Tag Archives: #MFRWauthors #MFRW

#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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#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!

16.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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