Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Louisville, KY photoshoot

I spent the morning today trolling around downtown and Old Louisville taking some pictures for a magazine article I am working on. It was a beautiful morning and a wonderful day for photography! I thought I would share some of my shots with you tonight. Enjoy!

Lunch, anyone?

I love Tuesdays. Why? Because on Tuesdays, new releases come up on the Resplendence Publishing Web site. And guess what? This Tuesday, I have another release!

Dates du Jour is the third novella in my Matchmaking Chef series. Here is the blurb.

Speed dating? Speed eating is more like it. When Suzie sets up lunch date after lunch date for Lyssa Larkin, Legend’s homegrown homecoming queen of 1992, she knows she’s about bit off more than she can chew. Lyssa inspects and rejects her dates in two bites and then sends them on their way. Suzie wonders if she really wants to date or just eat two lunches, and worries that soon Lyssa’s hips won’t fit on her dainty chairs.

That is, until Suzie takes a risk with a man the exact opposite of what Lyssa describes as “perfect for her.” A man that Lyssa knows, but doesn't know, and is falling for her hard and fast. Suzie just can't help but work some of her matchmaking magic behind the scenes....

Like it so far? How about a short excerpt?

He had to say that the view that met him upon re-entering the dining room at Legend’s Landing Bed & Breakfast was spectacular. Of course, he wasn’t referring to the lovely fall scene out the large picture window that framed Legend Mountain in all her glory, while providing him with a glimpse of Lake Legend.

No. That wasn’t the view, at all, that he was very much enjoying.

She was perched on all fours, her round derriere, clad in those hip-hugging black slacks he’d admired earlier, swayed back and forth before him. Taunting. She placed one forearm flat on the floor and stretched forward to retrieve something, it appeared, from underneath an old, antique china cabinet. The clearance could only be a few inches off the floor. He angled his head to the right as she maneuvered herself even closer to the piece of furniture while laying her cheek flush against the plank flooring and peering into the depths beyond.

“Oh, come on you…” the woman muttered.

A long, brunette ponytail swished to the floor over her shoulder.

Mack brought a hand to his chin, ran his fingers over the stubble there, and smirked. He could stand here, well, forever, and watch this, but perhaps he should do something to help.

“Almost, got you…” She wiggled her ass again, and for another moment, he cocked his head to the side just to watch.

No. No need to rush this. Correct?

A little bit of mischievous boy raced through him. Retrieving his cell phone, he punched in a few words and pressed send. A muffled, “BadadadaDA!” sounded from beneath the cabinet.

“Dammit!” Lyssa sputtered. She flipped her body to lie on the floor, her right hip against the wood, and her right arm squeezing between wood and floor.

Mack watched. He should really stop this.

“Come on you bastard…” she whispered.

She had a bit of spunk. He liked that. Looked like she’d gotten rid of her headache.

Of course, he should have told her earlier who he was, but it was just too much fun keeping her in the dark.

He’d fess up. Soon.

Finally, she hooked her finger into the thing she was retrieving and he watched as she pulled a small purse, complete with dust bunnies, out from beneath the cabinet. She jerked up and sat on her knees—her back still to him—and dug into the pouch.

Out came the cell. She punched buttons and searched.

“Mack,” she exhaled his name on a breath.

He ticked off the messages in his head. Phone call. Voice mail. Three text messages. One email. All of them basically saying the same thing.

I’m home early. Lunch?

Except for the last one which said…

Nice ass.

Lyssa stared at the last text message from Mack and shook her head. Nice ass? What?

Then the thing BadadadaDA-ed! again, and another message flashed.

Turn around.

Her body did just that—slowly—while her heart thudded in her chest. As she rotated backward, she observed the entire scenario in slow motion—the picture window, the small table with remnants of her second lunch with what’s his name, a mahogany sideboard, some picture on the wall, and…a man.

The slow motion skidded to a stop.

Her gaze met him first at denim-clad knees, traveled downward slightly to a pair of worn brown loafers, then moved upward over thighs that filled out those denim jeans rather nicely…as was his pelvis area, filled out nicely, she noticed…then upward to a stocky chest adorned with a snug-fitting black t-shirt, covered by a dark brown leather blazer, and then…

Her gaze met his face. Correction. Smiling, scruffy face. He had nice crinkles around the corners of his mouth, a hint of a five o’clock shadow, and green eyes that met hers and held with a twinkling of excitement.

Dates du Jour is available now in ebook format only at Resplendence Publishing!

What? You somehow missed books 1 and 2? Well, we can remedy that. Click the following links for more information on Perfectly Matched (book one) and Hot Crossed Buns (book two). Both books are also available at Fictionwise.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Whew! Busy weekend...

Every once in a while a weekend doesn't turn out exactly as planned, but never mind that...sometimes spontaneous is better than planning anyhoo!

Just thought I'd share picture of why my weekend was so busy. Why do you think?

Think they are rotten, or what? LOL Yes, and they keep me hopping!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Have you been waiting for The Quest?

Wait no more...

The Quest, book three in my Legend of Blackbeard's Chalice series, is now available for ebook purchase at the Resplendence Publishing website!

For those of you who have read The Curse and The Cult, it's been a long wait for The Quest. I'm so pleased to be able to offer it to you now.

Here is the blurb:

Jackson Porter seeks to fulfill his mother dying request...and answers about the imaginary lover who haunts his nights. His future, he learns, is in a place called Ohio, miles and centuries away from his barrier island home in 1745. The land is his legacy and belongs to him. His mother urges him to claim it.

In the year 2032, Kari Upton is driven to fight federal sanctions and save her land and her crops. Her upcoming marriage is one of convenience. Marrying Tye Gentry will save her Ohio farmland. There is no other way to gain power than to marry him and ride on his father political coattails to the state legislature.

And all would be perfect if it weren't for those erotic dreams...

Like it? Get your ebook fix here now.

Coming to Fictionwise and Amazon Kindle soon. The print version will be available this fall. Stay tuned!

Need more? Read at excerpt here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Saying good-bye to America's angel: Farrah Fawcett

What can you say about a 62-year-old woman who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant. And that once upon a time, America was in love with her. Scratch that. America is still in love with her.

Actress Farrah Fawcett died today from her nearly three year battle with cancer. Recently, she went public with a documentary of her battle, feeling a strong desire to let others know how cancer grips and takes hold, and how a body deals with the disease, emotionally and physically.

Farrah became a household name in the 70's--I remember it so well, being a child of the 70's myself--with her layered blonde hair style, flashing smile, and that famed poster of her in the red swimsuit. If all of that wasn't enough to thrust her into stardom, the hit television show Charlie's Angels, sealed the deal.

We all wanted to be her. I wanted to be her.

I also remember very well a movie she stared in titled The Burning Bed. The movie was about domestic violence and was possibly a risk for her to do at the time. Nothing glamourous about it at all--a movie about a battered woman who could take no more of her husband's abuse and burned him alive in their bed--and one for which she was nominated for an Emmy.

Farrah had her shares of joys and struggles, even before her diagnosis of cancer, not unlike many American icons who have come and gone before her, or who will come after. And even though her life and legacy can be summed up with so much more depth that the classic pinup poster to the right, this image is likely the one of her that will forever remain with us.

Through many of those struggles, the man by Farrah's side was actor Ryan O'Neal, the love of her life and the father of her son. They never married, though Ryan said he had asked her many times. It was reported earlier this week that he said they would marry as soon as Farrah was stronger. In recent years, Ryan had been her rock. I can only imagine his pain today.

But why write about Farrah today in this column, one dedicated to the romance novel? Because a long, long time ago, I read a book called Love Story by Erich Segal. It was, indeed, a love story. I was a barely a teenager then, moody, emotional, and constantly looking for love, or fearful that I would never find love. I read the book and then, I watched the movie. The emotion and power of the story was overwhelming. I cried. Uncontrollably. My heart breaking for the young actor in the starring role.

You see, Love Story was a story about a young man in love with a woman--a woman who had cancer. It was the story in which the young woman, actress Ali McGraw spoke the words, "Love means never having to say you're sorry." It was also the story which began with these words, "What can you say about a twenty-five year old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. The Beatles. And me."

The "me" in that movie was actor Ryan O'Neal.

All those years ago, I cried for that young man in the movie. I felt his pain. I felt the loss of the love the couple shared. And I prayed that should I ever find a love so powerful, it would not die on me. Yet, of course, I know that happens every single day to someone.

Today, it happened to Ryan O'Neal in real life. He lost the love of his life. Another love story came to an end. And again, I cried.

Cross-posted from Maddie's column on Examiner.com

More coverage on the death of Farrah Fawcett

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day is (nearly) done

A few pictures taken at sundown this evening from my front yard. Enjoy.

Romance authors seek change in their national organization

Whether reader or author, we invest time in books, either by reading or writing them. Or both.

As readers, we have our preferences of how we like to acquire and read our books. There are those of us who will clutch our print books to our chests until we die. Others who dabble in the occassional download of an ebook and read on our laptops. And those who have totally taken the digital reading world by storm and live and breath by their Sony Readers or Kindles.

Thank goodness we have choices, right? A book is a book is a book.

When an author writes her book, she doesn't think much about how the reader may read her book, whether she'll read it online, on her Kindle, or in paperback from, or hardback even. That never really enters into the equation. Because when an author pens her story, whether the book is print or digitally published, she'll do all of the same things:

  • concieve the idea
  • brainstorm with herself and maybe others
  • write a synopsis, perhaps
  • write the first draft of the novel. And the second. The third.
  • maybe have others read and comment
  • then revise, and maybe some more
  • edit, polish, finetune
  • send it off to her agent and/or editor.
  • wait
  • get rejected or accepted
  • if rejected, send it out again
  • if accepted, likely more edits and revisions
  • wait some more
  • and then after a while, the book comes out

All that hard work, all that waiting, revising, polishing...happens the same way, whether an author publishes with a large established publisher or a small independent press or digital publisher.

An author, as well, has choices in how she chooses to publish that book, and the reasons are hers and hers alone. Everyday, an author chooses whether to submit her work to a large print house, a small independent publisher, an electronic publisher, or yes, even to self-publish. All are viable options and she may have dozens of reasons why she chose that publishing option, or the other.

It's up to her, right? Thank goodness the author has choice. Because a book is a book is a book.

If you are an author in the romance publishing world, it's just not that simple.

How do you know whether this or that option is best for you and your book? Is there a place to go to gain information and education about all publishing options? To understand how all these different publishing venues work? To sift through the contract legalese and know what is a good contract and what is not so good? There used to be such a place. Now that the publishing industry is changing, however, not anymore.

Romance Writers of America is an organization that had (note past tense) a focus of educating it's fledgling and established membership of authors about how to publish the romance novel. I remember years ago hearing chapter members say things like, "RWA is the only organization that actually teaches its competetion (the membership)". Unfortunately, the organization has not kept up with the times and literally refuses to recognize the new digital world as a viable publishing option.

The RWA membership is now speaking out. Most of the issues revolve around the inequality of membership, recognition of all authors as published, no matter what publishing venue chosen, the ability to enter writing contests as a published author if the author is digitally published, and the lack of education provided to the membership about digital publishing.

What bothers many digitally published authors is a statement earlier this year by the RWA president which implies that digitally published authors are not career-minded or -focused authors. A large number of serious career-minded and digitally published authors loudly object.

Literary agent Deirdre Knight says it quite well in an article she posted to ESPAN, an RWA special interest chapter for electronic and small press authors, titled The Digital Age and RWA: A Call for Change. She sums up her article by saying:

...to say that traditional publishing is the only legitimate model ignores the fact that even these companies are struggling —from having to drop authors and editors due to economic downturn, to contemplating new distribution models, to grappling with understanding the fast-changing world of digital publishing. If RWA’s very model of “legitimacy” wrestles to understand and adapt to these new times, then certainly RWA should follow that lead.

ESPAN offered RWA's president Diane Pershing equal time on their site. You can read her response to the issue and Deirdre's article here.

RWA's membership of nearly 10,000 is a force to be reckoned with. Since Ms Knight's article appeared on ESPAN, both print and digital authors have banded together in an effort to influence change in the organization. RWA Change is in its beginning stages. Within 24 hours, nearly 300 RWA members joined a yahoo group to discuss the issue. Before the day's end, a logo was designed (see above, and still a work in progress), and networking accounts were set up on Facebook, Twitter (#RWAChange) and MySpace. A website domain has been aquired. And there is more to come.

But let's get back to that author above. It's important not to lose sight of the hard work of authors, and the need to be informed and educated about all forms of publishing, as well as respecting an author's choice to publish in one venue or another. RWA Change is all about just that.

After all, a book is a book is a book. Right?

For more info: Stay tuned. As the movement toward change in RWA grows and develops, I will share new information as it becomes available.

Note: This article is cross-posted from Maddie's Romance Novel column on Examiner.com

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ah, Love...

That's what it's all about, isn't it? The reason why we write romance? The thrill, the tingle, the anticipation, the sighs...

Yeah, we're suckers for a good, romantic love story. But of course, we are romance authors, aren't we? What would you expect?

This past weekend my friend, Donna's, daughter got married. I've been hearing bits and pieces about the engagement, the wedding, and so on, for a while. Yesterday, I watched the YouTube video of some great wedding shots. I thought it apropos to share this day of love, with all of you.

Okay, together now. Sigh...

Congratulations Sam and Alissa!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

June Releases!

Dates du Jour

Book Three in The Matchmaking Chef Series

Speed dating? Speed eating is more like it. When Suzie sets up lunch date after lunch date for Lyssa Larkin, Legend’s homegrown homecoming queen of 1992, she knows she’s about bit off more than she can chew. Lyssa inspects and rejects her dates in two bites and then sends them on their way. Suzie wonders if she really wants to date or just eat two lunches, and worries that soon Lyssa’s hips won’t fit on her dainty chairs.

That is, until Suzie takes a risk with a man the exact opposite of what Lyssa describes as “perfect for her.” When he won’t leave when Lyssa dismisses him, or let her get near his plate with her fork, Suzie knows she’s scored again.

Dates du Jour is coming end of June. Stay tuned!

The Quest
Book Three in The Legend of Blackbeard's Chalice series

Jackson Porter is a man driven by a need to fulfill his mother, Claire Winslow Porter’s, dying request. He seeks answers about the origins of his life as well as the imaginary lover who has haunted his nights for years. At his mother’s deathbed he is challenged to meet his fate. His future, she says, lies in a place called Ohio, even though it is miles and centuries away from his barrier island home in 1745. The land is his legacy and should he desire to seek it, belongs to him. She urges him to see the circle complete, to claim his destiny.

In the year 2032, Kari Upton is driven to fight federal sanctions and stay-the-course on her political aspirations to save her land and her crops. She admits, even if only to herself, that her upcoming marriage is one of convenience. Marrying Tye Gentry will save her Ohio farmland. She sees no other way to gain power than to marry him and ride on his father, Richard Gentry’s, coattails all the way to the state legislature.

But Jackson upsets the plan when he time-travels forward and bursts into Kari’s world in the middle of her wedding. Both frightened and mesmerized by the Jackson, she emotionally turns tale and runs – but not before she hides him away in a secret chamber of her home, before Tye and Richard can kill him.

Also coming end of June! Watch for excerpts coming soon.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A brief haitus

It's Thursday. One day past hump day and one day prior to TGIF. The day that when I have tons to accomplish during the week, I say to myself, "thank God I have one more work day to get all of this finished." And a day that when I'm on vacation, I say, "oh shit, only one more day?"

Thursday. I'm on the fence about Thursday, as it may appear. But actually I think it's a pretty good day.

I've been on a bit of a blog hiatus for a couple of weeks, with the vacation the week prior and being very preoccupied with the day job of late. These things do happen, of course, so I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I do want to share, however, that it may be another couple of weeks or so before Life, Unedited, is back in full swing.

I'm taking a breather for a little while. It's been a hectic winter and spring for moi. I'm taking a step back and refocusing, retooling, and re-energizing everything that has to do with my writing world. I have two upcoming deadlines, which take priority, and need to spend some quality time updating my networking sites. This blog, included. I have some ideas for the retooling of those that I hope will be liked--by me, and others!

I'm sure I'll log in the occasional post, but perhaps not as often as previous. I plan to be fully back in the swing of things the week of July 4.

Until then, take care, read lots, and get your summer started! If you need any ideas for beach reads, give me a shout! maddie.james@insightbb.com