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Famous Last Lines….

A while back I wrote a blog about the pressure of getting the first lines in a novel as good as you possibly can. You want them to be perfect, to engage the reader, to encourage people to buy your book if they are casually thumbing through it in a bookstore. First lines are imperative in selling that book.

But it’s been said by everyone I know in publishing that the last line of your book is equally as important because that last line sells the next book. It makes the reader want to read more of what you’ve written.

True? I’m a little skeptical. Here’s why.

These are some last lines in novels that have been arbitrarily voted THE BEST LAST LINES in literature according to 10 sites I Googled.

  1. “Tomorrow, I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.” Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.
  2. “He loved Big Brother.” 1984, by George Orwell
  3. “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
  4. “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
  5. “A good man is hard to find.” The Complete Stories, Flannery O’Connor
  6. “I’m so glad to be home again.” The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum
  7. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
  8. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both. Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White
  9. The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, by J.K. Rowling

Now, I could have listed a bunch more, but time – and my knowledge of the books – prevented me.

So, for these nine, I’ve read them all. It’s comical to me how George Orwell is listed twice for two books I absolutely hated. The only reason I read them was because it was required in high school lit. I would never have read another of his after the first one if it hadn’t been required; these two last line examples perfect reasons for that.

Now, breaking these down. There’s one romance (although I know it wasn’t called that when it was written, but in my mind, GWTW is the ultimate Civil War romance), three books aimed at children and teens, two sci-fi’s and two literary classics.

Two adult authors for whom I would have bought another book are Margaret Mitchell and L. Frank Baum.

Everyone who knows me knows I lovelovelove Gone With the Wind – movie and book, and The Wizard of Oz – movie and book. I can quote pages of dialogue and exposition for both. And based on the last lines of both books above, I would have run out and bought the next thing each author wrote.

But the others? Not so much.

I did read all the Harry Potters. They were fabulous, but the last lines of the book had nothing to do with wanting to read the rest of the series. I wanted to know what happened to Harry. The line above tells it all and when that book was published, I was done. I haven’t read anything else by Rowling, including anything written under her new pen name Robert Galbraith.

Dickens, although being a master writer, is just too much for me. Now, I happened to like A Tale of Two Cities – the story line, not the execution of it (too verbose!), but I wouldn’t have read something else based on the last lines in the work. If I read anything, it would have been because I liked the story or the way in which it was told.

Now, E.B. White I have read as a child and as an adult and have enjoyed. Charlotte’s Web was my first introduction, and I actually love the last line of the book. Stuart Little, the Trumpet of the Swan, and even his work On Dogs, are all favorites of mine. They are well written, easy to read and interpret, tug at heartstrings and deliver their messages subtlety. You are not whacked over the head with their themes, but you can identify them readily.

I never did get Catcher in the Rye. I actually think – and don’t send me hate mail because of this – it’s just my feeling – the book is hard to get unless you’re a teenage boy. I never connected with the character and most of the plot seemed way too contrived. Has Salinger ever written anything else that came close to this book’s popularity? I don’t know. And believe me, I really don’t care, especially based on that last line.

So, how important is that last line, last sentence, last paragraph, for the reader to want to pick up something else you’ve written? I don’t know about other readers, but for me, it’s the whole story and how it’s told that really makes me want to shell out some cash for another work by the same person. If I’m disappointed in the nuts and bolts of the story, the last line could be the best line ever written and I still wouldn’t read something else by the same author.

I know manymanymany people are going to disagree with me about this and that’s fine. This is still America and we are allowed to– supposed to!- have differences of opinions. I personally just think the entire story is more important in my choosing another book by the same author, the last line be damned.

 

 

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Decoupage – telling a story without words

Im visiting with author Karen Blake Hall today talking about one of my other loves: DECOUPAGE. Stop by and see my latest project:

http://wp.me/p4p2oX-4N

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Taking risks

I’m featured on COFFEE TIME ROMANCE today talking about risk taking in life and writing. Here’s the link:  Drop on by and leave some of your own wisdom

http://coffeetimeromance.com/CoffeeThoughts/taking-risksin-writing-and-in-life/

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A relaxing retirement??

Most of you know I retired from my job of almost 20 years in April of this year to devote myself full-time to writing. I wanted to give you a little view into what my daily schedule now looks like. This is what I did on wednesday:

Wrote:

  • 2 blog entires for my own website to be held in storage until needed
  • 3 blog entries for sites I will be visiting soon

Edited:

  • final edits in a novella to be published next february
  • final edits in the third MacQuire Women series book, First Impressions, release date sometime later this year
  • final edits in current WIP ( writing work in progress)

Updated my website; continued Twitter marketing campaign for current book giveaway; answered “reader”emails, emailed my amazing Editor to discuss edits mentioned above.

Sent in two blog entries/release promos to websites I will be visiting this week and next

Registered for the New Jersey RWA chapter conference in October

This was all before 2 p.m., mind you – sometimes it pays to have chronic insomnia.

When my fingers got tired from typing, I did the stuff that needed to be done: grocery shopped, went to the bank, went to the recycling center to drop off, well, recyclables, went to Target, Michaels Craft store and Hallmark ( numerous graduations this month!) I did three loads of laundry, ironed, vacuumed and painted.

This is retirement?? I should go back to work, it was less exhausting!

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

The Season as Setting…

I’m over on the Roses Of Proses website today blogging about how the season effects my writing.

Stop by. Here’s the link:

http://bit.ly/1Rq2ph8

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, New Hampshire, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

A visit with Clair Brett

Hey all! I’ve chatting with NHRWA sistah Clair Brett today about falling in love in a love story. Stop on by and share your thoughts.

https://clairbrett.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/the-process-of-falling-in-love-in-a-romance-story-by-peggy-jaeger/comment-page-1/#comment-18

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Something new…

You all know I loathe self-promotion and marketing. I like the end results of it, but I’m still very uncomfortable trying to convince people to buy my books. Because of that basic insecurity, I’ve tried to find other ways to engage readers to purchase my work.

One of those ways is a giveaway on Goodreads. So, from May 19 ( my birthday!) until June 3, if you click on the following link you can enter to win a signed copy of my newest book THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. It doesn’t cost anything to enter and hey, you may win!!

Please support this humble writer!

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/138470-there-s-no-place-like-home

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME< book 2 in The MacQuire Women Series

Blurb:

Symphony pianist Moira Cleary comes home after four years of touring, exhausted, sick, and spiritually broken. Emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of someone she trusted has left her gaunt, anxious, and at a crossroads both professionally and personally.

Moira’s best friend, veterinarian Quentin Stapleton, wants nothing more than to help Moira get well. Can his natural healing skills make it possible for her to open her heart again? And can he convince her she’s meant to stay home now with the family that loves her – and with him – forever?

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Excerpt:

“Remember when your cousin Tiffany got married in the backyard here?”

Confused, Moira nodded.

Quentin rubbed her bottom lip with the pad of his thumb. “When the Reverend told Cole ‘you can kiss your bride,’ and he swooped her off the ground, spun her around and kissed her silly? Remember what you said?”

“I think I said it was the most romantic thing I’d ever seen.”

He nodded. “The exact quote was, ‘I hope someone kisses me like that some day.’”

Her grin was quick at the memory. “Pat snorted and said I’d better be satisfied with licks from the horses and Rob Roy because no guy was ever gonna kiss me.”

“He wasn’t known for tact back then.” He rubbed a hand down her back as he held her. “Remember what happened later on behind the barn?”

Because she did, she couldn’t stop the heat from spreading up her face like wildfire. When she nodded again, he said, “You wanted to know what it felt like to be kissed like that and since I was your best friend, you thought I should be the one to do it, because you – quote – felt safe with me – unquote.”

“What was I? Eleven?”

“Thirteen. And I was more than willing. Almost broke my heart in two when you said afterward, ‘I don’t see what all the fuss is about.’”

“Q—”

“Hush.” He kissed her forehead. “Ever since that day, all I’ve wanted is a second chance. Now,” he pulled her body closer, wrapped both arms around her small waist, his hands resting just above the dent in her spine. “We’re both a little older, a little more mature. Some of us are much more experienced—”

“And conceited.”

“Experienced,” he said, the laugh in his voice quiet and seductive, “and things can be so much better.”

amazon.com:http://www.amazon.com/Theres-Place-Like-MacQuire-Women-ebook/dp/B00VU85CBI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428599275&sr=8-1&keywords=there%27s+no+place+like+home%2C+by+peggy+jaeger

Barnes and Noble ;http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/theres-no-place-like-home-peggy-jaeger/1121798145?ean=2940151238489

The WIld Rose Press:http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191&products_id=6237

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, There's No Place Like Home

Promoting literacy

I read at an early age and so did my daughter. In truth, I think the best gift I ever gave her was the gift of being able to read.  Being carried away by a good story and getting lost in a fabulous book have provided me with innumerable hours of pleasure and escape. The ability to read, to lose oneself in a story, to imagine a world dictated by descriptions, is an amazing joy.

I discovered an absolutely appalling statistic today: the number of adults in the US who can’t read is estimated at 32,000,ooo. Over 70 % of inmates are illiterate and 19% of high school grads can’t read at a functional level.

This is in the United States of America! That number should be as close to zero as possible, but unfortunately, it isn’t.

I’m sure any sociologist or anthropologist worth their salt could tell you why this is so, but I don’t care about the reasons. I just want that number to be zero.

What kind of a society are we that accepts our people can’t read? What does it say about our educational system that allows 1 in 4 of its children to grow to maturity without the ability to read?  I will admit to being totally floored by these stats.  Perhaps it is because I live in a moderately affluent community where school is valued. Maybe its because of my color and race and the fact that I have access to good schools, good teachers, libraries, and book stores. It could be because I value reading so much, I naively assume everyone else does.

Again, the reasons seem irrelevant when you consider the facts.

This is my soapbox request for the day: If you’re reading this blog – congratulations, you can read! Now, pass that gift along. Read to your children, encourage them to read back to you, aloud. Take a kid to a library and show him the wonders to be found there. Get lost with a kid in a bookstore for hours. Make sure that reading is part of their core curricula in school. Give a child the gift of your favorite book when you were a kid, and then discuss it!

My wish for the future: 100% literacy in the greatest nation on earth. That would be us, kids, the United States of America.

Reading: it’s a good thing.

More statistics about illiteracy in America:

http://literacyprojectfoundation.org/

http://www.statisticbrain.com/number-of-american-adults-who-cant-read/

http://literacyprojectfoundation.org/community/statistics/

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The Pressure of Opening Lines.

Recently, during a weekly on-line author chat with the publisher and editors of The Wild Rose Press, the topic up for discussion was how to hook a reader from the very first line/page of your book. It’s important to establish this hook because the reader spends on average 3 seconds deciding whether or not to buy the book. If you’ve only got 3 seconds – or less (Egads!) – you need something that’s got WOW FACTOR all over it – be it a great opening line or paragraph. You must engage the reader and compel them by doing so to purchase the book. I know for myself I have picked books up at the bookstore, read the back blurb and been intrigued enough to read the first few lines. Many times I have not purchased the book because the hype in the back didn’t translate to the story on the page. The hook was more a jab ( heehee) and didn’t land well with me.

Can you tell I watched Rocky last night? Sheesh!

Anyway…this got me to thinking: what are some of the most memorable lines in books?

Google and Wikipedia are quick, fun tools that have lists compiled for every conceivable thing. So I typed into a search, Best Opening Lines in Books and was virtually assaulted (get it?!) with book lines.

Here are some I recognized:

  • “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”—Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina 
  • “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • Call me Ishmael – Herman Melville, Moby-Dick 1851
  • It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen – George Orwell, 1984 ( 1949)
  • Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. – Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway ( 1925)
  • It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York. – Sylvia Plath, the Bell Jar ( 1963)
  • In the town, there were two mutes and they were always together, – Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter ( 1940)
  • As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous verminous bug. – Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis ( 1915)

Everyone of these opening sentences immediately draws the reader into the story by giving them something to think about and a question or two to ask.

In the case of Moby-Dick, Call me Ishmael are three of the most recognized words in literature. Who is Ishmael? Why are we to call him that – does he really have another name but just wants to use Ishmael? Who is he talking to? These natural queries make you want to get answers to satisfy your curiosity. And the way to satisfy that curiosity is to…read the book!

In the 1984 line…. the clocks were striking thirteen… the reader immediately knows something is off because clocks DON’T ( as a rule) strike thirteen. Why are they doing so in this story? And what is the significance of them striking thirteen times? Is something going to happen? Or did it already and the thirteen is the announcement of it? Inquiring minds want to know.

Thinking back on the first lines I’ve written, I know in my heart some of them haven’t been filled with the wow factor – something I will work on arduously in 2015. With the plethora of books to choose from on-line, in bookstores and the library, a writer has to stake their claim on the reader’s attention IMMEDIATELY. No small task, but a worthwhile endeavor. And the payoff is a memorable book ( and a sale!)

Here’s the first line of my new release THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, available right now!!

 

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Filed under Characters, Contemporary Romance, Literary characters, Romance, Romance Books

Old hat at this…I think not

So, tomorrow my newest addition to the MacQuire Women Series, THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME is released. It is a scant two months since book 1, SKATER’S WALTZ went out into the book reading universe and you might think I am still basking in the wonderful-ness of the first release and that this new one is sort of taking a back burner to it.

Yeah, NO!

I feel as excited and giddy today as I did on March 3. ANY book, any work, any story I have sent into the world for public consumption has thrilled me. To know that tomorrow people will be reading about Quentin and Moira and how they fell in love is beyond exciting for me. The personal responses I have received from people who have read the first book is humbling and mind blowing. Even my father in law read it and I know he did because he was able to discuss things that happened in the book!!!

I remember my mother in law once told me she loved my husband ( her firstborn) so much she didn’t know if she had any love left over for another child. But when her first daughter was born, she realized a mother’s love knows no bounds or limits. She loved each child equally and thoroughly.

That’s the way I feel about my new release. I love the story and the people in it as much as I loved the first one.

So, I hope if you read There’s No Place like Home you will feel the same way I do.

Here’s a snippet to whet your appetite:

“Remember when your cousin Tiffany got married in the backyard here?”

Confused, Moira nodded.

Quentin rubbed her bottom lip with the pad of his thumb. “When the Reverend told Cole ‘you can kiss your bride,’ and he swooped her off the ground, spun her around and kissed her silly? Remember what you said?”

“I think I said it was the most romantic thing I’d ever seen.”

He nodded. “The exact quote was, ‘I hope someone kisses me like that some day.’”

Her grin was quick at the memory. “Pat snorted and said I’d better be satisfied with licks from the horses and Rob Roy because no guy was ever gonna kiss me.”

“He wasn’t known for tact back then.” He rubbed a hand down her back as he held her. “Remember what happened later on behind the barn?

Because she did, she couldn’t stop the heat from spreading up her face like wildfire. When she nodded again, he said, “You wanted to know what it felt like to be kissed like that and since I was your best friend, you thought I should be the one to do it, because you – quote – felt safe with me – unquote.”

“What was I? Eleven?”

“Thirteen. And I was more than willing. Almost broke my heart in two when you said afterward, ‘I don’t see what all the fuss is about.’”

“Q—”

“Hush.” He kissed her forehead. “Ever since that day, all I’ve wanted is a second chance. Now,” he pulled her body closer, wrapped both arms around her small waist, his hands resting just above the dent in her spine. “We’re both a little older, a little more mature. Some of us are much more experienced—”

“And conceited.”

“Experienced,” he said, the laugh in his voice quiet and seductive, “and things can be so much better.”

Get your copy here or order it at your local bookstore:

Buy Links for THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1J1f3OZ

The Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/1GmM1Je

Barnes and Noble Nook : http://bit.ly/1JjMUG7

 

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, There's No Place Like Home