Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have The Wild Rose Press author Peggy Jaeger sharing the rich and varied experiences of her first act and her emerging second act.
When I discovered Joanne’s SECOND ACTS blog, I felt like I’d walked into a virtual room decorated just for me. Reading through the entries of the wonderful and artistic women she’d spotlighted made me a little nervous about what I could add to this glorious mix of wisdom, guts, tenacity and talent. For days I thought about what I should write. What could I possibly impart to the readers and writers to inspire them during the next phase of their lives – be it a writing life or one in general.
It came to me – like many ideas do – in a dream.
A little backstory about my Act 1, first.
I was an only child of divorced parents who didn’t like being on the same planet together, much less in the same room. They split when I was an infant. Like many children of divorce, I shrouded myself from hurt with a very busy fantasy life. When the harsh reality of my divorced world became too much to deal with, I would slip into my room and write. And write and write and write.
Pure escapism and very cheap therapy.
My adolescence wasn’t much better. I was obese, shy, the class “brain,” and teacher’s pet. My one way of avoiding a trip to the dark side of teenage angst? Writing.
In college I found my voice, my love of caring for people, and my true self. I worked for several years as a Nurse and was lucky enough to incorporate my profession into my writing life. I had many nursing articles published in professional trade magazines. I completed my Master’s Degree in Nursing, got married, had a kid and continued to write everyday I could.
I like to joke that during my 30’s and 40’s I was a wife, mother, nurse, cook, chauffeur, nanny, contact lens technician and business owner. And most of all, writer.
While banging out the magazine articles on motherhood, empty nest syndrome and ophthalmic care, I was also secretly writing fiction. I say secretly because I never – ever – showed those works to anyone, including my husband. Fiction writing – particularly romantic fiction – was my secret candy stash: my one guilty pleasure. Since I’d read my fist Nora Roberts book I’d had a secret ambition to be a romance novelist. I was twenty at the time when I penned my first romance story. Suffice it to say it was awful and leave it there.
But I never gave up on my dream to write romance and have it published.
So enough backstory. Here’s the present day 411.
When I was deciding what to write for this posting I had a dream about a phrase I developed during a particularly rough patch of my life. I used to repeat the phrase numerous times during the day just to keep me sane and focused. That phrase I laughingly call THE TAO OF NGU NGI (pronounced na-goo na-guy). It stands for Never Give Up, Never Give In. When all looked bleak and times were shaky, the Tao pushed me through to the other side and helped me come out stronger, more able, and a victor.
As I enter this next phase of my life there are many changes coming. Fast! I retire in April from a job I have held for over 15 years. I will be having 2 books published in 2015 by the Wild Rose Press and have 3 more in line for the continuation of the series, and three more in development. I will be eligible to get an AARP card ( if I want one). All because I vowed to never give up on my dream of being a published author, and to never give in to all the voices and advice of people who told me at various times that I was : too old, not a good enough writer, too verbose, writing popular pap and not real literature, and ( my favorite) no one wanted to read a romance by a woman over the age of 50.
God puts dreams in our hearts for a reason. It is our duty and responsibility to see that those dreams come to fruition. One of my favorite quotes is “every set back is a set-up for something new and exciting.” Don’t give up on your dreams. Ever. Practice the Tao of NGU NGI and doors and opportunities will open for you. My best advice to anyone pursing a dream is just this: never give up on it. It may take 5 minutes, 5 years, or a generation to fulfill, but I truly feel you are never too old, and no dream is ever too big, to pursue.
I know this firsthand.
I know this firsthand.Figure skater Tiffany Lennox is busy with rehearsals for an upcoming ice show when the only man she’s ever loved comes home after a two-year overseas stint. She needs him to see her for the woman she’s become and not the child he knew to ensure he stays home, this time, for good. With her.
I know this firsthand.For all his wanderlust and hunger for professional success, Cole Greer comes home wanting nothing more than to rest, relax and recover. He is delighted in being Tiffany’s hero and has a special place in his heart reserved for her. But faced with the oh-so-desirable woman she’s become, he starts questioning his determination to keep their relationship platonic.
I know this firsthand.When forced by the television network to go back on assignment, Cole – for the first time in his life – is torn between his career and his heart.
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 was 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 usually 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.
In 2005 she was thrilled to have an article on motherhood placed in the CHICKEN SOUP FOR VERY 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.
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.
Her first romance novel, SKATER’S WALTZ will be released on March 4, 2015 from the Wild Rose Press.
Where to find Peggy…
Peggy, thanks for sharing your inspiring journey. You are an excellent role model for reinvention (at any age). BTW…I have decided to embrace NGU NGI as my mantra.
I’m thrilled to present the cover for Kate Sparkes’ novel…
Aren Tiernal knows that safety is an illusion, that his cruel and powerful brother Severn will never forgive his betrayal. Still, returning to Tyrea to challenge Severn for the throne would be suicide. It’s not until Severn himself comes to collect what’s owed to him that Aren decides to risk everything in an attempt to bring down the most powerful Sorcerer Tyrea has ever known. It’s a mission that seems doomed to fail, but it’s Aren’s only chance to save himself, his country, and the woman who thawed his heart.
Rowan Greenwood has troubles of her own. Though she has potential to become a great Sorceress, years of being closed off from her magic have left her unable to control her incredible power. When a pair of ominous letters arrive from her home country, Rowan has to choose between her new life and a chance at saving a family member’s life—and just maybe changing an entire country’s beliefs about the evils of magic.
Torn apart by separate quests, Rowan and Aren will have to discover untapped strengths and confront their darkest fears in order to overthrow a ruler determined to destroy them both.
Release Date: March 31, 2015
In the meantime, take advantage of the following sale…
Use one of these jokes at your next meeting.
When my husband got pulled over by a policeman on a trip in Switzerland, he wondered what the trouble was.
“Didn’t you notice the flash from the speed-control camera?” asked the officer.
“Ah, that’s what it was,” said my husband, unaccustomed to this technology. “I thought it was a lightning strike.”
“Well,” said the officer before handing him a ticket with a hefty fine. “Here comes the thunder.”
Source: Ursula Helfer, Reader’s Digest
As a woman entered the elevator at a hospital, a disheveled-looking man rushed in, carrying a blue baby bootie filled with carnations.
She smiled and asked, “Does he look like you?”
“I hope not,” he said. “I just deliver the flowers.”
Source: Reader’s Digest
When the waitress at an upscale restaurant brought a patron the soup of the day, he was dismayed. “Good heavens,” he said. “What is this?”
“Why it’s bean soup,” she replied.
“I don’t care where it has been,” he sputtered. “What is it now?”
Source: Reader’s Digest
I’m thrilled to present the cover for Jo Richardson’s novel…
Iris Alden and Carter Blackwood couldn’t be more different. Change-averse Iris likes her life neat and organized, while Carter’s itchy feet mean he doesn’t plan to stay in the same place for long.
When Carter moves into the house across the street from Iris, to renovate it, she fights the disruption it causes in her life. Before long, though, it’s not simply the house Carter’s rebuilding, but Iris’s heart, too.
“What are you doing here?”
It’s Carter freaking Blackwood. Of course.
He smiles that ridiculously bright, white smile of his and lets out a soft snicker. “I’m fixing a floor for a friend, what are you doing here?”
It’s completely obvious what I’m doing here, seeing as I’m carrying two huge trays of sugar cookies in my arms.
“A friend? You just moved in. How do you have friends already?” I say it a bit harsher than I probably should but honestly, how does he have friends already? James and I were here a good six months before people started really talking to me. It was a year before I could call any of them friends. The edges of Carter’s mouth turn down and his head dips to one side as his shoulders hunch then settle.
“People like me, I guess.”
The smug look on his face is enough to make me want to slap it. Or kiss it.
Wait. Not kiss it. I didn’t mean kiss it. Why am I staring at his lips?
“People who don’t want to kill me that is. Are you okay?”
I blink, and search my brain, but I’m still not quite sure what to say to him, so I extend my arms. “I brought cookies.” As soon as I say the words, I hear them. I sound ridiculous and Carter’s bright eyes crinkle with amusement.
He closes his lids and he breathes the baked goods in. Then hums. The sound of his voice sends a vibration through me and I shiver. I am eternally grateful that he doesn’t see it happen.
His eyes open slowly. When they reach mine, I’m glued to his stare like a deer in headlights.
“Those cookies smell really fucking good, Iris.”
The bedroom eyes catch me off guard and my mouth falls open so I snap it shut. I’m a buffoon with no ability to speak.
“Can I have one?” He reaches out and I balance the platter with one hand, then slap his fingers with the other while I find words. A word that is.
“Ow.” He pulls his hand away, like a child getting reprimanded, only when we make eye contact again, he doesn’t seem child like to me.
I wouldn’t say he’s angry. He doesn’t exactly laugh, either. And his eyes gleam as he stares at me. I hate his eyes almost as much as I hate his teeth. Maybe more. Dammit, I’m staring, again.
“They’re for Ally’s class,” I tell him. “Fundraiser, I mean bake sale.” I fumble my words. He’s so frustrating.
Other works by Jo
Cursed be the Wicked, a paranormal mystery romance, released March 2014 through Soul Mate Publishing
Lost in Christmas, a short story included in Soul Mate Publishing’s 2013 Christmas anthology
Jo grew up in Maryland with four siblings, three parents and an endless number of cousins within the vicinity – but it was too cold up North for this thin blooded girl. So today, she lives in Florida with her two girls and a husband that shares her same sense of humor and basic take on life as we know it.
Life is too short to put dreams on the back burner.
Jo tells contemporary stories with romance, humor, the supernatural, the paranormal, suspense, mystery, action and anything else she can think up.
In 2012, she wrote Cursed be the Wicked, a character driven, paranormal mystery romance that was picked up by Soul Mate Publishing and released in March of 2014. Since then, Jo has also written a couple of short stories and her recently contracted contemporary romantic comedy, entitled Cookie Cutter, is set to release on March 23, 2015 through Little Bird Publishing.
Where to find Jo…
Release Date: March 23, 2015
I am happy to feature The Wild Rose Press author Marilyn Baron and her new release, The Widows’ Gallery.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer from the time I read Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I wrote my first poem at age 11 that was published in Highlights, the magazine you see at the dentist office. My first “book,” East West Island, featured all the children in my third-grade class, and my teacher read it in installments every day. I directed my first play at age 13, starring my brother and sisters and some of the neighborhood kids to raise money for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. I wrote the scripts for the school assembly programs and served as editor and feature editor of my junior high school and high school newspapers. Although my father encouraged me to major in elementary education, because he thought you couldn’t make a living as a writer, I majored in Journalism (Public Relations) and English (Creative Writing) in college and pursued a satisfying corporate career with AT&T in Public Relations. I did a one-year stint in the Florida State prison system (Translation: I was an information specialist at the Florida Department of Offender Rehabilitation) and then quit to run my own public relations firm. But I’ve always wanted to write fiction.
I pursued that dream in earnest when I joined Georgia Romance Writers, where I got my start with craft workshops, conferences and the camaraderie and support of fellow writers. I volunteered for such jobs as on-line newsletter editor and handling publicity for the chapter’s annual Moonlight & Magnolias conference. My road to publication has been a long one—more than 10 years. Along the way I’ve won four writing awards, published seven books with The Wild Rose Press, with two other books coming soon; five humorous paranormal short stories; and self-published two books and a musical called Memory Lane about Alzheimer’s with my sister.
My first publishing experience was writing short stories with TWB Press, a small publisher of science fiction, supernatural, horror and urban fantasy and thrillers. My fifth short story, The Files Death Forgot, was released by TWB Press February 15. Then my first full-length novel, Under the Moon Gate, a historical romantic thriller set in modern day and WW II Bermuda, was contracted by The Wild Rose Press (TWRP). At the time no one seemed to want books set in World War II but that was my favorite period in history and Bermuda was one of my favorite places to visit so I never gave up on it. My editor loved it and I found a home.
I’ve been writing for TWRP ever since. I don’t have an agent yet so I was thinking of dedicating my next book “To the Agent I Never Had.” Unlike many writers, I don’t stick with one genre. I’ve written women’s fiction (coming-of-middle-age novels); historical romantic thrillers; a psychic suspense series; fantasy; and my latest novel released February 11 is a women’s fiction with four romances, called The Widows’ Gallery. I enjoy the diversity, but all my books and stories have one thing in common. They all use humor to tell the story. And they all have a happy ending. I like to use art as a theme because I studied Art History in Florence, Italy, where I spent six months in college. In fact The Widows’ Gallery is partially set there. I frequently set my books in places I’ve traveled to and, like a sponge, I put to use a lot of what I see and hear. Every time my sister calls me she prefaces her remarks with, “Now, don’t use this in a book.” The best piece of advice I’ve learned from interviewing such bestselling authors as Daniel Silva, Steve Berry and Janet Evanovich is, “Finish the book.” Their rationale is you can always correct a bad manuscript but you can’t correct a blank page. Blurb
I’ve been writing for TWRP ever since.
I don’t have an agent yet so I was thinking of dedicating my next book “To the Agent I Never Had.”
Unlike many writers, I don’t stick with one genre. I’ve written women’s fiction (coming-of-middle-age novels); historical romantic thrillers; a psychic suspense series; fantasy; and my latest novel released February 11 is a women’s fiction with four romances, called The Widows’ Gallery. I enjoy the diversity, but all my books and stories have one thing in common. They all use humor to tell the story. And they all have a happy ending.
I like to use art as a theme because I studied Art History in Florence, Italy, where I spent six months in college. In fact The Widows’ Gallery is partially set there. I frequently set my books in places I’ve traveled to and, like a sponge, I put to use a lot of what I see and hear. Every time my sister calls me she prefaces her remarks with, “Now, don’t use this in a book.”
The best piece of advice I’ve learned from interviewing such bestselling authors as Daniel Silva, Steve Berry and Janet Evanovich is, “Finish the book.” Their rationale is you can always correct a bad manuscript but you can’t correct a blank page.
Childless heiress Abigail Adams Longley and three other widows on a Mediterranean cruise bond over a Renaissance masterpiece in Florence, Italy, and find love, friendship and joy in their joint venture to open an art gallery at the Longley mansion in Lobster Cove, Maine.
Since the death of her husband, Abigail has been lonely and drifting in a house that’s too big and a town that’s too small. When she literally runs into sexy widower and whale-watching excursion captain Tack Garrity on the dock, she’s entranced by his adorable five-year-old daughter.
But will Tack, who has harbored a secret crush on Abigail for almost two decades, be able to capture her heart? A secret pact her husband made with Tack could either tear them apart or bring them closer together and change their lives forever.
Abigail Adams Longley looked around at the three women flanking her in Hall 10/14 of the Uffizi Gallery. They were all staring at The Birth of Venus like wide-eyed art students. Admittedly, the painting was as compelling as when the Medici family originally commissioned the tempera on canvas in the fifteenth century. But for Abigail, seeing the painting again wasn’t cathartic. It was beautiful, but that wasn’t the feeling she was going for. Peace. Why couldn’t she get some goddamned peace in this life?
Abigail glanced at the square-cut, four-carat diamond on her finger, gazed at the sparkle of the ring she hadn’t removed since the day Louis had proposed. And now, a whole year after his death, she still hadn’t taken it off. Conventional wisdom dictated that you weren’t supposed to make any major life decisions until a year after a spouse’s death. Well, it had been a year already, and she hadn’t wanted to make even one decision—major or minor—about where to live, where to go, or what to do. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness had devised another dead-on axiom. She had all the money in the world—in fact Louis had left her a big chunk of the globe. He’d left her set for life, monetarily. But she would have traded every cent for the chance to be with him again. Louis was gone, and the sooner she faced the fact that she was alone on this planet, the better off she’d be.
Marilyn Baron is a corporate public relations consultant in Atlanta. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), recipient of the GRW 2009 Chapter Service Award and winner or finalist in writing awards in single title, suspense romance, novel with strong romantic elements and paranormal romance.
Marilyn writes in a variety of genres, including: Humorous women’s fiction (The Widows’ Gallery, Stones, and Significant Others; a psychic suspense series (Sixth Sense, Homecoming Homicides and the soon to be released Killer Cruise); and historical romantic thrillers (Under the Moon Gate and the prequel, Destiny: A Bermuda Love Story) for The Wild Rose Press; and humorous paranormal short stories for TWB Press (A Choir of Angels, Follow an Angel, The Stand-In Bridegroom, Dead Mix and The Files Death Forgot).
Marilyn is a member of the Roswell Reads Steering Committee and belongs to two book clubs. A native of Miami, Florida, Marilyn now lives in Roswell, Georgia, with her husband and they have two daughters. She graduated from The University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism [Public Relations sequence] and a minor in Creative Writing.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, going to movies, eating Italian food and traveling. She often sets her stories in places she’s visited, including Bermuda, Australia and Italy, where she spent six months studying in Florence during her senior year in college.
Where to find Marilyn…
I am happy to feature author Rachel Brimble and her novels, What a Woman Desires and Christmas at the Cove.
I have always wanted to write since reading The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton when I was around eight or nine. I would make up stories and bind the pages together with colored ribbon. I wish so much that I’d kept my first novel attempts!
From this young age, I wrote on and off for a few years but it wasn’t until I found my first Harlequin romance around the age of fourteen that romance (and women’s fiction) became my passion. I vowed after I’d finished reading that I would get a book of my own published one day.
Of course, that didn’t happen for a LONG time…
I left school at sixteen and started work in the insurance industry. A couple of years later I met and fell in love with my husband…life happened, marriage happened, kids happened. I was happy at home, but it was upon the birth of my second daughter that I had my ‘now or never’ moment.
Starting with short stories, I had a little success online and in women’s magazines. When it was time for my daughter to start school full-time, I knew it wouldn’t be long before my husband asked me what I was going to do…I need the answer ready. Write a novel!
That was in 2005 and, in 2007, The Wild Rose Press published my first romantic suspense, Searching For Sophie. From 2007 until 2012, I had at least one novel published every year, sometimes more.
The dreams started to come true when I had books accepted by both Harlequin Superromance and eKensington in 2012. Since then, I have been writing mainstream romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin and Victorian romance for eKensington.
I am a very happy author!
Monica Danes always wanted more than the village of Biddestone had to offer. After a failed courtship to a man of her parents’ choosing, she fled for the city of Bath and never looked back. Today, Monica is the undisputed queen of the theater—a wealthy, independent woman. But when she is called home in the wake of tragedy, Monica returns—intending to leave again as soon as possible.
Thomas Ashby has been a groom at the Danes estate since he was a boy—and has been enamored with Monica for almost as long. He knows he isn’t a suitable match for his master’s daughter, despite the special bond he and Monica have always shared—and their undeniable attraction. But now that she’s returned, Thomas has one last chance to prove himself worthy—and to show Monica a life, and a love, she won’t want to give up…
Scott Walker doesn’t have time for a relationship. The sexy mechanic has career ambitions, not to mention a mother and three sisters to take care of. The last thing he needs is Carrie Jameson, the beauty he never forgot, arriving in Templeton Cove over the holidays with some unexpected news.
Scott still finds Carrie irresistible, and he’s not one to shirk responsibility. Scott’s issues with his own dad make the prospect of parenthood a minefield. But if he and Carrie can overcome their fears, this Christmas could bring them the best gift of all.
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. In 2012, she sold two books to Harlequin Superromance and a further three in 2013. She also writes Victorian romance for Kensington–her debut was released in April 2013, followed by a second in January 2014 and the third is released Jan 2015.
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 and beloved black Lab, Max. 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!
Where to find Rachel…