Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Grandparenting by Diane Burton

Nothing perturbs me more than feeling my age. And, believe me, I’m feeling my age this week. Hubs is, too. Since we retired, our mornings are very relaxed. If possible, we don’t schedule appointments early. He always dresses before coming out to the living room.I throw on a robe. We make coffee and then with the Today Show running in the background, Hubs reads the paper, and I read email. If I’m up before him, I’ll write. I’ll get dressed when I feel like it.

But not this week.

There’s a good reason we had children when we were young. Getting our kids off to school was a piece of cake. Since Hubs had left work an hour earlier, I did it all. No sweat. Getting grandchildren ready for school takes both of us.

We love our grandchildren dearly. But after that one hour in the morning when we have to get ourselves up and dressed (no time for coffee) before waking the kids, fixing breakfast, making lunches, and walking them to the bus stop, we’re both ready for a nap. Especially when the kindergartener dogs around and proclaims he doesn’t want to go to school. This from the kid who said the first day of school was “amazing.”

That was Monday. Yesterday was worse. It’s “spirit week” at their school. Yesterday was “crazy hair” day. Granddaughter wanted her hair in lots of little pony tails, curled around and pinned. Think Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) in Matrix Reloaded. Since her hair is long and thick, this took more time than expected. Meanwhile Hubs prepared lunches, got breakfast ready, fed the dogs, and even brewed a cup of coffee, which we shared. What was grandson doing during all this? Lying on the bathroom floor, still not dressed. Hubs was not pleased.

In the end, both kids had “crazy hair” and we all made it to the bus stop in time. Despite both of us using our "stern" voices often, we got hugs and kisses before they got on the bus. That alone was worth all the hassle. Since I’m writing this on Tuesday, I have no idea how this morning went. I’m sure we’ll be better at this morning routine than the previous two days. Thank goodness the parents return this afternoon.

As I’ve mentioned before, we moved to West Michigan because we wanted to be close to our grandchildren. We’ve definitely seen more of them this summer and now into the fall. Even though it’s exhausting, I wouldn’t trade the time we spend with them for all the relaxed mornings. The tight hugs at night, the big smiles when they see us are worth the exhaustion. After all, we can always take naps.

Monday, September 28, 2015

WHAT I KNOW by Peggy Jaeger

Lessons I’ve learned about being a published author.

I found out my first book, SKATER’S WALTZ, had been contracted for publication while I was attending the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio, TX. Shocked, thrilled, and terrified, I thought the hard part – finding someone willing to publish my novel – was over.

Yeah, not so much.
Lesson one: it’s not over when you type THE END. It’s just the beginning…

After I signed on the dotted line, the real work began. I’d been published for years in literary fiction anthologies and in non-fiction magazines and periodicals. The literary magazines accepted the work as is, the non-fiction articles were sometimes reworked and refined by editors to allow for spacing considerations. My point is that it was someone else’s job to get the piece publishing presentable.

Not any more. Welcome to the world of book fiction.

Lesson two : the hard work starts after you contract for publication…

My first book went through 3 rounds of edits between my editor and myself before it was sent to galleys for actual publication. And even after it went out to the copy editor, there were still some changes that needed to be made. I was ready to rip my hair out at one point. All I kept thinking as more and more edit suggestions came my way was, “Why the heck did they want this if it needs so much work??”

Lesson three: Editors are the most underrated and undervalued people on the publishing food chain…

All editors are good at their job – they have to be. But the ones who are truly great make a good book even better.  They find the little twists and turns of a phrase, or a word change, or a sentence deletion that is key to making the reader want to read more.

My editor is one of the great ones.

Lesson four: you should have taken marketing classes in college…

I will admit this freely – I was unbelievably naïve when I signed that first contract. I thought the publisher was going to do all the marketing necessary to promote my book, get it on a best-seller list, and generally skyrocket me to fame.

Yeah, AGAIN, not so much!

The minute your book is contracted and the editing begins, you need to start promoting it. Often and everywhere. FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, your website, blog tours, newspaper press releases, your Aunt Maimie’s bridge club. Anywhere, everywhere, and as often as you can, so that when you finally have a release date, the buzz about the book will have started, grown to fever pitch and resulted in so many pre-orders your head spins.

Lesson five: before the first book hits the shelves you’d better be working on, or done with, book #2…                                      
 As a writer you can never – NEVER – rest on your laurels. It is a true axiom of publishing: you are only as good as your next book. So while you are doing all that dreaded marketing, take time each day and write…write…write. I had book two on my editor’s desk before book one was released. Same for book 3. Keep ‘em coming.

Lesson six: you need to take time to breathe and enjoy…

Yes, I was overwhelmed, naïve, frustrated and generally anxious with the release of my first book. But I was also thrilled at having my dream – finally - come true. It was a long road for me to book publication. I was 54 years old when the first one came out, a time when most people are starting to look toward the end of their working life. Not me. Mine was just beginning and I wanted to savor every moment of how it felt to hold my first book in my hands; see my name in print on the cover of a book I’d penned; sign my first autograph on a copy someone had actually paid cash-money for! Don’t let anything ever take away or overwhelm you from that sense of wonderful, soul-soaring achievement you’ve accomplished.

My third book, FIRST IMPRESSIONS, was released on Sept.23. I didn’t feel as overwhelmed this time because I knew the basics. Promotion and marketing were all lined up and ready to go, I pre-ordered by print copies so I had them ready, and a book signing was waiting for me.

But the anticipation, the soul-empowering elation of having a book actually published was as spine tingling and heart stopping as with that first one. And I think it will continue to be that way each and every time.
Family Practice Doctor Clarissa Rogers’ first impression of Padric Cleary is biased and based on gossip. The handsome, charming veterinarian is considered a serial dater and commitment-phobic by his family and most of the town. Relationship shy, Clarissa refuses to lose her heart to a man who can’t pledge himself to her forever.

Pat Cleary, despite his reputation, is actually looking for "The One." When he does give his heart away, he wants it to be for life. With his parent’s marriage as his guidebook, he wants a woman who will be his equal and soul mate in every way. 
Can Pat convince everyone – including Clarissa – she’s the only woman for him?
Bio: Peggy Jaeger writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can live with out them.

Newest release: FIRST IMPRESSIONS  available from the Wild Rose Press
Buy links:

Social Media Sites:  Peggy loveslovesloves hearing from people.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I'm About To Pitch a Fit by Betsy Ashton

You read the headline right. I'm about to pitch a fit. It ain't pretty when that happens. Just ask my long suffering husband who just retreated into the garage.

So what has my back up today? It's writers, published writers, who do not and will not accept friend requests, retweet or link with me because I'm a writer too. Earth to you stuck up writers: I'm a reader as well as a writer.

Here's what happened. I sent a friend request to a writer who has a couple of books out but by no means can be considered a best-selling author. True, her first book sold reasonably well for a self-pubbed work. Her second went under contract to a small press. I have nothing against small presses. I'm published by one I love. So, this woman, yup, it was a female writer, accepted my friend request. Then, she sent me a direct message. And I quote:

"When I accepted your friend request, I thought you were a reader. Upon checking your Facebook pages, I see you are a writer. I don't waste my time with people who aren't likely to buy my books."

She unfriended me. I blocked her. She was right about one thing: I'm unlikely to buy any of her books now. Period.

I mean, really? Really?

I friend every writer and potential reader. I try to pay support forward through retweets and Facebook shares. I believe that every person is a reader, if not of my books, then of someone else's. I'm not perfect but I try to support readers and writers. Doesn't take much.


Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max, Unintended Consequences, and Uncharted Territory, A Mad Max Mystery, now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A convergence of everything

I lived in the Midwest and my family is scattered here and there. Most years, folks come here for Homecoming, and this year, more folks than before will be here -- 2 sisters and a niece. All good times, and fun to have them, but squeezing the available space we have.

Added to this is a class reunion smack in the middle of the time people will be here. I can work that in because many people will be running hither and yon on their own errands, so I should be able to sneak out to the reunion.

But now we have an added twist: another niece (my husband's) is passing through from New York on the same day as Homecoming and the reunion. It will be her, her boyfriend, a truck full of things, 2 cats, and a dog. There's no room at our inn for that amount of visitors (since I have 4 cats of my own plus three overnight guests, one of which will be sleeping on the couch).

So we got them a hotel room for the night, and we are planning how to manage tailgating on Saturday morning, reunion party on Saturday afternoon-evening, dinner with driving-through niece on Saturday night, breakfast and farewell with driving-through niece on Sunday, picking up people from Homecoming on Sunday, dinner in another town on Sunday evening, and getting everybody to the airport on Monday afternoon.

Then my husband leaves for a week-long trip, and I leave the following Friday for a separate trip, too. Some place in there I need to get the cat to the vet so he can be boarded (maybe. He's on medication and I may be able to get somebody to handle it while I'm gone). Hub's schedule is up in the air right now, so pet-sitting arrangements can probably wait.

Can you say Crazy Times Ahead?

Depending on how crazy things get, you may not hear from me on the 13th on my next scheduled Blog Day. I may be kicking back with a martini and relaxing before packing to leave on a road trip of my own.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!! by Rachel Brimble

Roses and Readers, please welcome Rachel Brimble as my special guest today. I normally post on the 24th, but I asked Rachel to fill in for me. I'm sure you'll enjoy!

Today, I wanted to utilize my visit to the Roses Of Prose to say a big thank you to all my author friends and readers who have supported me and my work throughout the last ten years. Time goes by, successes and failures happen––I would’ve given up on my dreams a long time ago if it weren’t for the tens of people I have met online and in person.

Over the last decade, I’ve written countless short stories (in the formative years!), seventeen books and two novellas, all of which are either published or contracted –all my wonderful author friends both sides of the Atlantic have played a massive part in my success!

Knowing there are people out there to support you in your dreams means everything for a feeling of inner strength and belief. It’s human nature to doubt what you are thinking or doing, and worrying people will laugh or put you down. When you meet people who cheer you on, love and admire your work, and most of all, share your struggles, it gives an incredible sense of excitement and optimism.
Writers are introverts and happy in their own company, which all too often provides far too much surrounding silence allowing that horrible voice in your head to shout loud and clear, “give up!” “You’re not good enough!” “This story is your worst yet!”

My advice to aspiring writers? Fill your head with your stories, not your ‘internal editor’. Keep writing. Never EVER give up and believe in your dreams, ALWAYS! Ten years ago, I was first published and then 2011 brought me an agent, 2012 contracts with Harlequin Superromance and Kensington.

Yes, I am living a dream I never thought would happen. Am I still shy? Yes. Am I still a teeny bit scared ongoing success could mean having to stand up in public one day, YES!!! Terrified, would probably be a better description of how I feel about public speaking!

I am happy. I’m loving my work, but more than anything, love my writer friends and readers so much. Mix up your social circle, reach out through social mediums such as Twitter and Facebook and surround yourself with optimistic, supportive and fun people. You will be amazed how quickly you realize your fears are echoed and conquered every day.

Stand tall and know you are no better or worse than others out there. Let yourself grow and shine until you feel as though your star is in reach – because it is!

Rachel’s latest release is HER HOMETOWN REDEMPTION, book 5 in her ongoing Harlequin Superromance Templeton Cove series (although all the stories can be read stand-alone). Here is the blurb & buy links – happy reading!
She's back to right her wrongs 

When Tanya Todd returns to Templeton Cove, she knows better than to expect a warm welcome. She burned a few bridges on her way out of town, and making amends won't be easy. First on her list is the man whose heart she carelessly shattered, Liam Browne. 

Seeing the successful criminal lawyer after all these years, Tanya is interested in more than just Liam's forgiveness. As they work together to bring the man who hurt her sister to justice, the attraction between them sizzles. Suddenly Tanya's second chance could include a future with Liam…if she can prove she's changed.

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had five books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and three Victorian romances by eKensington/Lyrical.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest.

When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!