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My biggest Accomplishment

Wow. It’s hard to believe that an entire year of blogging is almost complete! This is week 50. Just 2 more to go.

Now, since this is a writing blog for romance writers ( mainly) you might think that my biggest accomplishment is something…literary. Maybe it’s the fact that I got a publishing contract for my first book at the age of 55. Or that I’ve won several awards for my books. It might even be that I’ve been lucky enough to get 10 books published in 3 years – and none of them were indie/self pubbed. While all those accomplishments were ones I’ve, well, accomplished, none of them are what I consider my biggest and best accomplishment to date.

The answer may surprise you, but my biggest accomplishment is my marriage and the fact that it has survived 30 years.

I’ve written extensively about how I was raised in a contentious, divorced family. Both parents remarried, but they continued to be bitter about the other and take it out on me – whether intentionally or not — until I reached maturity and cut off contact with them. My mother’s second marriage was no better than her first, the only difference was I was older and a witness to the emotional abuse it wrought. With this as my example, I truly felt marriage was the worst thing in the world and I was never going to do it.

Then I met my man.

He was raised in  the diametrically opposite family life that I was. Two parents, a shared religion and commitment to one another and their children, financially stable, and educated to my 4 parents, sporadic religious practice, labile commitment and a working class poverty. The phrase one paycheck away from financial ruin was the theme of my childhood.

I didn’t believe in marriage because I’d been shown how horrible it was. My man believed in it because he’d been shown how wonderful it was. Once I met his parents, I had to agree. My previous thoughts that all marriages are horrible flew right out the window.

Now, I’m not an easy person to live with at times, and can be moody, isolationalist, and cutting if provoked. I knew living with me would be no picnic. But we endured. Somehow, by the grace of God, we endured. And I truly learned what it meant to love someone else so much that you’d do anything for them to make them happy.

I think some people regard the word commitment conditionally. They will commit and pledge to another, but the first time adversity or hardship comes through the door, that commitment gets broken. In our house, commitment is the end all be all. It’s for life. Whether we sink or swim, are successful or not, we made a vow to one another to see it through. Marriage vows are written for a reason. That phrase in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, through good times and bad MEANS something. I tend to think many people these days don’t get that.

Anyway, December 26th I will be married 30 years, Here’s looking forward to the next 30!

Drop by some of these other authors to see what their biggest accomplishments are!

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, love, MFRWauthor, Romance, Romance Books

Did you know I’m crafty….#MFRWauthors

 

and that I bake? A lot? More about those things in a bit….

Today’s topic is what I do to recharge. By definition, recharge means: to regain one’s strength and energy by resting and relaxing for a time; or return to a normal state of mind or strength after a period of physical or mental exertion.

By virtue of those definitions, something must be done for a person to need to break away from to rest and regain their momentum.

yeah…not me. I’ve said this multiple, ad nauseum times: Writing is my oxygen. Without doing it, like without breathing, I would die. So I really have never come to a place in my life where I felt the need or desire to walk away from it for a while to reenergize my brain.

What I do, in essence, though, is take breaks during the day for the other things that I love to do: cooking is one. Making things is another.  Let me ‘splain.

I love to bake. Thankfully, my husband likes to eat the things I bake. Most days, items like this sit under domed glass on my kitchen counter, waiting for him to snack on: 

Those are my banana walnut muffins. The picture doesn’t do them justice about how big they are. Trust me: for the normal person they would not be a snack but a meal. For hubby though, who likes to graze, they are a snack. When I get stuck on dialogue or a plot point isn’t moving along the way I want it to, I go from my office to the kitchen and bake for an hour or so. Usually, that time away from the laptop, consciously writing, commands my unconscious brain to deal with the problem. Problem gets solved and I’ve got baked goods as the outcome.

Win-Win!

The other things I do are along the crafty spectrum. I love to decoupage and restore old “things.” The things I love to restore the most are old trunks and steamer trunks. Here’s a project I did last year:

If you look super close you will see the cover of my first book SKATER’s WALTZ on there! Yeah, I”m not too conceited! ( sarcasm added). I also have my second and third book covers  There’s No Place like Home,  First Impressions )on the other side of the trunk!  Yeah… I know.

I also paint. I’m not great at it, but it is very relaxing. One of the newest things I’ve been painting are those canvass produce bags you are now required to bring to most supermarkets to cut down on the throwaway plastic bags filling our landfills for the next 10,000 years. Since I’ve been writing a new food series — WILL COOK FOR LOVE — it seemed appropriate to give these away at book signings to people who want the books. Clever marketing tool meets relaxing hobby.

Win-Win, again!

Now, I realize that my way of de-stressing isn’t exactly what other authors do. Let’s be honest, what I do sounds more like work to some people!!! Visit some of these authors to find out what they do to re-charge, energize, and how they cope with the stressors of life when they aren’t writing.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

Ring in a New Year…and a new attitude

I think most people would claim their birthday or Christmas as their favorite holiday. After all, on both of those days you get PRESENTS!!! Presents just for you. And while I’m not knocking presents, neither of those days is my favorite holiday to celebrate. It might seem odd, but the day that means the most to me every year is New Year’s Day.

Why, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

As a writer, I love beginnings. Beginnings of books, beginnings to love stories, beginnings of family sagas. If a book captures me right from the beginning, I am with it the entire way.  I also love firsts. First babies, first loves, first kiss, first dollar you earned! Both of those things– the first and the beginning– are incorporated into New Years Day.

It’s the beginning of a new year. It’s the first day of the next 364. It’s the day when the slate is rubbed clean from the previous year and you get a fresh start at…everything: life, love, success, happiness. Out with the old, in with the new. Brand new. Fresh. Hopeful.

Plus, you get a really great kiss at the stroke of midnight!

Really, is there anything better than starting off a brand new year with a kiss from someone you love?

Since this is blog hop/share, check out these other authors. I wonder if any of them like New Year’s as much as I do!

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books

Be it ever so humble…

I’m going to bet that the other authors in this blog chain are writing about fabulous places they’ve visited like Hawaii, Australia, Ireland, Bimini. All places that evoke images of sandy beaches, lush and verdant fields that go on for days, tropical temperatures and a slow, relaxing lifestyle. I was all set to write about someplace I’ve visited like that too. Until I realized something….I don’t have to visit other locals and write about the beauty of the land and the people.

I can write about where I live, one of the most beautiful places in America.

Growing up in New York City, it was a long-running joke that if you wanted to see a grove of trees, visit Central Park. Joke though it may have been, it was based on reality. Living in an urban setting is many things: exciting, fast paced, cultural. What is was not, to me, was beautiful.

Fast forward 30 years. Looking to relocate, my husband accepted a job in New Hampshire. I’d never been to the upper New England states before and had no idea what the region “looked like.” We moved in the summer. My first introduction to a Fall in New England was one of the most eye-opening encounters I’d ever had – and it solidified in my mind the move we’d made was the correct one. Colors I couldn’t even begin to identify and name surrounded me.

 

We bought a house in the woods and I think I spent more time just gazing out the bay windows at the trees turning colors than I did unpacking.

The town I live in celebrates Autumn in a number of ways: apple picking, a pumpkin festival, decorating the main street with fall themed items such as corn stalks, pumpkins ( again!) just to name two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For years we celebrated the PUMPKIN FESTIVAL where our town donated lit jackolanterns. It’s with pride I tell you we hold numerous Guinness World Records for lit pumpkins in a defined setting. For years, people from all walks of life and literally from all over the world, came to our town during the festival to add their name and pumpkin to the tally.

There’s even a cottage tourism industry in this neck of the woods called Leaf Peeping Season.

 

From September until November you can drive up any of the highways that connect New England to our sister Canada, and watch the leaves – literally- turn colors before your eyes. Artists from all over the world come to our neck of the wood to try and capture the beauty of the colors, hues, and shades of out trees as they wind down for a nap during winter.

Dorothy Gayle went searching for her heart’s desire and found it in her own back yard. That’s the way I feel about this blog piece. There are so many gorgeous places on earth to travel, but when it comes down to selecting a favorite, I’m choosing my own back yard.

 

Be it ever so humble…..

Now, I’m sure the other authors in the blog hop challenge have equally as spectacular places to show you, so please visit their sites. Who knows? You may just find your next vacation destination.

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, There's No Place Like Home

Writing is my Oxygen…

Easiest blog EVAH to pen.

Why do I write? I could wax prolific for 500 words here, but there is no need to. As the title of my website tells you, writing is my oxygen.  Writing breaths life into my existence. A day without writing for me is a day without breathing. If you don’t breath, you die. Simple enough.

Now excuse me, please, because I need to go…..breathe!

You might want to stop by the other authors in this blog hop to see why writing is so important to them.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Literary characters, Romance, Strong Women

How many courses is too much?

This blog entry is gonna kill me….literally!! I lovelovelove to cook. I have almost 130 cookbooks in my house, many dog-earred and marked up with notes. How in the name of all that’s holy can I pick one meal that I’d have for my very last meal on earth?

Okay. SO let’s look at this the way a hostess with the mostest would. A meal consists of COURSES. A typical meal would have at least 5-7 courses, so if I go with the principle that MORE IS MORE, my last meal will have 7 courses. And they won’t be the typical cheese, salad, meat, yadayadayada courses. I’m reinventing the courses. I can do that. I’m a writer and this is MY last meal, so there!

Course #1. Forget the salad. If I’m gonna die, I ain’t eating salad. This course is going to be a full blown appetizer course consisting of my favorite appetizers: coconut shrimp, artichoke dip with Ritz crackers, pigs-in-a-blanket, scallops wrapped in bacon, asparagus wrapped in bacon with maple syrup and brown sugar. To Die For!

Course #2 The soup course. My favorite is good old fashioned TOMATO SOUP and I’ve got a recipe that just soothes the soul. Of course, along with the tomato soup I will have to have a grilled cheeses sandwich because, you know…they go together. My grilled cheese consists of thick homemade potato bread, slathered with real butter on both sides and a mix of mozzarella and provolone cheeses on the inside. Delish!

Course #3: Fish. Going all out here, folks. I lovelovelove fish. So, I’m gonna have to make my seafood scampi. Scallops, jumbo shrimp and lobster in a white wine sauce with mushrooms and served over bowtie pasta. I’m hungry just thinking about it.

 

Course #4: Pasta. You might say the previous course of scampi fits the pasta bill. No f**king way! I’m eating an entire course of  my penne ala vodka, served with yards of garlic bread.

Course #5: Main meal: You’re probably wondering why I’m not in the Emergency room by now with a ruptured stomach from ALL that food!  But if this is my last meal, I’m gonna keep going. So, For the main meal there really is only one option for me: Lobster macaroni and cheese with bacon. I know…………

Course #6: Cheese. A little palette refresher here. I love baked cheeses, so I’ll prepare my baked brie in puff pastry with apricot and serve it with little bullets of baked challah bread and fruit.

 

Course #7: Dessert. Lordy, Lordy, so many to choose from. Cheesecake? Chocolate mousse pie? Cannolis? All favs, but I’m gonna make an entire Chocolate trifle and eat it all by myself.

And, yes…that’s my Trifle, recently made for a party.

If any of this sounds good to you ( and why wouldn’t it??) You can get a few of the recipes in my WILL COOK FOR LOVE series from Kensington/Lyrical Shine Publishers. COOKING WITH KANDY is available now and had the lobster mac and cheese. A SHOT AT LOVE releases on 10.8.17 and there are even more recipes in that one,

Bon appetite!

Since this is a blog hop. you might want to click over to some of these other authors and see what constitutes a last meal for them.

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Book Pet Peeves…I’ve got a million!


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

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

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

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

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

Overnight.

I’m just not feeling it, peeps.

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

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

 

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

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

‘Nuff said….

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

 

 

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