Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Writing Wednesday: Peggy Jaeger on the theme of Forgiveness #HolidayBooks

Happy Boxing Day to All! As both the Holiday Season and this tumultuous year draw to a close, many of us take stock of our lives - the good, the bad, what works, what doesn't - and come up with resolutions for the new year. Peggy Jaeger's post about Forgiveness as a theme in her book and her life seems apropos to this reflective time of year.

Peggy released three (3!) holiday-themed books this season - color me impressed by her energy and talent! I read (and loved!) DEARLY BELOVED on a plane ride to a wedding this past month (it seemed fitting) and am excited to share Peggy's thoughts about her theme and her main characters.

The concept of forgiveness is one I struggle with daily. My faith dictates that forgiveness is necessary to achieve any kind of spiritual healing and should be granted for any and all wounds and transgressions, no matter what.

Way easier said than done.

But…

When the concept for Dearly Beloved bloomed in my head, I wanted to tie the lives of the Colleen and Slade together with a common theme. Since they are such opposites in nearly every way – economically, socially, even the way they were raised – they needed some kind of story arc that would serve as a basis toward their HEA.

Forgiveness jumped into my mind because at the time I was struggling with my own decision to forgive someone who had hurt me tremendously. What would it cost me, I pondered, to forgive the person fully and just walk away from the hurt? First of all, could I even do that? And if I did, what would the aftermath look like?

That got me to thinking about my hero and heroine and the people that had hurt them.

Colleen caught her fiancé in bed with one of her co-workers. When she then dumped him, her life changed dramatically from what she was envisioning it was going to be. Would she be able to forgive him for not only cheating, but for destroying the dreams she so desperately wanted to come true? And what about her parents? They’d deserted the family when Colleen’s younger sister died of breast cancer, leaving behind the three girls to grieve together without their parents guiding and helping them through it. Could Colleen find it in her heart to forgive them for abandoning the family?

Slade’s life was set on a certain course that changed overnight when he had to take control of the family business because his father was ruining it with his numerous ill advised marriages and the subsequent expensive divorces. Would Slade be able to find it in his heart to forgive his father for his transgressions and for cheating him out of the life he wanted to live?

So much needed forgiving in this story, I worried it was too much for a reader to connect to on an entertainment level. But then I remembered something, something crucial, that my faith has taught me: Forgiveness is never for the person who is being forgiven and totally for the one who is doing the forgiving. The forgiveness benefits the forgiver waaaaaay more than the person who has sinned.

That little tenant made it easier for me to write the story. What didn’t hurt also, is that I could slip in as much humor and humorous pathos as I could fit in to temper the heaviness of the subject matter. I could find a way for both Colleen and Slade to move on with their lives – and with each other – without the hurts of their pasts and lives intruding on their HEA.

Considering the theme of forgiveness as a running plot point in the book helped me deal with my own ability to forgive the person who had so hurt me and done so much damage to my life. I think it made me better person, in the end, to forgive for forgiveness sake.

And I totally think it made me a better writer.

About the Book:

Colleen O’Dowd manages a thriving bridal business with her sisters in Heaven, New Hampshire. After fleeing Manhattan and her cheating ex-fiancé, Colleen still believes in happily ever afters. But with a demanding business to run, her sisters to look after, and their 93-year-old grandmother to keep out of trouble, she's worried she’ll never find Mr. Right.

Playboy Slade Harrington doesn’t believe in marriage. His father’s six weddings have taught him life is better as an unencumbered single guy. But Slade loves his little sister. He'll do anything for her, including footing the bill for her dream wedding. He doesn’t plan on losing his heart to a smart-mouthed, gorgeous wedding planner, though.

When her ex-fiancé comes back into the picture, Colleen must choose between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now.
Grab your copy on AMAZON





Monday, December 17, 2018

Monday Book Review: White-Hot Christmas, by Serenity Woods #HolidayBooks

White-Hot Christmas, Christmas Wishes: Book 2, by Serenity Woods
Published April 2017 by Serenity Woods

About the Book (Full Amazon description):
By the bestselling author of the Three Wise Men Box Set (USA Today bestsellers list November 2016) – a series of individual sexy contemporary Christmas romances. Read in any order and enjoy!

White-Hot Christmas received the first ever starred review of a digital-first book on Library Journal's XPress Reviews.

Book 2: White-Hot Christmas

Previous published by Samhain Publishing.

He can extinguish every fire, except the one in his heart…

Merle Cameron comes to New Zealand looking for anything but love. A demanding job and a mother recovering from breast cancer make Merle desperate for some light relief from her everyday life.

Enter firefighter and all-round gorgeous hunk Neon Carter. Neon’s in no rush to settle down, but he’s more than happy to fulfill Merle’s desire for a hot holiday fling.

The weather’s hot, the sex even hotter. It’s not long before lust turns to love, but Merle’s booked a ticket home, and there’s no solution that won’t break someone’s heart.

Warning: Please do not read if you are allergic to any of the following: love at first sight, one-night stands in a one-man tent, rugby hakas, firemen rescuing children, and rough caveman sex guaranteed to put hairs on your chest. May contain nuts.

Book 1: Santa's Secret
Book 2: White-Hot Christmas
Book 3: His Christmas Present
Book 4: If Kisses Were Snowflakes
My Take:

Holiday escapism at its finest. Exotic locations, well written, light-hearted, lots of fun, and oh-so-sexy! Need a break from the holiday madness? Keep this book in mind and escape to New Zealand for a few totally enjoyable hours of anything-but-sweet romance.

When history professor Merle Cameron leaves London behind to spend Christmas with her sister in New Zealand, she knows she needs to get away and relax, but having a holiday fling doesn't cross her mind - until she spies Napoleon "Neon" Carter at the beach surfing with her sister's husband. Lust at first sight. And the lust goes both ways, since when Neon spots the blonde, long-legged beauty standing on the beach, the sun making her dress nearly see-through, he dumps off his surfboard like Cupid hit him with a two by four.

With light-hearted teasing and side-bets from both the sister and her husband, reserved Merle actually propositions Neon for a one-night stand, both of them fully aware that the fling has a definite expiration date, since Merle's job and sick mother are back in England, and Neon's a local firefighter, on the fast track to becoming the youngest fire chief in New Zealand. Neither is prepared when their emotions start getting involved and entangled.

Like I said at the start, Holiday Escapism at its Finest. The author actually lives in New Zealand, which bleeds through in the detailed and loving descriptions. By the end of the book you may feel like you took a holiday trip there yourself, or maybe like me you'll move it up a few spots on your bucket list. Either way, totally enjoyable romp of a read and highly recommend if you like your romance with sizzle and steam.

Grab a copy on AMAZON




Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday Feature: Need Last Minute Gifts? Check out LiteraryBookGifts.com #Holiday Books


My guest today is Melissa Chan of LiteraryBookGifts.com (See her ad in the left sidebar.)

Do you love to write? Perhaps you are an author. Maybe you publish to a worldwide audience or simply write for fun and don't show your work to anyone. While your writing is uniquely your own style and creative expression, the books you read are not.

I find this to be an interesting dichotomy. We all read the same books, but write different things. As a global community of writers and readers, we consume the literature and contribute back to it with our own work. Just as some books will impact certain readers in meaningful ways, so does some writing. Some novels rise to global fame while others remain in relative obscurity, yet are still loved by a small but devoted fan base. The ebb and flow of this ecosystem of literature is one that has been around for hundreds and thousands of years.

I started the online store Literary Book Gifts in hopes of bridging the gap between reader to reader. Clothing and accessories can be trivial things, items people buy out of necessity during their time of need. Or they can be articles of self expression. As continuous consumers of art, be it through reading books, watching movies, or observing visual art in museums, it is not often that we are able to express our own feelings towards this art. I believe that personal self expression is an important element of the human experience. Self expression is part of reflection, and self reflection is an aspect of personal growth.

Wearing a shirt with your favorite book or author on it is a way to connect with the literary community at large. Perhaps wearing your Edgar Allan Poe shirt to the local cafe will interest a stranger enough to strike up a conversation with you on the topic. Glance over to see another's The Hound of the Baskervilles shirt and pick up a copy yourself later that week at the library.
Reading books and discussing them with others is an amazing opportunity we have to uncover hidden secrets of our best loved stories as well as to pass on our favorite titles to own another. If you see someone walking down the street with a Pride and Prejudice tote bag consider letting them know you've also read Jane Austen's books, or would like to read them. Who knows, maybe you will find other things you have in common as well.


Melissa Chan loves chatting about books and designing shirts and totes at Literary Book Gifts. The code katieosullivan20 can be used for 20% off of any order. This code does not expire.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Writing Wednesday: Got Backstory? Peggy Jaeger on writing and her new #HolidayBooks release CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS

As a special Writing Wednesday treat, I've got my sister Wild Rose author extraordinaire
PEGGY JAEGER
here today to talk about the importance of a character's backstory, and how she came up with one for her latest heroine. Oh, and if you haven't heard, she's got a FABULOUS new holiday release out this week titled Christmas and Cannolis (which I've already read, loved and reviewed HERE) Take it away, Peggy!


As a writer, backstory is extremely important to me when I’m fleshing out my characters and giving them reasons for the way they talk, act, dress, interact with others, etc.

When the concept for CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS came to me one afternoon, serendipitously as I was making cannolis (!)  to take to a dinner party, I wanted to make sure I gave my heroine, Regina, a solid reason to explain why she is the way she is: a workaholic, relationship-avoiding, good daughter. To do this, I rummaged around in my memory banks and came up with the idea for her backstory and found an incident that occurred while I was in high school to a fringe friend.  I modified it a tad and viola, I had Regina’s character arc.

Regina San Valentino is the only girl in a family of 4 older brothers, all of whom are protective, overbearing, loud and loving – just like her father, Sonny. Regina was the favored child as the only girl, and doted upon by her family. So much so that she was a victim of smother-love. She never dated, wasn’t allowed to go over to friends’ houses for sleepovers, and was generally always with a parent, a brother or her cousins. Family was everything. Regina wanted to be a normal teenager, date, hang out and have fun, but she towed the family line like a good little Italian/American girl. Until one day, she tore that line and broke free. Regina’s one act of teenage rebellion changed the course of her life forever and led her to the moment CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS begins.

I don’t want to spoil the story by giving away the details of what that was, but suffice it to say, that one incident set Regina on the course that has brought her to the owner of her own bakery, childless, and single at the age of 32.

My own backstory as the step-daughter to a family exactly like Regina’s has enabled me to walk the walk and talk the talk of a member of such a loud, loving, loyal family.

Katie – a special thanks for hosting me today and letting me rant about backstory. I love knowing the reasons that make people – and characters – tic. I truly could talk for days about this – basically because I’m so nosy!!! Hee Hee
About the Book:
With Christmas season in full swing, baker Regina San Valentino is up to her elbows in cake batter and cookie dough. Between running her own business, filling her bursting holiday order book, and managing her crazy Italian family, she's got no time to relax, no room for more custom cake orders, and no desire to find love. A failed marriage and a personal tragedy have convinced her she's better off alone. Then a handsome stranger enters her bakery begging for help. Regina can't find it in her heart to refuse him.

Connor Gilhooly is in a bind. He needs a specialty cake for an upcoming fundraiser and puts himself—and his company's reputation—in Regina's capable hands. What he doesn't plan on is falling for a woman with heartbreak in her eyes or dealing with a wise-guy father and a disapproving family.

Can Regina lay her past to rest and trust the man who's awoken her heart?
Grab your copy on AMAZON today!