Ideas…I’ve got a million of ‘em

Today I'm allowing Peggy Jaeger to take over my blog.  So give her a warm welcome and let's hear about her ideas.

At a recent book signing (and don’t I just love saying that!!) for my newest release, I had a “fan” ask me the proverbial writer’s question. As she gazed adoringly down at her newly autographed copy of my book, her moist eyes drifted to mine and she asked, “Where do you come up with all your ideas for stories?”

In truth, I never know quite how to answer this.

I could say something quippy and conceited like, “Oh, I’m just blessed with a very vivid imagination,” or snotty like, “Well, writing’s what I do for a living, you know.”
Sometimes I just want to smile and say nothing, leaving it up to the asker to come up with his or her own answer. There are times I want to say to especially obnoxious people, “I’m writing a new book and need some odd characters. Tell me about yourself.”

Like I said, WANT to say that. I never actually have. Yet.

For the sake of true disclosure here, I’m an avid people watcher. Ideas about stories pop into my head in the strangest places, like when I’m sitting I church, or waiting at the airport. I wrote an entire book in my head after seeing a late night commercial for a cleaning service. My mind is frequently trying to unravel plot holes and dialogue snafus. It never rests.

It stands to reason then, that ideas are always swirling inside of my mind.

Here’s a perfect example for how I came up with the idea for Will Cook for Love, book 2 in my Laine Sisters Series. I lovelovelove Top Chef. I have never missed an episode or a season, and I’ve even recreated some of the dishes featured on the competitive show. My idea for Will Cook for Love came from watching an episode of Top Chef. I won’t name the season, but a small plotline involved a little romance unraveling among two of the cheflebrities. In my mind, I could see how something like that could really play out on the show – both positively or negatively. The idea that sprang into my mind was the basis for my story. What would happen if you took a cooking competition show and added an overbearing director no producers wanted to work with? The network doesn’t want to lose all it’s invested in the show, so they send one of their top notch producers to smooth out the kinks, keep the director happy, and the contestants on their game.  The producer doesn’t want to go and is bribed with the prospect of producing her very own show if she fulfills this one commitment. Since that is her dream, she agrees. When she finds herself falling for the director, and he for her, the tangled mess of secret back stage wheeling and dealing starts to unravel, jeopardizing the show, and the heroine’s heart.

So, from watching one episode of a show I love, I was able to plot out an entire novel.

I’m currently working on a romance novel that centers around caring for an elderly parent and the problems rife within our health care system. The idea for this story came from knowing and trying to help several different families try and find ways to pay for their badly needed medications – meds their insurance companies refuse to pay for – as part of my day job.

I’ve got another romance concerning a coming home story to face the past I plotted after reading in the paper about a man who had just discovered he had a grown daughter he never knew about.

So, the next time I’m asked that question about where I get my ideas from, how do YOU think I should answer it? Should I simply smile and let the question answer itself? Or should I say, “Well, as far as ideas go…I’ve got a million of ‘em?!”

Let's help Peggy celebrate her latest release:

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?

Buy it here: 
The Wild Rose Press:
Barnes and Noble Nook :

About Peggy: 
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 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.

Find her on social media:

Second Chances

SECOND CHANCES is now available. This story is near and dear to my heart as I have had the struggles of raising an autistic child, much like Kira's son in this book.   This book is available for the month of April at the .99 digital price to celebrate Autism Awareness Month.  It is also available in print via Amazon or an autographed copy directly through myself.

I am also teamed up with a local artist, Todd Aubertin, who is carving two wooden spoons to be given away to a random new newsletter subscriber.  To enter, simply sign up for my newsletter between now and the end of the month. The drawing will be held May 1st.  Sign up here.

Below is an excerpt of Second Chances:

Kira Nichols pushed back her shoulder length light brown hair as the crisp salt air blew it across her face. As she walked up the path to the cul-de-sac, her sneakers left small impressions in the soft sand.
She sprang into a run when she heard the rumble of a sports car that was going too fast for a street where small children liked to play. She arrived at the cul-de-sac just as the vehicle skidded to a stop in front of the empty lot across from her house. Then she caught her breath as a lean man with rugged features got out of the car. He flashed her a smile that probably caused most women to melt at his feet.
As the man moved across the lot toward the foundation, which had been capped over and abandoned for about a year now, Kira squared her shoulders and approached him. He was at least six feet tall, and she felt minute beside him. She willed herself to appear calm, but she could feel her cheeks begin to flush.
“Grant Rutledge.” He paused and extended his hand to her. His deep voice, like a shot of brandy, was warm and soothing. She swallowed hard, her anger at his reckless driving temporarily forgotten. Then it flared back, and she ignored his hand.
“Do you know there are children in this area?” she demanded, planting her hands on her hips.
“My apologies if you felt I was going too fast.” He gave an exaggerated glance around. “There aren’t any children about now.”
He offered that smile again, and in spite of her anger, her heart softened for a moment. His hand was still extended, so she shook his calloused fingers. Tingles shot up her arm, and she struggled to keep herself from yanking her hand away. Heat flooded her face. She prayed he couldn’t tell.
“Again, I apologize. I hope you won’t think I have no regard for children.”
Kira turned to go. She gestured absently at his car and said, “I just know the type.”
As she forced herself to walk slowly toward her house, she could feel his eyes on her back. She felt both foolish and thankful that she had stayed in shape.
The solitude of the cul-de-sac was one of the reasons she had always loved this spot as a child whenever she had visited her grandfather. Her house, which she had inherited from him, had been the only one in this two-lot area for years, but it looked like they were going to pick up the pace across the street again. She hoped the new construction company would limit their work to business hours, particularly the hours when Jared would be in preschool.
She thought back to the long hours the last group of workers had kept when they put in the foundation. Jared had been unable to sleep due to the noise and disruption of his routine. Hopefully this time around the noise wouldn’t disturb him. He was just beginning to sleep through the night.
If only she could. 

Second Chances can be found at Amazon, Smashwords, or a signed print copy.

Welcome Suzie Quint

Please welcome with me this morning Suzie Quint.  Suzie Quint has always been fascinated with the human psyche, so she can imagine no better way to explore the human condition than through the characters she writes. Finding the happy ending for the people who inhabit her worlds is the best job anyone could have. Getting to share them with others... It doesn't get any better than that.

Welcome, Suzie.  I'm so glad you could join me today. Today we're talking about your new release, Knight of Heart.

What motivated you to write this book?

Like so many authors these days, I became enamored with a supporting character in another book I wrote. Rachel McKnight, the heroine of Knight of Hearts, is the older sister of the hero of A Knight in Cowboy Boots. She’s a little different from the typical romance heroine though. As the oldest girl in a family with a lot of brothers, she’s more than a little bossy. She’s also a “fixer,” which is a good quality for a hotel concierge, but doesn’t work so well in her personal life.

Are the experiences in the novel based on someone you know, or events in your life?

Not particularly. I tend to think of the events of my own life as mundane. What I do take from life, I think, are the emotions. We’ve all had those moments when we’re insecure or when we pretend that we don’t care when our hearts are really breaking, or when we hope someone we love loves us back. Those feelings that are so personal to each of us but that we all share. Those are what I take from life and what, I hope, comes through in my writing.

When and why did you begin writing?

I wrote in high school, then took a long hiatus while I figured out my life. That was actually a good thing since most people have to live some, I think, before we have something to say. When I first moved to Seattle, I didn’t know very many people here and I was in one of those dry spells where I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read (this was long before Goodreads came along and I developed a to-be-read pile that would choke a giraffe.) There’s a piece of writer’s wisdom that says: write what you would want to read. So that’s what I did.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?

Every writers’ group or critique buddy I’ve ever had has had an influence my writing. My first real writers group here in Seattle probably deserves the most credit. They never let me get away with anything (for which I’m forever in their debt.) I had some horrible habits when they got their hands on me, but they pounded on me and my writing improved tremendously. Critique buddies are invaluable no matter what stage you’re at, because they spot things you’re blind to. I can’t imagine sending something out into the world without them vetting it first.

How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

Rachel’s surname is McKnight and I played on that with her brother Zach’s book (A Knight in Cowboy Boots), so it seemed like a fun idea to start a theme with the titles. Since Mac plays a lot of poker, it felt right to find a way to reference that as well in the title, so when I came up with Knight of Hearts, I knew it fit. Though as I continue writing about the McKnight clan, I wonder what I was thinking. I may resort to having contests to come up with titles, the way Janet Evonvich does.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The theme of Knight of Hearts is about relinquishing control and learning to trust someone else, so I suppose there’s a message in that somewhere.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

I think that would be Rachel. Because she’s not fixated on being “nice” and she’s okay with that, there was a certain freedom in writing her. She’s prickly at times, bossy most of the time, and wants to be the one in control all the time. I had a ball putting her in situations where she had to struggle with those inclinations.

Is there anything additional you would like to share with your readers?

Joseph Campbell said that the purpose of mythology was to teach the ancients how to live their lives. Those myths are hard for modern cultures to apply to our daily lives, so I think in some ways the things we choose to read create our personal mythos. Romances are a great way to remind us to keep our hearts open.

Suzie, thank you so much for joining me today.  Knight of Hearts can be purchased here.