Monday, February 10, 2020

Valentine's Promo!!


Calling all romance readers! It’s more than candy hearts, chocolates and flowers at N. N. Light’s Book Heaven Love and Romance Book Festival. 47 romance books featured plus a chance to win one of the following:

Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $25 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $15 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $10 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

I’m thrilled to be a part of this event. My book, [name of your book], will be featured on [date]. Wait until you read my romantic tip to enhance your love life. You won’t want to miss it.

Bookmark this festival and tell your friends:

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Welcome Ann Everett

Double Pen Names/Double Trouble
By Ann Everett
Have you considered writing under more than one pen name? If so, what I have to say may help you.
First, let’s talk about why you want to write under a penname, much less multiple pen names. 
It’s common practice to use different pennames for different genres as in Agatha Christie/Mary Westmacott, Anne Rice/Anne Rampling, J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith, and many more. Some well-known authors, like Dean Koontz, have written under numerous pennames. 
There are other reasons. Maybe you don’t want your family and friends to know you’re writing…in case you fail. Maybe your real name is too hard to spell or pronounce…or it’s too common. Or, perhaps, someone already has your name and you don’t want to be confused with them. Although, if my legal name was Nora Roberts, I think I’d use it. Reaping a few sales off her sway wouldn’t be a bad thing, and hey, since I write romance, some of her readers might like my work!
Or, you might use my reason. I don’t have a pretty name. Pattie Ball sounds like something you’d order at a concession stand. “Give me a corn dog, a Frito pie, and a couple of Pattie balls.”
Ann, (my middle name) and Everett, (my husband’s middle name) is a much prettier…IMO. I had no trouble choosing it. But once I decided to add an additional pen name, it was a much harder decision. I wanted to reverse the initials. Instead of AE, go with EA. So, I made a list of all the combinations I liked, then researched Amazon to make sure the names weren’t already in use. I decided on Emma Ames. That also reversed the syllables which I liked.
Second, why did I want another name? Well, for many years, a couple of Christian fiction members from my local critique group, suggested I clean up my steamy romances and release them under a different pen name. They thought I could tap into a different market. The s-e-x scenes were the only thing keeping them from recommending my books to their readers.
I started with a small-town humorous romantic mystery series I’d written back in 2006, but didn’t publish until 2011. Editing the books into a milder story wouldn’t be as difficult as some of my contemporary romances. The hardest part, which I’d not thought about, wasn’t re-writing the stories, but everything that came later.
 I’d been so focused on editing the books, deciding on new titles, and covers, rebranding never crossed my mind! Holy Moly!! What was I thinking?
Emma needed social media accounts, an email address, a website or at least a page added to Ann Everett’s site. When you say all of that really fast it doesn’t sound like much, but it is!
Because of the time I was putting in trying to ‘clean up’ Ann’s books so Emma could get them out into the world, I was already neglecting Ann’s social accounts along with her website. Up until 2019, I’d been consistent in blogging each week, but that fell by the wayside once Emma came on board.
I’d vowed to have all of Emma’s 4 planned books in place by the time 2020 rolled around. I almost met that goal.  In 2019, I published 3 books for Emma and 1 for Ann. I’m currently working on the last of Emma’s books and should have it completed by March…fingers, eyes, legs crossed!
I feel like I went about this in reverse. I really should have had Emma’s social media accounts, email, and website in advance of the books. If you’re planning to add an additional pen name to re-release some of your published books, my advice is:
Set up social media (I’m still working on this) 
Get a website in place or at least add a page to one already in existence. If you have plans to add a site later, go ahead and purchase the URL, that way, you’ll have it in place.
Add an email 
Order bookmarks, business cards, etc. If you only have two author names, you can order two-sided…one for each name. 
If you do book shows/fairs, consider your table set-up to separate the two genres. 
If you’re re-doing a series, you’ll need to change the series names. The steamy contemporary romance series I’m currently ‘scrubbing’ is Bluebird, Texas Romances, the clean versions are Sparrow, Texas Romances.
Naturally, if you’re re-releasing a book, you’ll want to find a new cover. In my case, something that depicted the ‘sweetness’ of the story…no naked bodies!
Start looking for blog opportunities early and have some in place by the time the book is ready for release.
You’ll also need a new tag line, logo, bio, and headshot to brand your new name. 
If you already have an account set up with KDP, you’ll need to link your new name so that you just have one account. Both of my accounts are set up under my ‘real’ name. Easier for tax and royalty payments!
When choosing a pen name, you might also consider where your book will be shelved. I didn’t think of that when choosing mine, but it so happens, Evanovich and Everett will be shelved close together. Emma Ames didn’t work out that well. No romance bestsellers near her…maybe she’ll be the first! Hey, I can dream.
And, if you’re re-publishing a different version of a previously published book, be sure and add that as a disclaimer in the front of the book so readers know you’re not trying to pull a fast one…. because publishing the same story in two versions is anything but fast!

Ann’s Bio

Ten things about award-winning and Amazon bestselling author, Ann Everett.
She’s married to her high school sweetheart.
She loves shopping at thrift stores.
She doesn’t remember her first kiss. 
She hates talking on the telephone.
A really sharp pencil makes her happy.
She secretly wants to get a tattoo. 
She’s thankful wrinkles aren’t painful.
She thinks everyone should own a pair of cowboy boots.
She sucks at math. 

Ann’s social media:





Swan, A Bluebird, Texas Romance

A small-town girl rising to fame.
Swan Malone never imagined leaving Bluebird, Texas, but when her college cheerleading gig leads to fame, and her first film becomes the top-grossing movie of the year, she realizes dreams really do come true. However, not everything in her life is as good as a fairytale.
A soldier barely hanging on.
Nothing could have prepared Army Sergeant Teague Shanahan for what he endured while held hostage in enemy hands. Battered and scarred, he returns home hoping to put his life back together but finds he’s still a prisoner of his past—too broken to be fixed, even by the woman he loves.
Welcome to Bluebird, Texas
Where a girl with stars in her eyes fights to save a man with demons in his soul.

Book links:













Monday, February 3, 2020

It's Fine, We're Fine

My husband and I spent the weekend together, sick. In our almost twenty-five years of marriage, I don’t think it’s ever happened before. We might get sick one at a time, or he and the girls would be sick, but the two of us? Never.

I had a cold. Not a big deal, other than feeling and sounding yucky. I went to the Minute Clinic, to make sure it wasn’t something more. Despite the nice lady examining my ears and not noticing the hole in my eardrum (I’ve had it since I was four, but it’s a good/fun way to determine what a doctor is like when I let them discover it themselves), she said it was just a cold. Then my husband started getting symptoms, and of course, blamed me for giving it to him. There wasn’t much I could say, until he developed a fever and I sent him to the doctor. She diagnosed him with the flu—ha! Not my fault. And yes, I got a little bit of satisfaction from that. Did I mention twenty-five years of marriage?

Anyway, we spent the weekend taking care of each other. It was kind of nice. I force-fed him chicken soup (with curry—a new recipe—it’s really good!) and Echinacea tea. He checked on me to make sure I was okay and let me nap. And the Princess entertained us with her New Zealand exploits.

Did I say entertained? More like terrified us. I’m pretty sure she has a death wish. She went bungee jumping, flew in a helicopter, and went on this swing hundreds of feet in the air (it involved some sort of drop, like a bungee). We knew she was doing it. We didn’t like the idea, but we weren’t about to stop her. We just asked her not to tell us about it, or when she was going to do it, until afterwards.

We should have thought of technology. She sent photos. They weren’t bad, and her smiles are amazing. But the videos? Those I could have done without. There’s a reason I don’t do those things, and why I didn’t like the idea of her doing those things. Thanks to the videos, they’re no longer “ideas.” 

But she’s fine. We’re fine. It’s all fine.

And we’ve all recovered.

While I’ve got your attention, A Heart of Little Faith is free this week. Really. If you haven’t read it, I’d love you to grab it, read it and leave a review (you don’t even have to leave your name). If you have read it, well, I continue to leave my plea for reviews. But seriously, it’s absolutely free. So what are you waiting for? You can get it here: Amazon.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Sorority Rush

We survived sorority rush.

I say “we,” because even though Banana Girl was the one who went through it, the rest of the family was intimately involved with the stress, the wondering and the strategizing during the two-week process.

I’m glad it’s over. I’ve never been a fan of the process, although things are much different now than when I was in college. The Princess has benefitted in many ways by being a sorority sister, and I expect Banana Girl to do the same.

I’m proud of her, for sticking to who she is and not trying to bend into a pretzel in order to fit in somewhere. She went with her gut, which never fails her. She over-strategized, but don’t we all? And in the end, she’s part of a sorority that wants her for her, that wants her to be her genuine self, and that wants her to be comfortable.

It’s all I, as her mom, could ask for. And the happiness in her voice when she talked to us makes the two weeks of stress worth it. I think.

But I’m very glad we never have to go through this again.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Welcome Mia Lansford

Mia and I have known each other for years. You need to get to know her too!
***
Waves hello to anybody reading this, and I’m sending a big—but slightly crooked—hug to Jennifer for having me as a guest on her blog today.

During the holiday season I rewatched The Man Who Invented Christmas. It’s about Charles Dickens’ finding the idea and the funds and the sacrifices he endured to write his popular book A Christmas Carol. In the movie he goes out into the town to find his inspiration amongst the townspeople. I love that movie and could talk about it for hours.

Not now though, because I’m talking about my inspiration. It’s similar to Mr. Dickens process, at least the Dickens portrayed by Dan Stevens.  

I write contemporary romance and have one book out in the wild and another about to be released. Both of them are set in New York City, and both of them have disabled characters. For this series, inspiration comes from people who are doing the impossible. Like Walt Disney said it is kinda fun to do the impossible. Seeing a painting created by a painter who uses their feet because they have no hands is inspiring. Or attending a performance and the performer is deaf. Or attending a sporting event and the athlete has a disability.  These people motivate me to create a world where the focus is on their ability to do.

If it’s not obvious, I am disabled too and over the years I have done plenty of things deemed impossible for me to do. Recently I drove to an out-of-state vacation destination and on the way, I stopped for gas. The driver in the car next to me mouthed “OMG! She drove!” so clearly it was almost comical. And so fun to fold back into my car and drive away. To show what the disabled are able to do is probably my catnip. 

As I mentioned, for this series the above inspired me to write stories focusing on people’s abilities rather than their disabilities. This new series has nothing to do about abilities and everything to do with their job and where they work.

Sorry but that’s all I’m giving away about that series until I know what I’m doing with it. 

The point, my inspiration is found through the people I meet or see while I am doing the everyday task of living. What they are doing with their lives and whom they allow in their world. Since I write romance, I’m also inspired by people who do for others. The soft heart and capable of understanding especially for a male character is a winner in my book. And speaking of my books thank you for reading about what inspires me and I hope you enjoy this short excerpt from my upcoming release, It’s Gonna Be Real.  


Bio: MIA LANSFORD is an own voice and diverse author who writes about the disabled and the men or women able to love them. She lives with her family and adventurous beagle. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually learning a new crochet stitch and using said new stitch in her latest project.

***


EXCERPT
With Reese on his right, the ear he had zero hearing in, he knew there was no danger of her spotting his aide. Still, he was annoyed with himself. After months of perfecting an aloof and distant air in the theater community, he was blowing it in one afternoon. On one woman!
            Aw, hell. This was getting complicated.
“When is lunch with your dad?” And personal.
“Seriously?”
He offered a sheepish shrug before nodding once. She crossed her arms at the same time as she crossed her long legs, drawing attention to her delicious body. His mouth went dry from the view. Giving himself a mental shake, he forced his gaze off her legs and onto her lips, which had formed a pretty pout and were not helping his libido. Unfortunately, he’d have to deal with it, because the only way to continue a conversation with her on his deaf side was to read Reese’s lips. 
“Umm, the rules apply for you too,” she informed him.
Swallowing hard, he nodded before murmuring, “Touché.”
“I’ll only answer if you tell me: boxers or briefs?” she replied.
“With how often you ask questions, you shouldn’t be encouraging said rules.”
“Mmmm, I think I should. This is too much fun.”
Fine. She wanted to play? Game on. He cocked his head and raised his eyebrow slightly. And waited. Reese wasn’t stupid. She’d catch his meaning soon. 
Her adorable mouth opened and her eyes widened. Yep. She understood. Her deep intake of breath caused him to laugh.
“Okay fine. I asked for it. Not that I believe you’re commando.”
He shrugged, refusing to deny or confirm anything. “You’re fishing.”
“Can you blame me? Rhetorical questions do not count,” she said admonishing him with a glare. 
Amused, he nodded his acquiescence.
“When is the lunch, Reese?”  
“Any minute now,” she replied, sucking in her breath. Her tone sounded…gloomy? From the sadness in her eyes and tight smile, he’d guessed she wanted to see her dad but she also wanted his approval. Alessio swallowed, resisting the ache in his chest to pull her close. 
Didn’t matter because he couldn’t help her. The cast would be performing while she talked to her dad. And after the negative publicity from the other night, they could use a successful performance.  
“You shouldn’t go alone. When Alec gets here, ask him to go. I’m sure Mary won’t mind.” He didn’t have a clue if Mary would mind. He barely knew her.
“No, Mary wouldn’t. But I would mind asking for a loan in front of Alec. If my dad turned me down… Well, I know Alec. He’d offer to help.” 
If she took money from Alec, she’d no longer feel like an equal partner, especially since the brothers’ owned the building. 
“I get it,” he replied. 
With the conversation turning too personal, he slouched on the bench and crossed his legs at the ankles. Silence reigned between them while they each were lost in their thoughts. Later, he would realize how comfortable he was sitting next to Reese without doing much else.  
While Alessio sat there, he mentally reviewed the business plan he had seen for RAM Café. A cozy and casual café serving organic teas and coffees and foods, sounded like a solid business, especially in New York City. But what about someone like Mr. Kelley, who hadn’t seen the plan and wanted something safer for his daughter’s future? Would he dismiss the venture? Or worse, would he deny the loan and leave Reese feeling alone and abandoned by her family? Alessio clenched his teeth, not liking that outcome for anyone after what his mother did to him.
            “And…there’s my dad.” She tilted her head and pointed.
            After everything he heard about Mr. Kelley, Alessio couldn’t help feeling protective over Reese. He looked in the direction of the restaurant’s outdoor tables. If she meant the lanky guy with gray hair who wouldn’t stop pacing, Alessio could understand her defeat. From here, his attitude radiated annoyance, impatience, and fear. His hand in his pockets shook hard enough to see from this distance. Speechless, Alessio’s gaze slid back to Reese. 
            Rubbing the inner part of her arm, she stood. “I better go meet him before he calls. Break a leg, Alessio.”
            Knowing she was putting on a brave face for his sake, Alessio waved a goodbye. 
            “Reese.” She stopped walking and glanced over her shoulder. Why the hell did he stop her? Groping for any reason other than the truth, he said, “After, come find Alec and tell him about the lunch. He’d want to know.”
            “Alec, huh?” she teased, her smile turning flirty.
Yeah, okay fine, he wanted to know. Perhaps she wasn’t the only curious cat. Refusing to show her teasing bothered him, he slouched further and cupped his hands behind his head.
“Hey, Alessio,” she said motioning to his waistline. “I like your black boxers.”
His eyes dropped to his stomach and the edge of exposed underwear. 
“There’s a penalty for lies,” she hollered, her tone mischievous.
You bet there is, honey.
“Looking forward to it.” He smiled cockily and raised his eyebrows to her challenge. 
And he knew without a doubt he wasn’t lying. Which was either the craziest mistake his cautious ass could ever make, or the most brazen truth he’d ever spoken. He swallowed hard, knowing it was a combination of both.  

Buy Links: 
amzn.to/380NUhy - Amazon Kindle
            bit.ly/36UqFFE - Barnes and Nobles
            bit.ly/3a9dCCp - Kobo



Monday, January 13, 2020

I Think We’re Doing It Wrong

My husband and I have adjusted pretty well, I think, to having both girls away at school. We still have things to talk about, we enjoy spending time together, and we don’t get on each other’s nerves any more than we usually do. At least, I think that’s true.

But our latest “couple time activity” might need some work. We’re cleaning the basement together. 

Now, he’s a packrat and I’m not. This has always been a point of contention between us, but after more almost twenty-five years of marriage, we’ve learned to compromise. I keep my mouth shut about all the things he wants to save, he lets me get rid of things when the stuff piles up and starts to drive me crazy, and periodically, we take on a project of cleaning things out. We pick our battles, and it works.

Last time, it was the garage. He didn’t want to clean it out, but I might have precipitated the project by my own method of cleaning it—using a leaf blower to clean, and in the process, cover EVERYTHING with dust. Oops. Not the smartest, but definitely an effective, way to get the garage cleaned.

The basement was less dramatic. I’ve been telling him for months that we really need to clean out the storage area, and he’s agreed. It was just a matter of finding the time. Most couples decide to devote an hour or two a week to going out on a date night, or watching a movie together, or having an adventure. We’ve declared Sunday mornings Basement Cleaning Time. Like I said, I think we’re doing this wrong.

So we started. Last week, we cleaned out the luggage area, and found bags and suitcases that we each got for our high school graduations. Miraculously, we parted with them, and found people to donate them to. This week, we started sorting through storage containers. We still found things that predate our marriage, but some of that is actually worth saving (shh, don’t tell my husband). I convinced him to get rid of things he was saving for “someday we might need it” and he convinced me to save things “because I’m already giving in on other stuff.” Like I said, compromise.

We’re in the early stages of cleaning, so it really doesn’t look like we’ve accomplished much. Hopefully, someday. In the meantime, if you have any better ideas for “couple time,” I’ll gladly take them.


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

What inspires me… 

When I asked Jenn if I could slide into her blog to help promote my newest book, she told me to write about something that inspires me as a blog post.

I have to tell you honestly, I sat at my computer for an hour before anything popped into my head. And even then, none of the things that did seemed right.

I write romance stories, mostly romantic comedies and books about families and all the warts and foibles that make each family – and each romance – individual and special. So, you might ask, doesn’t the concept of romanceitself inspire me?

Kinda. I mean, it’s fun to think up scenarios and meet cutes, then take the characters and put them through the emotional wringer before allowing them to be together. But that’s not the impetus, the real reason I write romances. A romance, in and of itself, isn’t what inspires me to pen them.

Well then, is writing about family my inspiration?

Again, the answer has to be kind of. The family structure is the backbone of civilization and society, but not all families are comprised of people who are related to one another by DNA. I’ve written a bunch of books where friends make up what are truly the bonding glue - the family -  in the protagonist’s life and not her blood relatives. So family is only a part of it.

I thought long and hard about this topic, folks. A few cups of tea and a brisk walk on the treadmill later and it finally came to me; what truly inspires me; why I write what I write.

It’s the capacity for human beings to believe in the concept of a Happily Ever After.

It’s not a myth, that HEA, despite what some will tell you. It real. It’s not a mythical unicorn or a tagline developed by Walt Disney to scroll at the end of his movies, but a living, breathing entity that we only have to glance around to see truly exists.

How else can you explain the overwhelming monopoly the romance book market holds in fiction sales? The financial success of RomCom films? The market share for the Hallmark channel from its never ending Holiday Romance Movies? In books, on television, at the movie theater, people want to see stories about finding an everlasting love, a Happily Ever After. 

People believe in a Happily Ever After. They yearn for it. Despite what the divorce statistics show us, and maybe even because of them, we still want to find our soul mates and believe we can, no matter what obstacles sit in our way. That’s the very concept and definition of faith, isn’t it? 

I believe we can, too, and more: I believe every person deserves their own HEA. Everyone deserves to be loved and adored, cherished and cared about. Despite all the darkness in the world, the light of an HEA burns brightly for everyone.

So, Jenn, thanks for giving me the impetus to discover this about myself!


Blurb:
Elite bodyguard and P.I. Rick Bannerman's job is to protect. He doesn't get emotional with his clients, but when a woman from his past is threatened, his next job becomes personal.

Family lawyer Abigail Laine is the target of a client's vengeful husband, but refuses Rick's offer of protection. He walked away from her four years ago, and she swore to forget him.

Now her reluctance to accept his help could cost Abby her life.

Excerpt:
“Right there.” She aimed her fork at him as if it were a spear. “Perfect example. You know I hate being called Abigail. I’ve lost count of the hundreds of times I’ve told you and you still do it, knowing it pisses me off. And”—she cut him off before he could speak— “your usual response is to lift your hands and say ‘and still’ when you’re called on it. Who does that? What kind of person persistently and purposefully annoys people?” 
“So you’re saying I’m intentionally annoying?” 
“Persistently, so. Yes. Makes the lawyer in me wonder why.” 
Just the lawyer? “Any answers come to mind?” 
“Plenty.”

“Care to share?”

She placed her fork down next to her plate and regarded him across the table. “You really want to hear this? Because if you know anything about me, you know I’m truthful. I don’t hold back.” 
Oh, he was sure she didn’t. And wouldn’t. Her tenacity was one of the things he’d first been drawn to. 
That and her fabulous ass. 
“I’m a big boy,” he said with a grin. “I can take it. 
She took a sip of water first, her eyes trained on him the entire time. “Okay. If you really want to hear this.” 
He waved his hand for her to continue. 
“I think you use your cocky, aren’t-I-simply-too- witty attitude to keep people at a distance.” 
Purchase Links:


Barnes and Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-pride-of-brothers-peggy-jaeger/1135068636

apple books (i-books) https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-pride-of-brothers-rick/id1488238197

books-a-million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Pride-Brothers/Peggy-Jaeger/9781509229369?id=7423724839353



Biography:

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes Romantic Comedies about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. If she can make you cry on one page and bring you out of tears rolling with laughter the next, she’s done her job as a writer!

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, she 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’s created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

When she’s not writing Peggy is usually painting, crafting, scrapbooking or decoupaging old steamer trunks she finds at rummage stores and garage sales.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, Peggy is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go "What??!"

Social Media links:

Website/Blog: http://peggyjaeger.com/


Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0