2019 Life-long Learning: International Digital Awards!

    Last week as I cleaned out emails from places and people I didn’t know, princes from far away offering me their fortune, sales of items I didn’t know I needed, and promises of things I’d never have, I must have missed an important one. Because later in the week, I received an email from Oklahoma Romance Writers of America about a contest I entered last summer. I was a finalist! I know because they sent me a digital badge to add to my promotion of the book.

I’m a skeptic. I wrote her back. What’s this? Normally I just hit the delete button. It has caused me problems in the past. I’m sure I deleted a note from a long-lost cousin once telling me that his brother died.

She replied, “You’re a finalist in the OWRA International Digital Awards!”

What? It started to dawn on me. I did remember entering that contest last summer. I’ve won a few contests for my writing, but as a rule, I sit idly by watching my contemporaries win. I was astounded. Not that I thought Witches’ Cliff didn’t deserve to be honored, but because there are so many good writers out there. I know some who enter and win every contest that comes down the pike. Not me. I often enter and wonder what it is that judges are looking for.

Then the second email came. This time with an explanation. I was a finalist and they sent a list of all the winners. https://okrwa.com/contests/international-digital-awards/winners/

My novella, Witches’ Cliff, won fourth place in the International Digital Awards, in the short paranormal division. I was beyond excited. I had decided to enter more contests this year and now, I will keep that promise to myself. It was fun and it made my day to think that someone liked my work.

So, check it out. Witches’ Cliff https://tinyurl.com/y3fktu44 is a short novella written for Halloween, but great for any season. A modern-day witch goes to a quaint Vermont Inn to speak with her ancestors about an age-old problem. Along the way she meets another witch who is not so kind and she ends up fighting for her life.

Pick up a copy and let me know if you like it. It will make my day.

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2019 Lifed-long Learning: Pool Time

    Stepping down the steps I sank into the tepid water – that felt cold against my skin – waist deep. Cool, I think. Yet chill bumps run up my arms. Standing and looking around I think I see snow outside the window. The last thing to dip is not as easy. Breath in – I dip to my neck – and shudder.

Winter outside and an indoor pool full of women ready for the Y Aqua Aerobics class. I can do this. I used to teach in this pool and several others around town. I used to do a lot of things. Now, I’m retired and the swimsuit and the body underneath it have changed.

When my kids were small I managed the Olympic sized pool owned by the City of Enid. I taught swimming in the morning to most of the kids in town, and then in the afternoon I managed the pool for the public. I lifeguarded only when we were shorthanded. But I was certified if needed.

Recently the Y decided to cancel my Core Strength class that I’d attended for 10 or 12 years. I had a lot of good friends in that class and it was a regular thing twice a week. I had to do something for this aging body and the pool seemed like the place to go. So, I donned my old-lady swimsuit and joined the girls in the pool. Girls?

It was a difficult transition. Monday and Wednesday morning Aqua Aerobics and then Yoga on Thursday. And I found I still felt at home in the water. Others do too. There are two women who come to the pool on a walker, park it on the pool deck and then climb in to work out with the rest of us. There are all ages, sizes, and skill levels with one goal. Fitness.

It takes a certain type of courage to come to a pool on your walker. I call that determination. I bow to a person who is that committed. And I decide to ignore the chill bumps and get to work. I’ll warm up.

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2019 Life-long Learning: A Halloween Read!

    It’s Halloween! I love this time of year – the pumpkins, the falling leaves, the cool weather, the Halloween stories! And I have one for you.

Witches Cliff is a novella available on Kindle for only $1.99. https://tinyurl.com/y3fktu44 A fast read about a modern-day witch at a cozy Vermont inn. It’s romantic and it’s exciting with just enough fantasy thrown in to keep you interested.

Penny goes to Vermont to seek the wisdom of her ancestor. Jeff has asked her to marry but she is unsure. And then she meets Liam. Romance was not what she had in mind for this weekend and she’s not the only person attracted to Liam.

In 1692 Salem, Massachusetts held the witch trials and many innocent women died. During that same dark time the tiny town of Willow Springs, Vermont had their own slaughter at a local cliff. Penny Winter’s ancestor was one of those witches.

Years later Penny’s mother moved to Salem with her new baby to avoid the long memories of her neighbors. Penny learned the wiccan ways from her mother and became a professor of history at a local university. And then she met Jeff.

With no relatives to depend upon, Penny returns to the town where her grandmother died to seek her opinion of the man who has asked her to marry him. She once again encounters a Willow Springs witch. It’s Halloween and Penny desperately needs to talk to her ancestor before she marries, and it has to be at the cliff where grandma died. But she is not alone.

The charming inn where the story takes place is the setting for all the Deerbourne Inn novellas published by The Wild Rose Press. You should check them out. A big little story set at an old charming inn. The Deerbourne Inn has a rich history and you will love reading about all the people who come and go through its doors.

Check out Witches’ Cliff for just $1.99 and all the other novellas in the Deerbourne Inn series. It’s Halloween, time for a witch read!

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2019 Life-long Learning: Learning Story Structure

    I’ve learned a thing or two about writing. I will always have more to learn. But when it comes to story structure I’ve learned from the best. William Bernhardt has a series of books on story structure, characterizations, etc. I am also a big fan of Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat series and Donald Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel. Like I said – the best. Without them, I could never have written a book that covered several years in a woman’s life. So, if my writing doesn’t come up to their standards (or yours) I only have myself to blame – not them. But I constantly study and try to do better.

In my novel Blooming Justice, set on Keystone Lake in Oklahoma, I covered a three-year period with a young girl graduating high school and beginning her college years. She grows up a lot in that formative time. She is sexually harassed at the senior prom when she accepts a date from a boy she barely knew but was extremely attracted to. She knew better. She was smart and had her feet on the ground, but in a moment of fairytale weakness, she said yes and then paid the price. But she learned.

Once in college she again ran into Prince Charming who wasn’t nearly as charming as she originally thought. He had a dark past and it was coming out.

When you first meet Erin, she is 18 and graduating from high school. She has her life ahead of her and she has it all planned out. She secured a scholarship to the University of Tulsa and can live in her hometown of Mannford only thirty minutes away. Her dad died when she was young, and her mother was a hard-working single mom. Erin is sure Mom can’t survive without her. She’ll stay home and save money and look after her mom. But does Mom need to be looked after?

Soon, Erin will begin to hear rumors of college women being raped – and she knows who’s doing the deed. Now working part time in her aunt’s law firm, she has an opportunity to help stop the madness. But does she have the courage?

The book covers three years of a young woman’s life from high school to law school. Formative years. Erin will not only study hard but will try to make the campus safe for the women who attend TU and bring Prince Charming to justice.

Bringing justice can be hard, but to Erin it was worth it. Pick up a copy of Blooming Justice and let me know what you think of it.

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2019 Life-long Learning: Peggy Jaeger, I’ts a Trust Thing!

Peggy Jaeger is a romance novelist and I am happy once again to have her as a guest on my blog.  Here is her latest work.

I’ve always vowed to never self publish one of my books. I’ve got nothing against indie publishing or indie authors – in fact, I hold them in the highest regard because they work so hard at every aspect of getting a book into the hands of readers. They are the writers, the cover designers, the copy editors, the content editors, the formatters and the marketers.

All I ever wanted to do was write and self publishing felt like it had an insurmountable set of tasks to learn and conquer.

I changed my tune when one of my traditional publishers decided to drop a series I was writing for them. The first book, DIRTY DAMSELS, had been published but they’d decided not to pursue the series DotComGirls any further. I already had the second book written, edited and awaiting a release date; the third was plotted.

What to do? I didn’t want to submit the books to another publishing house, even though this publisher told me I could, because it would be another year or so of emails back and forth, contract negotiations, and more edits.

I loved the second book and wanted to share it with the reading world, not shove it into a computer file to be forgotten.

The answer was obvious when I thought about it. Publish it myself.

Here’s the clinker: I knew nothing about self-publishing. I have many indie authors as friends, but I’d never asked them how to do the work of getting a book into print with a publishing house behind them. I called a few of them, got some preliminary ideas and then set about to learn everything I could.

The result is that the second book in the DotComGirl series, IT’S A TRUST THING, will be released on Amazon Kindle and KU on 11.1.19

Nell Newbery has trust issues. It’s hard to trust when you’re the daughter of a fallen financial scion who bilked people out of billions. Nell’s done everything in her power to keep away from men who see her as their ticket to fortune and fame. All she wants to do is run her ultra-successful business, HELPFUL HUNKS, in peace.

But it wouldn’t hurt to find a guy who doesn’t know a thing about her father’s felonious past; one she can give her heart to and trust it won’t come back to her battered, bruised, and broken.

Is Charlie Churchill that guy? On the surface he seems perfect, all polished manners and quiet mirth. Nell’s convinced he knows nothing about her, other than she likes superhero movies and views junk food as a food group.

Can she trust him to be what he appears to be? Or is he just pretending?

For Nell, trust is everything in life…and in love.

Excerpt:

He opened the passenger door for me and I got in.

“You never answered me,” he said when I was seated. “Would you like to do this again?”

I’d lived my entire adult life taking chances in my professional life but shying away from them in my personal one. The reasons to avoid becoming involved were valid ones, in my mind, and they’d served me well.

But there was something so different about this man, something that wanted me to finally give in and take a chance that he wouldn’t be like all the other men I’d gotten close to. He wouldn’t use me to his own end; he wouldn’t betray me; he wouldn’t lie to me about who and what he was.

And dammit, I deserved to have some fun.

All this ran through my head as he stood, patiently waiting for my answer.

It really didn’t take much effort on my part to make a decision. With a half grin and my gaze staying zeroed in on his, I reached into my briefcase and pulled out one of my business cards. While the driver waited, I wrote my private cell number on the back of it. There were only five people on the planet who had this number.

Now, Charlie did as well.

As I handed it to him, I cocked my head and said, “Maybe next time we can get through an evening without me needing first aid or being mugged.”

His jaw wide smile made my stomach muscles flutter. He leaned in, gave me a quick peck on the cheek and said, “Where would the fun be in that?”

I decided to go exclusive with KINDLE and KU first and do only a digital release because I still have along way to go in the learning process for getting a book into a print copy. I’m learning that now, so hopefully something in the future I will be able to release it as a print book.

For now, I’m happy to just have it go out into the romance reading world.

I guess you should never say “never” when it comes to publishing!

Check out Peggy on social media:

Website/Blog: http://peggyjaeger.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/peggy_jaeger

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peggy-Jaeger-Author/825914814095072?ref=bookmarks

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/peggyjaeger/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13478796.Peggy_Jaeger

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peggyjaeger_author/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/peggy-jaeger

You-Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDR8RRIlssIyS0FYZWeGqsg/videos?view_as=subscriber

Thanks Peggy!  Always great to have you as a guest once again.

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2019 Life-long Learning: Kansas!

    It’s fall vacation time! This week my husband and I traveled north to the great state of Kansas. Our cousins from Texas joined us. We saw the sights in Wichita and Kansas City and everything in between. We may have eaten and drank too much, but we had a good time.

In Wichita we had a great Airbnb with room to roam and I’m not sure we’ll ever be happy with a hotel room again.   We traveled to Old Town and saw breweries, museums,     the Frank Lloyd Wright Allen house (someday, I’m going to get inside that place!). Wichita is only a couple of hours drive from Enid and I don’t know why we don’t go there more often. It is a fun trip. I understand there is a Dillard’s Outlet store there, though I never found it.

Then we traveled even further north to Kansas City and another great Airbnb.     I’ve lived my life in Oklahoma an have no idea why it took me so long to get to Kansas City. Again, it’s not that far. My cousin was at the wheel and seemed calm and cool under the pressure of big city (especially downtown) driving. There was the occasional GPS glitch, but we managed to get where we were going. We visited Union Station and found it was still a working railroad station.       We took a trolley tour of the downtown area, ate at Arthur Bryant’s BBQ, which is the first and most famous BBQ in Kansas and had been visited by many famous people. We just wondered in off the street and they still let us in. We visited the downtown area and shopping in a district I couldn’t afford, then on to other places of interest. Kansas City boasts more working fountains than Paris, France and there are many beautiful parks, monuments and architecture. Again, we ate too much.

Back home we attended Enid’s First Friday October Fest and showed the relatives downtown Enid on a Friday night. I don’t know if they were impressed after Kansas City, but we still had fun. Then on Saturday we travelled to Oklahoma City’s annual Greek Fest. More eating! Opa! We loved it and waddled home. The cousins headed south to Texas and we went back to Enid. Today, I wash laundry and rest.

I was a great time and I want to do it again. I like traveling in the fall or spring when the weather is nice. Of course, it rained a little, but didn’t dampen our spirits. What did you do for vacation this year?

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2019 Life-long Learning: Just Keep Writing, Just Keep Writing!

    I love to blog. I feel like I am visiting with old friends and we are keeping up with each other. I tell you about what is going on in this boring life I lead, and you respond with what exciting news you have.

I have several irons in the fire. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My latest published piece is a novella titled Witches’ Cliff, released by The Wild Rose Press, and is a modern-day fantasy set at the Deerbourne Inn in Vermont. Several authors from The Wild Rose Press put out e-published novellas having to do with this little inn and the characters who live and work there. It was a lot of fun seeing all the different genres come together with a common goal. Check out Witches’ Cliff https://www.amazon.com/Witches-Cliff-Deerbourne-Peggy-Chambers-ebook/dp/B07PNK8QMT/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=witches%27+cliff+peggy+chambers&qid=1569509504&sr=8-1 . It is a fun romp through the Green Mountains of Vermont with a modern-day witch and her modern-day problems.

I always have several works sitting in my writing nook. Lately I’ve been working with Jeff Provine of Okie Comics. He puts out a magazine https://okiecomics.com/ with comic book stories about Oklahoma. It is a lot of fun to read and has fabulous art. I wrote a short story based on my two Glome books Glome’s Valley https://www.amazon.com/Glomes-Valley-Peggy-Chambers-ebook/dp/B0067STK1Y/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=glome%27s+valley+peggy+chambers&qid=1569510203&sr=8-2 and Return to Glome’s Valley https://www.amazon.com/Return-Glomes-Valley-Book-ebook/dp/B074XF4QH1/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=return+to+glome%27s+valley+peggy+chambers&qid=1569510277&sr=8-1 set at the Heavener Runestone. We’d talked about this at the Enid Author Fest and when I sent the short story to him, he said why don’t you convert it to script? EEEEKKKKK!!!!   So, I said, I guess so. I am now learning another new way to write – comic book scripts. And believe me it is different, but fun. Jeff is wonderful to work with and I have that life-long love of learning. We’ll get there. I’ll let you know when it is done and published.

I am still writing the second novel in the Keystone Lake series and started the third Sandstone Island novel. Then my mind wondered lately. A nugget now lays in the back of my mind for a third Glome book. Will it never end? No, probably not. I’ll be on my death bed with more stories to write. Many thanks to my literature teachers and typing teachers in school. Never had I imagined this dream of writing for others to read would come to fruition. But miracles do happen. I’ll keep writing if you keep reading.

And I’ll keep you informed! If you love to read as much as I love to write, I hope you read my work. Leave me a review. They make my day and keep me writing.

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2019 Life-long Learning: Learning about the Oklahoma Book Fest

    I spent the day with like minds yesterday at the annual Oklahoma Book Festival at the Boathouse District in Oklahoma City. I was invited by the Enid Public Library to set up with them at the festival to promote the upcoming Enid Author Fest. We had t-shirts and everything! We went to the big city to see who we could recruit and also just to enjoy the day.

And it poured.

Until about noon and then the winds came right behind the rain! Then the sun came out and it was warm and beautiful.

There were food trucks and picnic tables and strangers were eager just to sit and talk about what they purchased for lunch.

Edgar Cruz and other musicians serenaded us, and we were lucky that our tent was close enough to the music to hear and not be blasted away. The wind took out some speakers near the stage – but its Oklahoma.

I attended several panel discussions with Anne Hillerman, Literati Press, Laura Bernhardt and others. Some I knew others I didn’t, and a few I got acquainted with.

My friend Martha Draper was so excited to meet her hero, Anne Hillerman, and get a chance to talk with her. Martha met Anne’s father, Tony Hillerman, during the time she lived in Santa Fe and has been a fan for years. I was glad Martha got a chance to meet her. She was very personable.

I spoke with Charles Martin of Literati Press (www.literatipressok.com) and we discussed my latest project working with Jeff Provine and Okie Comics (www.okiecomics.com) as I convert a short story based on my Glome books to comic book script. Jeff is helping me learn the art and Charles was also eager to help. Literati Press will attend the Enid Author Fest and put on a small workshop on comic book art and writing.

We also met John Otto, author of his book Sarge about a dog who becomes a mascot at a Veterans Center. John and his son, Payton are writing a series of books, about dogs in the prison programs in Oklahoma. John will speak at the Enid Author Fest on March 28, 2020 in Enid. Come and hear him and all the other authors and publishers who will be there. It will be a fun day. Save the date!

We headed home after a long day meeting people and barely got onto I-40 before we encountered a roll-over wreck and were detoured. But we got home. And I was tired. But I’ll do it again.

I can’t wait for the Enid Author Fest in March and then the Oklahoma Book Fest next fall. Of course, I’ll do it again. Why would I miss all the action?

Did you go to the Book Fest in OKC yesterday? What did you like best?

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2019 Life-Long Learning: Being Easy

  If you follow my blog, you know I write on Sundays. This morning I sit at the laptop staring, waiting on inspiration and the song Easy Like Sunday Morning, by Lionel Richie, keeps spinning through my head. And I think about the things going on in my life. So, on this easy Sunday morning, I thought I’d share the musings in my head.

Yesterday, I set up a book signing in the Oakwood Mall in Enid with a group of crafters called Sweet Serendipity Events. I will be in the mall selling my books on October 12, 2019 from 10-4. I am working on getting several more this fall with the Christmas season coming.

I have First Friday Event in Alva December 6, 2019 at 6:00 pm at Graceful Arts downtown. This is a lovely art studio that teaches art in the back and has a studio up front. I was invited this summer at Alva’s Nescatunga Arts Festival. They are great people.

Next Saturday, September 21, 2019, is the Oklahoma Book Festival in Oklahoma City at the Boathouse District. I will be a table with the Enid Public Library promoting our upcoming Enid Author Fest which takes place next March. Come by and see us. You really should check out this massive, state-wide festival about all things bookish and the people who write them.

I had a great interview on LA Talk Radio’s The Writer’s Block with Jim Christina and Bobbie Jean Belle last Thursday night. I have come to know these people I’ve never physically met, and we’ve become friends. I’d love to do it again when I release another book.

That’s all the business news I have this morning. Personally, I am going on vacation in a couple of weeks and my checkbook won’t balance. How can the stupid thing be off like that? It balanced last month. I need to mop the floors, but first I’m going to do Yoga. I have DVD I use when my back aches.

I’ve been a member of a class at Enid’s YMCA for the last 15 years and twice a week we gather for Core Strength class. Lately, the Y in their infinite wisdom, canceled my beloved class. It got me through two back surgeries and then it was taken away. I’ve been a member of the Y for over 40 years and I’ve taught classes for them and now in my old age, I just take classes. I guess I need to see what else they have that I might like. Sigh.

That’s all the news in my life. What are you doing on this easy Sunday morning? Talk to me, I need the company, and it might get me out of mopping the floor.

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2019 Life Long Learning: Learning About Internet Radio

    Thursday night September 12, 2019 at 7:00 PST (that’s 9:00 in Oklahoma, yawn), I will once again talk to Jim Christina and Bobbi Bell on LA Talk Radio’s The Writers’ Block. I’ve interviewed several times with the crew of The Writers’ Block, and I look forward to once again talking about writing, publication, my latest book and general fun. They are genuine and cordial with a little bit of crazy thrown in for good measure.

We’ll be discussing my latest books, Blooming Justice:

Erin Sampson always wanted to be an attorney like her aunt. But until she experiences a real taste of injustice, she has no idea what the legal field is all about. After being sexually harassed at the senior prom by a boy she went to school with, she finds out he has escalated from bullying to rape.

 Working in her aunt’s law firm while going to college, she has an opportunity to help find justice for all the women who deserve it. It is a long way from her mother’s flower shop to a law office; and a long way from the little town by the lake she grew up in to the Tulsa County Courthouse. But Erin will do whatever it takes to end the terror and protect the women on her campus.

 and Witches’ Cliff:

Penny Winters flees to her birthplace in Vermont to consider the marriage proposal she left behind in Salem. Complicating her already difficult decision, she is smitten when she encounters handyman Liam on the porch of the quaint Deerbourne Inn. A modern-day wiccan, Penny intends to contact her distant great-grandmother, who died on the cliffs when Willow Springs held witch trials. Penny needs advice, and the best time to connect to her ancestors is on Halloween. But she is not the only witch in Willow Springs, and they both have their eye on the same man. And who is the old woman who keeps appearing, telling her to go home? Penny comes to the cliff to seek Grandma’s advice. But Halloween is an important holiday for a witch, and she is not alone on the cliffs that night. Penny will have to battle not only for Liam’s attention, but for her life.

Different genres but that’s what I do. Someday I’ll decide what genre I like to write, in the meantime, I’ll write what comes to my conflicted mind.

Be sure to tune in to internet radio at https://www.latalkradio.com/content/writers-block with a cup of coffee. Turn up the volume and you can call in to join the discussion if you like. It will be loads of fun!

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