Monday Mayhem – The Margaret Shuffle

I updated my iPod this weekend. I know, I know…alert the media. But, it’s an anomaly in my life, trust me.

I acquired some new-to-me music thanks to my friend Julie and the good folks at iTunes. As a matter of fact, it seems every song I’ve added lately is thanks to Julie. Of course, I take her advice. She’s young and hot, and I don’t really think she’s trying to brainwash me or anything. Much. I’m sure she just thought I might really enjoy ‘Hey Julie’ by Fountains of Wayne. And she was right. I do.

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This weekend’s discovery was Caro Emerald and her fabulous song ‘Back It Up’.

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I love it, but I have to admit I’m a little afraid Julie’s getting into my head. I just tried to spell color with a U. Those Canadians are sneaky. First they seduce you with Clodhoppers then they take over your iPod. Soon it will be all Rush all the time!

My iPod is a weird and wonderful place, but I need to shake it up before Julie takes over entirely. I thought I’d share the next ten songs to pop up on my iPod’s shuffle then you can tell me what you’re listening to, and maybe we can move forward without calling in a deprogrammer.

The Point of No Return ~ Phantom of the Opera Original Soundtrack
A Million Miles Away ~ The Plimsouls
Blow Me (One Last Kiss) ~ Pink
How to Dream ~ Sam Phillips
Everyday I Write the Book ~ Elvis Costello
The Air That I Breathe ~ The Hollies
Where or When ~ Harry Connick, Jr.
So in Love ~ k.d. lang
Blue Bayou ~ Roy Orbison
Something Stupid ~ Glee Cast

What about you? Are you listening to anything new and interesting? How about old and awesome?

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Monday Mayhem – Bunnies!

Home. Exhausted. Had a wonderful time. Here are a few of the highlights:

Upon arrival, I found this fabulous pair of bunny ears in the Target dollar bins and I just had to have them:

Bunny

 

Then the madness spread:

 Bunny ears

The next thing you know, they were multiplying like rabbits!

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It was a great weekend but it all passed way too fast. Now we start planning for next year.

Do you have an annual get-together or event you look forward to all year? How soon is too soon to start a countdown calendar?

 

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Monday Mayhem – Yay!

Days! I see my girls in just a few days!

M&G

Yes, I know I crowed about this the last time, but it’s been a year. Yes, an entire year has passed since I’ve seen some of these ladies. I don’t know how I survived it. I’m so excited I may bust right out of my yoga pants. Okay, that may be because of the chip kick I’ve been on lately, but you get the point. I am sad that not everyone will be able to make it this year, but I was born and raised a Cubs fan. I always believe next year will be our year.

I’ve made some progress on the book. It’s definitely not flowing as easily as some of the others, but I am trying to let go of the nit-pickiness and just write. A couple characters introduced themselves to me yesterday afternoon. I’m hoping they can light a little fire under me.

In other news, we’re in the final countdown to grandparentdom. Yay! Thanks to my fabulous friends, I have a swanky new Vera Bradley diaper bag, cementing my standing as the cool grandma.

 bag

Being the step-grandma, I got to choose my moniker. Therefore, I chose to retain the name that’s been pinned on me since I was a baby and declared myself the little man’s ‘Moogie’. Fodder will take the traditional route and be called ‘Granddad’.

Let’s see…what else?

I joined Weight Watchers again. (See bit above concerning chip binges) It’s amazing how fast I gain weight these days. I’m not going to get all het up about it, but I do want to keep it in check as much as I can. I’ve also gone back to the gym. I haven’t been running regularly since the flu took me out of the race last fall. It feels like I’m back to square one, even though I know I’m not. I’m scoping out 5k runs in the area, but I haven’t registered for one yet. The travel schedule for the day job isn’t set in stone, so I’ll have to wait to see where I may be in the coming months.

What are your plans for the week? Now that we’re past that first rush of resolutions, have you changed or added new goals for 2013? Yoga pants – scourge of fashion or God’s gift to middle-aged women? I could totally get away with carrying that diaper bag as a purse, couldn’t I?

These are the burning questions. Answer one or more of them and I may hook you or a friend up with digital copies of the first two books in Maggie Wells’ sizzling new Hot Nights in St. Blaise series.

Ready? Go!

JumpingMr.JanuaryFEB_MWells_MD

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Monday Mayhem – Nervous Nellie Edition

I’m home! I’m home, I’m home, I’m home! Well, I’m home for another 10 days. 🙂 The good news is that my next trip will be pleasure and not business. The bad news? Well, I seem to have misplaced my motivation. I have a novel to write and I’m having a hard time getting into it.

If you’re my editor, please stop reading here.

I’ll make the deadline.

I swear.

You see, this story is going to be very different from anything I’ve written before. This story will deal with a very difficult subject matter – marital infidelity.

I will state here and now that I have no personal experience in this area. At least, not that I know of. If any of you know something I don’t know, please keep it to yourself. I’m a huge fan of oblivion. Unfortunately, my character, Shel, doesn’t have that luxury. The poor woman is going to have to deal with her husband’s indiscretion head-on.

As an author, this is a very exciting and intimidating prospect. You see, the main character is ‘speaking’ to me in 1st person. I’ve never written in 1st, only 3rd. It’s going to be a big jump to master a new style. Dealing with touchy subject matter is another worry, but one I’m queasy (not quasi)-excited to tackle. So yeah…while I’m looking forward to facing this life challenge with my character, I’m praying it’s the only time I ever have to deal with it.

I know that, like Shel, I’m just going to have to jump and start wading through it. Here’s hoping we both come out stronger on the other side.

What do you have going on in your world?

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Monday Mayhem – Where’s Margaret?

It’s Monday, so I must be in Texas…. At least, that’s the way it seems lately.

So far I have visited El Paso and Odessa. Today, I’m in San Angelo.

For the geographically challenged. And the Canadians.
For the geographically challenged.
And the Canadians.

Let me tell you, the cowboy/oil tycoon/rodeo star plot bunnies are running rampant, my friends!

So, yeah. Margaret’s not home right now, but if you’re really missing me a lot, you can check out the post I did about procrastination on the Diamond State Romance Authors blog last week. And, if you just can’t wait to hear from me again, it’s my turn to host the blog at Everybody Needs A Little Romance this Thursday.

I’ve been a bit out of my comfort zone (which means I’ve been anywhere but my chair), so I messed up a bit on my posts last week. You see, I shared a post from my good friend, Evelyn Jules, on Thursday, but it was supposed to be this week’s Monday Mayhem post. I guess I got excited that it was her birthday, and posted it on her special day. So yeah…I blew my post lineup and I’ve got nothing. But if you missed it, please click here to check it out!

In the meantime, I’ll give you a special travel-themed round of two truths and a lie and give away winner’s choice from any book on my digital backlist. Got ’em all? Play anyway and I’ll give you a copy for a friend!

You ready? Go!

1) I prefer a aisle seat over a window.

2) I love talking to people on planes.

3) I take antihistamines before flying to keep my ears from clogging.

Have a great week, my darlings! I’ll be home soon!

P.S. Thanks to all who commented on Karen Booth’s Monday Mayhem post. You guys rock!

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Monday Mayhem – Let’s catch up

Are you there readers? It’s me, Margaret.

Did you enjoy meeting Valerie Haight? She’s a doll. How about that round of two truths and a lie? It was hard to figure out which one was the fib, but Laurie and Carol got it right. Val is not a Courtney Cox wannabe.

I’m just back from a fabulous weekend in St. Louis with my girlfriends. Here’s a picture of us taken at the observation deck atop the Gateway Arch.

Arch

Laughter. Tears. Laughter through tears. Most of it induced by Cards Against Humanity. Had an incredible dinner at Trattoria Marcella on The Hill. A little winter weather and some other interstate complications made getting home a challenge, but I’m happy to report that no limbs were lost and no one was arrested.

Getting ready for an intense round of business travel. I’ll be leading three day classes in three West Texas towns over the course of three weeks. Oy.

What does this mean for you, dear readers? It means you get to meet more of my friends.

Next Monday, Renee Vincent will be here to talk about her latest release, The Temperate Warrior. On the 28th, by pal Karen Booth will visit. I’m very excited for her upcoming novel, Bring Me Back. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of this rockin’ novel!

What does all this travel mean for me? It means buckling down and cranking out some words in strange rooms. You’d think it was a simple matter of ‘have laptop, will travel’, but it’s not. Margaret is a creature of habit. Being out of my comfort zone throws me off my game. But, I did it during NaNo, and I can do it again. I have to. I have deadlines to meet. 🙂

What will I be working on whilst I’m away? Containment!

This will be the third in what I call (in my head) the Chicago Girls series. Containment will be Shel’s story. Shel was Tracy (Contentment) and Maggie’s (Commitment) roommate when they lived in the city. It will be an After Happily Ever story focusing on issues of expectations, trust and fidelity. It willl release Fall 2013.

In other news, I have roughed out six new Jack and Ellie stories to complete the Long Distance Love series. I’ll be working with TMP to release a compilation all of the stories used in anthologies, the free reads, and these new stories to bring their love story full circle. Look for it this fall too!

So, yeah…. Busy times. But I also have tons of good stuff to look forward to in the coming months. A few of the highlights:

  • I’m hooking up with my Super Cool Party People in February! Yay! I only get to see most of these crazy ladies once a year, and that’s not nearly enough. I plan to laugh until we all lay on the floor, panting and spent.
  • I’ll be attending the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Kansas City this May. Not only will I get to meet and chat with new readers, but I will have the added bonus of quality time with some of my author buddies. RT is open to the public. If you’re in the KC area and would like to attend, you can find more information here.
  • Miss Maggie is keeping me crazy busy with all these releases. What was she thinking? She was thinking the world needed more sexy, steamy romance. The Hot Nights in St. Blaise series has now been launched. Jumping Mr. January is available now, and February’s Fling will release the week of January 27th. There are 12 novellas in this series, so plan your 2013 reading now! Be sure to like Maggie’s page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter to keep up with the latest.
  • Downton Abbey and Castle are back. Thank goodness.
  • Tim Bunny is still cute. And bad. Cute and bad. No wonder I can’t resist him.

I think that’s the gist of what’s happening in my world. What’s happening in yours? Read anything good lately? Can you believe what happened on Downton? Could Castle and Beckett get any cuter? Any travel on your calendar?

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Monday Mayhem – Big Things, Wow Things

It’s a new year and a new look here at Writings and Ramblings. Take a few minutes to click around and let me know what you think of the redesign.

I’ve been all over the place lately. Last week I was at Everybody Needs a Little Romance and The Diamond State Romance Authors for my usual monthly bog posts. I’m on those sites the first Thursday and Friday of the month (respectively), so be sure to bookmark them!

Next week, my literary alter ego, Maggie Wells, will be at the newly launched Literary Lagniappe (1/10/13), Delilah Devlin’s blog (1/13/13), Madison J. Edwards’ blog (1/17/13), and Evelyn Jules’ blog (1/23/13).

Whew!

I also start traveling again this month, so you’ll get to meet a few more of my friends. I wanted to kick things off with a bang, so I asked the fabulous Valerie Haight to start us off with a little game of two facts and a piece of fiction.

Val has a fabulous new After Happily Ever release from TMP called Happenstance, and this summer she and I will be anthology buddies in the upcoming Wedding anthology from TMP, so play nice!

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Thank you, Margaret, for asking me over to your gorgeous new site and for allowing me to share Happenstance with everyone! AND you want to play a game!! *claps and bounces* I’m all about games. Two Truths and a Lie will reveal my inner doof. You’ve been warned. J

  1. I once petted an established, successful author. You heard me right. I attended Murder Goes South conference in Atlanta, GA where thriller author Erica Spindler was keynote speaker. I listened to her speak, stood in line for an autograph and a pic, and in the process of trying to touch her arm to connect with her in one of those I-so-get-you type gestures, she leaned in, I moved at the wrong second and my hand was on her arm an awkwardly looooong time as we both tried to regain our respective space bubbles. This awarded me the nickname “the petter” from my twitter peeps for an extended period.
  2. I almost electrocuted my bestie at Lori Foster Reader/Author Get Together in Cincinnati, OH. We were riding together to a restaurant and she handed me this battery back-up plugger-inner thingee and told me to push a button. I, not knowing what I was holding or what button to push, proceeded to act like a three year old and push them all. Turns out, she was holding bare wires and actually asked me NOT to push ANY buttons. She doesn’t ask for my help with that stuff anymore.
  3. I climbed onstage in true Courtney Cox fashion and danced with a local band that opened for Smashmouth in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was EPIC! There was a rocker girl in the band and we both wore short, stiff tulle skirts over striped leggings. We ROCKED it hard that night and surprisingly, I didn’t get arrested! J

Okay, now that you know WHO you’re dealing with, (I’ll wait while you grab your protective bubble wrap suit and face mask) it’s time to get to the WHAT part.

My very first book release!! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

 I’m rolling it out with a big bang blog tour and I’m so excited! Today, I received praise for Happenstance from someone I don’t know and it was an AWESOME feeling. That’s not to say I didn’t love the feedback I got from mom, sis and the cousins! But this lovely gal friended me on Facebook, left me a rockin’ message two minutes later and told me she’d written a review on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble! SQUEEEE! It was Christmas and New Year and Happy Birthday all rolled into one and yes, I fainted a little.

The sites are still going live and every day I get giddy over some new piece of information regarding the book. This first release stuff has me bouncing around like an ant on crack and I can’t get enough of this new author high. I just know years down the road, I’ll see tweets from a debut author cartwheeling over the same fabulous and I’ll be jealous because I was there once and I know how cool it is. 🙂

Happenstance was published by Turquoise Morning Press on December 13, 2012. *Merry Christmas to me!* I wrote this story using some of the relationship conflict I witness on a day-to-day basis. I’m an assistant in a corporate setting so I get to see a lot of Peyton Place happenings. What’s a writer to do but file that juicy stuff away for the making of a romance novel?! Here’s what all those observations created:  

Taryn Ballard is happily married and a newly appointed analyst for a prestigious shipping company.  Her career upsurges in record time but she’s about to discover the real price of corporate life.

While on yet another business trip, Taryn suffers a brutal attack by a carjacker. Her husband isn’t there, but her co-worker Devin is.  The accidental bond Taryn and Devin share pitches them into dangerous and confusing territory. Taryn struggles to discern both her feelings for her sexy protector and Wade’s reaction to it all. Unfamiliar emotions blur the rules of the game and Wade’s ready to quit.

Taryn must rise above disaster to save her marriage. But is she ready to let go of the man who saved her life? In a single moment, Happenstance changes everything.

This story was so much fun to write because I really let loose and wreaked havoc on both Devin and Wade. I also put poor Taryn through the wringer! Yes, I’m awful in a creative writerly way. J I merged my favorite genres-suspense and romance-to create a story that lets the reader experience pain, joy, laughter and a little fright! Here’s a snippet to give you the feel of the book.

“Devin, it’s Taryn. You were right. The execs want me to meet them for dinner and I feel really foolish because I have a GPS and a connect-the-dot map from the concierge and I’m still lost.”

Devin laughed. “Not a problem. Where are you?”

Taryn took a second to locate the green street sign. “At the corner of First and Third at a tiny, ancient-looking convenience store.”

“Oh, I know the one. You’re right next to us. I could probably see you from the tower window. Okay, which restaurant are you looking for?”

Taryn grabbed the hand-drawn map. “Caminas.”

“I know where it is. Actually, it might be faster by freeway.”

“Of course it would. I just came from—”

An unexpected rush of damp, hot air hit her and Taryn turned, confused to see her door open wide. She sucked in a quick breath and saw too late the arm reaching for her. Terror gripped her as she zeroed in on the gun in her face.

Happenstance is one of my favorite creations and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! You can purchase Happenstance here!

Turquoise Morning Press

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

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Tweet with me @Valeriebrbr, follow me on Facebook or find out the latest on my blog about my upcoming short stories Raeanne Revealed in the Orange Karen Tribute Anthology out in April and Magnolia Brides in a TMP wedding anthology out in June!

Thanks again for having me here! I’m sticking around for a comment session! Let’s gab!! If you aren’t afraid I’ll somehow grope, electrocute you or dance with you through the screen! 😀

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Monday Mayhem – It’s been mayhem!

Just a short post as I am just back from celebrating Christmas with my family up north, and now I’m getting ready to do it all over again down here.

The winner of last week’s $5 Amazon card was Renee Vincent! Congratulations, Renee!

I’m going to take the next couple of weeks off from blogging, as I’ll be doing some website maintenance. Finger crossed, I’ll have a whole new look for you in 2013.

I want to to thank you all for making 2012 an incredible year for me. You have been my inspiration, and I appreciate each and every one of you.

To prove it, I’m giving away one more Amazon card – this one for $10!! Comment on this post and tell me what 2013 has in store for you, and you’re in. Yes, I am that easy.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy New Year!

xoxo

Margaret

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Monday Mayhem – Princess Jennifer

Today I want you to welcome my friend, Jennifer Anderson. She’s going to bare her soul (among other things!) for your entertainment, then we’re going to play games with her deepest, darkest secrets. Whoo hoo! Don’t forget to comment. Jennifer is giving away a copy of Ice Princess and I’m still doling out those little $5 gift cards!

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Thank you so much Mrs. M (can I call you Mrs.?!) for having me on today. First off, can I say how much I love your website *takes notes*. It’s so user friendly *calls webmaster*. (Thank you! I wish it were more user friendly on my end. *grumbles*)

Okay, when I begged Mrs. M to let me on her blog, she said sure but you have to play a little game.

Okay, I said. What? She said I had to give you two truths and one lie and see if you can figure out which is which.

Sure, I said *bites nails*. I’m an open book *uses shifty eyes*.

But before we play I’d like to confess something. I feel like we’ve built the type of relationship that allows us to share. *crickets*

Anyway, I’m a food show junkie. I can’t get enough of them. And when I can’t find one, I grab a food magazine. *scratches arms* *channel surfs*

I blame my stomach. I’m a foodie. I love to cook and eat and cook some more. I don’t like to share my time in the kitchen which makes me a terrible mom but cooking relaxes me. I’m transported into another world where I pretend I have my own cooking show. The best part is when I’ve created a wonderful meal and my family loves it. I feel like I won the lottery.

For Christmas this year, I’m serious, I asked for nothing but more cookware and cookbooks. I know, I have a serious issue. Sure, diamonds are nice but I can’t eat a diamond. Pretty clothes are always welcome but let’s be honest. I’d only ruin them when I cook.

Now that I stay home, I have more time to watch cooking shows. I even have my 12 week old baby watching them with me (let me pretend she recognizes Paula and Rachel’s voices).

Do I need an intervention? Not yet. Should I get outside more and stop thinking about what cooking show is on next? Absolutely! If I get the new roasting pan I marked for Christmas, will I find a way to use it Christmas morning? Do you even have to ask!

I admit, I feel better now that I’ve purged my heavy heart. Now, onto the game. Below I’ve offered 2 truths and 1 lie. Leave a comment with your answer and I’ll randomly select from the correct answers and that person wins an e-copy of my first YA novella, Ice Princess.

Here we go:

  1. I attended my first day of college hung-over from a party the night before where I was not only drunk from cheap keg beer but I also spent an hour asking people if they had a condom I could have to use.
  2. While on my honeymoon, my new husband and I went to a nude beach and laid out in the sun topless.
  3. I dressed up as Ginger Spice for Halloween one year while my roommates were the other members of the band.

 

Thank you for having me. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!

For more you can follow me on FB, Twitter (JenniA8677), my blog (www.musingsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com) or my website (www.jenandersonauthor.com).

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