Tag Archives: romance writer

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

#Music to write by…or not. #MFRWauthors

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The topic of this blog is supposed to be the music we, as writers, listen to when we are in the creative mood. I have to be honest about this – I need total silence when I’m in writing mode. If I put on any music – even classical without words(!) music, I will invariably stop what I am doing just to listen. God forbid I put on pop music. Then all I will do is sing along. And believe me – no one wants to hear my rendition of Baby, Baby, or Stop in the Name of Love.

Insert full body shudders here at the thought!

Music is very distracting to me when I write, so I’m going to talk about the music I listen to as  I Prepare to Write.  That, at least, is something I do, do.

Once I have my characters thought out and the storyline plotted, I go back to the characters and insert little idiosyncrasies into their backstories, which include the kinds of books they read and the music they listen to and favor. For my newest release, COOKING WITH KANDY, my heroine Kandy Laine is a total pop/rock-diva listening gal.  If she is alone at home, or driving in her car, she will have Pat Benatar, Madonna, vintage Joan Jett, or the Heart sisters blasting away and she will be singing at the top of her lungs, not caring a whit she can’t carry a tune in a bag! These rock warrior women are her musical soul sistahs. In the privacy of her kitchen she will dance like no one’s looking, a wooden spoon as her microphone as she belts out Heartbreaker or I Love Rock and Roll to her heart’s content. When I was trolling around on Pinterest trying to find the perfect image of Kandy, these were the ladies I listened to in order to find Kandy’s essence.

My hero, Josh Keane is a little more, shall we say, sedate, in his musical tastes. He’s a Jazz and Blues man, pure and simple. He’s got Al Jarreau and Miles Davis CDs by the truckload in his car and when he’s doing corporate computer research, or simply kicking back in his condo with a glass of Glenlivet 21 after a hard day, he’s a man who likes the complex simplicity of a solitary horn or a raspy, tortured voice weaving a tale of love, loss, and redemption. As Josh’s soul and spirit came to me, I had my iTunes opened, listening to jazz and blues by the hour. Those discordant chords and slip-timed keys brought to my mind the man Josh was, through and through.

Listening to music is, like writing, an individualistic endeavor. Whether for inspiration, motivation, or clarification, music helps a writer dig deep down, straight to the heart and soul, to bring forth the crux and core of character and story.

Plus, singing at the top of your lungs like no one’s watching is pretty fun to do!

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

 

Stop by the other #MFRW authors participating in this 52 week hop and leave them some love.

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Blog Hoop Author:

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

A #visit with #author Donna Simonetta

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You all know I lovelovelove introducing you to authors. It’s one of the most fun things about having a blog and a forum for writing. Today I have a real treat. I recently sat down with author Donna Simonetta for a little chat about….stuff. She’s got a new book out TODAY from Wild Rose Press called A SWEETER SPOT, and she graciously allowed me to share a little of it below. SO, sit back and prepare to be dazzled.

Here’s Donna… THE WRITER

  1. What drives you to write?

I have always wanted to write. I remember going to Pequot Library in Southport, Connecticut as a child and looking at the stacks to see where my books would be shelved once I was a published author. However, real life got in the way, and I explored other career options. After a health scare made me evaluate my life, I realized I always wanted to write, and there was no time like the present to try it! So I did. And I love it, in a way I’ve never loved my work before.

  1. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?

I write contemporary romance–some with strong fantasy elements, like in Angels Fly, and some without fantasy, such as A Sweeter Spot.

  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?

The earliest romance books I read were historical. To be specific, Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances. Loved them way back in the day, and still enjoy re-reading them now. However, now I also enjoy contemporary romances with a little humor and a little steaminess. Think Jill Shalvis or Rachel Gibson.

  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?

I try to do something related to my writing every day, but now that I’ve been published, sometimes it’s more promotional in nature, but there’s nothing I love more than sitting down and writing. I work part-time in a school library, which limits my writing time during the school year, but I do try to set aside time every day to work on something related to my writing.

  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

My husband jokingly calls where I write my “Command Center”. I sit in our living room, with everything I need in arms reach. I keep a basket next to me, piled high with papers and notebooks related to my current work-in-progress. Right now, that would be the third book in my Rivers Bend trilogy, which focuses on Jason Braden, the youngest Braden brother. I’m enjoying writing about the woman who can make him leave his playboy ways behind! I’m also working on a ghost story that I’m really excited about!

  1. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision?

I am not someone who does well in total silence! I like to have some sound in the background. Maybe that comes from my years of being a librarian in a boys middle school library. There is always noise there.

  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?

I do like to listen to music when I write. However, when I’m working on editing/revisions, I prefer music without lyrics. I find that they distract me from my own words at that point in the writing process.

  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

The kernel of the idea for my ghost story was a house my Aunt Em lived in for a while in Salem, Massachusetts. She was a social worker and the house was an old sea captain’s home, which housed the agency where she worked on the first two floors. She lived on the top floor, and family lore had it that it was haunted. While visiting when I was a child, my mom had an eerie experience there that I’ve knicked for my ghost story. I’ve transplanted it to Richmond, Virginia, but its’ origins are in Aunt Em’s apartment in spooky Salem!

  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?

The character comes first for me. I start a new notebook for each book, and flesh out my characters right away. I might have an idea for the plot, but I feel that so much of what happens is character-driven, so I like to establish the people first. That way, I know how they’ll respond in any given situation.

  1. What 3 words describes you, the writer?

Happy. Passionate. Organized.

And Donna…the Gal

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!

I met my husband over the telephone before I met him in person. I was working as an Account Executive and he was my client.

2.Who was your first love and what age were you?

I had LOTS of crushes over the years–ask any of my girlfriends from my teenage years. The first one I remember clearly was in fourth grade. But I have to say that, sappy as it sounds, my first and only love was my husband, and I was thirty-one when I met him.

3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….

My husband and I go to St. Pete Beach every year to celebrate the end of the school year. I would happily relive any day there, over and over and over again…white sand beach, tropical cocktails, a good book, my honey?? Who wouldn’t want to relive it every day?

4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando?

Hmm..boxers or briefs…so maybe boxer-briefs! Commando seems like it comes with an inherent risk of harm.

5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?

My best friend lives in Ireland and last year she gave me a gift of a monthly beauty box delivery. Through it I discovered Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm for my hair, which is kindly described as ‘curly’. A more realistic word would be ‘frizzy’. A little dab of this stuff and it calms that frizz right down! Hard to find in the U.S., but…wow!…is it worth it!

6. What three words describes you, the person?

Funny. Loyal. Hardworking.

7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?

Elvis Costello, (What’s So Funny ‘ Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding.

8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together?

Nancy Drew. And we would solve a mystery together. (Peggy here: that is sososo cool!!!)

Why? I had all the Nancy Drew books–passed down from a cousin, and I treasured them. I read, reread, and reread all of them. Again. And again. To have the chance to drive around in her roadster with Nancy, Bess, and George, while we solved a case, would be a dream come to life for me!

Bonus round

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound

The surf. There’s nothing more soothing than the sound of waves.

  1. Least favorite sound

Alarm clock on a weekday morning.

  1. Best song every written

This is a tough one. There are a lot of songs that I really love. Joni Mitchell is a favorite. Her songs were always like short stories, or poems.

  1. Worst song ever written

The Macarena came on at the spa the last time I was getting my hair cut, and it was even more dreadful than I remembered. And really long. My hair stylist and I couldn’t imagine who would pick it for a spa music rotation. At the first chord, she rolled her eyes and said, “Lucky you. You’re here for Macarena o’clock.”

  1. Favorite actor and actress

These are old school answers, but the truth is Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn are my faves. ( Peggy here – love them!!!!! Bringing up Baby, The Philadelphia Story – classics!)

  1. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead)Living or dead? How about imaginary? I would like to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer for one day. Preferably in the Spike years, not Angel. I would love to see how it feels to be so strong, powerful, and totally kick-ass. And a petite blonde.
  2. What turns you on?

As you can probably tell from most of my heroes–I like a man who is intelligent, with a sense of humor. Kind, with a little bit of an Alpha thing happening.

  1. What turns you off?

Arrogance and rudeness.

  1. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)

I can’t really think of an answer for this one, but I have to say that I love yours! Too funny! Peggy here – and it’s true!!!

  1. What’s your version of a perfect day?

I have two versions of a perfect day, but in either case it would have to be summer. I am not a winter person. In my vacation version, I would like to be on a beach somewhere, with a gentle trade wind blowing, a good book, no pressures or responsibilities. In my everyday version of a perfect day, I would get up, have a cup of coffee with a hazelnut flavored creamer, put on some music and write! Not so realistic in this version, would be servants taking care of cooking and laundry! Hey, what’s a perfect day without a little fantasy, right?

Blurb:

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Magda knows a 28-year-old shouldn’t run away from home, but Rivers Bend is the ideal escape. Helping out her best friend will get her away from her uber-wealthy, controlling grandmother and duplicitous ex. She doesn’t expect the quirky little town to feel so much like home. Add in hotter-than-the-sun Jeff and his daughter, and leaving seems as unthinkable as it is inevitable.

Raising Sam alone, Jeff knew he wanted her to grow up in his supportive hometown. The arrival of a feisty new tenant sends Jeff’s world spinning. Magda fills a void in his life that he’d like to make permanent.

Will love triumph over the most powerful woman in the country, and can they figure out how to make this happy-for-now in Rivers Bend into their happy-ever-after?

Excerpt:

“Being cheated on is no fun. It happened to me once. Up here,” he tapped his forehead. “You know it’s not your fault. But here,” he tapped his chest over his heart. “You feel like it has to be your fault – like you could’ve done something to prevent it. But you couldn’t have. It’s all on him, Maggie. Not you.”

She picked a dandelion, whose flower had turned into a puffball, and blew on it, scattering the fluff to the wind. “Maybe. Maybe not. But thanks for the support.”

She pushed to her feet and took a couple of steps toward the river. Jeff rose and followed.

How could he be so angry at a man he didn’t even know? How could this Pierce jerk have slept around on a woman like Maggie? And the prick had even made her doubt herself in the process. It was written all over her anguished face.

He stood behind her and gently kneaded her shoulders. He turned her to face him and cupped her face in his big hands.

“This Pierce guy is the biggest fool on earth to go to someone else when he had you at home, Maggie.”

She blinked away tears, and he felt his heart constrict. Before he could think it through and decide it was a really bad idea, Jeff dipped his head and captured Magda’s lips in a gentle kiss.

Buy Links: Amazon //TWRP //B&N //

A little more about Donna:

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After years working in the business world, my love of reading led me to get my MLS, and I currently work part-time in a school library, a job that allows me lots of time to explore my other love – writing romance! I live in Maryland, with my husband, who is my real-life romance hero. We both enjoy traveling to visit our far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.

You can connect with Donna here:

Facebook // Twitter

 

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

He said he wasn’t the romantic kind of guy, but…..

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So. You’d think the arrival of Valentine’s Day for a romance writer would make writing a blog concerning the day easy. I mean, come on. Valentine’s day is about love, for lovers, and just filled to the brim with romance-related themes. Should be a walk in the park for me to come up with a blog topic for a Valentine’s Day Blog hop.

Yeah…not so much.

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Last year it was a piece of proverbial cake. Wild Rose Press had put together their Candy Hearts Romance series, of which, I was a participant with my novella 3 WISHES.  Easy peasy. This year I struggled a little until I finally decided to just tell you the story of my first V’Day with hubman. Shhhhhh! He doesn’t know I’m telling you this.

We were going steady ( I’m old and that’s what it was called “back then”) for just under 3 months by the time V’Day came around. We’d started dating two days before Halloween, which should have been a light bulb moment, but I digress…

My hubby–then boyfriend– is not what anyone, including himself, would call romantic, so I didn’t have any misguided hopes and wishes Valentine’s Day was going to be a biggie for him. I didn’t even think I’d get a present or a card or a dinner out because we were both so busy at the hospital and his time off was routinely spent trying to catch up on much needed sleep.

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The 14th rolled around and I had to work the day shift. He’d been on-call the night before but got off at 6pm. We hadn’t planned on seeing one another because I thought he was just going to go home and crash until he needed to be back at the hospital. At about 7pm a knock at my door had me opening it to him. He had a grocery-wrapped bag in one hand and a piece of folded looseleaf paper in the other. All I could think was WTF?? 

He handed me the grocery bag and in it was a package of Chips Ahoy cookies – my favorites – and then the looseleaf paper. He told me he remembered that the cookies were my favs so he’d bought them instead of candy or flowers.

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Awwww.

The looseleaf paper turned out to be a home-made V’Day card. On the front of it was a hand drawn ( by him) picture of what looked like a daisy. The inside said, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Love La.” The best part of the “card” was the back. On a store bought card you’d see a price tag and the card copyright. On the one he’d made, he’d written for the price $1,000,000.00.

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Awwwww, again.

Really. Could this have been any cuter? And did I mention I was 24 and he was 27 at the time? Not exactly kids, folks, but grown-ass people with careers! Needless to say, I was charmed.

That was s 34 years ago in 1983  and he still gives me hand made looseleaf cards for holidays like anniversaries and birthdays to this day. The cookies have been replaced by non-edible presents now since I’m on a perpetual diet, but they are always goodies! He may not be a classic romantic by other people’s definitions ( including his own) but that’s okay. I’d rather have someone who shows and tells me he loves me every day of the year than someone who goes overboard to prove it just one of 365 days.

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Happy Valentine’s Day from a romance writer who celebrates love every day of the year!

And……(shameless self promo here!) if you’re looking for a fun, flirty, and funny little V’Day tale, my novella 3WISHES has your name all over it.

Blurb:

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Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.

Excerpt:

At about five minutes of ten I was almost ready to turn the Closed sign on the door when it opened. I heard Janie’s breath hitch and turned from where I was sweeping up. Staying open late is always a risk, with the thought thieves will invade at the end of the day.

If the guy standing at the door glancing around the shop was a thief, then Dio mio, I wanted to be robbed.

About six foot, his hair was the color of a deer’s pelt, with autumnal golds and browns shot together in a glorious patchwork that grazed the collar of his jacket and curled a little at the ends. He wore a faded brown bomber jacket over a shirt I couldn’t see, but he had shoulders almost as wide as my doorway. A pair of well-worn jeans covered his mile long legs, and the fabric on the stress points at his knees was practically white.

“We’re about to close,” I heard myself say. “Can I help you?”

It was at that moment he looked over at me.

His face could have been sculpted by Da Vinci or Michelangelo. A broad, smooth, forehead housed naturally arched eyebrows I knew some of my gay guy friends would have paid a fortune to have on their own faces. His cheeks were carved from marble, high, smooth and deep. And his mouth, mother-of-God, his mouth. Full, thick beautiful lips sat perfectly over a chin with a dent you could shove a button into and have it stay put.

“Sorry,” he said, those fabulous lips pulling up a little shyly at the corners. “I got stuck at work and couldn’t get here until now. I’ll be quick. Promise.”

So here’s the thing: the guy was gorgeous. But even if he’d looked like a frog with raw antipasto smothering his face, I would have dropped to my knees when he opened his mouth. Warm honey, a shot of raw whiskey, and a little hot puff of smoke wafted from his mouth like a fine and rare brandy being decanted.

Buy Link:

Wild Rose Press  /// Amazon  /// Nook

To enjoy all the other fabulous authors participating in the hop, here are the links to their posts and websites:

1. The Perfect Time For Love ~ Casi McLean 2. Spunk & Hunks ~ Anna Durand
3. Love in the Month of February ~ Mary Morgan 4. Love Potions and Charms ~ Sorchia Dubois
5. He said he wasn’t the romantic kind of guy, but… ~ Peggy Jaeger 6. Love and War ~ Gini Rifkin
7. Sexy Chocolate Cakes ~ Kayden Claremont 8. 50 Great Date Ideas ~ Devon Mckay
9. Hearts Abound ~ Tena Stetler 10. Love Every Day ~ Darlene Fredette
11. Importance of Valentines Day ~ Maureen Bonatch 12. Souls Forever Bound ~ Judith Sterling
13. Mysterious Origins of Valentine’s Day ~ Barbara Bettis 14. A Romantic Valentine Dinner ~ Jana Richards
15. Steamy Romance Meets Spooky Suspense ~ Kathryn Knight 16. Book Bling ~ Elizabeth Alsobrooks
17. Sweet Romances ~ Katherine McDermott 18. Historical Heartbeats ~ Brenda B. Taylor
19. An Awesome Bewitching Author Valentines Day ~ Lisa Voisin 20. Idea City ~ Kitsy Clare/Catherine Stine
21. Welcome to the ABA Valentine Hop ~ Linda Nightingale 22. Bridie Hall YA Author ~ Bridie Hall
23. A Time For Love Valentine Blog Hop ~ Amber Daulton 24. ‘Out Of This World’ Romance ~ Hywela Lyn
25. Time Travel For Love ~ Karen Michelle Nutt 26. Valentine’s Day – A Family Tradition ~ Holland Rae
27. Historical Heartbeats

The authors are having a rafflecopter giveaway, too. Click HERE see the deets.

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Candy Hearts, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

A visit with Kat Doran and Keenan Rossi #CandyHeartsRomances

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Today I am pleased to have fellow Candy Hearts author, Veronica Lynch, visiting. She’s brought Keenan Rossi, from For Keeps, with her. (By the way, For Keeps was recently awarded 5th place in the International Digital Awards contest out of Oklahoma Romance Writers. Placing 5th is a huge deal as the number of contest entries went into triple digits.)

Keenan Rossi. Yeah?

Sorry to interrupt your nap, Detective. We’d like to know a bit about For Keeps. Yeah, okay. I’m awake now and don’t mind talking about my Meggie [Meghan Muldoon], how we met and how, through events beyond my control, she decided to ‘keep me’.

What did you think the first time you saw Meg? It was at the beginning of the monthly Crime Stats meeting, where reps from all local law enforcement agencies meet to discuss crime trends and share information on like crimes. This tall, leggy redhead walked in and my tongue hit the floor—along with every other guy’s in the room. Then I dribbled hot coffee down the front of my shirt. Not a pretty picture.

What do you like most about her? She’s not intimidated by men who wield their power with a club—or other body parts located below their belt buckles. I don’t mean that she’s a ball buster, but she knows what she wants, how to get it and isn’t afraid to go for it.

Why do you think that is? She spent a lot of time with the US Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations. Not an easy road for a woman but she held her own among some pretty nasty situations.

How would you describe her? Smart, savvy and compassionate. With legs that go clear to her ear lobes.

How would Meghan describe you? Career-focused, intense, and if things don’t go my way I tend to get grouchy. Truth be told, I haven’t pouted in at least five days.

What made you choose law enforcement for a career? Like Meggie, I spent a few years with the military though I was a lowly MP. After I mustered out of the service, police work seemed like the natural course. I’ve never regretted the choice.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? My current terrific three are Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers, both written by John Sandford, and Walt Longmire, created by Craig Johnson. I like Davenport’s humor and wouldn’t mind having some of his money [he’s the richest cop in Minnesota]. I envy Virgil’s easy manner with women. And I appreciate Walt’s commitment to the community. Wish he’d find a woman though. Bad thing when a man spends his golden years alone because he’s too damn stubborn to do something about it.

Last question, Keenan: when you want to romance Meg, what do you do? That’s an easy one: I turn on “Heavenly”, her favorite Johnny Mathis CD, pour her a big glass of Merlot and drop a couple dozen yellow roses in her lap. Watch out.

What a softy. Anything else you’d care to add for our visitors? The powers that be at Wild Rose Press tell me For Keeps is on sale, 40% off, at the TWRP bookstore from now through Valentine’s Day. Be there, folks. This one’s got a pisser of an ending. Heh heh.

Now, we have a few questions for Veronica. What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? As a teenager I read Mila 18 by Leon Uris and was so touched, I checked Exodus out of the school library. In my adult years, Mr. Uris continued to affect me with QB VII, Trinity and Redemption. They knocked my socks off.

As for movies, I have an eclectic list: Miracle; Steel Magnolias; The Official Story [this is about the consequences of Argentina’s Dirty War]; Defiance; The Stoning of Soraya M; Major League and Veronica Guerin. More recently, last year’s Oscar winner, Spotlight, kept me riveted.

What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the story? For more years than I can count I was closely involved with our local rape advocacy program. Forming effective, positive working relationships with police officers was often like patrolling the DMZ, watching my back and keeping an eye out for land mines. It was. . . the best of times—but for many reasons, not the most healthy for me personally. The phone call between Keenan and Meg early on in the story really happened, minus the sexual innuendos. I still get a smile on my face when I think about the cop who scared himself.

Tell us a bit about your publisher. I have been associated with The Wild Rose Press almost since its inception. I was previously published by Wings Press. After I saw the way editors at TWRP operate, I obtained the rights to the books I had with Wings and brought them over to TWRP. I’ve never regretted the move. I have a great editor, Nicole D’Arienzo, who knows the ins and outs of good editing. I appreciate her insight and ideas for making my writing stronger.

What project[s] are you working on now? Writing as Kat Henry Doran, I was honored to be part of the Maine Romance Writers anthology, Welcome to Serenity Harbor with my romantic novella It Had To Be You. I hope to be involved with the second edition. The first line is already committed to paper: “I’m pregnant.”

What are you reading right now? Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine n Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital by David Oshinsky. It’s fascinating.

What’s up next for you? Writing as Kat Henry Doran, I’m working with six indie authors on an anthology of stories set in and around a resort-casino in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls New York area. This is going to be a lot of fun to pull off.

Blurb:

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Meghan Muldoon is at a cross-roads in her life: struggling to balance the demands of a high stress vocation as an advocate for victims of violence with her feelings for Keenan Rossi, a man who wants to make their relationship permanent.

On Valentine’s Day, a series of routine crises force Meg to question staying in a profession which fulfills her both professionally and spiritually—or devoting the rest of her life to the one person who completes her.

Which one is For Keeps?

EXCERPT

“Crime Victim Services. How may I help you?”

The caller’s voice was low, husky, and exquisitely male. “Do you know the difference between a barracuda and a victim advocate?”

Her heart skipped a beat. “Lip gloss.”

“Well damn,” Kee muttered. “You already heard it.”

“An oldie but a goodie, pal.”

“Aren’t we all. How you doin’ on this gorgeous February day, gorgeous?”

Bringing his handsome face to mind took no great effort. They had worked together for more years than either cared to count. When the relationship progressed beyond professional Meg felt they should keep things under the radar. At first Keenan agreed, claiming he wasn’t in the mood tor any crap from his peers about exploring his feminine side. But after a while he began to push for something more permanent. And she wasn’t so sure she was ready for that, especially marriage. Meg liked being able to come and go as she pleased, responsible only to herself, and for herself.

Even though she heard the tease in his voice now, she was still smarting from last night so proceeded with caution. “Not too bad. How’s by you?”

“Lemme tell you, cara. If I was any better, I’d scare myself.”

To learn more about Veronica Lynch and Kat Henry Doran and the stories they create, go to:

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www.WildWomenAuthorsx2.blogspot.com

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To purchase For Keeps, [on sale] go to:

Wild Rose Press 

 

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Of #Christmas, #Cookies and #The7Fishes

So, my Christmas book A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is about a large, loud and loving Italian/American family. They love hard, eat even harder, and at Christmastime the women in the family – led by Nonna Constanza – bake, bake, and bake some more. Christmas sugar cookies topped with nonpareils,  cinnamon rolls made with the special ingredient Francesca San Valentino shares with no one but those she gave birth to, yards of sweet breads, and the aroma of rising yeast fill the spacious kitchen almost to bursting, all made fresh daily.

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Warm Christmas cookies on cooling racks fill every line of counter space. Pizzelles made with sweet almond extract; chocolate chip layer cookies filled with cream; colorful and tangy seven layer cookies topped with melted chocolate. And Nonna’s favorite – biscotti topped with royal icing.

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The reason their kitchen resembles a cookie factory assembly line is easy to explain: everything gets eaten every day. There is no such word as leftovers or extra in this household because the family consumes it all. Many times Gia, the youngest San Valentino at 24, wonders why they all don’t weigh five hundred pounds considering the amount of food they eat. The answer is simple, really. Francesca cooks old school, and by that I mean: she makes everything fresh. No processed meats or jarred sauces; pure butter and olive oil, fresh eggs and real milk ( not skim or even 2%!) and cream; real sugar never a substitute. The vegetables come from their massive backyard garden in the summer and the fresh greengrocer in the winter. The meat is purchased from a local butcher, not a commercial superfood store.

In all, eating this clean and fresh promotes health and wellbeing.

The tradition of Christmas cookie baking culminates on Christmas Eve when the family all gather for the Feast of the 7 Fishes.

san3La Festa Dei Sette Pesci, also known as The Vigil ( La Vigilia), is a celebration of eating  fish and other seafood, and yes, there will be a minimum of 7 courses all with one special seafood hightlighted per course. Francesca’s Shrimp Alfredo( gamberetti Alfredo)usually starts the feast. Hundreds of  freshjumbo shrimp purchased from the local fishmonger ( and yes, they still do exist!!) The fish are cleaned, peeled, cleaned again and then boiled in just a hint of salted water until their beautiful pink color emerges. Francesca’s Alfredo sauce is made – of course – from scratch, slowly whisked to creamy perfection. The pasta – usually farfalle ( bow ties) has been hand made and cut using the pasta machine Nonna brought with her to America 75 years ago. When the pasta is cooked al dente, the shrimp and sauce are combined and everyone sits to enjoy this truly delectable dish.

The rest of ethe evening is spent singing carols by the fireplace, playing cards, remembering Christmas’ and family members of the past, and eating another fish/seafood inspired dish every hour.

By Midnight, stuffed, sated, and happy, the family will travel en Famiglia to Midnight Mass at the church of St. Rita de Armada , the family parish.

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The littlest San Valentinos will fall asleep in their parent’s laps long before the last blessing is given to be carried home and tucked into bed, awaiting the arrival of Babbo Natale and his bag of gifts.

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In all, The San Valentino family is the type of clan you would love to be a part of. You’d never go hungry, you’d never be at a loss to laugh, and you’d always be loved totally, unconditionally, and loyally. Buon Natale!

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When I’m not eating cookies and devouring fish you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// 

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Of #Romance and #book-signings…

 

toadstoolSo yesterday I was privileged to have a book signing for my latest release, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS  at the ToadStool Bookshop in my home town.  For two hours I got to chat and catch up with a bunch of old friends – some I haven’t seen in quite a while ( Brian, I’m talking about you!) and I met a few new ones as well. It’s always a crap shoot for a relatively unknown author to embark on a book signing because you just never know if ANYONE will turn up. One of the store managers has told me in the past they’ve had signings for authors and one or two readers/buyers may show up, but there have been more times where no one has. I think I’d need to be talked off a ledge if that happened to me! Luckily, I’m still here today, writing this, so you know it didn’t.

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Another fly in the ointment to drawing potential new readers in is the Romance Novel aspect of my books. Again, from the people who work in the shop, Romance is not a big seller for them. They have a beautiful section for their offerings, and all the big names are represented ( plus, little ol’ me!) so it’s not because they don’t stock the books. It’s more, I feel, people who don’t read romance as a general rule go out of their way to stop and buy one. Well, that’s something I hope to fix and change just by being a continual face and vocal presence in my community. Earlier this year I did a radio spot with one of our local talk-radio DJs – a guy who just happens to be a wonderful fringe friend. Don’t ask me to explain that because it’s too complicated and involves HIPPA rules and regs! Anyway, after that spot many many people approached me and told me they weren’t romance readers, but were willing to give it a shot since I’d written the book. This may be the only time MY NAME was the draw for a new reader, hee hee. I’m happy to say I know several people since then who’ve said to me, “I never read a romance book until I found out that’s what you write. Now, I love them.” They’ve gone on to explore other romance genre authors because of that, so in a very real way, that’s my PAY IT FORWARD moment.

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It’s not easy to find new readers, especially since the Internet now rules the planet. The Toadstool is the only brick and mortar retail book shop in my area. There are a few secondhand book shops ( which I love!) but this one is the biggest and has recently relocated to a much better, more foot-traffic laden location. In fact, yesterday during my two hours, the shop was wonderfully packed with holiday shoppers. And they weren’t only shopping, they were BUYING! This gives me a warm and tingly feeling for several reasons. It tells me people still like the feel of a REAL book in their hands. It tells me people still read! Actual words on a page, not listen to a podcast or scroll through a computer. It tells me people still give books for gifts – and that makes me the happiest. I always feel if you give a book as a gift for anything – holiday, birthday, just because – you are giving someone a few hours of escape. A few hours spent in contemplative reflection. A few quiet, stolen hours to just sit back and be entertained. Now that’s a true gift.

So, again to all the wonderful readers and friends who came out to support me yesterday ( Pun included since you bought books!) a very heartfelt THANKYOU! I hope whoever you purchased the books for – Mom, Sis, Daughter, Girlfriend, or just YOU – that the stories make you happy and give you the hope and promise that everyone deserves their own Happily Ever After.

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When I’m not out promoting the Romance Genre, you can usually find me here:

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Another #FacebookParty, another group of new #friends…

Friday night I participated in Tena Stetler’s facebook party promoting her new Christmas release, A Witches’s Holiday Wedding  A fun time was had by all, but that’s not the purpose of this little piece today.

I’ve participated in a few Facebook parties of late as a participating author. They are fast, frantic, just a tad manic and can be an excellent tool for finding new readers of your work, especially of you GIVE SOMETHING AWAY. Now, you might ask, why did she put those three words in such big letters?

Let me ‘splain.

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When I first started getting published, several writers told me to never give my work away. Make your family and friends pay for your stuff, and don’t participate in any kind of blog or networking giveaway, they said. Why should you take something  that you’ve slaved over for months on end, pouring all your heart and soul into it only, to give it away like yesterday’s stale bread? Well, their points seemed valid.

But…. ( and there’s always a but)

I’ve participated in about a half dozen blog hops and FB parties  over the past year and, yes, I’ve given away ecopies of my books as prizes. And yes, I’ve done a Goodreads  giveaway contests, and Netgalley, as well. And here’s what I’ve learned by going against that conventional wisdom.

As a new author, I am known to a finite number of people ( family and friends). All those people live with an hour of me.  I am not recognizable on the street where I live since more than half my neighbors don’t know me, or me them. Since I didn’t have “A NAME” when I was first published – and by that I mean no one in End-of-the-Line Kansas, or Where-the-heck-are-we Arkansas knew who the h, e, double hockey sticks I was. They weren’t going to shell out 15 bucks for a paperback or $5.99 for an ecopy of a book by a writer they had never heard of. Money is money and people can’t be wasting their hard earned dollars on what may prove – to them – to be a disappointment. I understood that as a writer  and understand it as a reader, myself.

So.

All the giveaways, contests, and hops I participated in where I gave away copies of my books, brought me to brand new readers all over the country – the world, really – and once they were introduced to my work, they became fans, actually plunking down hard earned cash for the other books I’ve got on my list. So I may have given away about $100.00 worth of product over the past year, but I made it back in so many more ways that just monetarily, and for that, I’m glad I didn’t listen to the “advice” of others who cautioned me against doing so.

This is me, sticking out my tongue and saying Na-Na-Na- Na-Na! ( real mature, I know. Don’t judge me. ((HEEHEE)

 

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When I’m acting my age you can find me here:

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And if you didn’t get a free copy of my latest book A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS In any of the giveaways ( sorry!)<you can order your copy here in digital or paperback.

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Buy LInks: Amazon//  The Wild Rose Press     //    B&N

 

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One Week Countdown!

I’m all aglow because in just 7 days ( the time it took God to make the world!!!) I get to introduce you all to Gia San Valentino and Tim Santini. My new Holiday/Christmas novel A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS releases on  11.30.16 and I am sosososososos thrilled the time is near.

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Gia could, truthfully, be one of my best friends if she were, you know, real! I loved writing about her and how she deals with her crazy family. As you all know,  family is a big topic for me when I’m penning a story, and a loud, loving, full of life family is one I just love to write about.

Families are a complex network to deal with, navigate through, and survive! Truth, no? The San Valentino family lives hard, loves even harder, and they are a loyal bunch who put the welfare of one another ahead of everything – and everyone – else. Gia, the “oops” baby in the clan, the last of 6 – five planned and, well, you figure it out(!) is the last kid left at home. At the age of 24,she longs for a home of her own, filled with bambini she can spoil and love, and a man who will love her unconditionally.

Into her life walks a man who just might fill the bill. Tall, dark, ridiculously good looking. And best of all: Italian/American and Catholic! But…. he’s forbidden to her, in every conceivable way.

Or, is he? You’ll have to read the story to find out, but I’ll tell you this: love can find you anywhere – even under a set of  glowing and festive Christmas lights.

Preorders are available here: Amazon  //The Wild Rose Press  // B&N //Kobo

Here’s a little sumthin’ to whet your romance reading appetites:

          At twenty-four I still lived under my parents’ roof, had no full-time paying job other than helping my father with his business books and those of a few of his business associates, and my love life was nonexistent.

     It wasn’t that I didn’t get asked out or date. I did. Often. Plus, I was perpetually being set-up by the aunts and uncles. I’d had a steady boyfriend all through high school, but we went our separate ways when we each left for college. My choices had been limited in recent years to guys I met in college–who were all looking to score, not forge a life-time commitment—and then in accounting school who were, for lack of a better word, boring and absorbed either in numbers theory, finding jobs after graduation, or in just getting into my pants. The men my extended family routinely set me up with were mostly thick-necked, uneducated, wise-guy wannabes who wanted a conventional Italian bride they could keep barefoot, pregnant, and cooking.

     So. Not. Me.

     I needed to make some decisions about my life and make them soon. First, pass the exams and get licensed. Then, look for a real job so I could afford to live on my own. This one might be the hardest to accomplish since my parents were old-school thinkers who believed girls should stay home until they were married. They couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to go from their house to a husband’s house, and never experience what it would be like living on my own.

     Lastly, I wanted to find the one special guy I could commit to. A guy who’d be family oriented like me, want kids, the minivan, a house in the ‘burbs, the whole family-comes-first-and-always mentality I’d been breastfed on.

     I wasn’t too picky. Obviously, I didn’t want him to look like a troll, but nice looking wouldn’t hurt since I’d be spending eternity staring across the kitchen table at his face. A good-paying job would be nice in a career where I didn’t need to worry he’d make one wrong move and wind up as fish food in the Meadowlands marshes.

     Don’t laugh: have I mentioned my Uncle Sonny?

See? I love families and all the crazy that goes with them!

When I’m not basking in this glow of new release-dom, you can find me here:

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NaNoWriMo…How to make it a habit

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Three days down, 27 to go. So, how are you doing?

In yesterday’s post, I shared with you that I thought the main impetus behind the NANOWRIMO culture was to get writers into the habit of writing every day. I believe that. I live that.  But that got me to thinking, what exactly does it take for something to become a habit? To become so ingrained within your psyche that you don’t even question why you’re doing it, you’re just doing it?

When I was in nursing school (a 175 years ago!!) I remember reading in one of my psychology courses that it takes 7 days to make something a habit and 21 days to break it. That always explained -to me at least- why it was easier to gain weight than to lose it!!  Think about it….

But I digress.

Since I read that first article, lo those many years ago, I’ve actually heard those numbers disputed. At the end of this post I’m going to list a few links you can peruse and decide for yourself what the actual number may be, but suffice it to say, habits don’t form OVERNIGHT. They take time, dedication, and concentration before they are so ingrained in your thought processes that you just do them. Without thinking about what you’re doing or saying, Or even singing.  Like when you hear a song on the radio over and over again ( do people still listen to the radio??? Heehee. I’m old) until you’ve got the words memorized. They become  a part of your unconscious thought processes.

Here’s something that’s fun to do with friends. Don’t even stop to think – just respond the moment you read what I’m about to write. Ready?
Trix are for ????

ChooChoo Charlie was an ?????

It’s fingerlickin’ ???

Between love and madness lies  ????

?????. There is no substitute.

Takes a licking and keeps on ????

How many did you get correct? If you said all, you need to know you’re probably in the majority and not just super smart. Sorry! But the reason you got them all (or most of them!) correct is because you’ve heard these slogans over and over and over and….you get the idea….again. The first rule of advertising is to make sure people remember what you’re selling. How do advertisers accomplish that? By repeating, reminding, and reinforcing the product name or slogan so many times over a course of time that your brain automatically shifts to it the moment you begin to hear the slogan or jingle. The slogan becomes, for lack of a better word, a memory habit. You know what’s going to be said as soon as you hear the first word or so.

Well, the NaNoWriMo challenge is a bit like that. You write every single day, no matter what, no matter where, until you’ve become so used to pushing words out everyday, you continue doing it even after the challenge ends.

Does that make sense to anyone other than me?? I hope so.

So…onward. Keep writing EVERY SINGLE DAY. No matter what, no matter where, no matter what time it is. You’ve got this. 3 days down already. Just keep pushing and moving through.

Here are some articles on making something a habit I found interesting. What I find really interesting is that a few of them dispute one another, but that’s just me!

http://jamesclear.com/new-habit

http://jamesclear.com/three-steps-habit-change

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/18-tricks-to-make-new-habits-stick.html

And just because some people may not know all the answers to the above slogans/jingles, here they are:

Trix are for kids. (Breakfast cereal)

ChooChoo Charlie was an engineer. (GoodNPlenty candy song)

It’s finger lickin’ good. ( Kentucky fried chicken slogan)

Between love and madness lies  OBSESSION ( really lousy smelling perfume. My opinion. Don’t hate me.)

PORSCHE.  There is no substitute. (Ridiculously expensive male-menopause car)

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. ( Timex watch slogan)

And here’s a little eye candy motivation to keep you going strong on the challenge….nanosuperhearos

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