Thursday, May 28, 2015

THE SEASON AS A SETTING by Peggy Jaeger



Please join me in welcoming guest blogger, Peggy Jaeger to The Roses of Prose.

I was thumbing through a few of my older manuscripts today and found something most of them had in common – despite my never realizing it before: they all take place in Autumn.

Hmmmm. Interesting.

I didn’t take me long to discover why I’d unconsciously set them in that time of year.
I live in New Hampshire, one of the prettiest states in the contiguous 48. Especially in – you got it! – Autumn. The changing colors of September through November are amazing to watch. We have a tourist cottage industry here in New England called Leaf Peeping season and the tourists themselves are referred to as Leaf Peepers.
If you’ve ever taken a car tour up around these parts in the Fall, you know why it’s such a popular time of year.

If you haven’t, well, what are you waiting for??

My very first New England autumn was memorable for so many things, but most of all my introduction to the natural beauty of this region. I watched the leaves on the trees turn form vibrant verdant to crisp apple red and then on to golden yellow and burnt umber/orange. I could have filled a Crayola 64 pack with all the different shades and hues I saw blossoming and changing everyday in my backyard.

I live in the woods, so I have a front row seat for all this splendor every day. And I am so thankful for it.

The trees lining my property form an enclosure of beauty all year round. But in the Fall, that beauty changes to a patchwork and chaos of stimulating colors that just tickle the ol’ eyes and heart.

Since I love autumn so much, it stands to reason that I have my characters fall in love during that season. And since I set so many of my stories in New England, with so much natural beauty surrounding them, the characters are influenced by that beauty, helping them fall into love.

Kind of a cute euphemism, no? Falling into love in the fall?
(I know, but I can’t help being this way, so deal!)

Anyway…the setting of any story actually becomes a character in many ways, especially if the setting is integral to the story line. My third book in the MacQuire Women Series, First Impressions, takes place in the Fall and there are many references to the season that help make up the core of the book , a baseball game at Fenway Park and apple picking in a local orchard just two serious plot points. They wouldn’t have been as effective if they hadn’t taken place in the season they did.

For the writers out there, what season is your favorite to write about? Or are you an equal opportunity season author? If you have a favorite, why is it your fave? Winter is a huge season to write about , brought home by all the romance books written with Christmas love stories. June and Summer bride stories are popular as well. Really, any season could be made to promote love. Which is your favorite?

So, what season do you like to read and/or write about? Drop me a line and share your thoughts.


Blurb:
Symphony pianist Moira Cleary comes home after four years of touring, exhausted, sick, and spiritually broken. Emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of someone she trusted has left her gaunt, anxious, and at a crossroads both professionally and personally.

Moira’s best friend, veterinarian Quentin Stapleton, wants nothing more than to help Moira get well. Can his natural healing skills make it possible for her to open her heart again? And can he convince her she’s meant to stay home now with the family that loves her - and with him - forever?

Excerpt:
“Remember when your cousin Tiffany got married in the backyard here?”
Confused, Moira nodded.
Quentin rubbed her bottom lip with the pad of his thumb. “When the Reverend told Cole ‘you can kiss your bride,’ and he swooped her off the ground, spun her around and kissed her silly? Remember what you said?”
 “I think I said it was the most romantic thing I’d ever seen.”
He nodded. “The exact quote was, ‘I hope someone kisses me like that some day.’”
Her grin was quick at the memory. “Pat snorted and said I’d better be satisfied with licks from the horses and Rob Roy because no guy was ever gonna kiss me.”
“He wasn’t known for tact back then.” He rubbed a hand down her back as he held her. “Remember what happened later on behind the barn?”
Because she did, she couldn’t stop the heat from spreading up her face like wildfire. When she nodded again, he said, “You wanted to know what it felt like to be kissed like that and since I was your best friend, you thought I should be the one to do it, because you – quote - felt safe with me – unquote.”
“What was I? Eleven?”
“Thirteen. And I was more than willing. Almost broke my heart in two when you said afterward, ‘I don’t see what all the fuss is about.’”
 “Q—”
“Hush.” He kissed her forehead. “Ever since that day, all I’ve wanted is a second chance. Now,” he pulled her body closer, wrapped both arms around her small waist, his hands resting just above the dent in her spine. “We’re both a little older, a little more mature. Some of us are much more experienced—”
“And conceited.”
“Experienced,” he said, the laugh in his voice quiet and seductive, “and things can be so much better.”

Author bio:

Peggy Jaeger’s love of writing began in the third grade when she won her first writing contest with a short story titled THE CLOWN. After that, there was no stopping her. Throughout college and after she became a Registered Nurse, she had several Nursing Journal articles published, in addition to many mystery short stories in Literary Magazines. When her daughter was born, Peggy had an article titled THE VOICES OF ANGELS published and reprinted in several parenting magazines, detailing the birth and the accident that almost turned this wonderful event into a tragedy. She had two children’s books published in 1995 titled THE KINDNESS TALES and EMILY AND THE EASTER EGGS, which were illustrated by her artist mother-in-law. While her daughter grew, Peggy would write age appropriate stories for her to read along with, and finally, to read on her own. Her YA stories are mysteries involving smart and funny 12-13 year old girls and an unusual collection of friends and relatives. They all take place in the 1980’s.

She has a Master’s Degree in Nursing Administration and had several articles published on Alzheimer’s Disease when she ran an Alzheimer’s In Patient care unit during the 1990’s

In 2005 she was thrilled to have an article on motherhood placed in the CHICKEN SOUP FOR EVERY MOTHER’S SOUL edition. She has won several awards in various Writer’s Digest short story and personal article categories over the years. Recently, she has placed first in the Dixie Kane 2013 Memorial Contest in the Short/Long Contemporary romance Category, and in the Single Title Contemporary Category, and third place in the ICO Romance Contest for 2013, and in 2014 she was a finalist in the Put Your heart in a Book contest.

A life-long and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

Peggy has embraced the techno age and writes for three blogs, all detailing events in her life. One titled, 50 pounds for 50 years is a personal blog about weight loss, one about her life as an EMPTY NESTER and her most recent one MOMENTS FROM MENOPAUSE, a humorous and informative guide through this time in a woman’s life.
She also has her own website http://peggyjaeger.com where she writes about everyday life and how it relates to writing. Twitter is her current obsession, but she is never far from her Facebook pages.

In 2015 she will have her first three contemporary romance novels published by The Wild Rose Press: Skater’s Waltz, book 1 in the MaQuire Women Series, and There’s No Place Like Home, book 2. Book 3 is titled First Impression. Three more are in the works for this series, in addition to her Cooking with Kandy series.

Social Media Links:
Facebook:

Buy Links for THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

The Wild Rose Press:  http://bit.ly/1GmM1Je
Barnes and Noble Nook :  http://bit.ly/1JjMUG7







16 comments:

Leah St. James said...

Welcome, Peggy! I live in Southeastern Virginia but grew up in the northeast, and later spent a few years in Northeastern Pennsylvania where the fall foliage is also glorious. You've reminded me of one of the things I miss most about being in a colder climate -- the turn of the leaves! We have four seasons here, but milder winters than up north. (That's the reason we moved here!) Our fall colors are muted in comparison to what you see. It's like the leaves take a milk bath or something. They're a few shades duller. I try to tell people around here, but they don't get it unless they've been up north in the fall.

I can see why you'd highlight autumn in your writing, especially considering your view!

I don't write so much about a season but find myself often at the beach in my stories. That's where I grew up (Central Jersey Shore), and it's so easy to recall those sensations. Plus I live a few miles from the Chesapeake Bay now so it's easy to get a quick refresher for inspiration!

Fantastic excerpt! Best of luck with your writing!

Peggy Jaeger said...

Leah -Chesapeake bay is rife with natural beauty - during any season!! Fall in New England is a given for beauty, for sure. I don't write about NE springs because it's black fly season, or the summers because is's mosquito season! Winters can be brutal - just like this past one - so I find no joy in writing about that ( hahah)> Autumn seems to be perfect because the colors are wild and vibrant. Thanks for stopping by today! Happy writing. PJ

Leah St. James said...

You're right about the bay, Peggy. I live close to Virginia Beach but across the Hampton Roads waterway. Even if traffic weren't a giant hurdle to getting there, I'd prefer to stay on my side. There's a wildness to the bay shoreline that I don't find on the Atlantic shoreline. And yeah, I wouldn't find joy in writing about massive snowfalls either! I moved from winters that could see snowfalls up to 3 feet and (worse) storms that coated everything with a half inch of ice. Down here, my hubby shovels our walkway with his feet. :-) Last year we had record snowfall. I think the worst was 8 inches. I'll take it!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Beautiful cover and very entertaining (sigh) excerpt. I'm in Michigan where the four seasons turn and turn and turn with a flourish. One of my dreams is to take a cruise along the coast of New England in the fall. That, by the way, is my favorite season too, although my books take place, well, all over the seasonal place. Best of luck with your latest series.

Peggy Jaeger said...

Margo - I lived in Superior, WI for 7 years in the 1990's. We had two seasons: snow, and less snow, so I hear ya about Michigan! It's funny because if you look on a map and draw a line across it, New england and Wi are on the same geographic plain -but they are a WORLD apart in temps. Now that I am a die-hard New Englander I don't know if I'llbe able to live anywhere else in the fall months. Thanks for stopping by!
PJ

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Peggy, Excellent post and excerpt! In Canada, we experience all four seasons - my favorite is autumn. Love those cool, crisp days! Joanne :)

Peggy Jaeger said...

Joanne - I'm interested in knowing how long the seasons stick around where you are. For instance, spring here lasts about 1.5 months, not the typical 3. Summer about 3.5-4. How about in your neck of the woods?

Rolynn Anderson said...

Peggy, welcome. I love the NOTION of four seasons, but have chosen a one season place to live-Central Coast of CA. I write best when the sun's shining; I play golf best when it's 60-70 degrees. After 33 years of living in the Seattle area, my husband and I RAN to CA. I know, I know. You're thinking about the drought...wasn't planning on that :-0 I definitely agree that setting helps with our stories. I set my book, Lie Catchers, in Petersburg, Alaska...setting definitely affects my characters and plot in that novel. So pleased to hear of your series successes...how prolific you are! Keep on truckin'!

Jannine Gallant said...

Welcome, Peggy. I live in the mountains at Lake Tahoe. We have 4 seasons, though spring is usually only for the month of May. This year we seem to have skipped winter--almost no snow! I write about all the seasons, maybe because I enjoy them all here. In my young adulthood, I spent two falls living in Vermont. I agree--gorgeous! Best of luck with sales!

Mary Morgan said...

Wonderful post, Peggy! I live in Central California and miss having four seasons. When we lived in Washington, I fell in love with each season. As for writing, I use all the seasons fully in my stories. I just completed my fourth book and it's the middle of winter in Scotland, so I was longing for spring by the time I finished the book. :) All the best with your books!

Jana Richards said...

I live in Canada, and for some reason winter pops up as the setting in several of my stories. Not that it's my favorite season - not by a long shot - but I understand winter. I believe it has a deep affect on us here, or at least on me!

Peggy Jaeger said...

Rolynn - believe me, if I could have fall and spring I would be happy. Summer you can keep ( esp. since I entered menopause!) and winter just...arghghg! 60-75 degrees everyday with sunshine is nirvana to me! Thanks for joining in!
PJ

Peggy Jaeger said...

Jannine - WOW! you had no winter! If I had known I would have sent you some of ours. Record snowfall in my town of over 90 inches - waywayway too much for my liking. Spring is usually the month of May here as well, but it is joined at the hip with black fly season, so we tend to remember that and not the spring beauty of the month! Oh well. Thanks for stopping by and joining in. Theres something good about everywhere we all live we just need to try harder to find it sometimes ( at least in my case!) PJ

Peggy Jaeger said...

Mary _ i Love California! I was there for the Writer's Digest conference 2 years ago and fell in love with the sunshine. Lucky you! Isn't it great to be a writer and be able to transport to other climates, regions, and places thru our writing?? I write in my attic loft overlooking my woods and sometimes I am captivated by the beauty. Other times, i want to write about the beach!! Oh well...I can always travel in my mind.
Thanks for stopping by. PJ

Peggy Jaeger said...

Jana - what's that old saw? Write what you know?? Hahah. YOu know winter...I know falll. Seems about right, no? Thanks for joining in. PJ

Barbara Edwards said...

Thanks for sharing. It makes sense to us what surrounds us.