Welcome to the tour for Christmas and Cannolis by Peggy Jaeger. She's going to tell us so much about her book and writing it. I have an excerpt for you. And I took the time to read the book, so I am sharing a few of my thoughts about it with you. Please follow the tour to find out more about her and to hear the opinions of others. And of course you can enter the giveaway!
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In my two past San Valentino Family books, 3 Wishes and A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights, Uncle Sonny San Valentino played a strong secondary character role. In fact, I had a number of readers who asked me to tell his and his family’s story, so CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS was born. Hee Hee. I knew I had to give Sonny a strong wife, and a big, loud, loving family of his own – 4 boys and one girl, who is the baby in the family. Regina has known heart breaking sorrow in her life and has only been able to move past it with the help of her loving parents and brothers. This book is an homage to family strength, the crazy that can only come from a big, loud family, and the power of faith.What kind of research did you have to do for it?
Since Regina owns her own bakery shop, I knew I had to get the daily routine down pat, so I called upon a few fringe friends who work in local bakeries and interviewed them. The authenticity of the flavor profiles Regina makes came from my lifelong hobby and love of all things baking. I bake daily. Sometimes twice daily. My husband loves homemade baked goods so it’s not unusual for me to have bread rising on top of the stove while muffins are baking inside it.Which character was your favorite to write?
Ursula, Sonny’s wife. She is the quintessential Italian mama, especially when it comes to her children. No girls were ever going to be good enough for her boys and no man would ever be able to satisfy her baby girl. Ursula believes you show the greatest amount of love when you are cooking and then feeding your family. No one goes away hungry from her table. She is very emotionally tuned into her children and husband, although she is not what anyone would call a deep thinker. She struggles over questions like, “why do they call it a parkway when you drive on it?” and “Why can’t they put the fabric softener into the detergent?” Stuff like that is beyond her. But her heart is as big as the biggest pasta bowl in her breakfront.To which character did you relate the most?
Again, Ursula wins the prize. I don’t have a passle of kids – even though I always wanted at least six – but I treat all my friend’s kids as if they were my own and no one leaves my house hungry, or without a go-bag filled with food.What was one of your favorite scenes?
When Regina finally asserts her independence over her interfering family. They are all gathered around the dining room table – as usual – and the subject of Regina’s love life comes up once again. When her older brothers interrogate her on the new man in her life, Regina finally blows. She reminds them she’s a grown-ass woman, has been on her own for some time, and can do what she wants with a man when she wants to. The entire time she is ranting her mother ( Ursula) Is seated at the table, silently saying the rosary in Italian. Love this scene so much!Will we see these characters again?
I’m certain of it!What do you hope people will get out of your book?
That if you have the support and love of your family, you can weather any storm, leap any hurdle, and meet any challenge that comes your way.How do you make yourself stand out in this genre?
I write what I call Realworld RomComs. I don’t set out to make my books funny. The very fact that they are – and can be – is totally attributed to how the characters in the family react in, and to, situations that arise. I also don’t shy away from topics like child deaths, pet loss, aging family members, and mental illness, because we all have been touched by these in our own lives. They could be considered morose topics, yes, but when they are handled gently, with humor and love, and if I can make you cry on one page and pull you out of it with laughter on the next, I feel I have done my job as a writer.Tell us about your other published works.
Right before Christmas and Cannolis released I had the first book in a new bridal series released by the Wild Rose Press. A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN follows three sisters who reside in Heaven, New Hampshire, and who collectively run a wedding business. One is the planner, one is the JP or officiant, and one owns the inn many of the receptions take place in. Book 1, DEARLY BELOVED, was released on 11.12.18. Book2 2 and 3 will (hopefully) be available in 2019.On what are you currently working?
As I mentioned above, I’m now working on finishing up book 2 in the Match Made in Heaven series, and then I will go on to book 3. I might even throw in a holiday novella as book 4. Who knows?What is your writing routine?
Since I took early retirement from my job in 2015 ( when my first book was published) I now right full-time from home. I write every day, either a blog post, or a few thousand words in whatever new book I am working on. I don’t write any new material for books over the weekend, but I do post to my blog. So, when all is said and done, I write for 10-12 hours, 5 days per week and probably 3-4 hours per day on the weekends, every day of the year.What are you currently reading?
An ARC of THE ONE YOU FIGHT FOR by RONI LOREN
Up next on your TBR?
I’m going to re-read THE JOY LUCK CLUBWhat is something on your bucket list you have accomplished?
My daughter and I no longer give one another birthday presents – we give each other experiences instead, so last year on my birthday we went to trapeze school together. Flying through the air on a trapeze has been on my list of things I have to do before I die since I was a kid. Did it last year and loved it! Two years before that we went to cooking school.Want to accomplish?
I will be 60 in 2 years. For that birthday I want to skydive. My daughter has done it already and reassures me she will do it again, with me, the next time.What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you?
I could easily be a hermit. Truly. There are some days that I never even get out of my pajamas. When I retired, my husband was so worried I would become one, he gave me a gym membership just so I would be assured of getting out of the house a few mornings a week and actually see and talk with people.
Christmas and CannolisWith Christmas season in full swing, baker Regina San Valentino is up to her elbows in cake batter and cookie dough. Between running her own business, filling her bursting holiday order book, and managing her crazy Italian family, she’s got no time to relax, no room for more custom cake orders, and no desire to find love. A failed marriage and a personal tragedy have convinced her she’s better off alone. Then a handsome stranger enters her bakery begging for help. Regina can’t find it in her heart to refuse him.
Connor Gilhooly is in a bind. He needs a specialty cake for an upcoming fundraiser and puts himself—and his company’s reputation—in Regina’s capable hands. What he doesn’t plan on is falling for a woman with heartbreak in her eyes or dealing with a wise-guy father and a disapproving family.
Can Regina lay her past to rest and trust the man who’s awoken her heart?
Read an excerpt:
My father stood at the head of the table, my mother seated next to him. As was also tradition, my father never sat down to eat in his shirt. A bright white wife-beater I knew he got by the gross at a discount dollar store a friend of his owned was his usual table garb. And by got by the gross, I mean it in the literal way. Pop had crates of the shirts stacked in the garage. It didn’t matter that the rest of us were dressed appropriately. Ever since my memory could be counted on, my father sat at a family table sans his outer shirt. Of course if we were at a restaurant or a fancy function like a wedding, he submitted and left it on for decency’s sake. But with family, all thoughts of decency flew out the storm windows. Since packing on a few extra belly pounds over the past couple years, he’d started wearing suspenders to keep his pants up because he hated the confining feeling of a belt.
“Hold hands and bow ya heads,” Pop instructed. We all complied. Pop looked up at the dining room ceiling. As a kid I’d always wondered if he could see God somewhere floating around the crystal chandelier. “Lord,” he said, focusing on the ceiling stucco, “we want to thank you for this food, made by the wife and paid for by my hard work. We want to thank you for our health, the roofs over our heads, the fact we got no bills, ain’t no one doing time right now, and most of all for the love we share as a family. Bless this food, Lord. Amen.”
Regina's family cracks me up. I didn't know many Italians until I moved to Western New York. And what I have seen with then and their families pretty much fits right in with this story! And I am so grateful for the minor crazy that I had with my German and English families!
I love Christmas stories and I have been enjoying stories where the main character owns her own bakery. So that was another really appealing aspect of this book. I also really like Regina and am proud of how much growth she has during this book. She is used to her family being controlling. She hasn't been able to trust men after losing her husband and her daughter. I can't say that I blame her. She is so confused and is able to find an inner strength that she didn't know was there.
The initial attraction between Connor and Regina is very intense and almost too unreal. I don't understand that kind of level so instantly. But then once I got past that, I enjoyed watching the relationship between the two of them grow as they got to know each other. They both have some damage that they are able to help each other repair. And again, the scenes with Regina's family will make you cringe while also laughing out loud.
About Penny JaegerPeggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.
Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.
Tying into her love of families, her children's book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.
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.
In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.
In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader's Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and was a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.
In 2018, Peggy was a finalist in the HOLT MEDALLION Award and once again in the 2018 Stiletto Contest.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0
Peggy Jaeger will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway