Tag Archives: Writing

And so the madness begins….

So, it’s officially the beginning of the conference today, but after being here for 2 days already, I’ve done a ton of stuff.

Yesterday’s workshops with R.L. Syme and the amazeballs Damon Suede were the perfect little amuse bouches to get me revved up for the week ahead. But I wasn’t only listening and learning yesterday. I went exploring as well.

Did you now Denver lives…bulls? Or is it Broncos? Whatever…

    

I found these two beauties on my walk downtown yesterday. I’ve been told there are others scattered all over the city. When I spot new ones, I’ll post pix of them

Yesterday was the first official day to register for the conference. I’m all set….

  

I lovelovelove this pop-up in the registration area.

Dinner last night was spent with great company: My NHRWA chapter President and 2 other dear writing friends. When in Denver, you must eat in a local steakhouse.

Two of the gals had steaks – one bison, one cow – another had a delicious looking vegetable platter, and I settled for an old standby because, you know…..food allergies and such.

 

Cocktails were had – not moi, of course – andI  just have to put one of them on display because it was, to my non-alcohol-knowing eyes, so unusual. Tequila with a habanero pepper, a lime, and a sugar rim. Very western.

So, today’s agenda is a light one. A master class on writing Newsletters this afternoon at 2. Then I’m getting to meet with some of my Wild Rose Press sistahs for a littler meet and greet later on this evening. I’m super stoked about that.

More to come from Denver. Keep tuned….

And find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

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A Summer Reading Sale! #LoveIsLovelier by Donna Simonetta

One of my main writing sistahs, Donna Simonetta, is having a summer 99centsale on a book I gave 5 stars to after reading. It was one of the most charming books I’d read in a long, long time, too! Check Donna and her books, out:

Love is Lovelier 

Heather and Mick have a long history together, and Heather wants to leave it in the past where it belongs. Yet, here Mick is, very much in her present, thanks to her brother Jeff, who hired Mick to be her boss at the Retreat at Rivers Bend.

It wouldn’t be so bad, except Heather and Mick are still attracted to each other like metal to a magnet. Oh, and her brother is considering offering Mick a partnership in the Retreat, which by rights should be hers. And even if they act on their attraction, Heather is a small-town, country girl, and proud of it, whereas Mick can’t get far enough from his West Virginia coal-mining roots.

Will they be able to get a second chance at their first love and find their happy ending together in Rivers Bend?

Excerpt:

“Stick close. I’ll get you out of here.”

He used his broad shoulders as a wedge to propel himself though the crowd; Heather scurried to keep up with him so she could take advantage of the gap he created, not wanting to be so close that she could feel the warmth of his body through his elegant suit, but because she needed somehow to beat this crush of people to the Retreat to make sure that everything was in place for the post-christening party she’d planned for Bethanne – only perfection would do for her BFF.

She watched Mick’s back as she stuck close to him; he looked so strong and fit – it was hard to imagine him the way he was ten years ago, when he’d suffered his NFL career-ending injury, but the same business acumen that kept him with the Portland Pintos organization back then was the reason Jeff and Cisco hired him at the Retreat.

He’d be good for business – she’d just have to keep chanting those words in her head like a mantra, or else she’d do one of two things she’d regret – kill Mick, or kiss him, and she’d gone the kissing route with him before. It did not end well. And tempting as the killing option was at the moment, it probably wouldn’t end any better.

Buy Links:

Amazon // B*N // The Wild Rose Press // Amazon UK

Author Bio:

My career has been a winding road. I worked in the business world for years, got my MLS and worked in a school library, and am now living my dream as an author. I love to read and write contemporary and fantasy romance. I live in Maryland, with my husband, who is my real-life romance hero. We both enjoy traveling to visit our far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.

Find Donna Here:

Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Amazon  // Bookbub

 

 

 

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Introducing My friend, #Author ANDI RAMOS and GumShoe Girl

 

Every now and then you meet someone you just know is gonna be a friend for life! The first time I met my NHRWA chaptermate and sistah Andi Ramos, I knew this was true. Andi’s debut novel GUMSHOE GIRL is out in the book reading world and Andi was gracious enough to sit down with me recently and be put through the grinder –er, I mean — the interview chair, for an up close and personal series of questions. Without further ado ( and don’t I just love being able to say ADO), here’s my girl, Andi.

ANDI: Thank you so much Peggy for having me on today! I am thrilled to get to know your audience and answer any questions, so please comment below!

Andi – the Writer:

  1. What drives you to write? As far back as I remember I would make up scenes with fictitious characters. Sometimes I would jot them down, but I never took them seriously, I would collect them, but they would always end up in the circular file- Gasp!. I never did anything with my writing until I started Gumshoe Girl, my debut novel that was just released May 30th. I had this involved story running through my brain. It didn’t stop at just a scene, it just kept going, so I went with it. I finally compiled all the scenes together into a short draft to see what I had, Holy mackerel before I knew it, I had over 30,000 words. It wasn’t something I couldn’t ignore anymore. I made a decision, and I had to tie the random scenes together into something that made sense and finish it. Well, I no longer waste the story ideas come to me. I cultivate them to see if they are substantial enough to work with. It’s the stories ideas that drive me to continue, as long as they flow, I will respond.
  2. What genre of Romance to you write, and why? I love this question. It’s funny as of now; I can’t seem to get out of the Romantic suspense genre. I am a plotter, but I think of my outlines as organic-I don’t have to stick by them- I want to make sure I can get back to where I wanted to be eventually. I tend to write my romance story first. I want to make sure I don’t skimp on the romance- it’s my favorite part. I have this great WIP (work in progress) I had every intention to make it a contemporary romance, but as I am writing my brain thinks of ways to weave mystery or suspense elements into the story. So far, all my works seem to have a fast-paced light comedic tone.
  3. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? My favorite stories are light, funny contemporaries or cozies. I like something I can pick up and put down when I need to. I love to be entertained when reading. When I can laugh out loud, and everyone around me thinks I’m crazy- that’s my best kind of romance story. I think the friends to enemies is my favorite troupe it tends to lend itself to comedy very well.
  4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? Peggy, I am struggling with this. I want to have a writing schedule, but I am having trouble coming up with one that fits in my life. Our family is in schedule transition across the board- I am hoping that it will come to a head and we will get some stability soon. I have the desire to write every day, there is this excellent quote by JK Rowlings, “The muse works for you. You don’t write at her beck and call—you train her to show up when you’re writing.” I’m starting to train my muse to show up when my fingers are on the keyboard, now if everyone else will just cooperate, lol.
  5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? In the winter, I’m in a comfy chair in the living room often with one of my Boston terriers squished in on the side of me (only because they both won’t fit). In the summer, I like to escape to my motorhome and write at a table in there. The RV door has a lock, and my teenagers don’t often look for me in there.
  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? I can totally block out every day sounds as long as no one asks me questions directly, I’m good. But, I do use headphones to remind the kids that I am busy trying to create.
  7. Do you listen to music while you write? And if so, what kind? If not, why not? I totally use music. I use spa relaxing babbling brooks with instrumental music to write regularly. But, if I am having trouble connecting some real emotions into a scene, I will put on some intense music for whatever kind of feels I am trying to get across. I find it always works.
  8. How did you come up with the current idea for your current WIP? My new work in progress is another romantic suspense, I was laying on my bed totally vegging out, and I heard Escape (the Pina Colada Song) come on by Rupert Holmes. I thought what a great premise for a story. Well, the only things I kept is the drink, but it was the inspiration. I call it the Escape series and the first book will be the Pina Colada Catastrophe.
  9. Which comes first for you- character or plot? And why? It’s the plot for sure. Even though my stories are very character driven, the plot always comes first; then I work with the characters to breathe life into the scene. I think a lot about character development and what I want them to be- to themselves, to each other- How will they grow? Where did they come from? And how did they get to that point that this story?
  10. What three words describe you, the writer? Ambitious, Eager, and Naive, not sure that it’s a great combination, but it’s all true. I am so excited to see where my stories lead me.

Bonus Round:

Favorite sound: my kids laughing, my youngest son is the funniest person I know, and he gets my other kids going so much- I love listening to it.

Least favorite sound: Nails on a chalkboard, need I say more…

Best song ever written: Oh, too hard to pick just one.

Worst song ever written: She’s having my baby, it’s a song from the 70’s, but have to change it if it comes on, much too sappy for me.

Favorite actor and actress- Favorite actor strictly because I have a crush, the Rock, Dwayne Johnson. Acting ability goes to Robert Downey Jr. Favorite actress, Helen Mirren- I love her. She has grace, refinement and she can kick ass all in the same movie.

Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? I want to be Emma Watson- She got to play Hermione Granger and Belle, come on, she hit the acting jackpot.

What turns you on? Make me laugh

What turns you off? I had a guy that used to write me poetry. I had to pretend to love it; I didn’t. It made me feel uncomfortable, and I can’t stand anything too sappy.

Give me the worst words ever heard on a first date: Holy mackerel, I have to think I’ve been married over 20 years, lol. Okay, I remember, I was going out on a date- way, way back when stretchy jeans started- think early 80’s my friends. Feeling very fashionable, I was all proud of my new outfit, stretchy jeans with an oversized sweater and the slouchy socks that came up over the jeans, my big hair and blue eyeshadow, man I looked good, lol. So the guy picks me up and actually says to me, “Are you going to wear that? Those pants are kind of tight aren’t they.” It was just all kinds of wrong.

What’s your version of a perfect day? Waking up in my motorhome and enjoying a morning coffee and some pastries that we picked up from a local bakery the day before with a scenic mountain range in our sight. Taking an afternoon hike or bike ride, going to a brewery or winery for the afternoon and finishing with a dinner at a cozy, romantic restaurant (because in my perfect world I wouldn’t have to cook). 2nd best day-would be getting through any day with my kids not fighting lol!

Blurb:
Sheagan O’Hare got more than she bargained for when her newly inherited detective agency lands its first case; a missing person, embezzlement, and murder. Sheagan’s out to prove she can hang with the pro’s, despite the constant reminder of her amateur status from an annoyingly attractive FBI agent, Colin ‘Mac’ MacEvine, who’s forced himself into her life.
How does she feel when an old high school friend hopes to ignite a new romance?
Will she be able to discover if detective work and love can mingle before someone gets hurt?

Excerpt

Sheagan blinked back the sting in her eyes as sweat drizzled from her forehead. Her shoulders and forearms cried out as determination inched her body forward through the tin walls that framed her slender figure. The narrow shaft rendered her legs useless as they dragged behind her like dead weight. She made a vow to start working out as she approached her destination, the metal grate that looked down into the sweetheart suite of the Eliot Hotel.

She shimmied her binoculars out of her bag and clutched them in her sweaty palms as she readied herself to delve into the world of private investigating. The friction of her movements caused her mahogany mane to cling to all the surfaces of her temporary confinement. Perched behind the filigree frame, peering like a caged animal, she was a mere 20 feet from her target. Her target? The Rat Bastard, who up until this very moment she’d called boyfriend.

She wasn’t there to kill him, even though the thought had crossed her mind; no, she was there to catch him in the act. She suspected he had been cheating on her for some time, so proof would end her suspicion or the relationship. Spying on her significant other through an air-vent of a swanky hotel room was hardly a promising start to her so-called glamorous career as a private detective. But it snapped her back into the reality that her new chosen profession would often be messy and difficult.

She peered through the grate and envied the spacious room below, but her viewing angle was no good for the task at hand. She could feel the heat in her cheeks rise along with her anger as she scanned the room and soaked in the extravagance–the hardwood tables, the Italian marble fireplace, the opulent sheen of the fabric on the overstuffed furniture that glimmered in the soft candlelight. The Rat Bastard was not known to overindulge on frivolous expenses, unless it was on her dime. Thoughts of killing him resurfaced.

What is wrong with me? Why did I wait so long? 

She immediately regretted the fleeting question. She knew why. The answer brought back the pain and significance of her father’s sudden death. He had been the only family she had left, and he was gone. All that was left behind was his detective agency. She had thought about giving it up, but she couldn’t; it was her only connection to him, to her family.

She closed her eyes briefly, realizing that now she was facing more loss–even if he was a lying, cheating Rat Bastard.

No! It’s better this way, stay focused.

She choked in a breath and turned her attention back to the room. His secret love nest was finished with soothing tones on the walls and thick, plush carpeting.

What is that on the end table? 

Her gaze was drawn to the bottle label as it bobbed upside down in the melting ice. She sharpened the focus of her binoculars, and her eyes widened in recognition.

Her cheeks flushed. Cristal, she scoffed. Who is this Bimbo, anyway? 

As if she had room to criticize this girl’s intelligence, when Sheagan was the one sweating her makeup off in a four-by-four-foot air-duct.

Yeah, who’s the stupid one? 

She heard passionate sounds coming from the right of the room and recognized his tone. Leaning sideways, Sheagan pressed her face to the grate, but her limited

view revealed only a portion of the bed and unable to make out major details, like faces.

Crap, I can’t see anything. Damn! She needed to get a better look

As she shifted her weight, the metal walls started to reverberate and Sheagan stifled a gasp, willing the rumbling to cease. Her breathing became labored as the musty air stole the aroma of the sweet perfume wafting up waft from the suite below. She stilled her movements and did the only thing she could think of… nothing. Nothing but stare at the heap of blankets and wait.

Come on, bimbo, come up for air. I know he doesn’t last that long.
Her discomfort increased as the noise from their passion became more intense. Ugh, that’s it, I’ve had it!
She mashed her cheek and upper body against the grate.
I just need a peek to confirm.
She pressed harder, ogling the bed. Finally, she caught a tiny glimpse.
Just a little further.
She pushed and heard a chirring sound, then a scraping. She froze in place, but

the grate gave way with a creaking groan and crashed to the ground. Time stood still as Sheagan realized there was nothing between her and the floor except air.

Peggy here: Doesn’t this book sound amazeballs!!?? Thanks, Andi, so much for stopping by.

Buy Links:
Amazon US // Apple // Smashwords // Kobo // B&N //
Author Bio: 
Andi Ramos is a debut author from central Massachusetts where she lives with her family, goat, and Boston Terriers. Her love for reading grew into a passion for writing. She dabbled with pen and paper for a long time and eventually stopped pushing her amusements aside and started developing those stories into novels. One of her favorite things to do is to hop into her motorhome with her family and write while traveling down the road as they journey to various destinations.

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Am I getting too personal?

Week 3 of the 2018 #MFRWauthorBlogChallenge, and it’s another good topic: How much of myself is in my writing. In all honesty? A shitload!

Let me ‘esplain, Lucy.

That old adage write what you know only gets you so far in fiction. I could write tomes about Nursing, Parenting, the psychological ramifications of divorce on children. Truly. Tomes. But’s that’s non-fiction. In fiction, I’d only get about 2 books out of all that first-hand knowledge and personal angst. So writing what I know for fiction isn’t going to cut it.

But….

I’ve written characters who were lawyers, doctors, artists, Olympic athletes, chefs, and government agents. I’m not now, nor have I ever been, any of those things. Research into their professions, plus knowing a few people who are those things have helped. When to gets down to the meat and potatoes of the characters, especially my heroines though, well a lot of me, my habits and quirks, and beliefs are woven into their psychological makeup.

For instance. People who know me know I lovelovelove Diet Mountain Dew. Unhealthily so. It’s my drug of choice ( heehee). In A SHOT AT LOVE, I made my heroine Gemma Laine a DMD addict as the way in which she gets her caffeine hit. Just like me.

In THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, my heroine Moira Cleary is known as the quiet, calm twin. When she gets really, really angry, though, her voice and manner become deathly quiet. She doesn’t rant and rave like her mother and twin brother. Her verbal missiles obliterate and all the while her voice is as quiet as an empty church. I’m the same way. When my voice lowers, look out.

Another way there’s a great deal of ME in my writing is in the moral makeup of my heroines. They are all strong-willed women. Loyal, smart, and spiritual. They will fight to the death if someone they love is being hurt and when they take a stand on a topic, it takes a bulldozer to ever get them to change their minds.

Yeah. Kinda sounds like me.

I will never write a doormat heroine.

Or one who sees herself as a victim.

Being a victim is quite different than seeing yourself as one.

I will never write a heroine who does something morally repugnant and unforgivable. I wouldn’t know how to make her sympathetic with those qualities.

My tagline for my books is that I write about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. You will always know the makeup of my heroines based on that line. Always.

And because of that, you will always know a little about me, too.

Let’s hop on over to some of the other authors in this challenge and see how much of themselves they put in their writing.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, branding, Contemporary Romance, Strong Women

In praise of, well…praise!

There’s this thought among writers that you shouldn’t read your reviews. The reason is a sound one: no one likes to hear (or read) negative things about themselves, their work, their words.

I get that. I’m the type of person who will brush off 1000 nice things that have been said about me and zero in on the one negative comment. It will consume me. I’ll analyze it inside out, upside down and right side up, backward and forwards to try and glean whether the person who gave it or wrote it had a valid point or a hidden agenda or is just a vicious nasty bitch with no life.

Paranoid much, you ask? Well, duh! yes, I am, thank you for asking.

Anyway…I digress.

I’m trying to do better about not allowing the negativity to worm its way into my soul.  Everyone has an opinion and a right to their opinions. That’s the basis of free speech, after all. So in honor of my new found ( hopefully lasting) endeavor to ignore negativity, I wanted to share this snippet of praise I received from a reader last night – one whom I don’t know. It literally made my week.

“Boy meets girl, the fall in love and then live happily after – such is the standard fare of romance novels. However, very not so with Cooking with Kandy. This novel has a unique story line, and some of the most intriguing characters I’ve met in some time. Kandy is a self-imposed super woman. Josh is the hunky PI hired to ferret out who is threatening her. Much to the surprise of both, there’s a whole lot of heat in the kitchen and it’s not coming from the oven. But once you meet Kandy’s mother, Hannah, all bets are off – this is one gal I admire to the hilt. She’s not afraid to say what she thinks, is written off as ditzy by a lot of people, but much more astute than anyone (except Josh) gives her credit for. I loved the characters and I loved the plot line. Jaeger’s descriptions of not only the set of the cooking show, but of Kandy’s homes made me feel I was there with them. A wonderful start to the new series Will Cook for Love. But there’s an empty place in my heart wondering if we will ever hear from these wonderful characters again. I’m definitely recommending Cooking with Kandy to all my bookworm friends.”
I feel like Sally Field: She likes me, she really likes me!!! ( Or at least my book!)
 Okay, enough tooting my own horn..at least for today.
When I’m not trying to banish negativity you can find me embracing the positive here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Writing is my Oxygen…

Easiest blog EVAH to pen.

Why do I write? I could wax prolific for 500 words here, but there is no need to. As the title of my website tells you, writing is my oxygen.  Writing breaths life into my existence. A day without writing for me is a day without breathing. If you don’t breath, you die. Simple enough.

Now excuse me, please, because I need to go…..breathe!

You might want to stop by the other authors in this blog hop to see why writing is so important to them.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Literary characters, Romance, Strong Women

OH, the Places I’d go!

Be it ever so humble…..

I’ll admit this freely – I don’t travel well. My husband calls me the “ugly American” and it’s too true. I am a spoiled homebody. I  like nothing more than staying in my house, in my jammies, reading a book or cooking for friends and family. Yeah, I know. I live and lead a very boring, limited life, so this blog topic was one that required a huge amount of thought on my part. The last time I traveled anywhere was when my daughter was in college, doing a semester in Barcelona and then in Dublin. My Husband and I went to visit her in both places.

And just FYI, she graduated in 2011. What year is it now, hmmm? Yeah. That’s the last time I went anywhere.

So, the Top 5 places I’d like to visit.

Well, let’s see…

I actually had to go out and buy the book 1000 Places to see before you die because I couldn’t even come up with one.

I don’t like planes – they are a necessary inconvenience, though. I dislike trains even more, and forget about being in the car longer than an hour without stopping to stretch my legs. Total torture.

So…those 5 places.

Hawaii might be nice because it’s like…Hawaii!! Lava and beaches and leis. But it’s such an asshugging long trip from the East Coast to get there. I might have to make a few stops along the way, like Washington DC. The architecture, the history, the scandals. I could spend a few days there without problems. But I’ve been there already. Numerous times. This is supposed to be a post on places I haven’t visited yet.

Okay, so #1. Hawaii.

2….hmmm. Tuscany. I think I’d like to see Tuscany because I loved that book Under The Tuscan Sun. It would be great for my cooking skills to learn how to make authentic Tuscan dishes using fresh Tuscan ingredients…like wine!

3…..(scratching head) The Swiss Alps because I liked Heidi. My in-laws actually went to the Swiss Alps on a trip once and my mother-in-law told me it was absolutely her favorite part of that vacation. Seeing the Matterhorn, riding the Glacier Express. She loved it and since she’s such a good judge of things, I figure I would too!

4….(biting nails, now) Australia, and mainly Queensland because I lovedlovedloved The Thorn Birds. I was so heartbroken when Colleen McCullough died, I actually went to Church that day and said a prayer for her soul. She brought the Australian outback to full, vivid, life with her writings and she is sorely missed.

5….(really digging deep now!) Got it! San Fransico because I loved the JoyLuck Club. Amy Tan is a fabu writer and I remember reading this book in a day because I was so invested in the characters and their lives as they navigated through their heritage, culture, and tried to assimilate into the American lifestyle and the Bay Area without trading in their old world ways. Her writing is lyrical, fluid, and flows from the page.

So. I could stop In San Fran on the way to Hawaii, and after a week swimming the Pacific shores, move on to Australia. Next stop from there,  Tuscany and finishing in the Swiss Alps.

That wouldn’t be so bad.

Le sigh.

This was a hard blog to write, peeps. Really hard considering I don’t leave my house much!

Let’s see if the other authors in the blog challenge have as hard a time as I did coming up with 5 places… I’m going to bet they didn’t.

 

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Strong Women

So, how was your day?

Every evening when my husband comes home from work and we sit down to dinner, he asks me two questions. How was your day, and what did you do today?

My answers are invariably the same. Good. Went to the gym and worked.

By worked, I mean I did writing stuff. It sounds so inconsequential when I just say worked, so I decided to give you ( and hubby) a breakdown of what I do on an average day, so here’s what happened the other  from the moment I woke up until I finally went to bed for a few hours ( chronic insomnia, remember?)

4am, Finally got out of bed after lying there for an hour, wide awake.

405am – 530 am Checked email, answered 6 messages. Wrote 2 blogs, uploaded one then posted on social media outlets and HootSuite for the day. Social media sites included uploads of blog on twitter, Triberr, Tumblr, Linked in, Goodreads, google+ and Pinterest. Hootsuites were posted for every 2 hours.

530-6. Got hubby up, ate breakfast. Got ready for the day.

630-930 am Gym, followed by grocery shopping for the week, Target, the post office and the bank.

930-1030am put the groceries away then started laundry, vacuumed bedrooms and living area. Started dishwasher.

1030-1pm wrote in current wip; worked on Copyedits just received for Book 2 in new cooking series.

1pm-130pm ate lunch then answered emails and checked social media sites. Changed laundry and started another load.

130-500 worked on wip; and worked on Copy edits for book 2 in new cooking series, plus plotted out book 4. ( book 3 is already done!)  Folded dried laundry and put it away.

5-545 walked on treadmill and read current NetGalley book for review. Folded the remainder of done laundry, put it away.

545-630 cooked dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, set table, worked on copy edits.

630-7pm dinner and conversation ( questions!) with Hubby. Cleaned up the dinner dishes.

7-830 worked on wip, answered email, worked on blog posting for the morning. Did a few pages of the copy edits for book 2

830-10 read Netgalley again

10pm-midnight. Slept

Midnight-4 am. wide awake in bed, reliving yesterday, planning today.

So…..how was your day, and what did you do?

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

My newest release, COOKING WITH KANDY is available now in e-copy and print on demand from:

kindle // Apple // Google //  Kobo //Nook

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Life challenges, New Hampshire, Romance, Strong Women

On #Libraries, #Librarians, feelings of connection, and #books

Apparently, it’s National Library Week. This is one celebration I can get behind and actually enjoy. Enjoy writing about; enjoy celebrating.

I’ve mentioned many times before in this blog that I — for all intents and purposes — grew up in my local library. I was what was called ( during my youth) a latchkey kid, meaning, after school, I was on my own, home alone, because both the adults in my life had full-time jobs that didn’t let out until 5 or 6 each night. School let out at 3, so that meant five afternoons a week I needed a babysitter until I got old enough to be left on my own for a few hours, which in my case was at the age of 7.

I’m remembering what my daughter was like at 7 and am horrified that my mother believed it was an appropriate age for independent responsibility, but that’s another blog topic entirely.

Anyway….

Every day after school I would be dismissed after the bell and then trek to my local library to stay until it was time to get on home.

I loved the library.

I loved the safety of it.

I  loved all the books.

I loved loved loved the Librarians.

I loved the quiet.

Like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, all I wanted to do was read. I wanted to be transported to other places, live lives that weren’t my own;  be loved and cherished like a princess and rule a kingdom with wisdom and grace. I could be anything I wanted to be and I could explore everything. It was in the library that I discovered my imagination and my joy of storytelling.

Once I was through the library doors each afternoon, after a 15 block walk along city streets from my school, I’d let out a sigh, safe in the knowledge that nothing bad could happen to me here. I was secure now, protected. Bad people didn’t come into the library, only good ones. People who wanted to be educated,  and who wanted to escape from their everyday, boring lives and live richer, happier, more exciting ones. The library wasn’t the place where the bullies who tormented me in school “hung out.” I was free from the cruel insults, tormenting taunts, and physical violence that had become my daily life at school.

The Librarians all knew me by name and were my first, actual, REAL teachers. I learned facts in school. The Librarians taught me about life. They’d recommend books for me to read and once I was through the kids’ section selection, they moved me onto what would now be called YA ( young adult) novels. I may have been 8 or 9 years old, but I was reading about the lives of pre-teens and teenagers, living in their shoes as they drifted through life, and getting a feel for what was to come my way once I was their age.

The Librarians talked to me about books, asked me my opinion on ones I’d read. They actually valued my thoughts. They showed me the strength there is in knowledge and the beauty there is in imagination. They fostered in me that desire to tell a tale, tell it well, and change a reader’s life. They taught me how to be entertained, and in so doing, how to entertain. They taught me how to gather knowledge, the beauty there is in research, and how to prioritize. To this day, my home library follows a basic Dewey Decimal system. To some, that may be a bit extreme. But to me, it is a real tribute to the librarians who helped form my mind and fed my soul.

In the library, we spoke in hushed tones and whispers. We used the original inside voices. In my house, the voices were more often raised than hushed, loud than peaceful, tormented than quiet.

In the library, I found myself…as a girl, a person, a student, and, ultimately, as a writer.

Every day I thank God for the women and men who worked and still work in local libraries. They are unsung heroes to countless children and adults. Where some may think that the previous statement is a tad theatrical, it isn’t to me. The Librarians I knew as a child were my heroes. They kept me safe, loved and cared about me, and opened a world for me I never knew existed.

Heroes, every last one of them.

So, help me celebrate National Library Week. Support your local libraries by donating old, in-good-condition books, attend book sales and fund drives and become a Friend of the Library.  Encourage your children and grandchildren to get Library cards and to use them! Often and with enthusiasm.

Finding your local library is just a Google search away!

 

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Literary characters, New Hampshire, research, Strong Women

Why #writers need to #recharge.

I’ve been going at 120 miles per hour the past 3 months – ever since the New Year. I’ve got two books in final edits and galleys, I’ve got three more I’m working on for release at the end of this year and hopefully the beginning of 2018. I’ve committed to blogging more and am going to the gym 5-6 times per week. I’m doing a presentation at a conference next week, in addition to traveling 4 major times this year  ( airplanes, people!) to other conferences. I’ve got a brand new book out  TODAY and am doing promo for it as well.

This is all in addition to my normal life stuff. You know: cooking, cleaning wife-ing

Oh, and I’ve got Dancing With The Stars in 15 friggin’ days, so practice, practice, practice!

It’s only the beginning of April, but I feel like I’m burnt out already. Or I did, that is, until this past Saturday. Saturday night I did something I haven’t done in a long, looooooooooong time: I went out with friends.

Thank God and all that’s Holy for friends.

These friends don’t write.

These friends are all my age ( give or take a few months).

These friends all have children the same age as I do.

I have a history with these friends that doesn’t include plot lines, story arcs, or Capezio dance shoes!

And these friends keep me grounded while at the same time recharging my soul.

It was so wonderful to spend a few hours just talking about nothing and everything. I didn’t think once about how terrified I am of giving my presentation to a (hopefully, fingers crossed) large audience next weekend. I didn’t for one second agonize over a line of dialogue that I just couldn’t get right. I didn’t think about my feet, sore, and huddled in Merrel’s because they were so swollen from dance practice.

I didn’t do anything other than simply be, have fun, and laugh.

My hermetic existence is a given. I accept that I need to spend long stretches of time alone just so I can get my stories on the page.  I know I let world changing events float by me without so much as even a comment or a consideration just so I can finish a chapter. I get that sometimes I’m grouchy and pale and my eyes look like they’re bleeding because I spend countless hours staring at a computer screen. I accept all this and I go with it.

But it felt so blessed GOOD to not think about anything other than the conversation drifting around me.

God gave the world so many wonderful things. Free-will; faith; chocolate; wine. But the best thing he gave us was each other. People. Friends.

If you haven’t talked to or seen a friend in a while, call them TODAY! Not email, not a text, Actually put your mouth to the phone and speak to them. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

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

And as an added reminder, TODAY is the day COOKING WITH KANDY is released. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet ( and that begs the question “why not?”) here are the links:

Amazon //B&N // Kensington // Kobo // Apple // Google 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Dancing with the Stars, female friends, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, New Hampshire, Project Graduation, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women