Friday, February 29, 2008
Actually, it's Leap Day. February 29, 2008. My friend Karen tells me that this is the day you are supposed to ask the guy to marry you. That is, if marrying the guy is truly what you want.
Make sure of that, girls, okay?
I could say been there, done that, so okay, will say it. "Been there, done that." Asked the guy to marry me? Ah, no. But seems I have this habit of saying "yes" when I'm asked. Whether it's for my own good, or not.
Hm. (okay, so I'm really smiling when I'm typing this)
I just wonder, however, how many women do take the leap and ask the guy to marry them? I have at least one friend who has done that. Her hubby romanced her for years, wanted to marry her long before she said to him one day (not Leap day) "let's get married." And they are happily ever after, etc...
But I wonder...does the Leap Year thing take the romance out of it for us romancaholics? Or, does turning the tables do it for you just the same?
I just wonder.
I'm way too old to dream of the perfect proposal, down on his knees, the ring, the dinner, the rose, etc... My proposal encounters never turned out quite like that. But even an old girl can dream, huh?
Still wondering. I might pop the question, given a certain set of circumstances, however... wouldn't the fairy tale proposal still get your juices running?
Okay, so yeah, it would.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Let's see what else Destiny has in store for us.
MJ: Do you have a day job? How do you balance the two?
Destiny: I don’t have a “day” job in the typical sense of the word. I have a ‘round-the-clock’ job as a writer. Many writers I know, are in the same boat. Writing is my only career and I feel very blessed to do what I truly love. As a ghost writer and a freelancer, I do travel some and when I do, it is usually on the spur of the moment which makes life fun and certainly keeps things interesting!
MJ: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Destiny: I didn’t begin writing professionally until I hit my thirties, so I would have to say, “Don’t ever wait to write.” Don’t waste time because it is one of the most precious commodities you’ll ever have. Get out the pen and notebook. Write! Type! Outline! Write until you can’t write another word and then write one more. It’s a fabulous career and if you want to do it, go for it!
MJ: What is your next project?
Destiny: I am currently booked out for the year in ghost projects so I will be writing something every month this year as a ghost writer. Personally, I have a lot of projects going on in various erotic genres. I hope to see the sequels to Bewitching Bite hit the virtual shelves of Resplendence Publishing. I have a new paranormal story in the works now for any publisher who contacts me and tells me it’s SOLD now. Just kidding. Not really! (Shrugs and smiles…what I can tell you is it takes the vampire/cowboy elements to a whole new world!)
BookStrand, the sister publisher to Siren Publishing just took on an entire series that we’re really excited about here. It’s going to be a lot of fun to write and a blast to market! NFL Wives will be coming out this summer beginning with the first one—Love, Lust and Scandal in the NFL which is already completed and will be a summer release.
MJ: Today, writers need not only write great books, but be great promoters of their books, too. What kinds of things do you do?
Destiny: I used to participate in too many online promotions. Yahoo loops and chats. MySpace and blogs. Now, I know that these things alone will not work. Sure, it’s helpful to get your name out but if you rely on it alone, you won’t survive. That is, of course, a matter of my opinion. What works for me is online and offline advertising and a combination of chats, blogging, and sure…going out on the loops with my news and updates. I now send out a newsletter too and if anyone would like to sign up for it, they can by sending me an email. Just send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org with “ADD ME to your Newsletter” in the subject line.
We run contests through the newsletter and an upcoming giveaway will be one of the biggest giveaways I’ve had to date but I can’t give all the details yet so sign up! It will be on the heels of two summer releases and promises to provide a “retreat” of sorts for the winner and I can’t wait to reveal more.
MJ: Now, here is the totally off-writing subject question. What’s the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?
Destiny: I gambled for a living. Yes it’s a very risky way to earn your living and I don’t recommend it but I actually made more money doing it than writing…at first! But I discovered I didn’t have the patience to ride the waves of a very volatile income so now I only gamble for fun and really, I go to the casinos for more than the gambling now. I like to go for the entertainment, great dining, and the comfortable and quiet rooms! Keep in mind, anything is peaceful in comparison to a house crawling with teenagers!
MJ: What else would you like to tell us?
Destiny: My readers have become some of my closest friends. Often, I hear this from other authors and it’s true. You become friends with your readers because not surprisingly, you have a lot in common…books. I have to say I have the best group of friends in the entire world! And…best of all, they are all over the world!
And thank you, Destiny, for being such a great guest blogger! I'm so glad you and all your friends stopped by. Come back again, ya hear?
Saturday, February 23, 2008
This week I'm going to post half of her interview questions tonight and the rest of them tomorrow evening. I thoroughly enjoyed doing this interview and I know you'll love learning about Destiny!
So, Destiny, tell us a little about yourself.
Destiny: Hi Maddie! Thanks so much for allowing me to visit as a guest blogger!
The mother of two teenagers, my husband and I are active in parenting because our children insist on it! (Smile) Yes, there are times when we’d love to take a little weekend to ourselves but thanks to traveling sports teams and too many sporting events to log on a calendar, we seem to stay on the move. Sometimes, we’re even lucky enough to be at the same venue rather than splitting off in pairs to go to one event with one child or the other.
Let’s see. What else. (Hmm…) Most people who know me know that I play craps and poker as a recreational activity and when I’m in
MJ: You have several books in print (or upcoming releases). Is there a favorite among them? Why?
Destiny: That’s tough to answer! I have five print titles available in my real name. Four are non-fiction and one has earned enough attention that I even received a paid interview this past week which was pretty awesome. Still, my favorite is yet to make it into print because it is an upcoming release. In 2008, I am contracted for several print releases under both names. So it’s an exciting time.
MJ: What do you love about your editor (or publisher)?
Destiny: I’m currently with several publishers and what I love most about them is the stability. It takes a lot for a publisher to make it and the publisher’s survival is often reliant on good editors as much as any other element. This is a tough business and tough editors (with a critical eye) can be very important. I appreciate strong editors because if they know what they’re doing, everyone benefits.
As for publishers, I feel like I’ve been really, really fortunate to land a spot with some of the best publishers out there. Resplendence Publishing, where we both are published, is one of the finest. I have to say that the marketing campaigns and the genuine effort from Leigh and Jess pays off in bigger ways than I would have ever imagined!
Now, I don’t want to leave anyone out so let me just talk to you really quick about where I’m published and what I have coming soon!
Resplendence Publishing (http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/)
Jess and Leigh are phenomenal to work with and of course, Bewitching Bite gained some attention because of their marketing efforts so I’m very excited to be on board with RP. 2008 promises to deliver a terrific line-up of fantastic titles and I can’t wait to tell you more as the year rolls on! By the way, Bewitching Bite earned a second place finish on one of the 2007 Preditors and Editors Readers Polls for short stories along with fabulous reviews!
Siren Publishing (http://sirenpublishing.com/)
Winning Virgin Blood will be published by Siren Publishing this spring. It’s a paranormal novella that will be in print later this year. Diana and the entire staff at Siren are top notch and I’m thrilled to be there. I’ll go ahead and “ditto” the same for BookStrand since it’s the sister company! Number One on the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll, Siren earned their spot by providing quality books and fantastic support for their authors and I invite everyone to watch for Winning Virgin Blood which is headed there this spring!
What can I say? eXtasy Books, like Siren, has a lot to offer and I’m glad to be there with Tina and her terrific line up of super authors. I first looked at eXtasy because many of my online buddies were there. And now I see why. It’s a great group of talented authors. Beyond the Valley and One Vampire Summer will be published there this year. Beyond the Valley is coming out on March 15th and I’m just slap happy about this western. In fact, it may very well be the beginning of more books to come in this genre. I loved digging into the 1800s and writing western elements into this novella.
The NFL Wives series will begin this year and BookStrand is publishing the entire series. The first NFL Wives novella will be released this summer (Love, Lust and Scandal in the NFL) and the others will follow quickly so readers aren’t left to wonder when the next one will reveal more!
Whispers Publishing (http://www.whispershome.com)
If you look at the author list at Whispers, you’ll see it reads like a who’s who list in erotic romance publishing. Some of the original authors of the erotic romance genre grace the covers of Whispers Publishing. I’m honored to be published there and enjoy working with Dawn Carrington (publisher) and Jane Bonander (my editor). Casino Player, a Whispers title, won one of the Preditors and Editors categories this year—so I’m still dancing over the nomination and the win! They have my new short story Fantasy Man and it will be coming out in April. So, if you love older woman-young man romances, watch for Fantasy Man!
Amira Press (http://amirapress.com)
I have three short stories out with Amira Press. I was there when the company’s erotic line took a leap forward which was fun to watch and better to experience.
The company published: It’s Your Lucky Day, Murdering in Numbers, and Happy Anniversary and all three are available on their website and at third party venues.MJ: Wow! See what I mean? Busy, busy lady. Stay tuned for more from Destiny tomorrow. In the mean time, check out her sites at
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Even so, 4:10 a.m. is a tad bit earlier than I normally get up. I have no plans to stay up all day long at this point. I'll slide back to bed as soon as my eyes get heavy enough and I can't see the screen on my laptop through the haze.
Hazards of the day job. I travel, you see. This week my internal clock appears to be having difficulty keeping up with exactly where my body is. Sporadic sleep schedules, delayed flights, long drives to destinations, longer days--all a recipe for out-of-whack body rhythms and sleep patterns.
All of which lead to the lack of writing the past few days. My brain is dead at the end of the day. I actually feel very proud to be contributing to my blog at the moment, here at 4:17 a.m....er, 2:17 a.m.
One of my coworkers commented at dinner this evening about how difficult it is to be "on" throughout the entire day and then come back to the hotel room to write. She was talking about writing work reports, etc. I thought, "Yeah, and then try to write a few paras of fiction at the end of that day, too." It's hard. But, I muddle through.
A deadline approaches. I'm a deadline driven gal. Hate to miss them. Work frantically not to. Have learned to find the best times to write while on the road. Have learned to be satisfied with shorter writing stints. Have learned to prioritize the weekends so that longer stints are available. Laying down fresh words on a page is sometimes easier on the weekend, editing and revising those words sometimes comes easier during the week when I'm tired. I've learned to adapt.
I will not, however, turn to editing or laying down fresh words this morning at 4:22, um 2:22 a.m. because the fingers are now getting a bit dyslexic and the eyes are slightly crossing and the nagging headache from sporadic sleep is settling in again.
I have 2 hours and 36 more minutes...wait...4 hours and 36 minutes until the alarm goes off and the day starts again. Ah, Mountain time. Gotta love it.
Night all, er, morning... whatever (yawn)
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Harlequin has upped the ante! This year their reader challenge is for 100,000 books read in 2008. And here is the most cool part. The organization I work for is the official recipient of the books that Harlequin will donate
to a worthy cause. The National Center for Family Literacy, http://www.famlit.
literacy organization that has worked internationally to support literacy in families. I'm proud to be a part of NCFL, and just as proud to be a part of the 100,000 book reader challenge. The books donated this year will go to adults in literacy programs on American Indian reservations - the project that I work with. I can tell you that the woman in the programs are going to love getting these books!
I've signed up to read and post the books I've read this year. I'm just getting started and hope that you will consider joining me. I'll be blogging more about this as the year rolls on.
Here is the link for more info and to sign up for the reader challenge.
See the official press release from NCFL at http://www.famlit.org
Friday, February 15, 2008
Please read Karen's blog. I love the idea of it. And remember to visit her wonderful website at http://www.karensandler.net
Talismans and Writing
I love talismans while I'm working on a book. Thats why I have a chunk of serpentine rock that I used as inspiration while writing my love underground suspense novel, NIGHT WHISPERS. And why I purchased a hand-loomed potholder while working on my uncompleted, unsold womens fiction novel, BACK HOME. And why I have, tucked into the file folder for my March Silhouette Special Edition, HIS MIRACLE BABY, a syringe for implanting embryos into a host uterus.
Yes, a syringe. Its about 12 inches end to end, from the plunger of the syringe to the flexible tip where the embryos are placed. A tiny, tiny tip you would never expect to be able to fit a baby-to-be.
I received said syringe during a tour of a local fertility clinic. The reproductive endocrinologist was kind enough to show me around on a Saturday, giving me access to exam rooms and the embryology lab. There were no patients in residence, so no one to disturb (although if the fertility readiness alarm sounded on a Saturday, the doctors were prepared to answer it). There was only the reproductive endocrinologist, the embryologist and me and my digital camera. I took pictures of everything I could think of to make it easier to describe the scene later when I was freaking out about deadlines.
Calendars are a sort of talisman for me as well. Not real world calendars, the ones that scream at me about hourglasses running out of time and can't I write a little bit faster. I'm talking about story calendars, the ones that keep straight the days of my fictional world.
I print off a calendar for the year my book will be released, making the assumption the story will be taking place that same year. Then I tick off on the calendar the major events as they happen in the book. This was especially crucial for HIS MIRACLE BABY, because I had a pregnancy to track. With the heroine acting as surrogate for the hero's embryos, I had to keep tabs on what medical procedure would happen when, a much trickier task than with a conventional pregnancy. I really hate it when I lose track of time in a book and end up with an inconsistency. I especially don't like having to slog through pages and pages trying to figure out what day it is.
So if anyone finds a time glitch in HIS MIRACLE BABY...dont tell me. I dont wanna know.
As a science geek, I really enjoyed the research into IVF that was necessary with HIS MIRACLE BABY. The embryology lab was like something out of a sci-fi movie. Do you know the canisters where the embryos are kept in cryopreserve look kinda like the kegs they use on soda machines? Yes, the canister they showed me was empty, but again, I was struck by the marvel of storing human life, being able to produce a baby even a year later as in my story.
As challenging as the book was to write, it was a satisfying experience and great fun to learn something new. And I still have that syringe, a talisman for my creativity.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Sixty-six years of living a writing dream. We should all be so fortunate.
I was in my twenties, barely out of college and floundering in my teaching career, not loving it as I’d dreamed, and pondering whether I would actually stay in the field, or not. Choices? I really didn’t think I had them at that point. Newly married, trying to make my way in the world, how could I do anything different than what my four-year college degree had prepared me for? I wasn’t sure which way to turn.
I say this because it was about that time in my life when my then husband’s aunt handed me a book one afternoon. I remember it vividly. My mother-in-law had just finished reading it and was returning. The aunt took the book and pushed it toward me. “Here, you might like to read this. When you’re finished I’ll want it back.”
That book was The Stone Bull by Phyllis Whitney. I can’t remember all these years past whether it was the first of her books I’d ever read but it was the most memorable. I’m embarrassed to say that thirty-one years later, that book still sits on my shelf. I didn’t intentionally keep it, just life got on the way (divorce, etc.) and it was never returned.
I’d come across it from time to time and re-read. To me, there was something magical about that book. Perhaps it was because I could get lost in it at a time in my life when my every day was a little miserable. Fighting middle-schoolers all day long was quickly sucking the life out of me. I’m still amazed I managed to teach them for ten years. But books like, The Stone Bull, helped me escape once in a while and to push rebellious adolescents out of my head.
I’m now a writer myself. My path has been long and round-about to get here but the stories always spurred me on. Those in my head, and those of other authors, Ms. Whitney’s definitely at the top of the list. I have read many Whitney books over the years. I have her Guide to Fiction Writing on my shelf, studied it intently many years ago. I know I’ll read and re-read her books again in the future. And recently, I pitched a book to my editor stating that Murder on the Mountain was written in a Phyllis Whitney plot style, even though it was not written in first person. Funny, but when titling Murder on the Mountain, I was thinking again of The Stone Bull, even after all these years have passed, and wonder if subconsciously, that story was urging me on once more.
The book was accepted and will be released in the next year. That book was the first manuscript I’d ever completed and it has been sitting on my virtual computer shelf for a long, long time. It has gone through a number of revisions and iterations, but it will now see its day.
In her book, Guide to Fiction Writing, Ms. Whitney wrote, “Never mind the rejections, the discouragement, the voices of ridicule…Work and wait and learn, and that train will come by. If you give up, you’ll never have a chance to climb aboard.”
Thank you, Ms. Whitney, for The Stone Bull and your wise words. We writers thrive and rely on patience and persistence, although they are sometimes difficult pills to swallow. You’ve left us with not only a lengthy backlist of your titles to enjoy again and again, but a legacy of dedication to your craft that we all can learn from.
May you rest in peace and your spirit live forever in your stories.
Friday, February 08, 2008
I had a perfectly nice little blog all typed up on here about how mercury retrograde is screwing with my life and the writing this week, and so I uploaded a pic (nice little fiery planet pic, perfect, I thought) and hit preview and...
Crap. It's gone. The entire blog. All my wonderful words...
So, suffice it to say, I lamented quite nicely about Mercury ruling thinking and perception and how that little planet seemed also to be ruling my brain this week -- no writing at all for me. I mean, how in the f*%# can one write when a planet is streaming backwards through the universe and upsetting lives and stuff?
This retrograde thing is powerful. Has to be. This week drove me to drink. Twice! I mean, I'm tinkling the rocks in my margarita glass as we speak. I never drink during the week.
And I ran out of Tequila. Did you know that you can substitute vodka with margarita mix and it comes out okay? I just call it a martini margarita. Works perfectly.
Tonight I have Tequila, however.
So then, you know, I go and lose the blog, too. Damn. But oh well, I think you still get the picture. Speaking of which, I'll not be uploading that cool little fiery planet pic again. I think recreating this blog a third time would be a mite ineffective.
I'll just push save and move on. Perhaps that is how I just need to view this entire week.
Push save and move on.
Hope you all have a grand weekend.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
First, the wonderful Lyn Armstrong is blogging with me all week on her blogs. She's already started and is giving away snippets of info about me each day. Lyn is the author of The Last Celtic Witch and the newly released The Celtic Witch and the Sorcerer. You can find her books at Resplendence Publishing, http://www.resplendencepublishing.com and Amazon.com.
Come visit us both on her blogs at:
And if that isn't enough, I'm wanted! See, my name is on a wanted poster! (see left side bar)
Marcia James (no, we're not twin sisters!) author of At Her Command, available from Cerridwen Press and Amazon, has featured me this month on her James Gang blog. Each month Marcia features a romance author interview but here is the catch -- you have to share the last name James. Hence, the James Gang. Have you ever stopped to think how many romance authors are out there with the name James? Well, there are a few.
At any rate, she's captured me this week and my interview is up. Come take a look!
Have a wonderful Wednesday. I hope the tornados steered clear of your communities last night.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
I hope everyone has had a wonderful start to their new year. My holidays were filled with family events and balanced with quite times. It was a nice beginning to the year. I like fresh starts, always have, so look forward as this new year develops.
Yesterday, I read my horoscope and was reminded that beyond fresh starts, I also always look toward the future. Sometimes, I get caught up in thinking about that next project, or a future event, and forget to pay attention to what is happening in my life right now. So, that is a current goal for me – to start being happy right where I am and even though the future looms large ahead of me, remember that it is very good right here where I am.
I’ve been having a lot of fun lately in my world of romance books. I can’t tell you the enjoyment I’ve had meeting new people and seeing my books available for sale. I’m looking forward to some spring events, so hope I will meet more of you, too.
Most Monday evenings from 9-10 p.m. on Aleka Nakis NowLive broadcast, Romance Dialogue http://www.nowlive.com/desktop/default.aspx?id=100245692
February 12, Coffeetime Romance, Resplendence Authors chat http://www.coffeetimeromance.com
April 16-20 ~ Romantic Times Booklovers Convention,
April 25-26 ~ Dogwood Writers Conference,
I currently have three releases with Resplendence Publishing. You can find each of them at http://www.resplendencepublishing.com
THE CURSE, book one in The Legend of Blackbeard’s Chalice series
BLUE, a novella
Bed, Breakfast and You, a novella in the Ladies of Legend: Finding Home anthology
THE CURSE, is now available in both ebook and print formats from Resplendence Publishing, and in print on Amazon.com
Several of my titles will be coming soon to Fictionwise and Mobipocket. Stay tuned.
February, 2008 ~ THE CULT, book two in The Legend of Blackbeard’s Chalice series
March, 2008 ~ Red: A Seduction Tale – a grown-up version of Little Red Riding Hood in Resplendence’s new Wicked line, novella
May, 2008 ~ THE QUEST, book three in The Legend of Blackbeard’s Chalice series
Summer, 2008 ~ A Perfect Escape, a single-title romantic suspense
Celebrate with me the signing of a few more contracts with Resplendence Publishing! Release dates to be determined.
Murder on the Mountain, a single title Ladies of Legend romantic suspense
Home for the Holidays, a novella in the Ladies of Legend Christmas anthology, A Legendary Christmas
Family Stories, Family Recipes, my leap into the world of cookbooks! For more information, go to http://familyrecipesandstories.blogspot.com
Contests ~ Love is in the Air
Resplendence Publishing and its authors are hosting several contests in the next couple of weeks. Watch the Resplendence website for contest info updates. http://www.resplendencepublishing.com
Maddie’s contest ~ see more info on my blog. http://maddiejames.blogspot.com
Jan Scarbrough~ visit Jan’s website at http://www.janscarbrough.com
Magdalena Scott ~ visit
An excerpt ~ I thought I’d leave you with an except from BLUE, now available from http://www.resplendencepublishing.com
Cyan Seye wept in the corner of the dank cave. She wasn’t sure, but thought she could hear a strange music—like flutes—coming out from somewhere beyond the rocks. Or maybe it was in her head.
Not certain how she’d come to be here, no clue how she would eventually leave, she leaned into the cold stone and resigned herself to one thing – no matter what, she had to trust Devin McCrae. Even if it was the most difficult thing she’d ever do in her life.
Fear had been a part of her life since she was born. It was almost as much a part of her as breathing. Running. And fear gripped her every time McCrae looked deep into her eyes. Blue, he called her. For her eyes.
The past month had been worse than any of her twenty-four years. But he was the only person who could save her now. Protect her. If anything was certain, it was that. She shivered, uncertain of whether it was from the cold, or her plight.
McCrae was her unlikely savior. She knew not from where he’d come. Wasn’t certain who had sent him. All she really knew was that her father had feared him for years. But she’d always wondered, why him? When there were so many others to fear?
But then she had seen it for herself.
The day McCrae had killed her father.
Cyan hugged herself and tried to stop her chattering teeth. Tried to clear her mind. Go to some other place. Free herself for a while.
Just so wet. Cold.
McCrae didn’t want a fire. Smoke. Flames. They would give away their hiding place, he’d said. Then he’d left her. Left her to go watch the night. Eyes searching the storm-silenced sky. Listening. Watching.
Waiting for them.
Protecting her. It was his only purpose in life now.
So, he guarded the entrance. The one way into the cave. Guarded her. And for some insane reason, Cyan felt safe. Even with him.
She’d learned long ago that when she felt safe, she needed to sleep. Because good sleep rarely came when you were on the run. When you were looking over your shoulder. When you had no clue what the next hour would bring.
Did McCrae ever sleep?
Her eyelids were sandpaper. Heavy.
They closed. Gritty.
Her father’s last words. His eyes had spoken the words as much as his breathless voice had said them. Right before McCrae had killed him.
I hope everyone has a great Valentine’s Day coming up. Have fun and be safe. And celebrate love!
See my romance releases at http://www.resplendencepublishing.com
Current release ~ Bed, Breakfast and You in Ladies of Legend: Finding Home
Ask me about Family Recipes, Family Stories ~ http://familyrecipesandstories.blogspot.com
Some links where you might also find me:
To join or unsubscribe to Maddie James Newsletter group, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/maddiejames/
Friday, February 01, 2008
Wow, I was wrong. There is still another day left to vote on the poll, but take a look. Paranormal is currently in first place with 30% of the vote; historical is second with 19%; contemporary is third with 15%, and erotica 4th with 11%.
Now, of course, this is no scientific poll. There is not a large -n. No random assignment or any control groups anywhere in the mix. It's a "drop-by-my-blog-and-tell-me-what-you-think" poll. Fun and funky. No strings attached. It still surprised me.
My writer friend and fellow Resplendence author Catherine Chernow was doing a similar poll on her yahoo group. Guess what. Yep. You are right. Practically the same thing. Paranormal edged out front with 31% of the votes, then erotica followed by contemporary.
Hm. Pray tell what does that mean to moi? The the reader? To publishing houses? Paying attention to trends? To moi, I'm kind of glad I have a few paranormal books on the shelf right now. Perhaps historicals are stronger than in the past? Who knows? Does this indicate that erotica is slowing down? I doubt it.
But it is interesting, just the same. What do you think?