Sunday, April 01, 2012

TO SEE THE SUN - Peggy Blann Phifer - Free Book

Peggy Blann Phifer is an author and columnist, book reviewer,  and author interviewer, whose work has appeared on various Web sites and writer periodicals both in print and online. She is also an avid reader who loves to escape by diving between the covers of a good book. Peg enjoys handcrafts of all kinds and her home shows off some of her work, though most end up as gifts for friends and family. A retired executive assistant, Peg now makes her home in southern Nevada with husband Jim.

To See the Sun is her debut novel.

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Not a lot of “me” as much as my experiences. My main female character, Erin, is nothing like me. And, thinking about it, there’s very little of me in any of the other characters, either. Maybe that’s weird, I don’t know. Maybe a little wishful thinking, huh? Like, I wish I WAS more like Erin. Or Magie, or Racine.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Maybe not quirky, more like hare-brained. As a young mother living on Milwaukee’s southeast side, my dad was sick and Mom had to work. My husband had just gone through the same thing, so I knew how miserable Daddy was. I didn’t want to leave him alone. So, I bundled up my two-year-old son and my two-month-old daughter, took a city bus to the stop where I could catch a commuter bus out to New Berlin, where my parents lived. It was early February, as I recall. The crazy thing is that I had to leave the commuter bus and walk over a mile to the house, carrying the baby and holding tight to my son’s hand all the way. I used to walk that mile both ways every day to work before I got married, in high heels, so I didn’t think much about it until I began that long walk that day. Daddy was glad to see me but I got a royal scolding from him, as well as my husband. The children suffered no ill effects and I never once regretted doing what I did. But I never tried it again!

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I was a little girl I suffered from severe childhood asthma and there was little they could do about it in those days. I was limited to low-to-no strenuous activity, usually kept inside, often in bed. During the school year, if I had an attack, my teachers would send my schoolwork home with my sister, along with a selection of books from the school library. I devoured everything. And soon found myself re-writing some of them. It took most of my life until I was 40 to realize what I should have known back then. I was a writer.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Oh, my. It covers a broad area. Everything from the classics to Exodus (one of my all-time favorites.) I read, and still have, all the early James Bond books. I’ve read War and Peace—twice. I even indulged in the bodice-rippers for a few rebellious years. My current “passion” is suspense/thrillers, because that’s what I’m writing. Love James Scott Bell and Brandilyn Collins, Ronie Kendig and Steven James, to name a few. But my writing is not as much “thriller” as it is romantic suspense.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Honestly? Not very well. There are days I’d give anything to run outside and scream my head off. Or run away and hide. It seems every time I want to close myself off and do a good, long stint of writing, life happens. Or, more to the point, one husband, one dog, and seven cats. They don’t get it that, like Garbo, I just want to be alone.

Just before Christmas, I saw a Tweet from James Scott Bell with a picture of a door hanging “writer at work” made by his daughter using “ransom note” style, i.e. letters cut from newspapers and magazines. I thought, hey, I can do that. So I made one and have it hanging on my door. I have yet to use it. Something tells me it’s not going to stop the interruptions. But I’m going to give it a try one of those “I wanna scream” days.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I really don’t have a method. Maybe I’ll come across a name in something I’ve read, or heard a name that found its way into my head. Or I’ll see a picture in a magazine or online and a name pops into my head for her or him. That’s how I finally named Erin. In the book’s early form, I named her character Tori, short for Victoria. But it wasn’t working. Every time I wrote her name I cringed. Just didn’t sound right for the character I was building. Then one day I was thumbing through a women’s clothing catalog—Chadwick’s, I think—and this same young woman kept appearing in different garments and poses. She fit my mental picture of my heroine to a T. Unruly, tousled silver/blond hair with an impish grin in a pixie face. One pose shows her in a pensive mood. As soon as I saw that, the name Erin wrote itself above her head. Whimsical? I guess. But once I had the right name, she started talking to me. The same thing happened with all the other characters. My mind “saw” them and their name followed. Maybe I’m just wired wrong.

We’re all wired differently, but none of them are wrong. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Besides just getting my book published? Sticking it out to the end, I guess, despite all the rejections, contest losses with hard critiques, a disastrous one-on-one meeting with an editor at a conference where my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth and I couldn’t say a thing. I finally just stuffed my one-sheet in front of her. Humiliating.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
That should be a given. A cat. I envy the way they stretch. I love their aloofness, their “I can’t be bothered right now” attitude. They don’t need the “Writer at Work” sign.

What is your favorite food?

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
See #5 and #7. LOL Actually my nemesis is time management. It is, and always has been, the most difficult thing for me. I was once told, through a time-management class presented by my employer, that I have a tendency to let the Urgent crowd out the Important. I’ve found that to be true. On the plus side, I’m tenacious. If I want to accomplish something, I will. Sooner or later.

Tell us about the featured book.
Here’s the back cover blurb:

Pregnant and widowed hadn’t been part of her “happily ever after” dream. And now, someone was trying to kill her . . . 
Erin Macintyre never expected to be a widow and a new mother in the same year, anymore than she expected mysterious notes, threatening phone calls, and a strange homeless man who seems to know all about her. The thought of raising a child without a father is daunting enough—worse when you have no idea who might want to harm you. Put an old flame into the mix, and her life begins a tailspin into a world she never knew existed.

When P.I. Clay Buchanan, stumbles upon Erin at her husband's gravesite, he’s totally unprepared for her advanced pregnancy. Her venomous reaction at seeing him, however, was predictable. But Clay can’t let her distrust, or his guilt, get in the way—not when he has evidence that proves Erin’s life is in danger.

With few options left, Erin begrudgingly accepts Clay’s help . . . and it just might be her undoing.

Sounds like the kind of romantic suspense story I like to read. Please give us the first page of the book.
Chapter One:
Friday, March 26, late afternoon
What a fantastic day. A bid won. A contract signed. The job of a lifetime that would put Stuart and Macintyre at the top of the construction heap, not just in Las Vegas, but all of southern Nevada.

Whistling, Justin Macintyre pressed the keyless remote of his Cadillac Escalade, tossed his briefcase across the console to the passenger seat and slid behind the wheel.
To top it all off, after seven long years, he and his wife, Erin, were going to have a baby. A baby! He laughed aloud at the overwhelming joy of it.

"Hey, world, I'm going to be a daddy!"

He shifted the SUV into gear and pulled out of the Mt. Charleston Lodge area onto Kyle Canyon Road and headed down the mountain to the Las Vegas Valley below. Despite the successful day, Justin couldn't banish his worry over a recent discovery of some irregularities in the company's finances. Nothing concrete, and his Uncle Sebastian, S and M's CFO, assured him everything was fine. Nevertheless, Justin's uneasiness had prompted him to send what little proof he had to his long-time friend, Clay Buchanan, a private investigator in Texas.

Preoccupied with his thoughts, he vaguely registered the yellow and black blind curve warning sign. Too late he saw the stalled car across the center line. No time to stop! He spun the wheel to the right.

I'm going too fast! God, help me . . .!


Seconds passed and silence settled once more over the mountainside. A shadow emerged from behind a Joshua tree and stepped to the edge of the ravine. After a moment, the form walked to the car in the road and drove away.


Erin Macintyre stretched her arms along the balcony's balustrade of her twenty-seventh-floor condo above the streets of Las Vegas. Beyond that, the lower edge of the setting sun kissed the still snowy peaks of the Spring Mountain Range and Mt. Charleston.

Justin would be home soon.

"Erin, where's the zester?"

Erin returned to the kitchen. "In the utility drawer."

"Which is the utility drawer?" Magie Gifford, Erin's dearest friend, pulled out drawer after drawer.

Erin giggled and reached across Magie's arm and slid out the utility drawer.

"You changed it." Magie snatched the zester and bumped the drawer shut with her hip. "That's not where it was last time."

Erin wrapped her arms around her friend and hugged. "No, Mags, I didn't change anything." She waited a beat. "Can I interest you in a memory enhancement program?"

"Very funny." Magie pushed Erin aside and proceeded to rub a lemon across the gadget and then whisked the zest into a frothy mixture of olive oil, Italian herbs, and balsamic vinegar. "Okay, just drizzle this over the salad and stick it in the fridge."

That done, Erin checked on the lasagna in the oven. The garlic toast waited on the foil-lined cookie sheet ready to pop under the broiler. Everything was ready.

Erin glanced at the kitchen clock. "He's late."

"Posh. You should know by now how those meetings can drag on."

"Yeah, I know. It's just—"

"Get over here, Erin. He'll be here when he gets here."

Erin joined her friend in the breakfast nook off the kitchen and adjacent to the balcony. She scooped up a dozing Siamese cat from her chair and sat, settling him back on her lap.

"You spoil that critter." Magie brushed off the chair cushion before sitting.

"Yeah, I do. But you love him, too. I saw you sneaking him some treats earlier." Erin smiled. "Not to mention the romp you had with him in the living room when you got here."

"Busted. But he's so much fun, aren't you, Kazimir?"

At the sound of his name, the cat uncoiled, left Erin's lap and jumped onto Magie's. She snorted. "So much for protecting my black slacks."

"Thanks for coming over to help with this meal. I wanted it to be special and I never know when the nausea will hit." She raised an eyebrow. "But you will leave as soon as Justin gets here."

"You think he'll get that bid?"

Erin tapped her heart and nodded. "I know he will."

The first five descending notes of Welcome to My World sang out in the condo's foyer. Justin! No, he wouldn't ring the doorbell. Puzzled, she stepped across the tiled floor and rose on tiptoes to peer through the peephole. She gasped and jumped back.

The doorbell chimed again.

Fingers trembling, Erin released the security lock and opened the door to two uniformed police officers.

"Mrs. Macintyre?"

Erin nodded as Magie moved to her side.

"What is it, officers?"

"I'm afraid there's been an accident, Mrs. Macintyre. Your husband . . ."

Yep. You’ve got me hooked. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Twitter: twitter/com/pegphifer

Thanks, Peg, for dropping by today.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
To See the Sun: Desert Faith Series Book One - paperback
To See the Sun (Desert Faith Series) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Unknown said...

So many novels, so little time, so little money! This suspense novel sounds awesome. Widowed and pregnant and hunted? wow. i think i'll need to quit reading the blogs, cause i get a case of wanting these novels you share with us, Lena. Thankyou for the opportunity to win.

marianne - Arizona

mitzi underscore wanham at yahoo dot com

scottsgal said...

sounds like a book I'd really enjoy reading. PS Also a Mexican foodie too
cheryl in IL
msboatgal at

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Marianne, I can SO relate! My TBR (To Be Read) stack has multiplied into several toppling stacks! Thanks for your comment and good luck in the drawing.

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Cheryl, I think I could eat Mexican five days a week—at a good Mexican restaurant. Two of my favorite dishes are Chiles Rellenos and Carne Asada. Yum.

Bethany said...

Another great book to add to my to-read list! It's certainly ever-growing :) I'd love to be entered!

cbus.blogger at gmail dot com

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Hi, Bethany. Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you:

K=the King

in the drawing :)

Rose McCauley said...

Thanks, Lena and Peg for the info. it sounds really good, and I am so happy for you, Peg! Rose from KY

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Pamela J said...

My grandma once told me, when I pulled stunts like "taking off somewhere all alone with my two kids", that it was going to make me old before my time. So, watch out.. things creep up on ya.

Peggy, when you re-wrote stories you read while pretty much bed-ridden, did you have different endings?

You COULD be famous if you teach your dog (since the cats don't need the sign) to read your "writer at work" sign, especially if it takes heed the warning. lol

I'm with Lena in that your book, Peggy, sounds like one I like to read. Actually, like the kind my husband and I read together.

Thanks, Lena, for entering my name in your drawing. I live in Mid-Southern Colorado.

purensimplenatural at gmail dot com

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Peg, I loved Exodus and also saw the movie. I also loved The Diary of Anne Frank. Can't wait to read your book and have on my wish list. Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

Brenda from Georgia

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Maggie Carr said...

i'd love to win!
maggie in northern indiana

Pam K. said...

I've been reading Peg's blog and so am very interested in reading her book. I enjoy romantic suspense and this sounds like a good one! Thanks for the chance to win a copy.


Lynne Wells Walding said...

Thanks for telling me about this blog and your interview, Peg. Your novel sounds really good. If I don't win it . . . I will certainly buy it.

Mexican . . . Chinese . . . Italian. I don't know. So many choices! But probably, if I had to chose, I'd go with Mexican!


Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Hi, Rose from KY. Thanks for stopping by.

Linda, in California. Happy to meet you.

Pamela J, that was a crazy stunt. Thankfully I'm not that impulsive anymore. Note I didn't say I wasn't still impulsive :) About those long-ago rewrites, yes, they always had different endings because sometimes I'd change the characters.

Brenda, Thanks so much for following me here. I saw the Exodus movie, too . . . several times as long as someone would go with me. LOL

Hi, Maggie! Thanks for visiting.

Pam K, glad to see you over here. Thanks! I hope you'll enjoy the book.

Lynne, my friend, thanks for coming over. I appreciate that.

Mary Preston said...

I am looking forward to reading TO SEE THE SUN. I loved the first page thank you.

Your hare-brained trudge sounds like something I did once too. Sometimes you just have to do these things.

Mary P


Melissa Finnegan said...

Peggy, I was reading through the comments and I loved what you did with LUCK. I always struggle with wishing someone good luck as a Christian, so this works for me.

You book sounds fantastic and I would love to read it!

Patty said...

Very intriguing start! Look forward to reading more of this book...

Patty in SC

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

Looks interesting!
Please enter me in the drawing!
God Bless,
Sarah Richmond

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Mary P, you're right. There are some things one just has to do. Getting to Daddy that day was one of them.

I'm curious . . . OLD Australia? Seriously showing my ignorance, here.


Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Melissa, that LUCK thing was something I saw many years ago. I'm not sure I've got it right, but it does work.

I hope you'll have a chance to read my book. :)

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Hi, Patty in SC. Thanks for dropping in.

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Thank you for the blessing, Sarah. and thanks for visiting.

Abigail Mitchell said...

Enter me!
Blanch, N.C.
God Bless!

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me.
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Hi, Abigail and Sharon! Thanks for dropping by.

Patti Shene, Executive Editor, Starsongs Magazine said...

Wow, Peg, this interview was great! I sure learned a lot about you I didn't know.

As for the book, I'm in the midst of reading my Kindle for PC version and loving every minute of it.

I'll still enter the contest, though. Would love to have a copy to donate to our local library (if I win!)


Peggy Blann Phifer said...

"Wow" to you, too, Patti. Thank you for the kind--and welcome--words about my book. IF you win the copy and get it into your local library, maybe the librarian can talk it up to fellow librarians, and maybe . . .

Well, one can dream, can't one? :)

Coolestmommy said...

Best wishes for your book. The opening is rocking! Looking forward to reading this one.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Mippy said...

There's nothing like life dealing you something unexpected! Would love to read this book!
~Mippy in Utah :)
bunnysmip (AT)yahoo (DOT) com

Nancye said...

This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway.

Nancye in Kentucky

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

rubynreba said...

I definitely want to read this.
Beth from Iowa