Tuesday, September 26, 2017

New interview with novelist Peggy Jaeger

Novelist Peggy Jaeger is here today and we’re talking about her new contemporary romance, A Shot at Love.

During her virtual book tour, Peggy will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child. 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.

In 2017, she came in 3rd in the New England Reader's Choice contest for A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights and is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title. A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

Welcome, Peggy. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Photographer Gemma Laine is looking for arresting faces on the streets of Manhattan when her camera captures something shocking—a triple murder. In that moment, she becomes a target for the mob—and a top priority for a very determined, breathtakingly handsome, FBI special agent. With deadlines to meet and photo shoots on her calendar, Gemma chafes at the idea of protection, but every moment she spends under his watchful eye is a temptation to lose herself in his muscular arms . . .

With two of his men and one crucial witness dead, Special Agent Kyros Pappandreos can’t afford to be distracted. But Gemma is dazzling—and her connection to Kandy Laine’s high-profile cooking empire makes her an especially easy mark for some very bad people. Keeping her safe is much more pleasure than business, but as the heat between them starts to sizzle, Ky is set to investigate whether they have a shot at love…..

What inspired you to write this book? After I finished book 1 in the WILL COOK FOR LOVE SERIES, I knew I had to give Gemma her own love story. She comes across as flirty at times, hard as stone at others, and there were so many past factors that lead to her mercurial personality, I wanted to explore them and give her a man who would calm her fears about commitment and allow her to see her lifelong belief that all men leave just isn’t true. Plus, Gemma was the Laine sister I tagged as the Warrior and wanted to show her in all her bad-assery!

Excerpt from A Shot at Love:
            “That’s her.” The officer pointed to a police vehicle in the middle of the barricaded street a moment later. “Name’s Gemma Laine.”
            A woman stood next to the vehicle, a cell phone at her ear, her back to him. Tall, maybe as tall as him, and slender, her back tapered down to a miniscule waist, her legs clad in tight, faded jeans. When she turned Ky almost stopped midstride, the questions he intended to grill her with jumping out of his head. His breath caught as he simply stared at the loveliest woman he’d ever seen.
            Hair the color of midnight, straight as a board, fell to just below her shoulders, blowing back from her face in the gentle afternoon breeze. Blunt, chopped bangs, fringed a pair of large, bright blue eyes. Plump, coral colored lips moved as she spoke into the phone and for a brief, hot second, Ky wondered if they’d taste as delicious as they looked.
            Her gaze stayed on him as she spoke.
            “I’ve gotta go,” she said into the phone. “Yeah. I’ll call when I’m done. Love you, too.”
            “Miss Laine?”
            She tucked the phone into her back pocket.
            “I’m Special Agent Pappandreos. I need to speak with you about what you saw.”
            “Special Agent?” Those delicate brows furrowed under her bangs. “Like, FBI?”
            Jesus, where does a woman get a voice like that? Whiskey laced with honey and rolled into one smooth pitch.
            “Yes. I understand you witnessed the shooting? You photographed it?”
            She nodded. “I was working when it all started. I took a series of shots while it was happening.”         
            His gaze flicked to the camera she held in one hand.
            “I need to see those pictures.”
            His first impression of her height had been correct. She was maybe three or four inches shorter than his six foot one frame. As she moved closer, the hairs on the back of his neck stood straight at attention. She smelled as good as she looked and his nostrils flared from the scent of sweet cherries blended with some hot exotic spice.
            “It all went down so fast,” she said. “But I got some good shots.” Handing him the camera, she added, “Press this button to advance.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
Book 3 in the series CAN’T STAND THE HEAT comes next. That’s cousin Stacy’s story and she’s in for a heck-uv-a-ride in Montana as the executive producer of a network Food Competition Reality show. Nikko Stamp is a take-no-prisoners director and has made it known more than once, and loudly, that he doesn’t want an executive producer underfoot. The two are polar opposites in everything and in every way and boy has that made for some fun writing!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In all honesty, I’ve always been a writer, even from a young age. I was given one of those old-fashioned key-and-lock diaries when I was 6. I considered my life very boring at that time, so I started writing little vignettes about an only child of divorced parents and all the adventures she’d have while waiting for her parents to get home from work every evening. What’s that saying: art imitates life? Yeah, well at the time I was the only child – and a latch key kid at that – of divorced parents. Even though I was writing fiction, it was based on fact – the fact of my life. So, from being a life long diarist, it made sense I’d grow up with writing as my best friend.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do write full-time. In 2015, I retired from my life in health care when I got my first publishing contract. I always told my husband that if I ever got a contract in publishing I was going to leave my job and retire for good. I don’t know who was more surprised when I did just that and never looked back!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I hate sounding conceited, but I’m really good at dialogue. I think it’s because I’m so nosy. I lovelovelove to sit in a restaurant, or at an event (like a movie theater) and listen to the people around me talk. You can learn so much about a person, their relationships, and the way they interact with the world just by eavesdropping. Because of that habit, I can hear how my characters speak, say words, even the idioms they use as part of their everyday talking life when I’m writing. I’ve changed dialogue so many times because the characters will actually tell me that it’s wrong for them. I’ve used a word they would never use; said a phrase they would never say.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A nurse and a writer. I scored 100% on both!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Read to your children and grandchildren. Every day. No matter what it is – the newspaper, a funny article, even if they don’t understand it. Read to them. I read aloud to my daughter when I was pregnant with her and I swear she came out being able to read! I’m not exaggerating but she did actually start reading on her own at a little over 2 years old. My husband and I knew she could do it when we took her to a restaurant for dinner, she pointed at a sign and said, “Exit, Mommy.” And it was the exit sign! We were both a little floored and whole lotta excited. Reading opens so many doors for people of all ages. It’s the one thing you can do no matter how old, infirm, or incapacitated you are – because you can always listen to audio books if you can’t hold a book in your hand. Give your children and all the children in your realm the gift of reading.

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Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

It was completely my pleasure!! Thanks so much for having me. I always love to “talk” to new people – and now you know why!! Hee hee

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Interview with historical novelist Monique Roy

Author Monique Roy is here to talk with me about her new historical fiction, Across Great Divides.

Monique holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is also the author of a children’s book, Once Upon a Time in Venice. In her free time, she loves to travel, play tennis, see movies, pursue her passion for writing, and read historical fiction. In 2008, she was chosen by the American Jewish Committee's ACCESS program to travel to Berlin, Germany, on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, to explore German and Israeli relations along with 20 other Jewish professionals from across the U.S. 

Welcome, Monique. Please tell us about your current release.
Across Great Divides is a timeless, World War II story of the upheavals of war, the power of family, and the resiliency of human spirit. When Hitler comes to power in 1933, one Jewish family refuses to be destroyed and defies the Nazis only to come up against another struggle—confronting Apartheid in South Africa. 

What inspired you to write this book?
I was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and my grandparents were European Jews who fled their home as Hitler rose to power. It’s their story that inspired me to write Across Great Divides, my debut, historical fiction novel.

What exciting story are you working on next?
It is another historical fiction novel:
When an Oxford student inherits her grandfather’s art gallery, she unravels the harrowing struggle that befell her grandparents in Nazi Germany and must recover a looted van Gogh painting, only to discover a dark history haunts the present.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was a child, I used to write stories in a journal. I ended up pursuing journalism in college and so always considered writing as a path.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I have a full-time job in marketing for a software company in Plano, Texas. I write for work and then I can come home and write for fun – and whatever my heart desires! I carve out time on weekends and during the week to write my books, etc.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
As a writer, you tend to daydream, and sometimes you wish you could write it all down. Luckily, most writers, like me, carry around something to write notes on.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be Diane Sawyer and a news anchor!


Friday, September 22, 2017

Interview with writer Harriet Hodgson

Writer Harriet Hodgson joins me today and we’re talking about her self-help inspirational book about caregiving, The Family Caregiver’s Guide: How to Care for a Loved One at Home.

Rochester, Minnesota, USA resident Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance writer for 38 years, is the author of thousands of online/print articles, and 36 books.

A member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, Hodgson is a contributing writer for the Open to Hope website, The Grief toolbox website, and the Caregiver Space website. To read her caregiving articles visit www.thecaregiverspace.org/authors/hhodgson

Hodgson has appeared on more than 185 radio talk shows, including CBS Radio, and dozens of television stations, including CNN. A popular guest, she has given presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s, bereavement, and caregiving conferences. Her work is cited in Who’s Who of American Women, World Who’s Who of Women, Contemporary Authors, and other directories.

All of Hodgson’s work comes from her life. A caregiver for 20+ years, she has cared for three generations of family members, and currently cares for her disabled husband. For more information about this busy wife, author, grandmother, and caregiver please visit her website, www.harriethodgson.com.

Welcome, Harriet. Please tell us about your current release.
When I wrote The Family Caregiver’s Guide, I didn’t know one book would lead to two, then three, then four. The purpose of The Family Caregiver’s Guide is to prepare family members for caregiving and make their lives easier. The chapter titles are an indication of the caregiving journey:
  1. Caregiving is an Expanding Role
  2. Focus on the Care Receiver
  3. Facing and Accepting Illness
  4. Assessing Your Loved One’s Abilities
  5. What Skills Do You Have?
  6. What Skills Do You Need?
  7. Getting Ready for Home Care
  8. Caregiving Nuts and Bolts
  9. The Many Rewards of Caregiving
Other books in the series include Affirmations for Family Caregivers, A Journal for Family Caregivers, and The Family Caregiver’s Cookbook.

What inspired you to write this book?
My mother had stroke-induced dementia and I was her family caregiver for nine years. I didn’t realize how exhausted I was until she died. Although I hoped life would calm down for a few years, it didn’t. In 2007 my elder daughter, mother of my twin grandchildren, died from the injuries she received in a car crash. Two days later my father-in-law died of pneumonia. Two months later my brother, and only sibling, died of a heart attack. In the fall, the twin’s father died from the injuries he received in another car crash. The court appointed my husband and me as the twin’s guardians/caregivers and we did this for seven years. In 2013, my husband’s aorta dissected and he was bleeding to death rapidly. Surgeons operated on him three times in a desperate attempt to save his life. During the last surgery, he suffered a spinal cord injury that paralyzed his legs. I became his family caregiver and advocate the night I drove him to the hospital. After being hospitalized for eight months my husband was dismissed to my care. He was exhausted a bit confused because I moved him into a new, wheelchair accessible townhome I built for him. A week after he returned home, I started The Family Caregiver’s Guide, wrote parallel to my life.

What exciting story are you working on next?
In the spring of 2018 my 36th book, So, You’re Raising Your Grandkids, will be released. It will be posted on Amazon soon and available for advance ordering.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I thought I might become a writer in grade school when I started making books and illustrating them. In college, I was the co-editor of the college literary magazine. Armed with a BS in Early Childhood Education, I taught for a dozen years. During this time I wrote a few articles for teaching magazines, and was thrilled when they were accepted. Writing tugged at teaching, and after a dozen years in the classroom, I retired to become a full-time writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Every day is a writing day. I’m either writing an article, working on a book, or working on book marketing. Caring for a disabled loved one is demanding, but I continue to write because it’s my salvation. Writing for other caregivers and The Caregiver Space gets me out of myself, and connects me with others. Many people have asked me how I switched from teaching to writing. For me, it was an easy transition. Wheelock College, a pioneer in early childhood education, gave me excellent training in planning units. Today, I call these segments chapters. My graduate degree in art education from the University of Minnesota enables me to see cover images and printed words on paper. In short, I see the finished product, and this is extremely helpful.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Believe it or not, I write in my sleep. I’m blessed to have a mind that continues to process while I’m in bed. Around 3 a.m. I awaken and my mind tells me there is an error in the second paragraph of page 32. When I get up, I go to the computer and immediately correct this error. I often write new copy in my pajamas.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At the time, girls only had three choices. We could be secretaries, nurses, or teachers. I received a scholarship from the local teaching association, and used it to pay my first year of tuition at Wheelock College in Boston.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
As you can tell by my bio, grief and I are well acquainted. Too well acquainted. As a self-help step, I wrote eight grief recovery resources for the bereaved. WriteLife, my current publisher, published one of them, Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss. I’m proud of this book and, if you’re grieving now, think you will find it helpful.


Thank you for stopping by today, Harriet!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Interview with multi-genre novelist Layton Green

Multi-genre novelist Layton Green is here today and we’re chatting about the first book in his new Blackwood Saga fantasy series, The Brothers Three.

Layton is a bestselling author who writes across multiple genres, including mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and fantasy. He is the author of the popular Dominic Grey series, as well as other works of fiction. His novels have been optioned for film, nominated for multiple awards (including a finalist for an International Thriller Writers award), and have reached #1 on numerous genre lists in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. His latest Dominic Grey novel, The Shadow Cartel, was a #2 overall bestseller on Amazon UK. Layton is also the co-editor of International Thrills, the online magazine of ITW (International Thriller Writers).

In addition to writing, Layton attended law school in New Orleans and was a practicing attorney for the better part of a decade. He has also been an intern for the United Nations, an ESL teacher in Central America, a bartender in London, a seller of cheap knives on the streets of Brixton, a door to door phone book deliverer in Florida, and the list goes downhill from there.

Welcome, Layton. Please tell us about your current release.
I started with the idea of ‘what do I really want to read?’ I love epic fantasy, I love fantasy novels that transport characters from our world to another world, and I also love urban fantasy. I decided to meld all three, and the world building—the alternate-reality New Orleans—just sort of took off. After the brothers reach the new world and team up with a dangerous adventuress and her band of mercenaries, The Brothers Three follows a classic quest motif, a journey to an abandoned keep, and it’s the first in the series (The Blackwood Saga). There will be five in total.

What inspired you to write this book?
My love of fantasy.

Excerpt from The Brothers Three:


If only all nights were this sultry, all moons so bright and clear. The tendrils of Spanish moss dripping from the oaks whispered adventure in Will Blackwood’s ear, made him long for gallant quests and fiendish dungeons and exotic, leather-clad heroines.
With practiced flair, Will threw his cape over his shoulder, pulled on his gauntlets, and twirled his sword above his head. Then he shut the trunk of his Honda Civic and trudged through the parking lot to the employee entrance of Medieval Nights, a joust-themed dinner theatre in New Orleans.
To make ends meet, Will spent a few nights a week engaging in staged battles with a staff of fellow underachieving twenty-somethings. Once Will stepped into the pennant-lined arena, the music started, and the crowd of children and bored retirees screamed at the top of their lungs for blood and victory, he knew he was as close to Middle Earth as he was ever going to get.
After dispatching two trolls and a papier-mâché dragon, Will changed into a pair of Carhartt pants and a T-shirt and headed to the House of Spirits, a funky little joint where his brother Caleb tended bar.
It would be the same routine: two draft Abita Ambers to take the edge off, a little online gaming back at the apartment, and then asleep by midnight so Will could wake up at six a.m. for his day job as a general contractor’s assistant.
Just like every other night, just like every other morning.
Right before he walked through the beaded entrance of the House of Spirits, Will felt his cell buzz.
The text was from his oldest friend, Lance Wesson, whose name Will envied for not sounding like a hobbit’s.
Lance had enlisted in the Marines after high school, then joined the New Orleans Police Department after returning from active duty. Will’s history of severe panic attacks, which had started after his father died, prevented Will from joining any profession involving danger or stress. Lance was sympathetic and let him ride along on calls he knew wouldn’t involve any risk.
Will texted back.
            Will sighed, running a hand through his blond hair. What would be his next big vicarious adventure, staking out jaywalkers?
He always felt patronized when he rode with Lance, but he had trouble resisting the siren call of potential excitement.
            Will’s fingers flicked across the keypad.
Will stepped outside to wait. His quick blue eyes roamed the darkened street, all too aware that nothing truly mysterious lived in the shadows of New Orleans, or anywhere else on Earth.
 Why had evolution enabled human beings to develop such potent imaginations?
* * *

What exciting story are you working on next?
The fourth book in The Blackwood Saga

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I came upon writing a little bit by accident. While I was working as an attorney, I set out to write a novel that I felt I needed to write. Not because I was a novelist (I had never written a word of fiction, outside of my legal briefs), but because I had a story I wanted to tell. During the process of fumbling through that first novel, I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that writing novels was what I had to do with my life. I think anyone who completes a novel should feel like a writer!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write full-time now, six to eight hours a day, at least five days a week.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I “hunt and peck” with two fingers. It gives me time to think about what I’m writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A paleontologist.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’d love for you to check out my work!


Thanks for joining me here today, Layton.