It is my pleasure to again have a guest post by prolific Wild Rose Press author Peggy Jaeger, who shares more insight into her busy life. This talented lady also decoupages, as she discusses in a post at this link.
What is one of your hobbies and how has it enriched your writing?
by Peggy Jaeger
Referring to cooking as a hobby may be a misnomer because we need to eat to live and we need to cook our food to eat. Well, most of it, anyway. I’m sure people who advocate a raw diet would disagree with me. But, for me, cooking is so much more than a necessary process or a hobby.
Believe me when I say I love to cook. LOVE. I have over 100 cookbooks in my home, dog-eared and well-used. When I get a new cookbook as a gift it’s the equivalent to giving me a rare and precious treasure. Nothing gives me more pleasure next to my writing, than providing a delicious, home cooked meal-from- scratch-recipe for a friend or a family member, and some of the happiest memories I have center around my dining room table, filled with the people I love the most, enjoying a meal.
This love of all things gustatory has drifted to my characters many times over many books. In my MacQuire Women Series, all the women – who happen to be mothers as well – are great cooks. Their kitchens are the gathering places of their homes, where parental advice and punishments are doled out between dinner and dessert courses, and declarations of love are made during the appetizers. My novel Cooking with Kandy centers around a chef-lebrity, and a family tradition of cooking, In my newest release, 3 Wishes( A Candy Hearts Romance) my heroine is a chocolatier raised in an Italian-American family where food equates to love, and eating is an Olympic contact sport.
The San Valentino dining room table is a warm, welcoming, and boisterous meeting place where the entire family, including aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, gathers nightly. Sunday dinners after Church are legend in the household where anything less than a five-course meal is considered un piccolo sputino or, “a little snack.” There is no such word as leftovers in this household of six grown children, their spouses and the grandchildren they gifted their parents. No processed or prepared foods are ever used and everything is made daily from scratch. Now, one would think the family might have a weight issue with all this food around all the time. But not one person in the family carries an extra and unneeded ounce of fat on them because what they eat is fresh, wholesome and has one extra ingredient no prepared food can: love.
Because I have such an abundant love for all things food and cooking from broiling to basting; baking to braising; shopping to chopping; and searing to serving, my characters have reaped the benefits of my culinary skills and it has enriched and fulfilled their lives and stories, just as it has my own. And I will say this until I die: cooking is sexy. Watching a man cook is wicked sexy. And cooking for the love of your life is a prelude to sex(y)!
I don’t think my stories would be as satisfying to me or my senses or my readers, if my hobby were, say, numismatics. I’m not saying money or coins can’t ever be considered sexy. But cooking is light-years sexier!
by Peggy Jaeger
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.
At about five minutes of ten I was almost ready to turn the Closed sign on the door when it opened. I heard Janie’s breath hitch and turned from where I was sweeping up. Staying open late is always a risk, with the thought thieves will invade at the end of the day.
If the guy standing at the door glancing around the shop was a thief, then Dio mio, I wanted to be robbed.
About six foot, his hair was the color of a deer’s pelt, with autumnal golds and browns shot together in a glorious patchwork that grazed the collar of his jacket and curled a little at the ends. He wore a faded brown bomber jacket over a shirt I couldn’t see, but he had shoulders almost as wide as my doorway. A pair of well-worn jeans covered his mile long legs, and the fabric on the stress points at his knees was practically white.
“We’re about to close,” I heard myself say. “Can I help you?”
It was at that moment he looked over at me.
His face could have been sculpted by Da Vinci or Michelangelo. A broad, smooth, forehead housed naturally arched eyebrows I knew some of my gay guy friends would have paid a fortune to have on their own faces. His cheeks were carved from marble, high, smooth and deep. And his mouth, mother-of-God, his mouth. Full, thick beautiful lips sat perfectly over a chin with a dent you could shove a button into and have it stay put.
“Sorry,” he said, those fabulous lips pulling up a little shyly at the corners. “I got stuck at work and couldn’t get here until now. I’ll be quick. Promise.”
So here’s the thing: the guy was gorgeous. But even if he’d looked like a frog with raw antipasto smothering his face, I would have dropped to my knees when he opened his mouth. Warm honey, a shot of raw whiskey, and a little hot puff of smoke wafted from his mouth like a fine and rare brandy being decanted.
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Her current titles, available now, include Skater's Waltz and There's No Place Like Home, and First Impressions books 1 through 3 in her 6-book The MacQuire Women Series, published by The Wild Rose Press.
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.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.
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