Tag Archives: #Mfrwauthors

Books are my thing…

I can go in so many directions with this blog choice. My favorite books to read over and over; the type of books I like to read; my favorite genres and subgenres. So many avenues to explore. Sooooo, I guess I’ll tackle them all and see what happens.

I. My favorite books to read over and over. I’ve read Gone with Wind 42 times.

I know…I’m a little obsessive. But every time I’ve read it as an adult I find something fresh or a connection I didn’t see before.

I’ve read Pride and Prejudice 27 times.

In fact, I’m re-reading it right now!

I”ve read the Thorn Birds 16 times. I only saw the miniseries once, so that tells you how much more I like the book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve read each Harry Potter book twice. The first time along with my daughter, the second time on my own.

And because I find reading the JD Robb IN DEATH series is like taking a master class in writing a series, I’ve read each of the 45 books at least 3 times. You do the math on that one!

II. The types of books I like to read. Well romances, of course! Duh! I’m such a sucker for that whole Happily Ever After thing. I love a heroine who’s snarky and a little obsessive; a hard worker, and a strong believer in family. Give me a hero who’s part alpha/part beta; one who can be a leader or a follower or both at the same time! He has to be committed on every level to the heroine – emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. Once he meets her there’s no one else he can envision himself with EVER! The same goes for the heroine. I love to cook and I love to laugh, so witty, engaging characters who eat like normal people and not super models getting ready for a photo shoot are my favorite people! I want to read about folks I could see myself being friends with. Make me laugh, make my cry, and feed my soul and I’m your reader for life.

III. MY favorite genre and subgenre books. This is gonna look a little like an Amazon key-word line! Stick with me here, folks: Romance-contemporary romance- foodie-humor -strong heroine- family. Let me esplan it, Lucy, in better terms.

Favorite genre: romance. Favorite subgenre of romance: contemporary romance. Elements of contemporary romance books – humorous stories about families with strong women. Add a dash of cooking into the mix and serve!

And just for full disclosure here, I also like the erotic contemporary romances of Jennifer Probst and Christina Lauren

   

and Regency romances ala Lisa Kleypas and Elizabeth Hoyt.

   

So, there you have it. My reading pleasures.

And because this is blog hop, click on over to these other romance writers to see what they consider their favorite books. You just might find a new author or series you’ll enjoy.


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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Historical Romance, Literary characters, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

I’m a word banker…#MFRWauthors

I retired from my long time job in 2015 when I got my first book contract. So many people asked me at that time, “What are you gonna do with yourself now that you don’t have to go to work every day?”
Hello!!! After informing them that I was trading my hated job for a life long dream job and explained that I would now be writing full time, they still said things like, “But surely you can’t write all day?” and “But what else are you going to do to fill your days?”

I remember thinking at the time that people, for lack of a better word, can be really stupid. But that’s another blog… This one concerns word counts and I told you the story above as a precursor.

I approach word counts like I approach a job: all in. What that means for me is that I have a minimum goal I have to reach every single day that I write ( and I write every single day) before I can do anything else. You wouldn’t just leave a job in the middle of the day to go grocery shopping, or to have lunch with friends. You’re working. You have a job to do and you get paid for it.  That’s my approach to word counts.

Every day I write 2000 words minimum in whatever book I am currently working on, my WIP ( Work in progress). After that 2000 is done, I then decide if I want to keep going, or do the stuff I need to do to, you know… adult. Like, grocery shop, laundry, ironing, clean the house, do banking, pay bills. Even take a shower!

The fact that I’m blessed with chronic insomnia (and I never thought I’d hear myself say that was a blessing!) helps. I can get so much written between the hours of 3 and 6 am every day, that’s it ridiculous. My entire first book SKATER’S WALTZ was written during these times.

Word counts are, to many writers, a bane. A necessary evil. If they set a goal and then don’t make it, they feel many things: unworthy, like a failure, inept.

To them and all writers, I say STOP! Word counts are simply ways of tracking what you have written.  Only during the month of November if you participate in  NANOWRIMO should you worry about how much is “good enough” to write every day. Creativity can not be forced. And it shouldn’t be. If you write 6 words or 6ooo in a day, so be it. Those 6 words are probably the best you’ll wring from yourself, so good. Yay. 6 is better than none, right?

Now, you’re probably thinking, “but she said she writes 2000 every day before she does anything else, and yet she’s telling us not to worry about how much we write?” Correct. I am. But that’s what I need to do. Every writer, like every book and every story, is different. I know a contemporary romance writer who sets as her goal 100,000 words per month. If you take a month at 30 days, that means she has to write 3,333 words every single day no matter what. She has an assistant, so she doesn’t need to do the mundane things like social media updates, laundry, and grocery shopping. Lucky her. Most of us don’t have assistants, though. So again, whether you write 6, or 6ooo words a day; 10000 or 100000 per month, word counts are individualistic.

And necessary. Oh, so necessary. Don’t try to compare yourself with others when it comes to word counts. Like I said, everyone is different. As long as you write – and what you write is good – then, so be it.

Because this is a writer blog hop, click on some of the other authors here to see how they approach their writing word counts…or even if they have them!!

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

Elvis and Me

I try not to think too much about my childhood because it was…intense. And disturbing. And very lonely.

But, in the spirit of this challenge, I’m going to pluck a good memory out of the old storage banks of my aging mind.

For my twelfth birthday, my mother wanted to do something special. I had no friends, so a party wasn’t feasible. I don’t think at that time in my life she was talking to any of our relatives, so again, no family get-together was going to happen to celebrate my big day. She decided – and I don’t know how or why – to get tickets for me, she, and my step-father to see Elvis Presley perform at Madison Square Garden in NYC.

The King was on his comeback tour and my mother had been a fan in her teens. Strangely, I was too! I was a fan of his movies, his lively music, even his bless-from-God good looks. They didn’t call him “KING” for nothing!

We were on an exceedingly tight budget as I remember from those days, and my mother had to save for 6 months to pay for the tickets. 6 months. The tickets she was able to afford were the least expensive ones, at $12.50 each.  6 months to save a few cents or a dollar a week from her grocery shopping, using coupons to wiggle every penny she could to pay the $37.50 for the tickets. That should tell you how financially strapped we were. This was 1972.

Anyway…

She scrimped and saved and the big day finally came. We hopped the ferry from Staten Island, which was .25 cents per person each way ( so another $1.50 added to the budget) then took the subway uptown to 34th street. Believe it or not, I can’t remember how much a subway token was back then. It was a Saturday night show, so the Garden was packed. We were in the second to the last row in the last section of rows in the entire building. I could almost touch the Garden’s ceiling!  I couldn’t even see the stage. It looked like a minuscule postage stamp from our seats. There was no jumbotron so people like us could see Elvis projected in full form – it hadn’t been invented yet, can you imagine? You can’t go to any kind of venue now where they don’t have a jumbotron or two…or four.

Anyway…

We walked to our seats ( and it was a helluva walk!) settled down and waited for the show to start. No leftover funds for things like popcorn or souvenirs, but I didn’t care. I was at my very first concert and it was the King of Rock-n-Roll! My 12-year-old self was super jazzed. The lights dimmed, the crowd started to clap, and the music started.

It’s impossible to tell you how excited I was. I couldn’t see him, but I could hear him. Perfectly. Up to the day he died,  the man had a voice the Gods of music gifted to him. Deep and rich and perfect. At 12 I was too young to think of it as a sexy, purely masculine voice. At 57, I’m remembering it as just that. A hot blast of smoke and heat, raw and primal. God, I loved that man!

For over two hours Elvis sang, flirted with the audience, played a few instruments and generally made this the happiest birthday I’d ever had – and the happiest I’d have for the next decade and a half. Intense childhood, remember? (Teen years were worse.)

 

Anyway…

That’s about the happiest memory I have from my childhood and it was a doozy! Five years later the King would be dead. Generations of fans to come could only know him through the memories of his music, films, a few videos.  But I’ll always be able to say I saw him live. I saw the King of Rock-n-Roll. I experienced a little bit of musical history at a time when music and books where the only good things in my life.

Since this is part of blog hop, stop by some of the other author blogs below and read about their happy childhood memories.

 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Strong Women

My Ideal Romance Hero

Tall, dark, and handsome is such a cliche. Not to mention, boring. If you don’t think this is true, here’s a bit of dialogue from Chris Pine’s character in INTO THE WOODS,. addressing his wife, Cinderella. “Darling, I was raised to be charming, not sincere,” the Prince tells her when she confronts him about his extramarital affairs.

Yup, that about says it all about that plastic tall, dark, and handsome description. There’s no meat to it; no substance.

Every ideal romance hero will differ depending on the writer writing him. Some writers will only pen total alphas, incapable of human emotion until the heroine comes along and – BAM – turns him magically into a fully functioning, emotional being. Disclosure here: I hate that kind of hero.  A writer friend of mine – whom I adore – described this hero type as an alpha-hole. Perfect descriptor!!!

Some writers pen the six foot, chiseled jaw, warm-eyed hero who has never realized he’s a hunkadoodle. Disclosure again: While I don’t hate this type, it’s hard for me to believe the guy doesn’t know he’s panty-dropping hot. I mean, does he own a mirror, or what?

So. Enough about the heroes I don’t fancy. What do I want in my ideal romantic hero?
A guy who makes me laugh…

A man who not only has a brain but also stimulates my brain and who can discuss topics other than sports…

Richard Geere

A guy who brings you breakfast in bed; a man who bakes you the most decadent treat; a hero who wants to feed you — heart, mind, body and soul.

I know, right!! I adore a man who can cook.

This is Master Baker Paul Hollywood. He can frost my buns any day.

Le swoon!!!

A man who’s not afraid or ashamed to tell you and show you he cares. The following is a line from my favorite JD Robb book, NEW YORK TO DALLAS.

It’s one of the final scenes. Lt. Eve Dallas has just had a knockdown, drag-out fight with a serial killer. She’s battered, bruised, and a little loopy from the painkillers they’ve given her. She’s speaking to her good friend Dr. Charlotte Mira, with Eve’s husband – the panty-dropping Roarke, in the background.

Eve says:

“Want to finish, give my report. Is my face messed up? I hate when that happens. Not like I’m pretty or anything, but—”

“You’re the most beautiful woman ever born,” Roarke said from the doorway, and Eve sent him a woozy, drugged smile.

That’s my perfect hero.

A man who loves you above all others – even himself; who will make love to you when you have wake-up morning breath, sheet marks on your cheeks and eye boogers, desire you even if you haven’t showered, be devoted to you no matter what comes along in life to try both your souls. A man who’s willing to not only put you first but do anything to keep you there.  A hero who sees you, simply, as everything good in his life.

My ideal romance hero is the kind of man I want in my own life: calm, smart, witty, kind, strong willed and soft-hearted, willing to take a stand and fight for it, but able to see someone else’s opinion without censure. A man who will listen, speak up when needed, and know when a hug is all a woman needs. A man who won’t just try to solve my problems, but will help me solve them. A guy who can take charge and take a back seat when the situation calls for it. A man who will let me be me, get me, and support me – in every way.

In all honesty, my perfect romance hero is…my hubby.

Yeah…le swoon!

Since this is a blog hop, click on some of the other MFRW authors writing about their ideal romantic hero.

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

Belly shakers and comedic genius.

I grew up a child of television. As a latch key kid there was no one around routinely to monitor what I watched after school and in the evenings my mother was so tired from working all day she never asked me what I was watching because she was just glad I was occupied so she could relax. Because of that I had a very extensive comedic childhood, watching way too many shows I probably shouldn’t have.

Having said that, the shows I watched were comedic gold and my favorites then are still my favorites today. If I happen to catch an errant episode on TV land, I’ll stop whatever I’m channel surfing for and settle in for a good old fashioned guffaw.

My favorites?
Well, I LOVE LUCY jumps to the head of the line. Remember VITAMEATAVEGAMIN?

And who could ever forget the Carol Burnett Show’s spoof, WENT WITH THE WIND?

I can recite every line, every nuance, every word of those two skits. Perfectly.  And when I’m not saying them out loud, I’m laughing out loud. Big, body shaking belly laughs.

Another one? The Robin Williams interview on INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO. Watch it and I dare you not to laugh. I double dog dare you!

Recently, I rewatched a comedy classic on Comedy Central, the REDNECK COMEDY TOUR. I will admit, I am almost embarrassed about how funny I find these guys! And at how loud I laugh when they’re on.

Since this is a blog hop, you might want to stop by these other authors and have a good belly laugh, too!

 

10.

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Characters, female friends, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

OH, the Places I’d go!

Be it ever so humble…..

I’ll admit this freely – I don’t travel well. My husband calls me the “ugly American” and it’s too true. I am a spoiled homebody. I  like nothing more than staying in my house, in my jammies, reading a book or cooking for friends and family. Yeah, I know. I live and lead a very boring, limited life, so this blog topic was one that required a huge amount of thought on my part. The last time I traveled anywhere was when my daughter was in college, doing a semester in Barcelona and then in Dublin. My Husband and I went to visit her in both places.

And just FYI, she graduated in 2011. What year is it now, hmmm? Yeah. That’s the last time I went anywhere.

So, the Top 5 places I’d like to visit.

Well, let’s see…

I actually had to go out and buy the book 1000 Places to see before you die because I couldn’t even come up with one.

I don’t like planes – they are a necessary inconvenience, though. I dislike trains even more, and forget about being in the car longer than an hour without stopping to stretch my legs. Total torture.

So…those 5 places.

Hawaii might be nice because it’s like…Hawaii!! Lava and beaches and leis. But it’s such an asshugging long trip from the East Coast to get there. I might have to make a few stops along the way, like Washington DC. The architecture, the history, the scandals. I could spend a few days there without problems. But I’ve been there already. Numerous times. This is supposed to be a post on places I haven’t visited yet.

Okay, so #1. Hawaii.

2….hmmm. Tuscany. I think I’d like to see Tuscany because I loved that book Under The Tuscan Sun. It would be great for my cooking skills to learn how to make authentic Tuscan dishes using fresh Tuscan ingredients…like wine!

3…..(scratching head) The Swiss Alps because I liked Heidi. My in-laws actually went to the Swiss Alps on a trip once and my mother-in-law told me it was absolutely her favorite part of that vacation. Seeing the Matterhorn, riding the Glacier Express. She loved it and since she’s such a good judge of things, I figure I would too!

4….(biting nails, now) Australia, and mainly Queensland because I lovedlovedloved The Thorn Birds. I was so heartbroken when Colleen McCullough died, I actually went to Church that day and said a prayer for her soul. She brought the Australian outback to full, vivid, life with her writings and she is sorely missed.

5….(really digging deep now!) Got it! San Fransico because I loved the JoyLuck Club. Amy Tan is a fabu writer and I remember reading this book in a day because I was so invested in the characters and their lives as they navigated through their heritage, culture, and tried to assimilate into the American lifestyle and the Bay Area without trading in their old world ways. Her writing is lyrical, fluid, and flows from the page.

So. I could stop In San Fran on the way to Hawaii, and after a week swimming the Pacific shores, move on to Australia. Next stop from there,  Tuscany and finishing in the Swiss Alps.

That wouldn’t be so bad.

Le sigh.

This was a hard blog to write, peeps. Really hard considering I don’t leave my house much!

Let’s see if the other authors in the blog challenge have as hard a time as I did coming up with 5 places… I’m going to bet they didn’t.

 

 

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

Where I hangout when I want to be #social; #MFRWauthors

Until I became a professional writer ( and by that I mean, one who writes full time and actually gets paid! Yippie!) the biggest social media presence I had was on Facebook, and then it was only because my daughter was away at college and on it, and I wanted to ensure she was okay. And of course by okay I mean that I stalked her posts! She knows this so I’m not worried she’ll be mad at me.

But when my first book was contracted, the publisher suggested – heavily and often! – that all their authors needed to have a very visible social media presence to garner sales and book promo, since they did relatively little in the way of book promotion. It was all on my back. If I wanted my books to sell, I had to get the word out there, so I became a social media junkie.

I joined Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, Google+, LInkedIn, and of course I made my own Facebook author page in addition to my personal page I use for friends and family. In addition to Instagram and Snapchat. Oh, and how could I forget? My own website that I use for announcements and blogging 4-5 times per week.

And with the arrival of Tribber, well, I’m there, too.

Keeping these sites updated takes a lot of time… a lot of  time. Let’s read that again so you get it: A LOT OF TIME.

Time I could spending, well, writing!

One of these days I’m going to be rich and successful enough to hire a publicist and let her take care of all the updating. Ahhh….. to dream.

Here’s where you can find me most of the time when I should be writing books and not updating you on my life:

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

and since this is week 15 of the #MFRWauthors 52 week blog challenge, click on some of the names below and see how they’re faring with all this social media stuff.


 

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What I need to work on Everyday; #Mfrwauthors #blogChallenge

Last week we were charged with writing about our greatest strength. This week, the opposite, our greatest weakness.

I could post about my almost insane obsession for chocolate.

Or my insatiable need to watch reality television shows like “housewives” and Kardashians, just so I don’t miss a moment of their fabulous lives.

Maybe I could write a blog piece about the diet I’ve been struggling with for 40 years.

But when it comes right down to it, my greatest weakness is none of those things. It’s my judgemental attitude toward people and events.

The Bible says In Matthew 7:1-29: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Apparently, I never got that message in religion class.

When I hear something I disagree with I immediately judge it wrong, simply because I don’t agree with it.

When I hear someone has done something criminal, or stupid, or negligent, I immediately judge them guilty with no questions asked as to why they did what they did. Or even if they did. In this country you are legally innocent until you are proven legally guilty. Not in my mind. If I hear you are to alleged to have done something, the word alleged is thrown away and you actually did it.

I’m not always right. I know.  Shocker, right? And most of the things I have been wrong about were proven wrong to me after a quick judgment call on my behalf. So that old adage “think before you speak” fits in well with this knee-jerk judging reacting I have.

I struggle daily with being judge-y. I truly do. It has gotten better. Now, instead of immediately SAYING and giving voice to a judgment, I tend to keep it inside, quiet, and not share it. Okay, so I still have work to do on not being so judge-y.

 

But I AM working on it. I promise.

Please don’t judge me!

Since this is part of the #MFRWauthors 52 week blog challenge hop, you can click on the amazing authors and writer below to read all about their greatest weakness as well.

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My Greatest strength #MFRWauthors; #blogChallenge

This is one of the easiest blogs I’ve ever written. I didn’t even have to think because I really only have 1 strength – my perseverance, or to put it in terms I like to use, The TAO Of NGU NGI.

Perseverance is defined as: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

Yeah, that about says it perfectly.

I’ve done several blog pieces on the TAO of NGU NGI and written of it often in interviews. It’s what keeps me motivated and inspired when sometimes the daily grind of life gets to me.

Basically, The TAO OF NGU NGI means “Never give up; never give in.”

I’m Irish, so the part about never giving up is genetic. Seriously! My Irish ancestors were sturdy, stalwart souls who faced famine, pestilence, religious persecution, and poverty of the most egregious sort. And they never gave up on the hope of a future at the end of a rainbow. Love that!

I’m the product of divorced parents, so the never give in part is the nurture part of my nature vs nurture upbringing! I never give an inch. In a childhood filled with bullies, substance abuse, and mental anguish, I never gave in to the negativity I was surrounded by. I never allowed myself to be engulfed in to its destructive storm. I simply never gave into any fight or disturbance, no matter how inconsequential it may have seemed. It’s been said of me by people who know me that I have a backbone forged in steel. Truth.

So, my greatest strength? Perseverance.

When I’m not persevering, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

Please visit the other #MFRW authors who are participating in this week’s 52 week blog challenge:


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7 guilty pleasures; #MFRWauthors #BlogChallengeWeek10

 

This post gave me just a little trouble. Not because I couldn’t come up with 7 guilty pleasures – but that I had sososososo many, I had to whittle them down to just 7!

Well, here goes nuthin’.

In no particular order, here are the 7 things that (I think) are guilty pleasures for Moi:

  • a total jammie day – no bra, no makeup, hair in a messy bun, glasses
  • Girl Scout Thin Mints – if you’ve had them, no further explanation is necessary
  • Binge reading a new favorite author without any interruptions

  • finding a new mascara that: doesn’t smudge and make me look like a raccoon, lengthens my non-existent eyelashes, and ISN’T waterproof ( I hate waterproof mascara!!!)
  • Tweeting – I can’t explain this one, but I just know it’s a guilty pleasure for me

  • having dessert without counting points. (Some will get this, most will not).
  • a professional facial

It’s very telling that the only writing/reading pleasure I mentioned was binge reading a new favorite author. And that there are 2 references to food!! Very telling, indeed.

Because this is week 10 in the MFRW 52 week blog challenge, here are some other authors who are blogging about their 7 guilty pleasures today. Drop by and leave them some love.

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Friends, Life challenges, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women