Tag Archives: research

The things I do for #Writing #research

Last week I divulged that I am a dyed in the wool nosey parker. Really. I’m also a world class eavesdropper. The reason I’m telling you this is because I attended the NECRWA conference in Burlington, Ma, this past weekend and I got there early – Thursday night ( conference started on Friday) and spent the better part of the early evening hanging out in two places: the concierge lounge on my floor and the hotel lobby.

Talk about opportunities to eavesdrop! Holy Moly!

In the lobby was ( wait for it…) a lounge, aka a bar, and my little eavesdropping heart just went pitter patter with glee at all the fun, tips-i-ly things that were said by the patrons. Can I just tell you how much fun I had!!! I know it’s probably a horrible thing to admit, but I really get a kick out of watching people drink and then flirt/talk/flirt some more and keep drinking.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t drink alcohol… and this is one of the reasons why I don’t. I never want to be on the talking end of a conversation that people make fun of. I mean, let’s be honest here. I say enough stupid things when I’m stone cold sober. I can’t even imagine what the heck would come out of my mouth if I was…inebriated.

Anyway, back to my lobby eavesdropping. Here’s one little snippet I “overheard.”

30 something on her way, way passed being tipsy: “Hey, this hot guy I saw the other night had these cool shots . They looked good. I think they had cimmanon. I wanna try one.”

The other 30 something she was with, not as tipsy: “You mean, cinnamon, right?”

Drunken reply; “That’s what I said. They were called fire crotch, cause they were hot. So was they guy. Hot, I mean.” A twitter of hiccuppy laughs followed this.

Not so drunken reply: “Fireballs.”

Drunken Reply: “What?

Not so drunken reply, only louder this time, as if that would help her understand: “He had fireballs.”

Drunken reply through wide eyes and opened mouth: “Really? How do you know that? Did you, like, do him in the bathroom to find that out?” 

See? As far as research goes, this is pure gold, people. Pure gold.

When I’m not eavesdropping you can find me here relating what I’ve eavesdropped: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Why I need to see my characters before I write them

I love a good vision board – especially for one of my own books. Since my writing tends to fall out of a visual tendency, I make vision -or story- boards for each of my books. Knowing what the characters actually look like while I am writing about them helps me “see” the story as it unfolds from their eyes and viewpoints. For instance, here’s the board I worked with for my October 2017 release, A SHOT AT LOVE:

You can see how I envisioned Gemma Laine and Ky Pappandreos, plus how I categorized aspects of their lives, such as photography info for Gemma and law enforcement stuff for Ky.  I sent their pictures to Lyrical when I was asked how I “SAW” my hero and heroine looking. I think they did a great job with portraying my vision on the cover:

This is my working vision board for the third book in the series, tentatively titled CAN’T STAND THE HEAT”

This book has  few more integral characters, but the H/H look like Grace Kelly ( Stacy Peters) and Pierce Brosnan ( Nikko Stamp)

I’m currently working on 2 more books in this series. and the first one, (working title: IT STARTED WITH HIS KISS) looks like this:

You can see I don’t have too much filled in yet, but I will….no worries.

More about vision boards and how they help writers in tomorrow’s edition of PEGGYJAEGER.COM

In the meantime, did you know that COOKING WITH KANDY, book 1 in the WILL COOK FOR LOVE SERIES releases next week on April 4?? Here’s a little sumthin’ to whet your romance-reading appetites.

Sugar and spice and everything sexy make the perfect recipe for romance in this brand-new series by Peggy Jaeger. Look for exclusive recipes in each book!

Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .

Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .

Excerpt:

“Clock stops at five-thirty,” she told him, spying the way he glanced at the empty desks. “That’s a rule I never break. No matter how busy we are, or what our deadline is, I make sure everyone up here is out by then.”

“Why? I would think in this business long hours are the norm.”

“Everyone deserves free time, time with family, time to wind down. I won’t have people working for me when they’re exhausted, or thinking about the soccer game they’re missing for their kid. No one’s productive then. I like everyone to be rested, fresh and on the ball. I realized early on it was the way to bring out the creative, productive best in people.”

“But you don’t adhere to your own rules.”

She leveled a gaze at him. “That’s because I’m the boss. I thrive on deadlines and do some of my finest work when I’m exhausted.”

The slow grin that spread across his face made her stomach muscles giddy-up again.

“I bet you give great holiday bonuses,” he said, rocking back on his heels.

Because it was true, she smiled.

“My office is in here.”

She pushed through another set of doors and preceded him in.

While he took in the surroundings Kandy wondered if he saw the room the same way she did. She’d chosen this space simply because of the windows. A corner office, it had full-length, floor to ceiling matted glass surrounding the outer perimeter of the office on three sides. Her view was of downtown Manhattan, an unobstructed visage of Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty.

The interior design was her own and she’d gone for comfort and ease in the furnishings. Three couches circled one another in the center of the room, and in the middle sat an impressive glass table, currently covered with files, paper, magazines, and a few fabric swatches. A grandfather clock sat, unwound, on the far wall, the hour hand stuck at nine, the minute hand at twelve.

A large, cherry wood desk faced the windows, not the inner room, complete with two computers, a laptop, and two printers on a pull-out stand next to the desk.

“Interesting.” Josh gazed around the room. “I assume the reason your desk faces this way is for the great view?”

She lifted her shoulders to her ears and then brought them down again. “Why waste it by having my back to it?”

“Good thought. What’s up with the clock?”

She glanced over at it. “That’s the exact time my first book went on sale.”

“So, what? Time stopped for you then?”

“No. The way I see it my life started precisely at that moment.”

His eyebrows rose. “Says a lot about what you expect and want out of life.”

“Don’t read too much into it,” she said, unaccustomed embarrassment washing through her. Without even knowing her he’d hit her personality right on the head. “The clock also has sentimental value. It was Grandma’s.”

Kandy moved to the couches. “Come on, have a seat. Let’s talk specifics.”

Josh sat opposite her, leaned back into the couch, crossing one long leg over the other.

“I’m going to say this once because I feel we should get it out of the way,” she started. “I don’t think I need a body guard, and I don’t think anything that’s happened recently can’t be explained away. I find this whole situation of having someone follow every move I make unnerving. I’m not used to it. Not used to working this way. I don’t want to have to stop every five minutes to explain where I’m going, who I’m going to be meeting with. I just go. I have too much to do in a day to worry about someone keeping up with me.”

When he nodded, she continued. “I’m willing to go along with the entire scheme until you prove there’s really no reason for it, which I think you’ll discover pretty quickly. But I won’t be hampered in going about my day in any way. Understand?”

Buy Links: Amazon //Nook // Kensington/Lyrical // Kobo // Apple // Google

available in e-copy and Print on Demand ( POD) fro Amazon and Kensington.

 

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

On being an #eavesdropper and a #voyeur…

As a writer, I have a basic need to know about humans so I can describe them truthfully in my stories. Their quirks, foibles, mannerisms. Their cadences in speech, their body movements, the physical way they handle stress. I also need to know what they think and how they speak.

Hence, today’s topic. I am a natural eavesdropper and voyeur. When I was a teenager I had to wear rose-colored glasses ( no pun intended) because of an issue with light hitting my eyes. My grandmother ( the witch I’ve mentioned many times in previous blogs) nastily called me SPY-GIRL, because  I could look at people without them knowing it behind those lenses.  This is where my life long obsession with being, well, nosey, came from. ( And if you don’t know the significance of this picture – you are not over 40!)

diana

These are just some of the, shall we say funny, things I’ve overheard and surreptitiously seen over the course of the past year.

At the  gym:

planetlogo

“You know, I bet if you hit him with just a five pound weight you could do serious damage, or even kill him.”

“When he sees how much weight I’ve lost, he’ll come back begging. The dick.”

“I hit something in the road on my way here. I’ve got blood and shit all over my front end. Hope it wasn’t, like,  a body. Hope the cops don’t see it.”

At Panera:

panera

“Are your eggs fresh?” ( In my mind, to this one, I wanted the clerk to say so badly , “No, just a little snarky at times.” think about it!

“What kind of meat is in your turkey sandwich?”

“Can I get an egg with my souffle?”

“What kind of fruit is in your Mango smoothie?”

At the grocery store:

This one was the clerk calling to the floor manager when she couldn’t make change. “Hey, I need coins. I’ve gotta give this lady fifty cents change and all I have is a bunch of dimes. I need some of those twenty-five peice coins.” And okay, here’s the truth in advertising part of this blog – that story was told to me by my hairdresser! but I still thought it was good enough to add here.

At WalMart

walmart

( and full disclosure here, these were pulled off a site – yes, they actually have a website – titled PEOPLE IN WALMART – so I’m not the only one on the look out for these peeps!

walmart3walmart4walmart5walmart6walmart7walmart8walmart

Is it, really, any wonder I’m a writer??

When I’m not watching and listening to people out in the world, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

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How Pinterest made me a better writer! (or, Into the mind of a Writer, part II)

There’s a running commentary of questions in my brain in any given moment on any given day.

How did we cook on the fly before microwaves? How did we keep in touch with one another before cell-phones ruled the world? How did we communicate before the internet and email and texting? Does anyone know how to parallel park anymore? Do people actually still talk to one another at meal-time?

There’s a lot going on in my head at any one time and I certainly can’t remember a life before we had all these gadgets and  inconvenient conveniences.  But there is one computer application that has made me a much better writer because I can tell you exactly what I used to do before it was invented: waste time looking things up!!!

I’m talking- as if the title of this piece doesn’t give it away – about Pinterest. Before I had my boards all lined up on the Pinterest app, I spent a great deal of time flipping back and forth through files and notes to ensure I didn’t mess things up with my characters and storylines. I had a bad habit of not remembering that the hero had blue eyes on page 5 when I gave him green ones on page 200. I gave the heroine short curly red hair in the first introduction and then straightened it to hip length when she met the hero ten pages later. Dumb mistakes. Dumb.

For a while I tried flipping through fashion magazines so I could find pictures of what I envisioned my characters looked like, but most magazines had the same ads in each one, so nothing new was found, and all the celebrities of the moment were featured in each one, as well, in the same poses, etc, so there went the variety I needed.

When I discovered Pinterest I felt as if a dream I had never thought to ask for had somehow magically come true. I could spend hours – literally! – flipping through all the boards, categories, and other people’s boards to find what I wanted — and I did! Now, if I find a picture of what I want my character or her house, or even her pet to look like, I save that picture to whatever board I’m working on. My current favorite boards are AFTERNOON TEA and GEMMA, two new books I’m writing.

I don’t know who thought up Pinterest, but if I ever find out, I’ll be sure to write them and give them a big thank you from me. It is so much easier now to visually keep track of what my peeps, their clothes, what they eat, etc, look like. I usually print out the salient, important, pictures for my story/vision boards, so I can have an even quicker reference when I’m writing. You can see my current one for the GEMMA book ( not the real title, yet) on  a previous post.  All the factors of the book I need to know at a simple glance are on that board, the rest on the board on the actual Pinterest site.

If you are a visual person like I am, Pinterest is a great way for a writer to see their book come to life. And it’s not only a great application/site for writers. I know a few brides-to-be, and moms-to-be who also take advantage of the boards. But it doesn’t stop there. There are travel boards, architecture boards, pictures for refurbishing and rehabbing your house.  There are boards for people who are cat obsessed ( I know a few!), book cover obsessed ( me too!), hot guys obsessed ( duh! of course!)Whatever your imagination or needs dictate, you will find pictures and boards for it on Pinterest.

Using Pinterest as a writing tool has truly made me a better writer because I am more consistent, much more descriptive in my writing, and I have more time to actually write now that I don’t need to stop and look things up!

So… do you use Pinterest? let’s discuss…..

This board has all my book covers

Here’s where you can find me, other than Pinterest!:

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

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