Saturday, January 26, 2008

Before there was THE CULT...

There was THE CURSE.

It is said that when Blackbeard was beheaded in battle in 1718, his head was never found...or was it? Rumor has it that it still exists today, and has been reformed into a silver-plated chalice.

Where is it? Who possesses the chalice? Did it remain in in the 18th century? Or does it reside somewhere in the present day?

And what was the curse that Blackbeard uttered at his death?

THE CURSE (book one in The Legend of Blackbeard's Chalice) spins the tale of the curse and the chalice from the perspective of an 18th century ship's pilot and a 21st century woman who is caught up in a time travel tangle that affects both of their lives. What must they do, in order to quell the curse?

Don't you want to know the answer to these questions, before THE CULT, the book that continues the story, is released in February?

Your copy of THE CURSE, available in ebook and print, is waiting for you at Resplendence Publishing and at Amazon.com

Enjoy!

maddie

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Edit-orial II ~ Self-editing

The other day I wrote about the new tech age of editing. Just like everything else, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Editing electronically, with all the new-fangled features, was a different experience for me in the beginning. I do feel like I'm a more "accomplished" user, now.

Many authors have a routine about how they write and edit. Some writers will move straight through the manuscript, laying down words and pages, and not look back until they get to the end. Others edit as they go. This works for me. When starting new for the day, I usually start with the previous days' work and re-read. This not only gets me into the flow of the last work I did, but allows me to edit and revise as I go. This editing is usually surface editing--the obvious typos and miss-spellings, a funky sentence, something obviously out-of-whack. Sometimes, I will go deeper and flesh out a paragraph or two if the mood strikes me to do so. By the time I've worked through that passage, I'm ready to move on to new materials, confident that the previous is in fairly good shape.

But it is not finished yet. The entire ms will go several more processes before it is ready to be sent off to my editor.

This is what I call self-editing and I've learned an important process for preventing all those track/changes and comments that may come later. Part of this comes from building rapport with my editor--one piece of the process. A very important piece. Now that she and I have gone through a couple of projects together, we have better understanding of each other's styles, quirks, expectations, pet peeves, and so on. For sure, there are things that I know are on my editor's pet peeve list. Will I always edit to please her? Probably, for the most part. If it affects my voice, or my character's motivation, I'll probably stick to my guns. Will she stick to hers? Yes, of course. We've both done some give-and-take. And we've both had our own small victories.

All that is okay. We're still doing that dance, learning to build the relationship. It's important to both of us.

When I sent my final edits off to her earlier in the week, I commented that I felt the ms was pretty clean, because I'd put it through the final "(editor name) list." She laughed and asked what list that was. I told her that I'd been keeping a list of every word or phrase she had ever mentioned that was overused in my text. Now, one of the last things I do before tying up the ms with a big red bow, is do a final search for the words on the list. (Of course as I'm writing I try to avoid up front, if possible, but they do slip in anyway.)

If the sentence can be improved by changing that word or rewriting the sentence, then I do it. The result is much tighter and more original writing. Simply, it works.

So what kinds of words/phrases are on my list? Here are a few to watch out for (and she tells me these are common mistakes in writing).
  • thing
  • just
  • a bit
  • that
  • had, had been and 'd (contractions)
  • damned (used improperly, delete 'ed)
  • And (used as the first word in a sentence, use sparingly)
  • at her; at him
  • around her; around him
  • here/there
  • 'ly words
  • at once
There you have it. The list. I'm sure I'll be adding to it. Oh, and guess what? You know what makes this so cool and easy to do? It's the technology thing. Just do a "find" on the word or phrase. First, I do a search for how many are in the whole document, and note that number. I try to cut that number in half, or more, depending. Sometimes I can eliminate nearly all of them. Once I've found how many, then I move to looking at each individual word and sentence to see if it can be improved, and how.

Time-consuming, maybe. But it cuts down on the final editing, and that is always a good thing.

maddie

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Featured Author ~ Janet Eaves

Evening, all. I know, I promised more edit-orials on edits, right? But I’ll save that for tomorrow and today share an interview with one of my sisterwriters, Janet Eaves. Now, I’ve known this lady for nearly twenty years, I’d say, and one of the first conversations we had the evening we met was – you write romance novels, too? It was like, big fat Karma with a Kapital K slapping us both in the face, and from that point on, we’ve been like the bestest of writing buddies, and even more, the bestest of friends. So, let’s hear from Janet.

Maddie: Hi, Janet. Tell us a little about yourself.

Janet: I am a Jack of All Trades these days: wife of 28 years, mother of two daughters, grandmother to the most incredibly beautiful child in the world (of course). I write fiction, both collaborating with my SisterWriters, Maddie James, Magdalena Scott, and Jan Scarbrough in the Ladies of Legend Series, and independently. I run my husband’s business from our home office, work for H&R Block during tax season (after weeks of recertification classes each summer), am building another web-based business, and am in the process of redecorating several rooms in our home.

Maddie: Wow, you are busy, woman! But let’s talk about your books. You have a new book out. We’d love to hear about it.

Janet: Claiming the Legend is the first of four novellas in the Ladies of Legend: Finding Home anthology. It introduces our readers to the town of Legend, Tennessee, and some of the people who reside there. The story opens with Lilly Peach running for her life, needing a place to hide. She thinks she has found obscurity in Legend. When the Legend of Legend, the popular local high school football coach, takes an interest in her she is thrust into the local spotlight. Unfortunately for her, his ultra-successful football program has garnered national attention as well.

Maddie: I have to say I’m biased, but I love that story. Of course, I love everything you write. You’ve recently signed with a new publisher. Can you tell us about that?

Janet: It is a phenomenal feeling. I am so excited to be a part of Resplendence Publishing’s family of authors. They are warm and welcoming and making this more fun than it should be.

Maddie: You also have upcoming releases. Is there a favorite among them? Why?

Janet: I just signed a contract for 2 more Legend series books. The one I am writing now is my current favorite. I hope that holds true for each upcoming book.

Maddie: Favorites are so hard for me to pick. Like you, I love my current project. So tell me, what do you love about your editor (or publisher)?

Janet: RP was smart to place me with an editor that has helped me to look at my writing with new eyes.

Maddie: What about your writing day. What does your schedule look like? Are you a morning writer? A night owl?

Janet: My writing schedule, like my life, is anytime I can, I do.

Maddie: Fair enough, with all of those hats you wear. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Janet: Dream. Write. Get great critique partner(s). And have the guts to put yourself out there to be criticized.

Maddie: Yeah, it does take guts, doesn’t it? I mean, what if someone tells you your baby is ugly? Then what? So, what about your next project?

Janet: I’m working on the novella called Beauty and the Beast which is another Legend story.

Maddie: Today, writers need not only write great books, but be great promoters of their books, too. What kinds of things do you do?

Janet: I have to confess I am lazy about this. I have so little time left for more than I am forced to do.

Maddie: I hear you. Promotion is time-consuming, isn’t it? Just a couple of more questions. If you could interview any of the characters in your books, which one would it be, and why? What shocking thing might that character say?

Janet: My characters all have a habit of shocking me. That is why I like (and write) them.

Maddie: Okay, now, here is the totally off-writing subject question. What’s the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?

Janet: Wow…. Hmmmm. Nope – not sharing!

Maddie: All right. Here is your last chance. What else would you like to tell us?

Janet: I have many passions. Writing is at the top (or at least shares the top). If anyone reading this also has a personal passion, whether it is writing or something else, do it. Just do it. And enjoy. I hope our readers with check out the Ladies of Legend: Finding Home anthology… I’m sure they’ll want to return to Legend again and again. Maybe even move in next door!

Janet, thank you so much for allowing me to interview. What a pleasure. Now, we wait patiently for Ladies of Legend: Finding Home to be released on January 22! You can find it at Resplendence Publishing

maddie

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Edit-orial

I did it. Just now. I finished my edits on THE CULT and sent them back to my editor. With any luck, this will be the last pass through before she approves and sends it off to the copy editor.

Whew...

CULT is my fourth project since the fall, and I really feel like I'm finally getting in the swing of things with editing electronically. My previous books were all done the "old-fashioned" way, you know, hard copy all the way. Now, I say old-fashioned but really, it could still be done that way in many large houses. I don't know. Now that I'm with a smaller press that publishes both ebooks and print, and one that is totally into the green thing, we do so much electronically.

I think it is great. Truly, I do. It has just taken this old dog a while to learn new tricks. (Yes, I'm old. Very old. Ancient. The picture is an illusion.)

Honestly, I do think I possess a pretty good technological brain, but there are so many tricks to the trade to learn, that I'm pretty sure you could tuck my tech knowledge into a thimble. I learn something new every day, it seems. And I'm a lifelong learner, so why not?

So back to edits. We use this track/changes thing, you see? Horrible, nasty thing. Red marks all over the page. Am I supposed to read that? And get it? What, I have to accept or reject? Why, I'm getting carpal tunnel with my wrist hovering over the mouse for hours. What gives? And what about those boxes at the side. I mean, WHAT DO I DO WITH THEM????

All right, it's not that bad. I'm exaggerating, of course. (Ahem.) After four projects, I'm learning. And my editors just grin and bare it with me. I know they grit their teeth a lot. Oh yeah, Maddie's still learning that.... They are very patient but that is because they are young. (I'm old, you know.)

So, thank goodness that old writers have new editors in this day and age of technology. Their twenty-something pre-pre-menopausal brains ought to be wired just right to help this old woman limp along.

But I'm learning. Really. I am!

So, editing. I've been thinking. I've been pretty much a blog lizard lately, so it's time to get a little theme going on here. I think I'll be blogging a bit about editing, the editorial process, tricks of the trade, etc. I'd love to hear from you. What do you like, or not like, about the editorial process? What tricks have you learned? What bugs you? What makes it easier for you? (I really need this info, guys, I'm serious...)

Anyhoo, talk edit to me, okay?

maddie

Friday, January 11, 2008

Tagalicious

Okay, I've been tagged. You know the drill, right? Someone tags you from their blog, you post the rules and the stuff, and then you tag more people. Fun, huh?

Actually, I love tags! I don't mind doing them one bit. Now, if I tag you and you hate me for it, please don't, because it is all fun and games, right?

Right.

So, you see, James Goodman tagged me yesterday and I promised in a moment of pre-caffeine haze that I would get my tag up today. It was 4 a.m. when I made that promise. NO, promises should be made at 4 a.m. I'm here to tell ya. But promise I did, and even though it is now 10:23 p.m. in the same day, I am completing my commitment. Go Maddie!

Actually, I'm kind of grateful for the tag. You see, I've been in this non-blogging hiatus-mode of late, and I really, really needed something to get me out of it. Blame it on the holidays, the day job, the writing deadlines, what have you, the blog has simply been neglected.

So, thank you James my friend, you are putting me back on the yellow-brick road to blog heaven in spades.

Here are the rules, as given to me by my favorite horror writer, Mr. Goodman:

Link to the person who tagged you; (already dun that)
Leave a comment on their blog so that their readers can visit yours; (dun that too)
Post the rules on your blog; (okay, here they be)
Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog; (hm, okay, that will be below)
Tag 7 random people at the end of your post; (below)
Include links to their blogs; (okay, sure thing)
Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. (okay...! got it)

7 random or weird facts about me…

1. I can curl my tongue. Really.

2. I once met the lesser actor from Fresh Prince of Belair (what the heck was his name, you know, the cousin?) and ice skater Scott Hamilton both in the same evening.

3. I've been married mumble, mumble, mumble times.

4. I was the first person in my family to attend, and graduate, from college.

5. I recently was offered a contract for a cookbook project!

6. I love, love, love the Wizard of Oz and when it is running on cable, I'm there. Often. And once, I watched it AND listened to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon at the same time. That was in college. I think. It was mellow, dude.

7. I'm a grandma and the little squirts call me Mimi. Please do not associate that with the Drew Carey Mimi, okay? Ugh. I am so not into blue eye shadow.

So, there is the down and dirty. Now I gotta pass the tag, right? So, here goes.

Jan Scarbrough
http://sisterwriters.blogspot.com

Magdalena Scott
http://www.myspace.com/magdalena scott

Janet Eaves
http://www.myspace.com/jantenn01

Taryn Raye
http://tarynraye.blogspot.com

Annie Marshal
http://www.myspace.com/annie_will

Tracy Preston
http://www.myspace.com/imadaydreambeliever

ML Cordle
http://www.myspace.com/mlcordle

And there you go. My job is done.

No wait. I gotta go visit and comment on all those people's blogs, right?

Monday, January 07, 2008

THE CURSE, available NOW!



"I felt as if I lived every thrilling moment of THE CURSE. Maddie James writes pulse-pounding suspense and riveting romance!"

Teresa Medeiros, New York Times bestselling author

Reviews

James' novel delivers a lovely romantic tale about true love and sacrifice…a pleasing story that will have readers ready for the next installment. ~ 3 Stars. Romantic Times Reviews

...beautifully written, sensual and emotional, this is a compelling read. ~ Five red roses. Red Roses Reviews

The Curse is one fast-paced book…a page turner…an intriguing story. Maddie James creates an astounding read that held me captivated to the end. This is a series I am most anxious to read and add to my bookshelf. ~ 4 cups. Coffee Time Romance

Readers beware, for The Curse is one story you cannot miss! I applaud Ms. James’ vivid imagination and her exceptional ability to weave her flavor into this enchanting nautical legend. Romance, action and pirates, this story has it all! I look forward to reading this author’s future book offerings and cannot wait to see what adventures are in store in book two of her series. Joyfully Reviewed

Available now in ebook and print format! http://www.resplendencepublishing.com

Available now in print on Amazon.com

THE CURSE

By Maddie James

Book One in The Legend of Blackbeard's Chalice series...

Jack Porter is in hot pursuit of his kidnapped wife. Not an easy feat considering it is 1718 and the kidnapper is the notorious pirate, Edward Teach aka. Blackbeard. Determined to rescue his wife, Hannah, and take the pirate’s head in the process, Jack sneaks aboard the pirate’s ship but is too late. Hannah dies in his arms.

Nearly 300 years later, Claire Winslow vacations on a secluded east coast island, where the image of a man walking the misty shore haunts her. Then he comes to her one night, kisses her, and disappears. The next night they make love and he tells her his name is Jack. But did they really make love? Or was it a dream? And why did he call her Hannah?

The Curse sends Jack and Claire on a wild search through time for a powerful historical artifact – the silver-plated chalice made from Blackbeard’s skull. This chalice holds the key to their destiny and their love. Only with the chalice will they be able to reverse Blackbeard’s Curse.

Will they find it in time? Or are they destined to be parted by fate once more?