I’m happy to welcome award-winning author Peggy Jaeger to the Power of 10 Series. Today, Peggy will share ten of her all-time favorite books and her new release, Passion’s Palette.
Joanne – thanks so much for having me on your blog today!
I think it goes hand in hand with being a writer that you are also, first and last, a reader. I read at a very young age and practically grew up in my local library. I was a latch key kid from the age of 8 on, so every day after school I went to the library until 6 pm. The library was so many things to me: refuge, a safe place to hangout, a world of knowledge, a universe of opportunity, my friend. My love of books is something I will carry with me until the day I leave this earth.
I read all the time. Even when I am writing—the time editors will tell you to never read anyone else’s works—I read. And I re-read. A lot. Below are my ten all time favorite books that I have read multiple times each. 9 are fiction, and the last is a writing reference tool that sits on my desk next to my laptop and is dog-earred, filled with notes and post-it’s and used daily when I am writing. I think these books define me in many ways – as a writer and a reader.
#1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I read this when I was 10 and have re-read it once a year since then. I always find something new that I didn’t notice before when I re-read it. By today’s standards, this book could be considered racist. I tend to look at it as a timeless love story between two hard-headed people. Rhett and Scarlett were meant for each other and their love affair just happens to take place during one of the most horrific time periods of our country.
#2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. This book is the reason I am a romance book lover. I read it for the first time when I was 11 and even though I had a hard time with the period language, I knew it was a story for anyone who looks for love to triumph over social class, economic differences, and societal quirks.
#3. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. Talk about a great love story. When it first came out it was banned by the Catholic Church, so, since I am a Catholic, of course I had to read it. Strip the religion from this book and you’ve still got a love story for the ages and a book that is so beautifully lyrical the way it is written, it is a joy to read.
#4. New York to Dallas by JD Robb. In truth, I love all the IN DEATH books, but this one is the only one that made me cry, actually weep tears, at the love between Eve Dallas and Roarke. In one of the final scenes, Lt. Eve Dallas has just had a knockdown, drag-out fight with a serial killer. She’s battered, bruised, and a little loopy from the painkillers they’ve given her. She’s speaking to her good friend Dr. Charlotte Mira, with Eve’s husband – the panty-dropping Roarke, in the background.
Eve says: “Want to finish, give my report. Is my face messed up? I hate when that happens. Not like I’m pretty or anything, but—”
“You’re the most beautiful woman ever born,” Roarke said from the doorway, and Eve sent him a woozy, drugged smile.
I just cried writing that!!!
#5. French Silk by Sandra Brown. I would read a book about the alphabet if Sandra Brown wrote it, but FRENCH SILK was one of the few books that ever kept me guessing right up until the last page. That rarely happens for me. A cast of characters that were delicious to read about and a past story/plotline that knocked my socks off. Truly, a fabulous read.
#6. Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. The first romance I read that actually had SEX for all to read about and experience. Woodiwiss opened the bedroom door and thank goodness she did! Still a classic love and romance story to this day. So richly written and described.
#7. Domina by Barbara Wood. There are very few books out there that take the time to not only be historically accurate, but give you a kick ass bunch of heroines in the mix. This book was about female doctors, practitioners, and healers, what they went through and how they were treated throughout history by their male counterparts. It’s a timeless book, as powerful to read now as it was when it was first released.
#8. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. The story of a family going through the worst thing they can – a child’s illness. But it is so much more. Picoult has woven a complex story that deals with not only a parent’s heartache, but the right to choose death on your own terms. She mixes medicine, the law, and family struggles so seamlessly, you don’t even realize the important themes and undertones in the book until that last page.
#9. Irish Thoroughbred by Nora Roberts. Her first book. ‘Nuff said!
#10. The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. I read this book every single day I am writing. Heck, I even refer to it when I’m not writing because it is such a valuable tool for understanding human behavior.
For the purposes of full disclosure here, Joanne, I could have easily given you two dozen more books!
Thanks so much for inviting me today to talk to your readers. I hope I’ve offered them some food for thought to try a writer that maybe that haven’t yet.
Talented and witty portrait artist Serena MacQuire is successful in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivalled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.
But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. After he left his professional football career to become a veterinarian, his bitter wife ended their marriage. Now, as he starts his life over in a new town, love is the last thing he’s looking for. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.
Will he be the man who finally unlocks and claims her heart?
Their eyes met and Seamus registered the silent “O” of surprise on her mouth.
“I’m sorry I startled you,” he said, drawn to her as an errant moth would be to a ghost of moonlight. “Addie told me you were out here.”
Serena reached over to her sketchpad, open at her feet, and closed it with a flick of her toe. He was rewarded with a lengthy view of thigh as she stretched.
“Doodling, mostly. I wanted to do some preliminary sketches for a commission I have.”
“Mind if I sit?” he asked, and without waiting for an answer, did.
When he reached for the pad and said, “May I?” she shot her bare foot on top of it.
“Sorry.” Serena reached over and grabbed the book. When it was safely tucked behind her back, braced against the tree, she added, “I’m a little schizoid where my work is concerned. I don’t let people see it when it’s in the planning or beginning stages.”
He looked across at her, lifted one brow slightly, then glanced around. “This is nice,” he said. “Quiet. Peaceful.”
A fist of pure desire punched him in the stomach, the muscles contracting in response to the challenge in her eyes.
“Was there something you needed to see me about?”
He considered her again, before replying. For someone so young she could act as regally as the most aged dowager.
And she was young; much younger than he was. It wouldn’t do to start anything with her. Besides, she was a client. He had to keep it professional.
But dammit, those eyes speared right through him, impaling him with their beauty, and were hard to ignore. As was the gentle swell and shift of her breasts with each breath beneath her barely modest halter top. And her legs, well, just forget about those. Legs like that were destined to be his downfall.
Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.
Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.
Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.
Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.
In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.
In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader’s Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.