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Monday, February 8, 2016

I Never Had a Valentine by Peggy Jaeger


Please welcome my guest, Peggy Jaeger to Muse Monday!
Growing up, Valentine’s Day was never any fun for me because…I never had a Valentine. In grade school the teachers would basically force us to buy those little packets of generic Valentines cards to send to every kid in the class.  Somehow I always ended up with less cards than I gave out.
In middle school we weren’t forced but encouraged to include each kid in homeroom in the card-giving department. I gave a card to every kid. Sometimes I was lucky if I received half as many in return.
High school, you were on your own. This was the age of budding teen romances and starter-dating (unlike today, where I swear the kids start hooking up at 8!). I was that girl in class…you know. The smartest, shy-est, fattest girl, with thick eye glasses and a different last name from her mother (divorce and remarriage weren’t the norm back then.) In 4 years of high school the only Valentine cards I ever received were from my cat, signed in my mother’s handwriting.
Suffice it to say Valentine’s Day was not on my top 10 list of holidays. So when my publisher, the Wild Rose Press, put out a call for Valentine’s Day novellas, I wondered what I could possibly write about with any flare.  And then it hit me. I’d write about a girl a little like I used to be (only I made her slightly chubby, not fat!) looking for the perfect guy; a guy she’s wished for since she was 15. A girl who was smart, career-driven, and one who came from a big, supportive, loving and LOUD family.
Once I pictured Chloe San Valentino and her family in my head, I wrote the first draft of 3 WISHES in 2 weeks! Chloe is one of my favorite heroines. Smart, sassy, sexy and successful, she is what I wish I could have been all those years ago in school when I felt like an overweight, overachieving, geekazoid. In my writer’s mind she ALWAYS got Valentine cards in school.
3 Wishes tells the tale of Chloe’s journey to her own happily ever after on the day we celebrate devoted to love.
This year’s Valentine’s day is going to be one of the happiest ones in my memory.
And I don’t even care if I get a card!

3 Wishes
Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.
     At about five minutes of ten I was almost ready to turn the Closed sign on the door when it opened. I heard Janie’s breath hitch and turned from where I was sweeping up. Staying open late is always a risk, with the thought thieves will invade at the end of the day.
            If the guy standing at the door glancing around the shop was a thief, then Dio mio, I wanted to be robbed.
            About six foot, his hair was the color of a deer’s pelt, with autumnal golds and browns shot together in a glorious patchwork that grazed the collar of his jacket and curled a little at the ends. He wore a faded brown bomber jacket over a shirt I couldn’t see, but he had shoulders almost as wide as my doorway. A pair of well-worn jeans covered his mile long legs, and the fabric on the stress points at his knees was practically white.
            “We’re about to close,” I heard myself say. “Can I help you?”
            It was at that moment he looked over at me.
            His face could have been sculpted by Da Vinci or Michelangelo. A broad, smooth, forehead housed naturally arched eyebrows I knew some of my gay guy friends would have paid a fortune to have on their own faces. His cheeks were carved from marble, high, smooth and deep. And his mouth, mother-of-God, his mouth. Full, thick beautiful lips sat perfectly over a chin with a dent you could shove a button into and have it stay put.
            “Sorry,” he said, those fabulous lips pulling up a little shyly at the corners. “I got stuck at work and couldn’t get here until now. I’ll be quick. Promise.”
            So here’s the thing: the guy was gorgeous. But even if he’d looked like a frog with raw antipasto smothering his face, I would have dropped to my knees when he opened his mouth. Warm honey, a shot of raw whiskey, and a little hot puff of smoke wafted from his mouth like a fine and rare brandy being decanted.
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Thursday, February 4, 2016



In everything there is a season, and a time to every our latest season, with only a vague plan and a touch of creativity, we're off on another adventure. Half of this twosome is retired; my half will probably never know what that means. I promise to share.
Hello from the trail
Good, cheap fun...the best kind. I've always had a line item on my budget for entertainment. But at one point, a few years ago, I had to decrease it significantly. "Entertainment" without spending much, if anything, made me stop and think about what I really enjoyed doing. The best things in life are free--hmmm--not entirely but there are a lot of free (or cheap) best things to do.

We've always been big movie goers. So when we did that reduction in
Getting off the beaten path
spending a few years back, we turned to renting movies instead of going out. Between the movie, popcorn, and a drink you could make your next house payment. Nowadays, there are plenty of options if you have computers or other forms of technological devices. Sorry, but I have a laptop and that's as far as my knowledge takes me. Once we hit the big 55, we got discounts at most movie theaters.

Friends are a great source of fun. As a kid, we went visiting a couple of times a week. All the young people would gather in a bedroom or family room and play games or listen to music. The adults would fix a meal, play cards, or just talk. We often had people just drop in, no advance notice, to visit. Through most of my adult life, that diversion has been lost
The Salt River in Tonto Basin
to some extent. We always had friends but we usually "went out" which entails spending money. These days, we're getting back to "visiting." Everyone pull up a chair around the fire and talk. Summertime, head to the patio or deck and visit with friends. Good cheap fun!

Let's go this way
Getting outside, is one of my favorite entertainments. We like to hike, or walk. It doesn't have to be a grueling climb. There is so much to explore out there, outside your own backyard. A walk

through a neighborhood might help to meet some of those people you'd like to have over for a visit on the patio. Here at the RV park, we take a short drive in any direction, park, and get out and walk...or hike. Good for the body. Good for the soul.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Aren't these wickedly pretty glass pendants?

In case you haven't heard, the Members of my Quarterly Newsletter Group, receive gifts like these pendants every month. Why? Just for being loyal readers! If you aren't a member yet, consider receiving the newsletter that shows up in your email inbox only four times a year. The purpose of the newsletter is a quick update about me, but mostly to let you know about my next book coming out and what I have in the percolator for the future. And to announce the latest winners of my
random drawing for some cute gifts. Here's what's in store this year:

January: signed copy of either The Art of Love and Murder or Southwest of Love and Murder Congrats to Tena Barnes
February: a beautiful glass pendant
March: a handcrafted bracelet from the Prescott Farmers' Market
April: eBook of my latest release, A Legacy of Love and Murder, book 3 of the series
May: a beautiful glass pendant
June: a pink and white coffee travel mug
July: a beautiful glass pendant
August: a leather fanny pack
September: a handcrafted bracelet from the Prescott Farmers' Market
October: a pink and white coffee travel mug
November: Christmas ornament
December: weekly giveaways to be announced

Sign up now for my Quarterly Newsletter Group!
Join Brenda's Quarterly Newsletter Group

Releasing Worldwide March 30, 2016, A Legacy of Love and Murder, third book in the series: Inheriting an Austrian Castle is an Alpine fairytale for August, until someone begins killing the heirs.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


In everything there is a season, and a time to every our latest season, with only a vague plan and a touch of creativity, we're off on another adventure. Half of this twosome is retired; my half will probably never know what that means. I promise to share.
Sunset over the RV Ranch
I've been visiting the same old haunts these last two weeks, zig-zagging between the RV Ranch, Phoenix, Prescott, the farm, back to Prescott, the farm again, and now a stint at the RV Ranch. May gas prices keep dropping! The traffic is awful in Phoenix and the gophers are taking over the farm. You'll have to allow me to continue calling it the farm. We do still have fruit trees. And once this frigid weather is over, I'll plant a veggie or two. It will technically be my home with a garden, but to me it will always be "the farm."

I've decided RVer's like to eat. In the last two weeks, we've had Mexican food night (my contribution was
Mexican Food Night
some tasty but greasy tacos) and a potato/dessert buffet. All my favorite foods. I love potatoes baked in foil on the grill and topped with all kinds of spicy or fattening additions. The desserts were great, too. Below is the recipe for one we had. This is my kind of recipe since I don't bake and typically don't enjoy cooking. This was absolutely delicious with vanilla ice cream.

In the bottom of the crockpot, empty a can of apple pie filling.
On top of the filling, empty a box of spice cake mix.
Plop two sticks of butter on top of that. (no need to cut up or melt)
Cook on high for 2 1/2 hours.

The beginning of my shabby chic dinnerware
My other great find over the last two weeks is the Goodwill Stores. I've always loved second hand stores. Browsing through "other peoples junk", as my husband calls it, amuses me. And you never know what you might find. In the last couple of years, Goodwill has really improved their display and what they sell as far as quality.

I've had a set of white Fiesta dishes for the last couple of years, but I'm down to three plates. Replacing them won't be cheap. Then I had a thought. I'll go shabby chic for the RV. I've accented with purple and green in our traveling home, so that's the color for the dishes. I mentioned this to my mom. Before I could get out shopping, Mom and her friend hit four Goodwill Stores and I now have a real good start on my RV dishware. For $18, I have 8 dinner plates, 10 small plates, 8 saucers, 4 soup bowls, 3 mugs, and 4 glasses. It helped that they were having a half off that day. I have to be on the lookout for some smaller bowls which I'll have fun finding.

Buying used is the ultimate recycling. Finding those deals is a real feel-good experience.

Monday, January 25, 2016


Veronica Lynch has a new book out and it's one of the Candy Heart books for The Wild Rose Press. Read on to learn more about this enticing book. And be sure to comment to be eligible for the cute tote!
Did you always want to be a writer?  I wanted to be a doctor but my mother told me [this was the late 50's and early 60's] becoming a doctor wasn't something women did. I started writing in nursing school and never stopped.  As a nurse in the Operating Room right out of training I learned real fast that women indeed become physicians and were successful at it. It was too late for me by then.
Tell us about your new Candy Hearts book. As a Vintage Rose story, For Keeps takes place in the late 1980's when victim advocacy came into its prime. While advocates and cops 'hooking up' did happen, it was viewed by both sides of the issue as going over to the dark side. I wanted to show the conflict a professional woman might face with the idea of spending the rest of her life with a man who completes her versus remaining in an thankless occupation which often brings heartache and burnout.
What gave you the idea for the story? Personal experience. There comes a time in the story when the heroine responds to the hotline only to find the hero on the other end. The essence of that conversation [“if I was any better, I'd scare myself”] actually happened. I laughed the rest of the day and still smile when I recall that man's voice. It was a gift in the middle of a very stressful day. I'm sure that poor cop thought I was a raving lunatic. 
How do you normally come up with your characters? From news accounts, either print or electronic. I often receive a newsletter from one of the charities I support, such as Doctors Without Borders, and think, I'm going to do a story about a woman physician with PTSD.
What did you like best about your current hero and heroine in your Candy Hearts book? Keenan Rossi is patterned after a cop I once worked with. He had a great voice, the warmest hands in town and listened to my opinions. I miss him terribly. I like Meg Muldoon because she faced down detractors with grace and dignity. I wish I'd had half her courage back in the day. 
How about a blurb? 
Meghan Muldoon is at a crossroads: struggling to balance the demands of a high stress vocation as an advocate for victims of violence with her feelings for Keenan Rossi, a man who wants to make their relationship permanent.
On Valentine's Day,  a series of routine crises force Meg to question staying in a profession which fulfills her both professionally and spiritually—or devoting the rest of her life to the one person who completes her.
Which one is For Keeps?
CONTEST:  one lucky person who comments on my blog visit will win a small zippered tote fashioned in a Valentine's theme fabric. 

How can readers reach you or find you online?