Tag Archives: Writing #amwriting #amediting #amreading

The Declutter Challenge…

Recently on Facebook, I saw a post that was shared hundreds of times called THE DECLUTTER CHALLENGE,  a 30-day challenge to get rid of clutter and stuff in your life. A random sampling of the days’ tasks includes: purging 2 kitchen cabinets (day 7); cleaning out your wallet (day 9) and your purse ( day 10); cleaning out the freezer ( day 18); donating unused toys ( day 25). The challenge ends on day thirty with the simple task of CLEAN. I guess what you clean is up to you, but I took it to mean, clean your house.

This challenge, naturally, got me to thinking about how I could declutter my writing.  All writers have catch words or phrases they like to use, especially when writing dialogue. If we actually wrote how we spoke, the readers would be bored out of their gourds. For instance, would you seriously want to spend money on a book where every dialogue started like this:

#1. Hey, Bill. How are you?

#2. Fine, Jim. How are you?

#3. Can’t complain. How’s the family?

#4. Doing well. Yours?

#5. Same, same. So how, about those Red Sox?…

you get the idea. This is drivel. We may speak like this in real life, but in fiction, it’s a death knoll.

So that’s one way to declutter your work: check the dialogue. Can you get the idea across without all the folderol of “hi, how you doing’s?”

Another way I know I personally clutter up my writing is by using too many extraneous words to convey my thoughts. A quick search of my current work in progress yielded this:

the use of THAT – 89 times

the use of To her/to him/ for her/for him -56 times

the use of adverbs ( the bane of my writing existence) 91 times. EEK!

I really need to work on decluttering these words, don’t I! Hee hee

Other things that writers should declutter are phrases like “seemed to,” “tried to,” “began to.” Writing is much stronger and moves quicker when sentences are declarations and use an active tense.

For example: Her natural, spicy scent seemed to surround her body.

Better example: Her natural, spicy scent of ginger and peach, surrounded her.

Other words that can probably be eliminated a fair amount of time and still allow the sentence to convey what it needs to are:

move, push, reach, bring, pull, went, brought, press and came( to denote going  or coming from somewhere)

It’s a good practice to utilize the SEARCH for options in your word processing program to nit pick and eliminate words you use excessively after your first draft is written. This will make the editing process more about the story line and capturing what you intended to say instead of needing to remove excess words.

Oh, about that 30-day Declutter challenge. yeah, I survived for three days. Then I was exhausted. Maybe I should develop a 12 month declutter challenge. You know…do one thing a month instead of 30 in 30 days? Thoughts? LOL

When I’m not decluttering my life and my writing, you can find me here:

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

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Life challenges, Pet Peeves, Strong Women, Uncategorized

Presenting…..#author Tena Stetler

One of my lovely and talented writing friends, TENA STETLER, has a new paranormal release — A WARLOCK’S SECRETS — and she’s visiting me today, along with one of her characters, Hannah Shaughnessy, to tell you a little about the book and how it came to be.  I’ve got a few questions for these two, so sit back and let’s get to know them a little better. And stick around – Tena’s giving you a treat at the end…

Tena, tell us a little about writing this story. A Warlock’s Secrets was one of the hardest books to write. I write by the seat of my pants. Most characters come to me and boom, I know their name, and tell me their story. Tristian was a secondary character in A Demon’s Witch, and a difficult one at that. Who would ever imagine an enforcer/assassin would charm my readers and reviewers so much that they demand his story be written? Tristian taunted and tested me every step of the way. But I believe it’s one of my best novels yet. Hannah, aww… she gave him a run for his money, but it was worth every penny. LOL. The family and friends that surrounded them were the best. Looking back I had a lot of fun writing the story too.

But Hannah is here today to tell you a little bit about her.

Hannah Shaughnessy, meet Peggy Jaeger.

Hi Hannah, nice to meet you. How about telling us a little about the real youI am a cyber security specialist. Came to the U.S., from Ireland to attend college, graduated early and was snapped up by a big cyber security firm. My family is close, and holds our guarded secret closer. I love my little cottage in Misty Harbor, Maine. On one of the worst days of my life, I stopped in a little diner and vented to the waitress I know there. This unbelievably hot man with intense blue-gray eyes, asked to join me. All I could do was nod, hoping the drool didn’t pool in the corners of my mouth. He was having a bad day too. We talked for hours. But his magic signature was disguised.

What event in your past has left the most indelible impression on you? Being sucked into a world I didn’t know existed and danger that lurked there.

What was the hardest thing you ever had to do? Keep my relationship with Tristian a secret from my sister. She attended college over here too, she’s a park ranger and we’d always told each other everything. With Tristian, I couldn’t.

What do you most value? Family and trusted friends. I know it sounds cliché, but when danger finds you, family and friends are all you can trust to be there for you.

What type of man do you want to spend the rest of your life with? A confident man with a strong moral compass and a kind and compassionate heart.

What do you consider most important in life? Being true to yourself.

What is your biggest secret? Oh, now I can’t tell you that or it wouldn’t be a secret anymore. But I guarantee it’s a doozy. LOL

Who were the biggest role models in your life? My mom. She raised my sister and I, worked at the family pub, and knew when to let us try our wings at colleges in America. It was hard for her but she supported us and our dreams all the way.

What kind of man would you never choose? Until Tristian, I’d never fallen for a “bad boy type”. But… wow… did he fit that category.

What is your biggest fear? Losing someone close to me. Tristian’s profession is dangerous and can affect family and friends, though he does his best to protect us.

            It was nice meeting you. But I gotta get going, I’m on my way to check out the new digs in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for the company I work for, Shadow Hawk Cyber.

 A Warlock’s Secrets

Blurb:

Years ago, a sacred ceremony at the Dragon’s Moon Coven turned deadly. Son of the high priestess, Tristian Shandie’s life changed forever. With a price on his head and revenge in his heart, he has no choice but to follow in his father’s footsteps to a profession shrouded in secrets. Now his skills as an enforcer for the Demon Overlord are second to none. But dangerous secrets he harbors are a liability he can no longer afford.

A chance meeting with a woman he finds irresistible flips Tristian’s world upside down. Hannah is a cyber security specialist with secrets of her own. Bad boys never appealed to her until Tristian, who changes everything. In his darkest hours, she is dragged into his magical world.

If they survive, is she strong enough to heal his heart and tame the warlock? Or will their secrets destroy them?

Excerpt:

Inside the house, a shadow passed by the huge bay window. She held her breath. Am I really going to go through with this?

Walking up the steps to the house, she paused. Why would he leave such an expensive car sitting out when he had a four-car garage? She was stalling. Straightening her shoulder’s she used the brass doorknocker. There was no answer. She knocked again.

The heavy oak door creaked open. Tristian stood shirtless, his abs rippled as he raised one muscular arm to lean on the doorframe. The skintight blue jeans hung low on his hips and his hair tousled as if he’d not been awake long.

When he stared at her, with those huge blue-gray eyes, tingles careened up her spine. She covered her mouth in case drool pooled in the corners her mouth. He was one sexy male. She sucked in a breath and opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. A brow arched, he peered questioningly at her then twisted to glance backward into the house. The sunlight streaming through the doorway accentuated several scars across his chest, rib area and a healed slash across his back. Who gets those kinds of battle scars and lives to tell the tale? Not going to ask. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.

The corner of his mouth curved up in an inviting sexy-as-hell grin. “Good morning, Hannah. What a surprise.”

Buy Links:

Amazon  // Kobo  // Barnes& Noble, //  iTunes, / The Wild Rose Press 

A little about Tena…

Tena Stetler is a paranormal romance and cozy mystery author with an over-active imagination. She wrote her first vampire romance as a tween, to the chagrin of her mother and the delight of her friends. With the Rocky Mountains outside her window, Tena sits at her computer surrounded by a wide array of paranormal creatures telling her their tales. Colorado is her home; shared with her husband of many moons, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-year-old box turtle. Any evening, you can find her curled up in front of a crackling fire with a good book, a mug of hot chocolate and a big bowl of popcorn. Her books tell tales of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them.

 

You can find Tena here:

Website // Author’s Secrets’ Blog // My Say What Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Amazon // Newsletter Signup // Pinterest // Tribber // BookBub // Instagram

Hannah and Tena, thanks so much for stopping by today. Much luck in all….your pursuits!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Romance, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor

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

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

I could post about my almost insane obsession for chocolate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

But I AM working on it. I promise.

Please don’t judge me!

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

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Musing on #Netgalley and #BookReviews

netgalley

Many of you may know that I’ve been doing book reviews the past few months as a Netgalley member. Some of the books I’ve chosen have looked amazeballs when I’ve read the blurbs that are posted and I’ve requested them hoping to find new authors to read.

What’s that old saying about not judging a book by its cover? Well, I’d like to add you can’t always judge it by its book jacket blurb either.

Let me ‘esplain.

I recently read 4 books I’d requested that sounded fabulous, but once I started reading them, I realized they were not for me. There was nothing critically wrong with them – they just didn’t resonate with me from a reader viewpoint. Since I’d requested– and been granted– them, I had an obligation to review them. But I didn’t. I did rate them, but I couldn’t do justice to a written review. I didn’t want to state that the plot didn’t hold up, or that I’d found timeline mistakes or unfulfilled character arcs. In one case, I did find the plot so implausible, I was surprised the book was listed as a contemporary when it really should have put in the fantasy category.

I don’t like giving criticism – constructive or otherwise – so I never wrote an actual review to post on Goodreads, etc. I know that those authors put their best feet forward, that they worked tirelessly, sweating and toiling to put out the story of their hearts. Unfortunately, that story just wasn’t for me – no fault of the writers.

The reason I’m telling you this is because not everyone is like me. Netgalley, Goodreads, amazon, really anyplace that does book reviews, has millions of bad, nasty, and heartbreaking ones. I can’t imagine what that must do to the authors who read them. I’ve had two reviewers ( not professional ones, but romance readers) for two different books of mine say this:

-for one book, the reader gave it a 1 ( out of 5) and said I wrote the wrong book.

-for the other, the reader gave it a 2 and said she couldn’t get into the story.

I could have written both these people nasty letters, but didn’t because I understood what they were saying. I didn’t agree with them, but for whatever reason, they didn’t like the story I’d told. That’s the basis of an opinion – it can be different from what you think. This is, after all, a  society that bases itself on freedom of speech and thought.

But…..

I was raised with the mantra if you can’t say something nice, keep your mouth shut. I do that. I practice that with my reviews, and in every area of life. Do I ever slip up and say something I regret? Sure. I’m human. But I have never written- and will never write – a review that calls into question the writer’s integrity, thought process, talent ( or lack of), or question the reasons for writing what they did. Just because something didn’t resonate with me, doesn’t mean it doesn’t with others. The book I read recently with the implausible plot is currently one of the hottest sellers on the market.

So, I guess what I really want to say is this: I write, first, last and always, for me. If I like it, I am happy. Unfortunately, I am in a business where money is spent on what I write, so I have to make sure it fits a wide range of reading tastes or the book won’t sell, the publisher will drop me, and I will be back at square one with no books on the market. If you like something I’ve written, yay! Do me a favor and tell people you liked it by writing a review or rating it on Amazon, goodreads, etc. If you don’t like something I’ve written, I’m sorry. It just didn’t fit with you. But please don’t go and write a scathing review just because you didn’t. There are other ways you can let me know you don’t like what I wrote – first and foremost by not purchasing another book! One bad review has a domino effect on sites like goodreads and amazon, where those companies look at data to determine if they are going to promote an author and their book or not. Again, old sayings are cliche because they are true: you can get 100 fabulous reviews, but the one lousy one will stick with you for a lifetime!

If this blog sounds like a big whine-fest, I’m sorry.  But I needed to say what I said.

‘Nuff said for now.

If you do like the way I write and you want to connect, you can usually find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, branding, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Pet Peeves

An #interview with ….me; #Author #RomanceWriter

interview2

I realized the other day that I never answered my own author interview questions, so I figured today would be a good day to do that. You can really know everything about me by just reading my BIO page on the blog, but this is a little more in-depth.

So without further ado…here’s, well,  me!

Peggy Jaeger, The Writer 

peggyjaeger

  1. What drives you to write? Writing to me is like breathing. I can’t live without taking in air and I can’t go a day without writing.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? Contemporary romance, a little humorous romance, some romantic suspense. Contemporary because I like the here and now; humor because it’s been said I can be funny at times; suspense because I love to sit on the edge of my seat when I’m being entertained.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Obviously contemporary but I lovelovelove a good regency. All those morality rules. All those ways to break the morality rules! The clothes!!! The dancing. Love it all.
  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday? Every friggin’ day. Usually 6-8 hours. During the week I work on my romance stuff; on the weekends I work on my blog posts for the following week. Even if I am away from home I bring my laptop and write something. I am a life long diarist, so writing everyday was ingrained in me at a very young age.
  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I recently redid my writing office. It’s still on the fourth floor of my house, in a finished attic, but I went to the opposite side of the house because of a pair of annoying and loud dogs who live in the house next door – which is almost a ¼ mile away, but in the woods, so noise carries. Far.
  2. 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? Like a tomb, baby, like a tomb. Hence, the office move. Those barking dogs drove me into a funk. If I play music, I can’t write because I want to sing along.    shush
  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? I just realized after doing a gazillion interviews this is the same damn question as the # 6! After today it is eliminated from the interview.
  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? My new series, WILL COOK FOR LOVE, grew out of my love for cooking. I wanted my next batch of heroines to do something in the cooking realm. One is a famous chef, her sister, a food photographer, her cousin the producer on a food show. I have 2 more books trolling around in my brain to add to this series, but these 3 are set to go right now. The first, COOKING WITH KANDY, drops on 4.4.17 from Kensington/Lyrical. I am uberthrilled.
  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Character, always. I am an avid people watcher. No matter where I am – even in church! – I watch people. How the act, interact with others, their mannerisms, etc. It’s like voyeuristic therapy for me. Then I try to make up stories to fit their personalities.

What 3 words describes you, the writer? Dedicated; tortured; prolific

Peg – The Person

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! My left eye is significantly smaller than my right due to numerous ocular surgeries and a childhood trauma where I fell out an apartment building window and landed on my face.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? Don’t laugh at me, but my first love was my husband and I was 24.
  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….The first time I met Nora Roberts in person. She was so gracious and funny and all I did was cry from joy at finally meeting her.
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Boxers, baby. Every friggin’ time.
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? The only way I could give up a necessary can’t live without it beauty item would be if you killed me first. So, to answer the question, nothing.
  6. What three words describes you, the person? Nervous, worrier, loyal.
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Imagine, by John Lennon
  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? I would hang out with Eve Dallas and help her solve a murder because Peabody would be off on vaca with McNabb.        me-and-nora

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

  1. Favorite sound : babies giggling
  2. Least favorite sound :  the breaks squeaking on a car
  3. Best song every written :  Secret Agent Man, by Jonny Rivers
  4. Worst song ever written : You know, I can’t think of one!! I love music – all kinds.
  5. Favorite actor and actress  : Kevin Spacey/Dianne Lane
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead): Of course it would be Nora Roberts just so I could experience what it feels like to be a multi award winning amazeballs author!
  7. What turns you on? :  Funny. Every friggin’ time. Dry wit, sarcasm, self-deprecating humor.
  8. What turns you off? :  Condescension. We’re all the same, folks. No one is better than another because of skin color, financial status, or birth rank and place. God made us all the same inside. Think about that.
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) Well, I told you mine already!!!! The guy thought my curly waist length hair was a wig. Jerk.
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day?:  Every day is my perfect day if I get to write and cook.

So, that’s me.  Sticking to the tried and true formula I’ve used with other interviews, what follows is a blurb and excerpt from my upcoming book release and a small bio.

COOKING WITH  KANDY, Book 1 in the Will Cook For Love series, releases on 4/4/17

Blurb:

cooking-with-kandy

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

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

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

Excerpt:

“Hold on to you forks folks, because today I’m making one of Grandma Sophie’s to-die-for layer cakes, guaranteed to make your sweet tooth tingle.” Kandy Laine aimed a wide, dimpled grin at the television camera.

The moment her sexy, heart-stopping smile flashed, Josh Keane knew he was in trouble.

Serious trouble.

He stood on the sidelines of the studio kitchen set where he’d been instructed to wait, visitor badge secured to his jacket, and watched the hostess of EBC’s most popular food show, Cooking with Kandy, film her season premiere.

“She’d discovered the benefit of adding pudding to the batter to increase the cake’s moisture content decades before any of the big commercial baking companies did,” Kandy told the camera.

Josh ran a hand through his thick, black hair and blew out a breath. From his concealed vantage point behind the studio equipment, he was impressed by the practiced ease with which she moved around the set kitchen, talking non-stop, explaining the details of the recipe she was preparing without the use of cue cards or even a glance at the teleprompter.

A little kick of awareness ricocheted through his midsection every time she glanced up, spoke, and looked into the camera. It was as intimate as if she were speaking to him and no one else.

Kandy pulled the baking tins from the oven and turned them upside down to deliver two perfect rounds onto a cooling rack.      “Perfection,” she said, adding with a chuckle, “Grandma sure knew what she was talking about.”

After reading the bio her assistant had faxed to him the night before, Josh had gone to bed, his dreams filled with visions of a tiny, cherub faced, angel soaring around a kitchen.

One look at Kandy Laine in the flesh knocked that ethereal vision to hell.

At five-nine in flats, most of it was leg packed into second skin jeans. Jet-black curls tumbled down to the middle of her back, secured from her face by a flaming red headband.

And that face.

Heart-shaped, its peak descended almost to the middle of a smooth, flawless forehead. Arched eyebrows and thick eyelashes framed her eyes, the outer corners tipped upward at a slight angle, their color a blue rivaling a pale sky.

“Make sure you don’t over-beat the frosting,” Kandy instructed in a throaty voice made for seduction. “If you do, you’ll break it down and your cake will have a flat, metallic taste. Another of Grandma’s helpful hints,” she added with a wink and a devilish grin.

When her dimples emerged, that little kick tackled his insides again.

Maybe he should just forget this whole thing. Leave now while no one was looking.

Buy Links:

amazon   B&N   Kensington/Lyrical

And here’s the official 411:

peggyheadshot

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance author who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Her current titles, available now, include SKATER’S WALTZ and THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, FIRST IMPRESSIONS, and THE VOICES OF ANGELS, books 1,through 4 in her 5-book The MacQuire Women Series, published by The Wild Rose Press. Also from the Wild Rose Press is a Candy Hearts Romance titled 3 WISHES, and A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.
Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.
Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.
In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

And when I’m not talking about myself you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, branding, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Historical Romance, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Lyrical Author, MacQuire Women, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Laine Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, Wild Rose Press Authoe