Welcome author Emma Leigh Reed. Check out her post below and follow the links to find more about this wonderful NH author. —Jodi
As I sit and think about writing this blog, my mind wanders to the beginning of my serious writing journey. Eight years ago I decided I wanted to tell my son’s story. My son has PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder, nonspecific – in layman’s terms high functioning autism). At that time (the start of my writing journey) he was eleven years old and the journey he had taken me on had been frustrating, rewarding, all consuming at times, but on the whole, it was a journey of looking at the world in a totally different light.
As I sat down to start writing his story, the emotions were so raw still I just couldn’t do it. So instead, I decided to write a fiction story, but weave my son’s journey in autism into the story line. I did not plot out this story. As it developed, the characters took over and the story just became what it is.
SECOND CHANCES, although fiction, in a lot of ways has my own personal, and my son’s, experiences weaved throughout. A lot of the accomplishments you will see Jared making in SECOND CHANCES are accomplishments that my son made. It was a therapeutic story for me to write, allowing me to tell some about my journey through autism and my son’s accomplishments and also allowing me to write a story in which I always wanted to do, but never had the courage.
My son’s autism has taught me a lot about my own life. His hard work to get where he is now in life has given me bravery to do what I truly love to do – write. People who have never had the experience of knowing an autistic child do not understand the small milestones that are huge. The simple act of finally getting a hug from your child, a real hug with arms wrapped around you, will bring tears to your eyes. The first words out of a four-year-old after being nonverbal and only using sign language to communicate tears can melt your heart. I would never be able to convey through a book how powerful a journey it is to be taught by your child how to never take the little things for granted.
At this time, my son has just graduated high school and is moving on to a trade school and then working in his dad’s family business. Over the years I have said over and over again that my son is autistic. I do NOT say he has autism because for me autism is not a disability. It is a way of life and it is just what makes my son who he is, but it does not define him. Yes, he is quirky and downright odd at times, but he takes life in stride and I have seen him overcome being nonverbal, overcome sensory overloading times and deal appropriately with them. My son is an incredible young man who has taught me and his sisters so much just by knowing him.
Blurb for Second Chances:
Consumed by guilt surrounding her husband’s death as she raises her autistic son alone, KIRA NICHOLS shuts herself off from everyone and everything. That is until GRANT RUTLEDGE returns to town to help run his family’s business. The spark between them is unlike anything either has ever experienced, but when Kira discovers a secret from Grant’s past, her suspicious nature puts up a roadblock to a happy future. She’ll have to overcome her suspicions and leave behind the haunting ghosts from the past in order to let love heal the broken trust she’s lived with for too long.
Emma Leigh Reed has lived in New Hampshire all her life. She has fond memories of the Maine coastline and incorporates the ocean into all her books. Her life has been touched and changed by her son’s autism – she views life through a very different lens than before he was born. Growing up as an avid reader, it was only natural for Emma Leigh to turn to creating the stories for others to enjoy and has found herself an author of contemporary and romantic suspense. With a BA in Creative Writing/English, Emma Leigh enjoys sharing her knowledge with others and helping aspiring authors.
Linda Tiernan Kepner pays my blog a visit with her answer to the question What Literary character(s) would you like to have dinner with, and why?
Another fab author from New England, Linda is part of my Meet the Authors series. Her book Vale of Vampires is available now. Check out the excerpt below.
Her short story “Quicksilver” will be in “Decopunk,” an anthology to be released in July.
Take it away, Linda…
Peggy Jaeger asked me: What Literary character(s) would you like to have dinner with, and why?
I’m influenced by intelligent heroes and heroines. And I think the food would be as interesting as the conversation!
Archie Goodwin. Somewhere that we wouldn’t have to dress up, although he likes his dancing and a good night on the town. I would like to know if it was his love of food or adventure that made him agree to become Nero Wolfe’s leg-man. After all, he showed he really didn’t need Wolfe to survive in 20th-century New York City, and yet he says, “Yes sir,” and goes out on the next errand. Robert Goldsborough is doing a wonderful job of answering some of these questions about the pre-Rex Stout era of their partnership in the prequels he’s writing. Maybe he has talked to Archie Goodwin.
Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane (aka Lady Peter), together or separately. The characters in Dorothy Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey novels (continued by Jill Paton Walsh) are probably much smarter than me, but I think we could find something to talk about. It would be interesting to get Harriet’s slant on being a woman writer in a time that discouraged women writing. That’s an interesting time period, between World Wars 1 and 2. I never knew much about England’s role because my Irish-American family was so rabidly anti-English they wouldn’t even cross the border to Ontario for Sunday afternoon ice cream. And it was only ten miles away.
John Watson, M.D. I had a crush on him when I was in high school. I thought he was much cooler than Sherlock Holmes. He was ex-military, a man of action, and intelligent enough to have an advanced degree. Good-looking, too, at least in the early years, a tanned ex-soldier. I borrowed The Complete Sherlock Holmes from my high school library and renewed it continually for almost a year. I never saw the old movies, with Nigel Bruce whuffling around for comedic action, and I’m glad. The modern movie/TV Watsons are much better.
Dr. Leonard J. McCoy from the classic Star Trek series. I read the books based on the TV scripts, but they were done by an English sci-fic author who had never seen the show (James Blish). As I got older, I appreciated Blish’s writing more. He made those characters into thinking men. But McCoy’s twinkling blue eyes, his Southern background, and his skill made him very foxy, didn’t matter if he was the oldest guy on the ship. He started as an “extra” in that program, and ended up as a star. The books showed his compassion and his common sense.
Melville Dewey, aka Melvil Dui. I know, not a literary character as such – though I think someone may have written a novel featuring him. (There was a good long biographical article about him in AL – does that count?) I’d like to know how he transformed the Baconian theory of knowledge into the Dewey Decimal System (and the LC system), and how he decided to form the American Library Association. But I’d only want coffee with him, because a) he was an 1890’s university librarian, so he could be preachy; and b) he was a masher who diddled with the funds of the ALA and with more than a few of the female librarians, and got himself kicked out of the organization in disgrace. I’ll bet I’d probably end up paying for the coffee, too.
Vale of Vampires
(Book 2 of The Vampire of Manhattan series)
At Good Hope Hospital and Hanford & Bogie Publishing, life goes on. Dr. Benjamin Smith has become the official physician of The Vampire of Manhattan. Dr. Aden Drinan grudgingly acquires a mentor in Brooklyn. Bill Sniffen gallops off to Canada after a hot story. Rosa resists being packed off to Italy. Jenna McArdle wrangles authors, editors, publishers, and the health issues of her last remaining family member, Jimmy.
Then Sniffen vanishes in Canada, and Jenna goes looking for him. During her travels, she meets a wise vampire hunter, a kindly Quebecois trapper, and a sophisticated vampire lord. Then Jenna also disappears, and the doctors begin searching for her. The jaunt to Canada promises to be a walk in the park. Central Park. After midnight. On a very bad night.
“So that’s where you stand.” Fletcher set down the glass with a thud.
“That’s where I stand.” In one smooth motion Drinan refilled the glass, again without asking.
“You don’t screw up, Drinan, that’s the pisser.” Fletcher took another sip of the cognac in the spirit in which it was given. “They can gossip about your women and bitch about you skipping hospital meetings, but there’s not a doctor alive who’d say that Aden Drinan ever ditched a patient.”
“That’s the way I want to keep it.” Drinan also sipped cognac. Looking into the glass, he added, “That’s what’s important to me.”
“More important than your women?”
Drinan met his gaze. “Yes.”
Fletcher seemed greatly subdued, more than two shots of cognac should have done. He stood. “I’ll think about what you’ve said.”
“All right.” Drinan stood, too, and saw his guest back out into the darkened halls of the Doctors’ Annex. He shut the office door and sat down again in his chair. Thoughtfully, he put the cognac away. Fletcher was a good doc. All he needed was a little time.
The telephone rang. Drinan looked at the clock. Six o’clock on a Friday evening. A fine time for an emergency. Just when he wanted to get out of the office for a while, and play in the darkness. He could pretend he was not here; but he never did.
“Why, you still are at the office.”
Her voice made him smile. The weariness melted away. “Hello, Jenna. What can I do for you?”
“Do you have a date?”
“Well, then. The Rainbow Room. Eight o’clock.”
“That’s the best offer I’ve had all week.”
“It must have been a heck of a week.”
“It was. Are you getting too liberated, or may I still pay our way?”
“Oh, you may, if you insist. I admit I’m going to ask you for a favor.”
“Not the Secret Life of Aden Drinan, I hope.”
“Oh, no. Not at all. Something far more mundane. I will go out and buy you a boutonniere, though.”
“I can live with that,” said Drinan. “Thanks, Jenna. I don’t know how you knew I needed some time away from this.”
“I have psychic powers,” Jenna said. “Some experts in the field have told me so.”
Linda Tiernan Kepner has loved genre fiction – science fiction, mystery, fantasy, and romance – since she was a child, although not much was available in “serious northern” New York State. Except for Canadian television and books available in school libraries, there was none to read – so she wrote her own. She has been writing since third grade, but truly published since the 1990s.
Linda’s science fiction and fantasy short stories have appeared in Absolute Magnitude magazine and anthology; Reality’s Escape;Sorcerer’s Apprentice;Dreams of Decadence;FantasticStoriesoftheImagination.com; and the anthologies Little Shop of Poisons and Potions, The Apothecary on the Street of Dreams, The Life and Times of Griswald Grimm, and Decopunk.
So far, Linda has published seven novels: Play the Game and Planting Walnuts (science fiction); Second Chance and Second Chance Sister (romance); The Whisperwood Ordinaire (fantasy fiction); and the paranormal series featuring the Vampire of Manhattan, Lovingthe Vampire and Vale of Vampires.
I’m thrilled to have Peggy Jaeger, author of Skater’s Waltz and There’s No Place Like Home, visit my blog. Peggy is another one of the fabulous authors from the New England area.
WHY I WRITE ROMANTIC FICTION
Those who know me personally already know the answer to this one. Sometimes, though, it’s good to lay it all out so everyone knows the same thing.
For most of my life, I’ve loved reading mysteries. As a kid, I read Nancy Drew and the Trixie Beldon mysteries like they were sustenance for my starving body. As I got older, I discovered Agatha Christie and by the time she died, I had read every one of her novels and short stories at least twice. I never really read what were called “love stories” until after I had my daughter. I was browsing through the bookstore one day, looking for a new author – since most of the ones I liked had died! – and I spotted a Nora Roberts paperback. It was Irish Thoroughbred. I read the back jacket and it seemed like I’d like it, so I took it home and read it. In three hours. I was absolutely hooked by the way she wove a story. The same day I went back to the bookstore and bought the other three titles they had in her name. They were devoured within three days. For the past 25 years, I have read everything published by Roberts, including her JDRobb works. By opening my reading world to romantic fiction, Roberts introduced me to a wealth of other romance novelists who have made my life so much sweeter and more exciting with their writings.
When I decided I wanted to try and write romance, I sat down and made a list – really! a list – of why I loved reading it so much. These were the highlights:
there is usually a happy, relationship-resolved ending. And who doesn’t like a happy ending?
the female characters are always independent, smart, many times funny and witty, go-getters, nurture-ers, thoughtful and someone I would like to be friends with.
the male leads are usually – but not always – alpha males, successful in almost everything but love ( hence the heroine!), smart, charming, family oriented ( usually) and someone I would like to have in my life. The beta males are pretty hot, too.
the secondary characters seem real to me, not walk on’s who come in and then go, usually just to deliver a message, like so many other kinds of novels I’ve read. You never see them again and they serve no purpose in the character’s life except to tell them one piece of info. In romance writing, the secondary characters are real people, just like you’d have in your own life. And they serve real purposes in the main character’s lives.
the sex is written from an emotional viewpoint, and not a clinical one. I’ve read enough “popular fiction” where the obligatory sex scene describes a going into b and then c happening. Boring. In romance, we get to hear and witness the character’s emotions, responses, desires and dreams. And a really good author will make you feel like the character’s emotions could be yours as well.
the stories told around the romance are fun, sad, exciting, mysterious, thrilling, thought provoking and sometimes even just sweet.
who, after all, doesn’t love LOVE? Being in love, feeling loved, loving someone else. Even the Bible says “Love one another.”
Those are the main reasons I like reading – and now writing – romantic fiction. I’m sure if you ask ten different romance authors their reasons, you will get ten or more different answers than mine.
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.
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.
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.
Skater’s Waltz Excerpt:
One delicate auburn eyebrow rose almost to her hairline. “Cocky self assurance has always been one of your greatest assets,” she commented dryly.
Cole laughed again and pulled her down into a headlock.
“Snot nosed princess,” he said, knuckle-rubbing her head.
He’d been wrestling with her since she was a child. He’d taught her every subtle move to get the high ground, and in that moment she used the knowledge to her advantage. In one slick move, her arm came out across his neck, forcing his hold to loosen. When it did, she pulled her hand back and pushed forward, expertly flipping him in the seat.
To recover his balance, Cole leaned back into the couch, grabbed what he hoped were her upper arms, and shoved. In a heartbeat, she was lying backward along the length of the couch with him spread out on top of her.
Both were laughing and wriggling, each trying to get the upper hand.
Tiffany squealed, trying to twist her hips out from beneath him. “Let me go!”
“Not a chance. I know how your devious little mind works, and I taught you how to do this. The minute I loosen up, you’ll hip check me over the back of the couch. No, thanks.”
Tiffany burst out laughing. “You rat. That was exactly what I was going to do.”
“You know retreat and surrender are inevitable, Tiff. I outweigh you, and I’ve got the distinct advantage of your injury in my favor. Give?”
“Okay, you win.” She went limp beneath him.
The corners of his eyes narrowed as he smiled down at her. “You must be maturing,” he said. “You never used to give up so easily.”
When he removed one hand from her arm, she reached up to trace the outline of one of his eyes. Her finger moved from the outer canthus to his cheek, smoothing the skin she touched. “You didn’t have these little lines when you left.”
Cole stared down at her face.
Her finger roamed down to the corners of his mouth, outlining them, then on to the small dent in the middle of his chin. An impish grin fanned across her face. “I remember being little and wondering if I smoothed this line away would I be able to see inside you, like it was a door or some kind of opening to your insides. Dumb, huh?”
“Sweet,” he said, softly. “Little girl sweet. Never dumb.”
Her eyes traveled up to his and locked there.
“When I got older I wondered what it would be like to kiss it.”
His breath hitched.
“Would it taste like soap, left over from shaving, or would it be all spiky and nubby because you missed a few hairs. Or would it taste uniquely like you do. I still wonder about that.”
Knowing what he was about to do, and to whom, should have sent him jumping off the couch, running in the other direction. Instead, when his head came down to hers all Cole could think about was how much he wanted to taste her again, how he wanted to lose himself in her, and how both those feelings somehow seemed right, even though he knew they shouldn’t.
Her body tensed as he inched closer. When his lips finally captured hers, she turned fluid under his hands.
Her smooth, small body slackened beneath him as his lips gently moved across hers, tasting them, savoring them. Releasing his grip on her arms, he leaned on his elbows and ran his fingers into her hair, cupping her face while holding fistfuls of the glorious mane.
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 http://peggyjaeger.com 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 two contemporary romance novels published by The Wild Rose Press: Skater’s Waltz, book 1 in the MacQuire Women Series, and There’s No Place Like Home, book 2. Four more are in the works for this series, in addition to her Cooking with Kandy series.
Facebook challenge: List 10 books that have left a lasting impression on you. I’m not one to do challenges, especially those that I have to tag 10 people to do it also, but when I thought about what I would list I also found the need to explain why.
1) The Ghost of Dibble Hollow – May Nickerson Wallace
Back in grade school, third or fourth grade, we students received a flyer with listings of books for sale—age group appropriate. These flyers came out at regular intervals and I couldn’t wait to get the next one. I read each book’s “back cover” blurb and marked about a dozen as “must have”. I then had to turn it over to my mom so she could make up the order and, even more importantly, pay for them. She would always hand it back to me with orders to pick one or two. Well folks, and especially fellow writers, here is where the power of the back cover blurb comes into play. As an eight-year-old, or thereabouts, I didn’t get recommendations from other friends. I didn’t run to Amazon to check if it had five stars (Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet). All I had were these few sentences to make my choice:
Out of the graveyard comes a ghost – the ghost of ten-year-old Miles Dibble. “I’ve been waiting a long time for you to come to Dibble Hollow, Cousin,” he tells Pug. “Now you must help me find that lost money.” From that moment on, the ghostly Miles leads Pug from one spooky adventure to another. Pug gets used to chairs that rock by themselves, shutters that bang mysteriously, and hair that stands on end. And all the while he follows the clues to the weirdest treasure hunt with the ghost of Dibble Hollow.
What child wouldn’t want to buy it after reading that? I remember loving the characters and reading it multiple times. It also started a need for more books to read. Now, as an adult, I would never want to read this book again. Why? Because the magic came from an eight-year-old’s point of view. To read it again would kill the memory of a great book.
2) The Happy Hollisters (series) – Jerry West
This entry is from wikipedia:
The Happy Hollisters is a series of books about a family who loves to solve mysteries. The series was created by the Stratemeyer Syndicate and entirely written by Andrew E Svenson under the pseudonym Jerry West. Helen S. Hamilton illustrated the books.
My mom started feeding my need to read by enrolling me in The Happy Hollisters book club. Every month I would get one or two books about a family of five children ages 4-12 who always found themselves in the middle of a mystery. Realistic? I think not. The four-year-old never had a day where she was over-tired and cranky. The twelve-year-old brother never teased and made his little sisters cry.
The mysteries and adventures were fun and I read each book in a day, maybe two. I read these and others up until the time I starting spending my summers with my cousins who lived in a Delaware beach town. At that time, it was pointed out to me by my very wise relatives, that I spent way too much time with my nose in a book.
I stopped reading—unless it was required for school. You don’t figure it out, until you are much older, that listening to others sometimes isn’t the wisest course of action.
3) The Stand – Stephen King
When I was twenty, I dated a guy who liked Stephen King. So I read Stephen King. I’m not much of a fan of horror, but I did like Stevie’s books. I read quite a few of the early ones, but The Stand was a story that stuck with me over the years. I categorize it as EPIC. After writing this blog, I need to grab my copy off the keeper shelf and read it again.
4) The Lord of the Rings trilogy – JRR Tolkien
EPIC. I’ve read other books by Tolkien The guy is tough to read and these three are the only ones I would read again. The movies aren’t bad but don’t hold a candle to the books. I borrowed them and now I think I need to go buy a copy and read them again.
5) Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (series) – Douglas Adams.
I found out the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything in these books.
6) Storm Front (Dresden Files series) – Jim Butcher
This book represents my jump back into the world of reading. Seriously, items 3 – 5 are about the only books I read after the Hollisters. We’re talking a thirty-five year gap in reading that was filled with, maybe, thirty books.
Why did I start reading again? It wasn’t some great revelation that brought me back to books—I bought a travel trailer. Yup, that’s it. I spend many weekends competing in dog agility and I bought a trailer to camp on site. No TV led me to Barnes & Noble with the express purpose of finding a book to read before going to bed.
The back cover of Storm Front grabbed me and my, now nine-year, love affair with Harry Dresden began. This book also opened the floodgates for me. I now read 2-3 books a week.
I’m a romance writer and if you notice, not one of the above is in the romance genre. The last four on my list are romances.
Acheron and Styxx are twins. I have read the Dark Hunter series multiple times. Kenyon has taught me a great deal about world building. Someday, I hope to build a fantasy world with as much detail and complicated plots as Kenyon.
9) Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood series) – JR Ward
Just when I thought no one could equal Kenyon, I pick up the first of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood books. Blown away. They are urban, edgy, and Ward doesn’t have any issue with killing off major characters. The books are a different vibe from Sherrilyn Kenyon and I would be hard-pressed to pick one author over the other.
10) Outlander (series) – Diana Gabaldon
EPIC. Jamie and Claire take you on a historical journey. This is a romance that spans across time.
What are the books that have left a lasting impression on you?