Okay…for a romance writer that pun leaves a whole bunch of stuff open to the imagination, but…I digress.

I am never happier than when I am surrounded by me dearest friends and family around my huge dining room table and they are all eating a meal I’ve put together.

 

I’m usually the first person to volunteer to bring a dish to an event, and I’m always grilling people ( another shameless pun!)  on how they made something that’s a new flavor profile to me so I can replicate it, reconfigure it, and then serve it when I’ve got it perfect.

I’m not a snotty cook, either. I don’t care if something is made from scratch, half from scratch with boxed stuff added as filler, or a meal put together from those old childhood friends Hormel, Chef Boyardee Green Giant, or Heinz. I’m an equal opportunity taster and cook. Of course, I always try to redo any dish I try where I’m told that it was half scratch or store bought, just to see if I can make it without using any commercial boxed products. I think my success rate is somewhere in the 90th percentile!

Creating the perfect tastes to entertain the dearest and most loved people in my life is my idea of true, complete, happiness.

And let’s be honest here: you should never prepare food without clothes on! Think of all the sensitive places you could burn or sear or – God forbid – slice while you are cooking!!! There’s a reason cooking aprons are a necessity in my kitchen. They not only protect my clothing from grease spatters, but they are an added layer in ensuring none of that hot grease crosses to my skin! Think about that for a second…..

So…I love to cook with my clothes on. Let’s see what some of the other authors and bloggers in the challenge like to do while dressed. And I’m really hoping next week’s prompt isn’t THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE NAKED! Hee hee MFRWAuthor 52 Week Blog Challenge.

And when I’m not cooking, you can find me here doing….other things than cooking!! Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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On why I write it all down….

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

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

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

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

I filled that one up by before birthday # 12.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click the link here: MFRW AUTHOR HOP

 

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Get your hands off my…..

I have simply lucked out these past few weeks with the writing prompts on this blog challenge. Today is another easy peasy piece for me to write.

The prompt is “the item I can’t live without.” As a writer, you may be thinking, “Well, it’s got to be a computer? Or a dictionary? Or a grammar book.”

Respectfully I say, you would be wrong.

Teeny bit of backstory: I am of Irish descent. I was born with jet black curly, kinky hair, hazel eyes and skin the color of pasteurized milk. In the 1960’s when I was a kid, no one believed much in sun block. In fact, the more color you had on your face and body during the summer, the better everyone thought you looked. Since I am so fair, I typically burned at least twice during an active outdoor summer. The fact my mother would slather me in baby oil and iodine didn’t help the situation any. In fact, I would venture to say all that oily manipulation added to the depth and breadth of my burns.

Flash forward to my teens, twenties, and thirties. Sun block was more popular and had numbers attached to it. Most dermatologists suggested you use it when ever in the sun and reapply often. I did. But I used an oil called Ban de Soleil that had an SPF of 2. Going without the block would have been better, probably.

In my forties I started noticing wrinkles on my face. By then, dermatologists world wide suggested – heavily – to stay out of the sun, and to never leave the house without a block on. I complied.

In my fifties I was diagnosed with skin cancer. First basal cell, then the more serious melanoma. I’ve had several surgeries to remove sections of my skin on my face, back, and legs. The scars left behind are not pretty. I venture to say they are hideous. With all of this, I became a vampire, shunning sunlight at all costs. If I do have to spend anytime outdoors, be it on a walk, or traveling, I now always wear long sleeved shirts, a hat, sunglasses, and a 100 SPF block that’s so thick it makes Desatin look watery. ( the mothers in this group will know what I mean, here.)

So, the item I simply can not, will not, and should not live without EVER is…sun block. Everyday, everyplace, no matter what.

I am an advocate for keeping skin protected whether you are 6 months old or 90 years young.

Everyday, everyplace, no matter what.

To read what the other authors in this hop can’t live without, simple click here.

And since I am never in the sun, 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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I still cry….

Another week, another easy post to write for the #MFRWauthor blog challenge!

I’ve talked about this experience often – on this blog and on others. I’ve had a few best expeiences in my life, but the best professional expeience ever was the day I met and spoke with my writing idol, Nora Roberts.

It was at the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio. I stood on line for over an hour at the booksigning for literacy event just to see her. The closer I got up the line, the more nervous I became. Ten people in front of me…five…two…then it was my turn. She was smiling as I approached, my book in hand all set for her to autograph. She asked my name and I burst into tears.

I’m not kidding.

Not even a little bit.

The only way I can describe it was like it was an out of body experience for me. She was so kind. She asked me why I was crying and I replied through sobs, “because it’s you.”

She laughed, swiped her hand in the air and said, “Stop. Let’s take a picture.”

I fell even more in love with her at that moment than I even thought was possible. She talked to me for a few minutes about writing (and still had about 100 people left in back of me on the line) and I felt so stupid for crying.

That day and that moment was without a doubt a day I will remember until the moment I pass from this earth. I’m tearing up just thinking about it right now!!!

Let’s see what other memories the writers in this hop have. MFRWauthorBLogHopChallenge

And if  you’re looking for me, I’m here most days:

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

 

 

 

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Rock’em Sock’em…

I don’t get a lot of gifts. I didn’t as a child and I haven’t as an adult. I tell you that so you’ll know how precious the gift I’m going to tell you about really is to me.

Obviously, I’m a girl. Duh. I was a child in the 1960’s a time when stereotypical gender roles were still very much in place. Boys got baseball cards, BBguns, and sports equipment for Christmas and birthday gifts.

Girls got Barbies, Easy Bake Ovens, and board games like Mystery Date.

I hated all those girly-girly toys. Still do, to be truthful. Even back then I knew they were designed to keep girls in their places, hoping and dreaming of the perfect boy/man to come along and take care of us for eternity.

Gag me now.

I so did not buy into that dream. But that’s a blog for another day. Today’s is about the best gift I ever got. You can guess it wasn’t a Chatty Cathy doll, or a tea set.

When I was eight I asked Santa ( that’s right. I still believed in Santa at 8. Still do, in fact.) for a toy I’d seen advertised on Saturday mornings during the cartoon hours. It was aimed at the boy buying market but I didn’t care. I asked Santa that year for ROCK’EM SOCK’EM ROBOTS.

Lordy, I wanted that toy!!! I said a prayer every night that Santa would leave it for me. I was extra good around the house, doing my chores and even doing things I wasn’t asked to do just to score some brownie points with Old St. Nick.

Christmas morning came and….no robots. I think I opened a new outfit or two for the Barbie doll he’d brought me the year before – the one I NEVER played with, and some Barbie coloring books.

Devastated is too tame for how I felt. My mother asked me why I was so pissed ( and yes, she did say it like that to an 8 year old. Is it any wonder I am the way I am today?) I told her I’d asked Santa for Rock’em Sock’em Robots and couldn’t understand why I didn’t get it. I’d been good, did well in school, went to church. Did everything I was told and supposed to do.

Her explanation was very telling. She shrugged, took a puff of her cigarette and said, “‘Cause you’re a girl, not a boy. Santa doesn’t give boy toys to girls or girl toys to boys. That’s not right.”

See? Telling.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I told you that story. Stick with me and you’ll understand why.

Flash forward 48 years. I’m sitting at dinner with my entire in-law family a few days before Christmas and we go around the table telling stories about Christmas’s of the past. My father-in-law asks me what the best gift I ever got was. I told him, instead, about the Rock’em Sock’em Robots debacle and how much I’d really wanted that toy and how upset I’d been when I didn’t get it. On to the next person for another story.

Christmas morning comes and we are spending it with my in-laws. I wake up and we all start to unwrap gifts. My husband hands me a huge box wrapped with a big red bow and a tag that said, “to Peg, from Santa”. Since I hadn’t asked for anything that year, I was in a quandary about what it could be. When I opened it I started bawling my eyes out. Yup – you guessed it. He’d given me the toy I’d always wanted. Apparently, after hearing the story I’d told a few nights before, he’d sent my brother-in-law to Toys R Us with instructions to get it for me.

Is it any wonder I love this man and have for over 30+ years?

Since this is a blog challenge, click on to any of these author sites to see what their favorite gifts have been. MFRWauthor

And if you’re ever looking for me, I’m usually here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

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Social Media is here to stay…. #MFRWauthor

Another Friday, another blog challenge topic from MFRWauthor. Heehee. This one’s another easy peasy one to write.

Up until I had my first book published, the only Social Media platform I used was Facebook. It kept me in touch with my daughter who’d been in college, and I had fun seeing the posts from all her friends.

Fast forward to June 2014. I signed my first book contract and was told by the publisher that I needed to have a social media presence in order to garner readers and followers. I think the first thing I said was “no.” All I wanted to do was write, not be on-line with strangers all the time talking myself and my book up. That thought went the way of the dinosaur when I found out how effective a marketing tool being on social media sites can be, and in reality, is.

With my daughter’s and my best friend’s help – both of whom are techy and marketing gurus, I started this website, joined Twitter, found Pinterest and Instagram, and became a Goodreads “author.” In addition, I developed a FB following on my author page.

By the time my second book was released, I was proficient in all these sites.

And every time I thought I was done, another “must be seen on” social media site emerged. Book Bub, Triberr, Tumbler, Linked-In came along and with them, my participation.

But this is a blog about our favorite SM platforms, so to be true to the challenge, my absolute favorite it TRIBERR. The reasons vary, but the main one is REACH,  a term that gives new meaning to what you really think it mean.

On TRIBERR I follow many book-, romance-book, and writing web-blogs. Each site has at least a reach of a minimum of 2000 readers. A few have hundreds of thousands. What that means is, if I a member of that TRIBE, ( and yes, that’s what it’s called!) and I post a new blog, the potential for people who don’t know me from Adam to see it is huge. Really huge. Of course, there is reciprocity involved in all this. If I want my blog posts to be seen, I need to publicize other blogs as well. Tit for tat; or in this case, blog for blog. Every morning I log onto my Triberr account and then scroll through the Tribes I am a member of. When I see interesting posts, or posts I feel will be beneficial for my followers, I schedule them on my Twitter feed. That way, my 2000+ Twitter followers, get to read things by people whom they do not ordinarily follow.

Get it?

If you’re a blogger, Triberr is a great place to garner new readership, so that’s why it is my current favorite SM site.

And you can follow me on Tribber ( and all my other sites) here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

Now, since this is a blog challenge and hop, visit the other authors here to find out what their favorite social media platforms are and why.

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


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

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

Looking for me? here I am:

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

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

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#MFRWauthor How I celebrate completing my manuscripts…

Is there an author alive who doesn’t love the words THE END? Who doesn’t get excited and thrilled and relieved and a swelled ego at finishing something as monumental as a fully-formed book? Well, yes, there is.

Me.

Let me ‘esplain it to you Lucy.

As everyone knows by the now, the title of my website is Writing is my Oxygen. This is because to me, if I don’t write everyday I feel like I die a little inside, just like if I didn’t have air to breathe, I’d die. So when I’m writing a new book I feel alive, energized, filled with positivity and purpose. I literally live and breathe my characters, their story, go through all their trials, tribulations, conflicts and dilemmas. When the story is complete, the resolution, well, resolved,  and the h/h have their HEA, I feel elated. For about an hour. Then I get sad and morose because these people who I’ve lived, breathed, and loved for months no longer need me.

Le sigh….

So, instead of celebrating with a bottle of wine or the purchase of a spa day, I tend to do what I do all the time when I am sad. I emotionally eat.

Gorge, really.

Like, really.

Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies by the truck load

Hershey’s kisses by the case.

Iced Cream Cheese pastries.

Anything and everything chocolate I can get my hands on.

It’s kinda sad and wicked gross.

When the sugar high wears off ( because eventually it does) and my pants are so tight again no amount of gym-trecking can really help, I step back ( okay, waddle back, if we’re being honest!) and evaluate the situation. In due time I realize I need to suck it up. Like my daughter no longer needs me for guidance, thoughts, or emotional counseling because she’s a grown ass woman, my characters no longer need me, either. When this epiphany happens I usually do double workouts at the gym ( pastries, you know?), drink buckets of water to flush the sugar from my system, and then………look for new characters and plot lines that need me.

Thus, the life of a writer.

Since this is a blog hop, some of the other authors in this series probably celebrate in much more constructive and fun ways than I do at the completion of a manuscript. Check them out.

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#MFRWauthor blog challenge: What I’ve learned from my worst review…

There’s an old saying: reviews are like_______; everybody has one.

Now, if you’re like me the word you wrote on that line was one I really can’t use in a public blog, heehee, but it rhymes with ashmoles. The word that I’m replacing it with is opinions. Think about it. Everyone has an opinion about something, and a book review is really just the person who’s writing the review’s opinion on the work. Like in every day life, some people agree with you, some people do not. It’s the same for reviews.

I’ve read glowing, absolutely the best book you will read all year reviews on books I truly thought were horrible.

I’ve also read soul sucking, pass this one by people reviews on books I lovedlovedloved.

It’s all a matter of opinion. Unfortunately, in the business I now find myself in of writing and publishing, those opinions can mean the difference between a month of good book sales and one of disaster. I have  strong ego. Truly. Ask anyone who knows me. It takes an awful lot to rip me down emotionally and lay me bare, so reviews never hurt me or my feelings. I know not every book is for everyone because I know not every book is for me. The reviews I take exception to are the ones that were written by mean spirited, jealous little trolls who you know didn’t even finish the book because their reviews were full of mistakes and incorrect plotline summations. Trogdelytes who’ve never written a word of fiction, painted a picture with a well formed sentence, or won an award for ANYTHING, much less writing. Pissants who can’t put a constructed thought on the page in a way that conveys meaning to anyone reading it. Morons who……

Okay, so rant over. Sorry about that. Back to  the topic.

What I learned from the worst review I ever received was to laugh it off. I wrote a Valentine’s day story a few years back called 3 WISHES. The story was about CHLOE and MATT. I put their names in caps so you’ll remember them when I tell you this quick synopsis story of the review.

In the book, CHLOE AND MATT are the hero and heroine. I had a subtle subplot revolving around Chloe’s parents ( Francesca and Joey) and an affair Joey had that forced him to leave his family. Did you read the word subplot in the last sentence? I used Joey’s defection from the family as a way to introduce who Matt really was in the story and how he connected to Chloe. A reviewer on Goodreads rated my story a 1 ( A 1!!!) and said I wrote the wrong book. The story of the parents was where the real emphasis should have gone.

Look up the word stunned in the dictionary and you will see a picture of my face when I read that review.


                                           (Not really my face!! heehee)

But, Really? I could understand if the chick didn’t like the story, but to tell me, THE AUTHOR, that I’d written the wrong one? Really? When I could speak again I wanted to write the hag– I mean the reader– a letter saying if she thought I’d written the wrong story then she should go ahead and write the one she wanted to read, because 3 WISHES was ALWAYS CHLOE and MATT’S story. Always.  And just FYI, the individual who wrote that I penned the wrong story is not a writer herself. I never wrote the letter. There was no need to. Once people who had read the book got a gander at that review, it kinda instigated a little reviewer backlash against the chick, primed with vile slings and arrows aimed straight at her.

God, I lovelovelove my readers!!!!! The ones who will defend me, lay down their literary swords for me, and take on the trolls. They are, simply, the best.

So, again, back to the main point here. What I learned from the worst review I ever got was to laugh off the negativity, leave the person in God’s hands, and delight in the fact that I’m getting paid to live my dream life while that bad reviewer….isn’t. ( those of you who know me know I could have gone bat-shit crazy with that last sentence, but I refrained from doing to. Proud of me? heehee)

Sine this is a blog hop made up of AUTHORS who have all probably had at least 1 bad review, hop on over to their sites and read their posts for today.

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