My name is Peggy Jaeger and I am so thrilled to be here. I write contemporary romance and have had my first 2 books released this year by the Wild Rose Press. In a former life I was Nurse with a Master’s Degree in Geriatric Psychology and Nursing Management. But I’ve always been a writer.
When I was in New York City recently I went to a bookstore just to browse. I love the smell of ink-printed papers and the atmosphere of expectation of a real bookstore. You donâ€™t get that with an e-reader.
But I digress.
At this bookstore I found a diary, of sorts. A paperback book, roughly 200+ pages, its title, 300 Writing Prompts.
This baby was calling out my name! I struggle â€“struggle!- sometimes to find writing topics to blog about on my website, Â PeggyJaeger.com so finding a book like this was manna from heaven for me.
I thumbed through the first few pages and took it up to the cashier without another thought.
Iâ€™ve gone through each page during the past week and chosen a few broad â€“and some specific â€“ prompts that got me thinking, the old creative juices flowing.
Todayâ€™s prompt was: Do you prefer taking risks or having a safety net?
Kids, I could write a 500+ page book on this topic!
But I wonâ€™t. I â€˜ll keep it short and blogreader-worthy.
In the sense of disclosure, I am NOT a risk taker. Iâ€™m that kid who hated roller-coasters and amusement park rides because I always thought I would be the one on it if it broke down or crashed. Iâ€™ve never done an illegal drug in my life â€“ including pot â€“ because I always knew if I did, I would be that one in a million who would have the wicked adverse reaction to it and die from just one use. Iâ€™ve never smoked a cigarette because I knew I would be the one whoâ€™d come down with bronchitis or lung cancer.
I became a nurse not a doctor (which I could have, and had the opportunity to) because I knew in my heart I would have been sued for something negligent.
I didnâ€™t sleep for the first year of my daughterâ€™s life, not because she didnâ€™t – she did. Straight through the night from 8 weeks on. No, I didnâ€™t dare close my eyes because I knew if I wasnâ€™t constantly watching over her something bad would happen â€“ she would be kidnapped, the boogey man would eat her, sheâ€™d run away ( when she couldnâ€™t even walk upright!)
See? Cautious AND crazy.
For most of my adult life I was the same way about my romance writing. I wrote as much as I could, whenever I could, cranking out to what today is 27 books on my laptop.
And I never â€“ ever â€“ showed them to anyone.
Why, you ask? Well, Iâ€™ll tell you: because I was nervous, cautious and scared I would be:
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â scorned
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â derided
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â ridiculed
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â made fun ofâ€¦
you get the message.
I never once took a risk and thought SOMEONE would like what I wrote.
I was quite simply paralyzed with fear.
And then, one day, something changed.
I was reading a book about someone I admire greatly, Eleanor Roosevelt, and found these two quotes attributed to her:
- You must do the thing you think you can not do, and
- You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.
So, I asked myself, what was I really afraid of, and why? What was the absolute worst thing that would happen if I showed my writing to someone? I knew they wouldnâ€™t kill me, or maim me. They might find it laughable, so okay. Iâ€™d been laughed at before.
I realized there really wasnâ€™t anything that would ultimately and physically harm me if I took a risk and put my work out there.
I decided to do something Iâ€™d never done before: take a risk.
I started small. I entered a few pages in a romance writing contest. This, I figured, was benign because I wouldnâ€™t know the people judging the work, so their negative opinions wouldnâ€™t really hurt me.
Know what happened?
I won my division and the person who judged it â€“ the person who wound up being my publisher (and donâ€™t I love saying that!) â€“emailed me and requested the complete manuscript. The rest, as the pundits say, is history.
All because of those two quotes I read attributed to a women who was forced into the public eye and really wanted nothing more in life than to just be with her husband and family. A woman who initially feared being judged for her looks, her family name, her sex and her opinions. A woman who fought valiantly through her fears and became one of the most beloved individuals in our countryâ€™s history. A woman whose words changed me forever.
I still hate roller-coasters, wonâ€™t even consider smoking pot â€“ even if itâ€™s legalized â€“ and still worry about my daughter, who is now 25.
But I have learned to conquer my fear of being judged for my writing and I willingly take a new risk every time I type â€œChapter One.â€
Skaterâ€™s Waltz Blurb:
Figure skater Tiffany Lennox is busy with rehearsals for an upcoming ice show when the only man sheâ€™s ever loved comes home after a two-year overseas stint. She needs him to see her for the woman sheâ€™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 Tiffanyâ€™s hero and has a special place in his heart reserved for her. But faced with the oh-so-desirable woman sheâ€™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.
Skaterâ€™s Waltz Excerpt:
One delicate auburn eyebrow rose almost to her hairline. â€œCocky self assurance has always been one of your greatest assets,â€ she commented dryly.
Cole laughed again and pulled her down into a headlock.
â€œSnot nosed princess,â€ he said, knuckle-rubbing her head.
Heâ€™d been wrestling with her since she was a child. Heâ€™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. â€œLet me go!â€
â€œNot a chance. I know how your devious little mind works, and I taught you how to do this. The minute I loosen up, youâ€™ll hip check me over the back of the couch. No, thanks.â€
Tiffany burst out laughing. â€œYou rat. That was exactly what I was going to do.â€
â€œYou know retreat and surrender are inevitable, Tiff. I outweigh you, and Iâ€™ve got the distinct advantage of your injury in my favor. Give?â€
â€œOkay, you win.â€ She went limp beneath him.
The corners of his eyes narrowed as he smiled down at her. â€œYou must be maturing,â€ he said. â€œYou never used to give up so easily.â€
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. â€œYou didnâ€™t have these little lines when you left.â€
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. â€œI 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?â€
â€œSweet,â€ he said, softly. â€œLittle girl sweet. Never dumb.â€
Her eyes traveled up to his and locked there.
â€œWhen I got older I wondered what it would be like to kiss it.â€
His breath hitched.
â€œWould 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.â€
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 shouldnâ€™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.Â
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Also available on I-Books. Searchword: SKATERâ€™S WALTZ by Peggy Jaeger