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Book sales, Amazon rankings, and being dropped by a publisher….yeah; happened to me. Twice.

There are so many days I wish I’d started writing fiction for publication in my 20’s. That would have been the height of the 1980’s where writers lived like kings, publishing houses hired publicists for their talented authors and book tours really involved actually touring to different places and not all over the internet.

I peaked too late, it seems.

In a time where major, traditional book publishers are dwindling as fast as an anorexic’s weight, book sales can mean the difference between a royalty check and getting bounced by your publisher for lackluster – or nonexistent – sales. Here’s my cautionary tale and lament.

You all know I’ve had a long standing publishing relationship with the WILD ROSE PRESS, who I love beyond all else!!! I’ve also had three books published by Kensington/Lyrical and recently, a new series contracted by Limitless Publishing. The series for Lyrical was originally seven books, but they dropped me after the third was published. Why, you ask? I was told at the time is was because the line was moving in a different direction away from romance and more toward cozy mysteries. And yet I still see new authors being promoted monthly with Lyrical romance releases.

Hmmmm.

After the recent publication of DIRTY DAMSELS, book 1 in the DotComGirls series ( 3 books planned), I submitted the second book in the series, HELPFUL HUNKS, only to be told the company was not going to be publishing any more of my titles due to lackluster sales. When I submitted book 2, book one had been out in the world for a total of 3 weeks.

3 friggin’ weeks!

How many sales were they hoping I’d get in that time frame? I didn’t even have a book promotion planned until august when  I got back from RWA so I could devote time to it. I did a ton of preorder promotion and hoped my opening day sales reflected all that work. I was in London during the release and tracked my ranking the entire time I was there. According to my amazon results, I had the best release week of my life, with the second week even better. And this is my first book in Kindle Unlimited, which you don’t even see included in your ranking.

How can that possibly mean lackluster sales?

I think the major mistake I made was in submitting the second book so soon. I should have waited at least three months to do so. I don’t even get a royalty check until the end of this month, so that’s going to be interesting to see. The publisher was obviously basing contracting book 2 based on book 1 sales, which, at that time, weren’t even in.

Lesson learned.

I used to wonder why so many authors self published. I’m starting to get it, now.

And…because the promo never ends, don’t forget I’ve got a 99cent sale on  for DEARLY BELOVED until August 23rd. If you haven’t read it yet, do so soon because book 2, TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS releases soon and you’ll want to know what’s going on in the lovely town of HEAVEN, NH before it does!

get your copy here:

amazon // B&N // ibooks

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, author promotion, Dirty Damsels, Dot Com Girls Romance, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Another oldie, but goodie: A DREAM vs A GOAL…

 

Still taking a little break from the internet. Here’s another post I thought could do with a repeat: From 2017

So…I’m giving this motivational speech next month at a woman’s weekend retreat and I’ve starting putting my thoughts together on what I want to say, the points I want to highlight, and the ideas I want to leave the women with.  And by starting to put together I really mean I’m starting to panic about what to say!! I’m going to use this blog piece as a way of organizing my thoughts, so please bear with me!

I’ve always asserted that there is a distinct difference between having a dream for yourself and having a goal. To prove I’m educated in the difference between the two, here are the definitions:

A goal is: an aim or desired result

goals

A dream is: a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal

dreams

Now, just looking at the two you might think they really are the same thing. But I don’t think they are and here’s why.

I always had a little dream to write romantic fiction and have it published. My dream was to be able to support myself as a writer and have the people who read my stuff like it, be loyal, and want more of it.  That was it. Just a dream. A little fantasy that played out in my mind time after time. I’d  imagine myself going to book signings and have the waiting line for my table be out the door and around the block! I’d make every bestseller list out there, and talk shows would be clamoring to schedule me whenever I had a new book released. Amazon would list me as a preferred author and my Goodreads page would be off the chart with followers.

Okay, so it was a BIG dream and not really a little one.

What turned my dream into a reality was when I set a goal for myself centering on that dream to write and publish. I put an action plan behind my fantasy. I set a time frame for what I wanted to happen, the means to make sure it did, and took steps to promote and push it along to fruition.

See the difference? My dream was ephemeral, just a thought, an idea, a wish. My goal put action behind the fantasy to make it come true. To break it down even further ( for you literary and English majors!)  my dream was a noun and my goal was the verb.

Make sense?

Now, of course,  I’m going to expound on that a lot more when I give my talk. I do have to fill an entire hour and not just a three minute ready-to-read-piece like this one! But I think my idea is solid. How I got to live out my fantasy, my dream, how I made it happen, will comprise the majority of the speech. But for now, I have a starting point, so thank’s for listening and ANY WORDS OF WISDOM would not only be appreciated, they would be cherished…so feel free.

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Filed under Romance, Romance Books

#RWA2019 #RWA19 Wrap Up… And an open letter to the RWA Board.

On the train back home on Saturday, I had a few hours to ponder on this year’s RWA experience for me and I came up with quite a few things.

When I was first published 5 years ago and went to my very first RWA in San Antonio, every class I took was craft-related. I wanted to hear from the experts about how to master the art of romance writing. I didn’t even know that the publishing houses gave away free books! I was so intent on taking every craft class I could to make myself a better writer.

The second year I did know they gave away free books and I split the time 50/50 between craft classes, (fangirling) and going to book signings.

Third year I only went to book signings! hee hee

Fourth year I attended nothing but marketing classes ( and a few book signings) because now that I had over 10 books published I figured I knew what I was doing, writingwise, but now needed to know how to effectively market and sell those books.

This year, no book signings other than my own, and nothing but marketing classes. Well, that one on RomCom writing. How much my perspective has changed over these five years!

This year, for the very first time ( which is disgraceful that it took so long) the first and second black women were awarded RITAS. This was an historic RITA ceremony and while I am thrilled for the AOC who won, I am disheartened that it took so bloody long for it to happen. The board’s directive to solve this issue is imperative.

That’s all the good stuff. Now…the not so good.

Dear RWA Board Members.

I recognize that this was a hard year for you all. Cockygate, then the plagerism scandal; the #dontattendtheRitas movement because of the diversity issue. These have been tough hills to climb, I get that.

But…..

  1. Attending RWA in NYC is wicked expensive. The rooms alone are bankruptable to most writers who don’t make 6 figures ( hell, even 4 figures) a year. There must be some hotel that can accommodate this group for less money.
  2. And while we are on the subject of expensive hotels, 37 dollars for a breakfast buffet is ridiculous! I can’t believe there wasn’t some cost reduction that could have been given due to the large volume of guests RWA provided for the hotel.
  3. Now…the elevators. We’ve been in many hotels for RWA and this hotel has, hands down, the absolute worst elevators of any we’ve stayed in. They  broke down 3 times, took between 4 and 7 minutes to arrive most days ( yes, I timed them) and simply could not accommodate the amount of writers who needed to get to classes, all at the same time.
  4. The cost of registration is very high. Very high. And this year ( as last year) I personally don’t feel the cost was worth it for the mediocre quality of the workshops given. DOn’t get me wrong – some of them were fabulous. Truly. But overall I found the choices lacking.
  5. And having said that, there was a greater emphasis on indie and self publishing than ever before. Many of us are still traditionally published – like I am – and have no desire to switch to Indie.  It would have been nice to have a 50/50 split instead of the topheavy indie offerings. Just sayin’
  6. Now, the RITAS. In the past we’ve had desserts on the table to snack on during the long ( and long winded) ceremony. Little petit fours, snack cookies, delicious desserts to help sugar us up and get us through the event. This is what we had this year:

A box of lemon drops. LEMON DROPS. Really? I paid $499 for a lousy 8 pack of vile tasting hard candies that looked like the came from the land of Halloween candy rejects? Badly done, RWA. Badly done. And while we’re on this subject, $8.00 for a shitty 8 ounce glass of soda and $20.00 for a half glass of champagne was insulting. We’ve already been monetarily gouged for the cost of registration, the hotel, the food and now add insult to injury and charge penurious amounts for a drink at a ceremony?

Yeah, I think I’m skipping San Francisco for sure. I simply can’t afford it.

You can do better than this, RWA. You really can.

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Meet Wild Rose Press #author Jocelyn Pedersen

So, today is a first for me. I usually spotlight romance writers when I do an author interview, but today I’ve got a treat. JOCELYN PEDERSEN is a Wild Rose Press sistah, but she writes mysteries and thrillers. So cool! She agreed to let me interview her recently and I had so much fun listening to her answers. Sit back and meet this fascinating author.

Jocelyn, The Writer 

1. What drives you to write?

The love of writing. I’ve always written. When I was a kid I’d write letters to my aunties, I’d write stories and poems, and I’d write absolutely everything down. I’m a geek—the feel of ink being placed on paper is a bit of a thrill—I’m even picky about the pens I use because if they don’t have a certain feel when I use them on paper, I don’t like them.

2. What genre(s) do your write, and why?

I write mysteries and thrillers because I love a good puzzle. I adore using my mind to try to figure out a mystery before the end of a book and I make a mental note of how early in the book I figure it out. The best stories are the ones I can’t figure out because they have a twisty ending. In addition, I like the forensic element in solving the crime. I took a class called Forensics for Writers and found it to be very interesting. I think I would have made a good detective!

3. What genre(s) do you read, and why?

I like crime novels, mostly. I enjoy the police work, the sleuthing, and the forensics—again, because I like a good challenge with a great puzzle. I don’t mind some descriptive scenes that get a little gory, but I don’t like too much because readers want more and more of that and I don’t want to go that far into the dark cave.

4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday?

I absolutely write every day of my life. I prefer to write in the morning before I get busy with my day. If I don’t write something, I feel like something is missing. I’m a journalist, too, so I track down stories and write freelance for several local and regional publications. I teach writing at the University of Oklahoma. As for novel writing, my brain never stops. I write in my head, I write snippets on my phone or on restaurant napkins, and on scraps of paper. When characters won’t leave me alone and they talk to me all the time, I know it’s time to get busy and sit at the computer. So, for me, writing is a huge part of my life and therefore I do it every single day.

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

I have an old, wooden office desk in my den that I picked up at a used furniture store. On it I have two large monitors sitting side by side. Regardless of what I’m writing, I like to have notes on one screen, the project I’m working on another screen, and an Internet browser open on another part of a screen. If I run out of room, I launch the screen on my computer and have something open on that screen too. I think I like to see things laid out next to each other in this way because I grew up with books, not windows on screens. I can glance from here to there and have everything I need at my fingertips. I invested in a good chair, too, because I sit and write so much. Good ergonomic posture is imperative when writing as much as I do. I also have a split, ergonomic keyboard. I love it. In fact, I’ve used it so much, the letters are worn off the keys! The bonus side of that is that most folks can’t use a keyboard without letters, so visitors don’t want to use my computer to check their email. It’s kind of funny.

6. 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 tunnel-vision?

Total quiet. When I write, I am not “here,” I’m in the story.

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

I’m in awe of folks who can listen to music while writing. If I listen to music, I find myself typing the lyrics rather than my story. Sometimes, when the weather is nice, I’ll take my laptop outside and sit on my back patio to write. I love the ambient sounds of my backyard fountain and the birds chirping.

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

Since my current WIP is Book 2 of the Izzy O Crime Files, I’m using some of the same characters. I’m adding new characters, of course, and since I love animals, I’m adding police dogs. I am a graduate of the Norman Citizens Police Academy, where I learned quite a bit about police procedure and police dogs. I have been a professional dog trainer, so adding dogs will be fun. In addition, I took up Olympic-style weightlifting in the fall of 2018 to help me cut time off of my swim (I regularly swim 1/2 to a full mile). So, I’ve decided that in addition to adding dogs to my WIP, I’m going to have one of my characters take up weightlifting.

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

I think plot comes first. Once I have an idea for a plot, the characters emerge and start filling in the story. I start with “what if?” and go on from there. Many of my characters are named for people I know and those who know me well know that some scenes have really happened in my life.

10. What 3 words describe you, the writer?

Driven. Creative. Perseverant.

Jocelyn, The Gal…

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

As I mentioned, I took up Olympic-style weightlifting less than a year ago. When I had been lifting for only a month, my lifting coach, the incredible Bob White, Jr. (who is the big brother I never had and always wanted), told me the team would be going to a weightlifting meet—when I picked my jaw up off the floor, I agreed. At that meet, I won gold in my division and the Best Master Woman lifter award. Since then, I’ve won three more gold medals, I’ve earned my coaching license, and I’m headed to the national meet in November. I’m very proud of going from never having seen a barbell to making nationals in seven months. Who knew I was any good at this!? Certainly not me.

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

I was 12 years old—we had moved from my native Canada to Singapore—where I met Niccolai Murphy. I was smitten. We played bridge at lunchtime with friends and he taught me to make and fly model airplanes. We had a blast running around together flying airplanes and eating all manner of weird delicacies from street vendors—never asking what was in it. I still keep in touch with him and his lovely wife, Pat Hlavin. When my son, Al, became interested in flying at age 12, I took him to California to meet Nicco who, along with his friend, Frank Britton, took Al up and taught him to do loop-de-loops, and barrel rolls. They even had a mock dogfight. Al recently got his private pilot’s license. You don’t have many friends like Nicco in a lifetime.

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….

August 23, 2017. Adams Hall, Rm 311 at 10:30 a.m. A student in my class, Michael Jackson, walked into the room. Of course, since it was the first week of class, I knew absolutely no one, but when he walked in I said to myself, “That’s Michael Jackson.” It was like I knew him from somewhere, but we’d never met. That man was, in fact, Michael Jackson, and after the semester was over we, like many of my students, had a cup of coffee. We are now best friends and are planning to go into business together. Age is a number. Who cares how old friends are?

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

Concealer. Acne has not been my friend…

5.What three words describe you, the person?

Loyal. Giving. Loving.

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

Imagine Dragons’ Machine. It isn’t terribly funny, but it speaks to my fierce independence.

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

Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, because he stood up for the underdog. He stood up for what he believed in and knew was right. He showed love, compassion and empathy. If we could spend time together, I’d want to have a tall glass of tea on his front porch and ask him what makes him tick and discuss the courage it took to stand up for himself and Tom Robinson.

Bonus round

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

  1. Favorite sound                      Waves crashing on the strand.
  2. Least favorite sound             High-pitched squealing.
  1. Best song ever written So many! I’m a singer, so this is hard… If I had to    narrow it down, The Rose would be at the top.
  2. Worst song ever written      This is the Song That Never Ends
  3. Favorite actor and actress    Morgan Freeman and Susan Sarandon
  4. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead)                        Mother Teresa because she showed incredible compassion, empathy, and love toward others.
  5. What turns you on?              Caring.
  6. What turns you off?              Meanness.
  7. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)   Are your boobs real?
  8. What’s your version of a perfect day?  Going to a beach and doing something active!

And now, here’s a peak at An EYE FOR AN EYE

Rookie detective Izzy O’Donnell is on the trail of a serial killer who’s murdering victims and leaving behind body parts wrapped in Bible verses. Izzy tracks him down with the help of her two partners—a very enigmatic Moreno and a rather grumpy Cal—her injured dad’s former partner.

Meanwhile, her wacky sidekick, Apple MacIntosh, totes a pet rabbit around in a baby sling, insisting he’s telepathic and can smell death on Izzy’s clothes. Unnerved by unexplained dreams, Izzy forges forth to solve the case. A homeless man, a philandering televangelist, and a mentally challenged gardener are among the suspects who distract Izzy from seeing the killer, who has been getting to know her all along.

Excerpt:

Moreno hung up the phone and walked past Izzy, purposely brushing her elbow with his. Startled, she jumped and looked at him.

“You hangin’ in?” he said.

“Guess I’m a little shell shocked.”

They crossed the room and met Cal at the fireplace.   He was bent over, examining the body.

“Cal, Moreno, you’d better take a look at this,” said one of the techies. He motioned them over to the blood-soaked couch.

Izzy hadn’t been called over, so she stayed at the fireplace. The scene was gruesome, and the stench wafted up her nose. She gingerly touched the body with a stainless-steel probe. It crunched. She steadied her queasies and took a deep breath. Get back on task.

She scrutinized the area, searching for fibers and trace evidence. When she picked up the fireplace poker that lay nearby, a blood-soaked packet tumbled off the hearth and plopped on the carpet. Izzy glanced around to see if anyone else had noticed. When she realized she was the sole recipient of this piece of evidence, heart skipped a beat. This could be her first break – her way to show those seasoned guys that this newbie knew her stuff.

Get AN EYE FOR AN EYE here:

amazon //  B&N

A little more about Jocelyn:

Jocelyn Pedersen is an award-winning, AP-published, professional journalist with hundreds of published clips in various newspapers and magazines. A lover of the mystery and thriller, she eats popcorn while watching documentaries about serial killers and huddles under blankets on the couch while watching Criminal Minds with her friends and family.

Jocelyn is a gold medal-winning power-lifter breaking records every month. She works with Bob White of Team Metro in Norman, Oklahoma.

She enjoys her kids, the beach, teaching writing at the University of Oklahoma, and being a former sheep farmer, considers herself a sheepie slipper aficionado. She has more animals than brains and wouldn’t have it any other way.

You can connect with Jocelyn here:

Website // Facebook,// Twitter//, LinkedIn,// Pinterest//GoodReads.// Facebook // Instagram

Jocelyn, thanks so much for visiting me today!!! ~Peg

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, author promotion, WIld Rose Press AUthor

In a world of #followers I’d like to be an #Influencer

I’m going to bet if you know what the above icon is, you’ll understand the title of this blog.

First, a little backstory.

When I was a kid, roughly 175 years ago, my third grade teacher, Mrs. Karen Sinclair, said something to me one day that has stayed with me all these millennia later. I was an overweight, thick glasses-wearing, curly haired, shy kid prone to impulse control issues when it came to talking in class. I was bullied – horribly – by both girls and boys. At that age, there really is no division along sex lines with bullying. One day, after an especially verbally vicious attach on the recess playground, I came back into the classroom, sullen and non-communicative. When class ended for the day, Mrs. Sinclair asked me to stay after. She wormed out of me what had been said on the playground. When I cried that all I wanted to do was fit in, be like everyone else, but couldn’t because 1. my clothes were wrong, 2. my hair was wrong, 3. I was ugly, 4. I was fat…etc…. (you get the picture) she took my hand and told me this: “Don’t be a follower.  Don’t be like everyone else. You were born to be a leader, Margaret, to be yourself. There’s only one you. Don’t settle for less.”

Yeah, she was my favorite teacher of all time.

Fast forward 165 years to the present.

The above symbol is the INSTAGRAM logo. Since I started my writing journey, I’ve been attempting to get people to read my books through various marketing methods, one of them, posting on Instagram. Recently, I came across a phase that “called” to me: Influencer. Apparently, there are people (millennials, mostly) who have huge Insta-followers and who get paid for taking pictures of themselves with products. The companies who manufacture the products, pay these kids  for simply posting a picture. People see the picture and are Influenced to buy the product because they want to be like the cool person they are following.

Can you spell BRILLIANT!!

I have a decent amount of Instagram followers and I’m gonna work on getting more, but for now, here’s me at my new job, taking a picture with a product I’d like to tell people about so they can buy it and be cool like me. I’m an Influencer:

Hee hee

Sorry the book is backward – this whole Influencer thing is gonna take time to perfect. 🙂 But  you get the idea.

~until next time ~ Peg

And just FYI: The book’s on sale for 99cents right now until june 21~~ Get yours here:

DEARLY BELOVED

Amazon

Nook

Apple books

 

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Filed under Author Branding, Dearly Beloved, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor, Writing

What’s in a name? Well, placement of a book on a book shelf, for one thing…

I’ve never been quiet about the fact I’m not a fan of the 50 Shades phenom. I don’t read erotica or erotic romance and the thought of having to endure a three book arc on the subject wasn’t something in my reading desire wheelhouse.

Now, before the haters start commenting, know this. I applaud EL James. I truly do. She wrote a series that hadn’t been seen or read before and made quite the beaucoup bucks doing so. So, yay for her. The subject matter simply didn’t appeal to me so that’s why I never read it or watched the movies made from the book.

The title of this blog may have you scratching your head and saying, “What’s EL James got to do with placement on a book shelf?”

Let me ‘esplain, Lucy.

The name on my books is Peggy Jaeger. J.A.E.G.E.R.

The name on ELJames books is, well, EL James. J.A.M.E.S.

The reason I mention this is because I was in my local independent bookstore, the Toadstool, the other day and saw this:

 

Get a gander at that second shelf. My books, my sensual, contemporary romances about strong women, the families who support them and the men who can’t live without them, are sitting smack-dab next to books that…are not about those kinds of people. This is the luck of the alphabetical draw. My fear is that people will see her name, my books next to them, and equate the subject matter in her books with the kind that I write. This is a valid fear, too, because I’ve had more than 1 person come up to me at book signings, author events, and when I’ve been on the radio, and ask, “Do you write crap like that 50 Shade stuff?” And yes, that is a direct quote. So, my fear is justified, kids.

I knew I couldn’t complain to the manager because, really, it’s not his fault our names are so close alphabetically. Also, complaining would make me look like a diva-bitch, something I never want to be, especially since the Toadstool has been so good to me.

So, I grin and go on, hoping that someone will be trolling the Romance aisle, see her new book displayed and then their gaze will drift toward my books. They’ll pick one of mine up, read the blurb and realize my books are sososososo different from EL’s. And they’ll buy one of mine, instead.

Hope springs eternal, kids.

Until next time. ~Peg

 

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Author Branding, branding, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romance Books

#1stKissFriday 5.10.19

Hee hee. I love this picture, don’t you?
Any hoo… It’s #1stkissfriday and today I’m pulling a kiss from DEARLY BELOVED. It’s a little long, but I wanted to give you the feel for the animosity that turns to desire these two have for one another. As a quick set up, they’ve gotten caught in a rain storm which Colleen refuses to come out of until she’s done with a task. Slade is pissed and thinks she’s the type who “doesn’t know when to come in out of the rain,” a character trait he can’t stand.

 

“You know, I can’t figure out if you’re obstinate by nature or you simply don’t like listening to anyone else,” Slade said. He fisted his hands on his trim hips and looked down his perfect nose at me. With his brows touching in the middle of his forehead, he shook his head in disgust. Rainwater flung from his hair with the motion, the cold droplets slapping me in the face.

I flicked a few off my cheek. “Both,” I shot back, letting my own annoyance break through.

It didn’t escape me that even drenched and aggravated the guy was something to look at. How was that fair? I knew—knew—I looked like a drowned poodle. I’d straightened my hair before leaving for the office, but I could hear it frizzing and recurling as I stood there, the humidity and moisture whipping it up into a waterspout of kink. I was sure my mascara had me mimicking a rabid raccoon and God knows what other harried feral creature.

But Slade Harrington looked like a model for a popular men’s fragrance. Any second, I expected him to murmur something in French, like oui or eau.

What was it about this guy that pissed me off to no end but turned me on enough to consider licking him from head to toes at the same time?

“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” He lowered his voice, dragged in a breath, and raked a hand through his hair from his temple to his neck, slicking it flat against his skull. Like a squeegee, water slid from the tips of his fingers with the movement. “Jesus. We’re drenched.” He looked down at his shirt and pants, and then back to me. His gaze took a slow amble from my head down to my neck, over my breasts and nipples, which were—gulp—as hard and pointed as his were, then farther down. My thin, cotton-blend skirt was literally glued to me from waist to knees. I could only imagine the view he was getting.

Every inch of skin on my body went goose bump crazy under his inspection. Or maybe it was because the rain was so chilly and the day had been so warm.

Nah. The temperature outside had nothing to do with it. The temperature of Slade’s expression though, did.

When he dragged his attention back to my face, the annoyed glare in his eyes changed. Irritation was gone and in its place, want.

Pure, bold, rain-soaked want.

I can’t truthfully say who moved first, but with the next breath I took, his mouth was on mine.

And mine, blessedly, was on his.

During the moments I’d fantasized about what kissing him would be like this past week, I’d imagined all sort of things.

His lips would be firm and forceful or, conversely, tender and soothing.

He’d go slow, savoring the kiss, allowing each of us to get to know the other’s taste, or he’d swoop in and take over, overpowering me—willingly, I’ll add.

So many thoughts ran through my head and every single one of them proved true.

From the moment he put his mouth against mine, all annoyance fled and, with it, the cold. Where moments before I’d been chilled, now a furnace blasted all over me, heating me straight down to my marrow. I craved the warmth, clung to the heat.

Slade’s full lips completely consumed mine. Owned them. Branded them. Never in my life had I been kissed with such…possession. There really was no other word for it.

The sexy mouth I’d daydreamed about was at equal times hard yet soft, insistent yet giving. A thoughtful sigh bounced around my ears, followed by an erotic growl when he parted my lips and plundered. His hands, warm and wet, lifted my jaw, tilted my head back, and changed the angle of the kiss to go deeper, further, to draw out every and any response he could.

And there were quite a few, believe me.

He tasted of the rain—woodsy-fresh like morning dew—and clean. When I snaked my hands up his drenched shirt, kneading all that muscle and strength as I glided upward and then wound my hands around his neck to hold on fast, it never occurred to me I shouldn’t be doing this. I shouldn’t be standing in a storm, drenched with rain and desire, kissing a man like I’d never kissed a man before. Kissing a man who’d made no secret of the fact I annoyed the crap out of him.

A man who, for all thoughts and speculations to the contrary, was now totally absorbed with kissing me as if I was the last woman he ever would.

I don’t even remember moving, but I felt my back ram into the opened front door, slick with rain, my shoulders flattening against the wood. Slade’s knee eased between my thighs and rubbed side to side along the front part of my lacy thong while his tongue wound with mine and sucked to the same rhythm as the movement of his knee.

This time the groan that echoed around us was mine. His hands moved from my face, up and through my temples to clutch my saturated hair. A gentle tug and he changed the angle of my head again, this time though, his lips left mine to skim across my jaw. The feel of his hot breath along my neck as he made his way to my ear sent tiny shocks and jolts of electricity all through my body. I started to shiver, and it wasn’t because I was cold. About as far from cold as a girl could get, if truth be told.

When Slade let out a smooth chuckle against my neck and then pulled my earlobe between his lips and bit down, the shiver turned to a quake, then a little jump, and I simply lost the tiny bit of sanity I had left.

With more force and ardor than I think I’d ever invested with Vlad, I tugged on the ends of Slade’s hair, still gripped tight in my hands, and yanked his head so his mouth settled against mine again.

I felt a grin split his lips right before I touched the tip of my tongue to his bottom lip. The grin died when he sucked my tongue back into his mouth. That feeling of total possession overtook me again, especially when he slid his hands from my hair all the way down my back to cup my butt. Just as a clap of thunder boomed directly above us, Slade lifted and pressed me into him, so close in fact, I couldn’t tell where his wet clothes ended and mine began.

From shoulders to knees, in one fluid line of connection, our bodies molded together. I can’t begin to imagine how it felt for him to hold me this way, but I can tell you point blank, pressed against all that hard and defined muscle, all that rigid and long length of him—and, oh baby, was there a lot of length!—I felt so desired, so wanted, so bloody turned on, I didn’t care if a twister from Kansas whooshed around us and transported us to Oz as long as I could stand there, held in this man’s arms, and be kissed as if my next breath depended on it.

Look, it had been a long time since I’d tasted desire for, and from, a man. Too long. I’d thought more than once over the past year that Vlad had killed my on button with his lies and meanness. Because of his betrayal, I’d almost forgotten what deep want, that aching, needing longing, I’ll-die-if-I-don’t-have-this- man feeling was like.

For some weird reason, Slade Harrington knew exactly how to turn my sex-switch back to the on position—from zero to eleven with a kiss that shot me out of my shoes.

Another clap of thunder, closer and much louder, boomed above us. This time when I jumped, Slade’s arms tightened around me.

“I’ve got you,” he whispered against my ear, then trailed his mouth down to my collarbone. His tongue lapped the rainwater from my skin. When his lips nuzzled against the spot and I felt the subtle tug of sucking, combined with the gentle pressure of his knee between my legs, I swear on all that’s holy and blessed I was a heartbeat from shattering.

I truly think I would have come on the spot, standing up, my panties and the rest of me dripping with lust, if my cell phone hadn’t screamed “Trouble” right at that moment.

The phone call accomplished what the thunder hadn’t, namely, jolted us apart.

I snapped back too quickly, the back of my head careening off the old wooden door, the thwack competing with the crack of the rolling thunder.

Slade’s eyes went wide as soon as I yelled, “Ow!” and he slipped a hand behind my head.

“Are you okay?” He grabbed my shoulders and tried to force me forward while he dipped his head around to the back of me.

I slapped his hands away and gave him a non-too- gentle push. “I’m fine. I need to get this.”

Intrigued? You can get your own copy here: DEARLY BELOVED 

Dearly Beloved was recently named the Long and Short Reviews BOOK OF THE MONTH. You can read the review that sent it over the top, here: Review

And one last brag, I promise! Dearly Beloved came in 3rd Place in the New England Readers Choice awards for 2019 in the Long Contemporary category.

I’m so proud of this book!!! ~peg

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May 10, 2019 · 12:10 am

#LongandShortReviews #WednesdayBloggingChallenge 5.8.19

Topic choices like this one just make my heart go zing!

Today, the writing prompt is  Books I want Youth to discover. So…do you have a couple of hours? Hee hee. Just kidding…not.

I pared my choices down because I really could talk about this subject for a while. The word YOUTH can, to me, mean any age range, so I’m going to cover a few here to be inclusive. The choices I’m laying out are all older books, from the last century even, and not what I would consider popular these days with kids. Which is a shame, because each of these books speaks to universal themes inherent in all children (and adults!). They are all written in language easy to read and understand, and each of these choices is in itself a part of my own youth and growth experience.

In no order, I wish kids (youth) would read these wonderful tales:

So, of course, I start with the book I think should be in every child’s home and read to them by their parents or even by themeselves, over and over until the message is ingrained in their DNA.

The Little Engine that Could . 

Originally published in, I believe, 1941, this is the best story I’ve ever seen about self motivation, and believing in yourself. The confidence that  little engine had in himself is the kind of confidence I wish every single child possessed. I’m 58 years old and I still think of this book and its message when my confidence starts to fail.

Anne of Green Gables

In fact, the entire Lucy Maude Montgomery collection about Anne Shirley. There are many themes explored in these books, but the ones I feel are still topical today are adoption, the plight of homeless and parentless children, acceptance in society when you are different, and the beauty of each person being unique.

Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret.

Maybe it’s because my real name is so similar to the title character. Maybe it’s because the story of 12 year old Margaret is one that mirrored my own life. Maybe it’s because Margaret’s feelings of not fitting in – and of wanting to, desperately – and wanting to be liked were exactly the same emotions and feelings I had at the age of 12. Heck, maybe it’s because she feels the only one who get’s her, who really listens to her is God, just like I did, and still do. Whatever the reason, this book is filled with the universal theme that we all want to loved and appreciated. Plus, there aren’t many books about kids and spirituality that lay out God’s love  so simply  and beautifully.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, just like Francie Nolan. My heritage is Irish, just like Francie’s. I knew firsthand the effects of alcoholism in my family, as does Francie. Is it any one wonder I love this book and wish more kids these days were exposed to it? Yes, it takes place in the last century during a time unlike any other we’ve seen in this country. But again, I go for the universal themes and connectability rampant in the book. This was the book that solidified for me that even if you were poor, considered white trash, and shunned by society, you could still find happiness in every day things, and feel love for those closest to you. Education was the ticket out of poverty and strife, and Francie loved to read – just like I did ( and still do!) Reading for was escape, adventure, knowledge, and beauty.  Betty Smith’s words are as timely now as they were when the book was released in 1943.

“From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood. There was poetry for quiet companionship. There was adventure when she tired of quiet hours. There would be love stories when she came into adolescence and when she wanted to feel a closeness to someone she could read a biography. On that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived.” 

Love that message!!!

So, those are just 4 books I wish more kids read these days. Let’s see what the other authors in this blog challenge have to say. L&SR

And if you’re looking for me, I can always be found here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

 

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#PublicSpeaking #AAUW

I love that quote. Just sayin’.

So, Friday, April 26, I will be part of a talking panel for the Keene Area AAUW – the American Association of University Woman – annual “Evening with Authors.” I’ll be one of three authors talking about all things writing, publishing, marketing. My panel-mates will be Michelle Arnosky Sherburne, a Vermont historian who writes about The Underground Railroad and Thomas Farmen who writes about his dog, Bessie.

Talk about an eclectic panel.

If you are in the area, please consider joining us. The event will be held at the STONE ARCH VILLAGE COMMUNITY ROOM at 835 Court Street in Keene, starting at 6pm. All the authors ( including moi) will be selling and authographing our books at the end of the talk.

The purpose of the author event is to raise funds for the AAUW’s scholarship program. The Keene area branch gives 5 annual local scholarships to Antioch University, River Valley Community College, Keene High school and 2 ( one undergrad, one graduate) to Keene State college. there will be refreshments ( always a plus, in my book!)

If you want to get tickets, or ask a question, you can call 603-876-3913

I hope to see as many of my friends and readers as I can!! I hate public speaking and it’s always easier for me if I see a face I know attached to a body who’s read one of my books! Hee hee. That was a little muddy of  misplaced modifier, but you all get what  I mean.

Be well and hope to see you Friday at 6pm.

~Peg

And here’s a little present. The fabulous Joan Reeves just produced a video trailer for my Deerbourne Inn Novella HOPE’S DREAM. Check it out ( and buy the book if you haven’t! Hee hee)

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#AuthorInterview with Karilyn Bentley

 

I’ve got a favorite Wild Rose sistah with me today, talking about her newest book release and giving us a little insight into her writing life. Please welcome Paranormal and Urban Fantasy writer  KARILYN BENTLEY.

Karilyn has been my guest before but today I asked her some indepth questions about her writing, her writing process, and her life in general. Stick around, because after the interview, she’s giving us a peek at her newest book release DEVIL FORGET ME and you won’t want to miss it!

Karilyn, the Writer:

  1. What drives you to write?

I like to create stories that make people smile.

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

I write paranormal and urban fantasy because I love to explore the possibilities of extra-normal abilities. In other words, I’ve watched too many superhero movies and shows.

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

I read paranormal, urban fantasy, and historical. I read paranormal for the same reason I write it and historical because it transports me to a different time and place.

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

Right now I write every day in the evenings after I finish the day job.

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

At the moment I’m writing in the kitchen. I have a desk, but it is in my husband’s office in the basement and the view from the kitchen is more inspiring.

  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 tunnel-vision?

I prefer quiet but can write with noise or the TV as long as I’m not in front of it.

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

If I do listen, it has to be instrumental because I’ll start singing to the songs and that interrupts my writing flow.

 

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

I knew the theme was greed but one of my writing friends helped me with the plot.

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

Usually the plot and then I “what if” the characters to go with the plot. The process is very interwoven together for me.

What 3 words describe you, the writer?

Slow and steady, a little funny, snarky (Peggy here: Lovelovelove those three descriptions!!!)

Karilyn, the Gal:

  • Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I taught a puppy training class for a couple of months when I was in grad school.
  • Who was your first love and what age were you? My first love was a little boy who was my friend. I was three. Mom set up a playdate and I hid under the couch because I was embarrassed he would learn I liked him. Silly, eh? My first real love was my husband.
  • 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…. I have no idea! Maybe a vacation day?
  • Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Briefs
  • If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? Eyeliner
  • What three words describe you, the person? Funny, loyal and loving
  • If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? I can’t sing so I have no idea!
  • 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? Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. Why? The man has unexplored depths. I’d love to just talk with him, maybe take a stroll across the ground of Hogwarts. I’m assuming he’d talk with a Muggle.

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

Favorite sound: Birds chirping

Least favorite sound: cars backfiring

Best song every written: Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey and Hotel California by The Eagles (yes, I know, that’s two, not one)

Worst song ever written: No idea

Favorite actor and actress: Harrison Ford and Sophie Turner

Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? (It can be anyone living or dead): The Queen of England. I’d like to see how the rich and famous really live.

What turns you on? Kindness and people who really listen to you

What turns you off? Rudeness and an inability to listen to other people’s ideas

Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”): I can’t remember so I guess nothing said was that bad!

What’s your version of a perfect day? Sleeping in then drinking coffee on the deck while reading a book

(Peggy here – Karilyn, you’re such a fascinating person! Thanks for taking time to talk with me today. Now, as promised, here’s a view of DEVIL FORGET ME)

DEVIL FORGET ME

What appears to be a simple crime, unmasks a chilling deception…

Gin Crawford, the world’s newest demon huntress, kills two minions who are breaking into a financial adviser’s office. But what she thinks of as another night in the life of a demon huntress leads to a cover-up of epic proportions. A demon haunts her employer, the Agency, and only she can stop it.

Aidan Smythe, her guardian mage and lover, along with her brother T, and the healer Eloise, join her search in discovering the demon’s identity. A search thwarted by a powerful spell.

Breaking the spell requires her to join forces with Zagan, the demon of deceit, the demon who marked her as his. But working together comes with a price. One Gin is not sure she can pay.

EXCERPT:

She chuckles as I sip my beer. “Not nothing. I am trying to discover the identity of the demon at theAgency.” She frowns. “It’s not going well. I know I know who the demon is, but every time I think of its identity”—her hands move in a poof motion—“it

vanishes.”

“Yeah, I have the same problem.”

A memory pops into my mind. Two memories, actually. The first was of last night’s fight with Rahab. How the demon said he only had one demon left to kill in order to rule Hell. Mammon, the demon of greed. The second memory was from last week when Smythe and I went to the Agency. We ran into Chuck Tweedy, the Big Boss of the Agency, and my justitia couldn’t stop chanting “greedy.” I assumed the bracelet got its

words mixed up, exchanging Tweedy for greedy. But what if there was a connection?

A dull pain hammers my head. I rub my brow. What was I thinking? We were talking about the Agency demon. Who could it be?

“You do have the same problem.” Eloise touches my leg, and the headache disappears. “That’s what happened to me.”

“How did you know?” Eloise was blind, although I swear at times she sees fine. “I could feel your pain.” Her brow furrows. “Like a spell had been thrown at you that caused the headache. I wonder if the same thing happens when I get a headache from thinking on the demon’s identity.”

“Wait. You mean whenever I think about who the demon is, my thoughts trigger a spell? What does the spell do?”

You can get y our copy of DEVIL FORGET ME here: Amazon // B&N // ibooks //

A little more about Karilyn…

Karilyn Bentley’s love of reading stories and preference of sitting in front of a computer at home instead of in a cube, drove her to pen her own works, blending fantasy and romance mixed with a touch of funny.

Her paranormal romance novella, Werewolves in London, placed in the Got Wolf contest and started her writing career as an author of sexy heroes and lush fantasy worlds.

Karilyn lives in Colorado with her own hunky hero, two crazy dogs, aka The Kraken and Sir Barks-A-Lot, and a handful of colorful saltwater fish.

You can find Karilyn here:

Website // Newsletter // Facebook  // Twitter // Goodreads // Pinterest  // Book bub

 

 

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