Sunday, August 31, 2008

What to Look for in a Small Press/E-Publisher

A recent discussion about e-publishing on a writer's listserv I subscribe to prompted me to write the following post. After pushing send and sending to the loop, I thought that this might also work for this morning's blog.

The question asked was, "What do I look for in a quality e-publisher?

Here is my response.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anytime an author seeks out a publisher for his/her work, some investigation and research of the house must be done. NY pubs are a known entity so we have a knowledge base about them. Many e-publishers and small presses (and there are a lot of them out there) are not as known. Do your homework and find out what you can about the house before signing the contract. Whether an author chooses a large house, small, or e-pub all depends the author, and the author’s goals for their writing career. There are as many reasons for going with a small press/e-pub as not. Thank goodness we have choices.

Some things I would look for in an e-pub or small press:

  • How many authors do they have? Do they have a stable of hundreds or a small, manageable number. What’s the ratio of authors to editors? A large author base (with a low editor pool) might mean the author doesn’t get much individual attention. Could also mean that the editorial process is not as stringent.
  • What is their editorial process? Talk to authors who work with that house. How many rounds of edits should you expect? Do they employ a copyeditor? If too many authors report their edits are light, well…
  • How big is their staff? Is it listed on their web page? What are their qualifications? Do you recognize any of the names?
  • What about the owners of the house? What do you know or can find out about their experience in publishing?
  • Are the owners/publishers also authors? To some this could be a conflict of interest. Others, maybe not.
  • What will the small press/e-pub do to market/promote your book? Yes, there are a few quality houses out there that do have marketing plans and put money into the authors.
  • What is the policy of e-book to print? Be clear and understand how this works for the publisher you are considering working with—if this is important to you.
  • What are the contract terms? Look them over carefully just like any other contract offer. Know what you are looking for and ask for changes. Don’t get excited about the offer just because it’s an offer and you’re dying to get one. It’s a business. Look at it that way
  • What are the royalties and how often will you get paid? The ‘how often’ part can be real important. What do their authors say about the publisher’s payment track record?
  • Do they sell their e-books from only the publisher website? Or, do they work to place your books on sites like Fictionwise and Mobipocket.
  • Do they have a print program? If so, how do they handle it? Are the books available through Ingrams? Baker&Taylor? Does that matter to you? What about Amazon?
  • What kinds of terms does the publisher offer booksellers (print books)? Are the books returnable? Standard discounts apply? How quickly can you get your books into a store for a booksigning?

Just some very early in the morning thoughts, which amaze me because I’ve not yet had coffee….

maddie

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hope

Rarely do politics move me to tears but tonight, listening to Barack Obama's speech, I cried.

For the first time in a long time, I feel hope for our country.

Imagine

While watching the Democratic National Convetion this evening, I had the oddest thought. There are 75,000 people in Mile High stadium. Imagine each one of those 75,000 people as a word, and you would have a novel. A 75,000 word book. Imagine, that you had to strategically place every one of those 75,000 people in an order that made sense, that told a story, that evoked emotion, that made us sigh.

No wonder herding words is so difficult. No wonder we slave over the placement of every one, no matter how big, or how small.

Writing is hard work, huh? That’s right.

No wonder.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Good morning, everyone.

The last week of every month, Resplendence Publishing chooses a charity recipient in their Read Green and Give Back
program.

This month the charity is the
National Center for Family Literacy . Since I happen to know a little bit about this particular non-profit can tell you that this is an excellent way to put the proceeds from books (which we all love) to good use. Even in the 21st century, the low-literacy levels of many adults in this country is astounding. NCFL’s mission of increasing literacy in families is at the forefront of their efforts. The project I direct has touched thousands of lives, supported many adults on their way to attaining a GED and learning to read, and boosted young children’s literacy development while helping them get ready for kindergarten. It’s a big effort and the work is ongoing to increase literacy in families.

I believe that everyone should know how to read and enjoy a good book. I bet you believe that, too.

So, please know that any e-books you buy from Resplendence Publishing this week will directly help families. I thank you and so does NCFL.

Here is the post that went up on the NCFL blog today.

Read Green & Give Back
By Meg Ivey
During the last week of every month, Resplendence Publishing donates a percentage of sales to a nonprofit, and this month they have chosen NCFL! And on top of that, you get 15% off any e-book purchase when you enter NCFL15 at the ..
NCFL Literacy Now - http://ncflliteracynow.org

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Blogger Winner!

The Blogger winner of my excerpt contest this week is Jennifer Johnson! Jennifer, give me a shout and tell me where to send your ebook!

Congrats! You'll receive your very own copy of A Perfect Escape. Hope you enjoy.

maddie

Friday, August 08, 2008

A changed identity, a secluded island, a...

A Perfect Escape
Maddie James
http://www.fictionwise.com
http://www.resplendencepublishing.com


“Wake up, honey. We’ve got to get back.”

Groaning, Meg squirmed against him and he had to fight the urges stirring within his groin again. “Meg?”

She pulled back and her eyelids fluttered open.

“Hi,” she returned huskily, smiling.

“Hi,” he softly answered, smiling back. “You okay?”

She nodded and her eyes searched his face. “I’m wonderful. You?”

“You were beautiful. We were beautiful together.” He lowered his face to lightly touch her lips.

Meg kissed him back. “Do we need to leave now?”

Rising up on one elbow, Smyth glanced at the late afternoon sky.

“Regretfully, yes.”

“I don’t wanna.” Meg buried deeper into the blanket. “I want to spend the night on the beach. You and me. Under the stars. Like you said.”

Smiling, Smyth remembered their conversation a few nights earlier.

“Meg,” he whispered, ducking beneath the blanket himself. He found her face and tipped it up to his, her eyes wide and dark in the shade of the blanket. “I want to take you home. Make love to you in my bed. Sleep all night with you in my arms.”

She nodded and tilted her face up to plant a moist kiss on his lips.

“Let’s go home,” she whispered.

Dusk fell rapidly as they crossed the dunes and headed into the village. Twilight twinkled with an orange glow as the sun raced lower in the western sky over the sound. As they walked arm in arm toward Smyth’s house, an incredible peace washed over Meg and she felt contentedly happy.

She could see the radiance in Smyth’s eyes when he looked at her and she wondered if he saw the same in hers. Meg knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that she saw love in his face. And she felt it from the deepest recesses of her own heart. For now, she didn’t intend to let anything spoil her happiness. Nothing.

She decided early today that there would be no more talk of Bradford and her previous life while she was here with Smyth. She’d found a bit of paradise and wanted to enjoy it while she could.

“Are you hungry?”

Meg grinned. “A little. You?”

“Actually, I’m starved. I was trying to think what we’ve got at home to fix for dinner. You know, when I came over this time, I really wasn’t thinking about dinners for two. I hope you don’t mind, I usually just heat up some soup, fix a sandwich, or something.”

Meg linked her arm a little tighter with his. “You know I don’t mind. Whatever you’ve got will be fine. Should we go back and get more food?”

Smyth stopped and looked at her, a puzzled expression on her face.

“Depends on how long you think you’re going to stay.”

Searching his face, Meg spoke softly. “Depends on how long you want me.”

One corner of Smyth’s mouth turned up in a devilish grin. “Then I guess I better get the radio working. I may need to call the ferry over sometime next week. We’ll be okay until then.”

As they sauntered down the sand-gravel road toward his house, he tucked her close into his body. She loved the feel of him next to her. It was all so perfect, his attitude so matter-of-fact as though he wanted her to stay forever. And right now, she didn’t think she’d ever want to leave.

What the coming night might bring filled her with anticipation.

A shrill hum sliced unnaturally through the air. Puffs of gravel dust ripped up several feet in front of her. Meg stopped short and turned a questioning look at Smyth. The second one hit, zinging through the air and striking very close to Smyth’s right foot. The realization, however confusing, suddenly hit both of them.

“Get down!” Smyth grabbed Meg and threw her toward the side of the road, pushing her under a stand of scrub pines. He covered her body with his. “Don’t move!”

Her pulse pounded in her ears. “What’s happening?”

Smyth placed a silencing finger on her lips. He didn’t want to frighten her, but at the same time she needed to know the truth, as uncanny and as impossible as it all sounded.

“Gunshots.”

Panic burst up inside her. She wanted to scream. Her worst nightmares materialized right in front of her. Her voice conveyed her terror. “But you said we were the only people here, the only people on the island,” she choked out.

Smyth pulled her further under the trees and waited for night to fall. It was their only chance.

“Obviously, I was wrong.”

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Dance with me? Today's Excerpt from A Perfect Escape

A Perfect Escape
Maddie James
Resplendence Publishing
Available Now at www.fictionwise.com

From Chapter Ten...

The moon bathed them in muted light as they silently crossed the weathered wood and entered the privacy of the gazebo. Meg immediately smiled, pulled her arm from his grasp and went to the opposite side of the eight-sided structure. She leaned against the railing for several minutes, closing her eyes to the rhythmic slap of water against the pilings and the faint throbbing of music from the bar. The delicate breeze off the sound washed over her as she became aware of Smyth standing beside her.

Opening her eyes, she bodily turned toward him. “Thank you,” she whispered.

“Like it?”

He plunged his hands deep in his trouser pockets. With his shirt collar open and his hair suddenly disheveled, he looked so much more natural now. And much more comfortable. “Yes,” she returned softly. “I like it very much.”

Smyth’s face broke into a grin. Turning back toward the sound, she braced one hand on the post beside her and leaned into it. Lights from the restaurant bounced off the dark waves to her left, twinkling in the reflection. How peaceful. She closed her eyes as he moved closer to her. Listening, she almost thought she could hear the ocean.

“You know,” she told Smyth a moment later, breaking the night’s silence, “it’s strange. The sound is so calm, but across that thin ribbon of sand behind us, the ocean rages. I thought a minute ago I could hear it.”

“I can understand that,” he replied slowly, watching her face. “The same thing is going on inside me.”

And me. Startled at both his reply and her thought, Meg looked at him.

“Sh...” his finger found her lips, silencing the question that hadn’t yet made it to her tongue. “Listen,” he whispered. “You can hear it.”

His eyes held hers spellbound for a moment as she listened. His hand dropped to her waist, lingering there, and Meg found herself turning into him.

“Listen,” he repeated, as soft as the night breeze.

Meg did, and within seconds, whether her own imagination or the ocean, she heard breakers crashing against the shore. Or something raging inside him? Her?

“Amazing,” she whispered, searching his face.

“The land is very narrow here,” he explained quietly. “It’s not so uncommon in places. You just have to be very quiet and listen.”

Hesitantly, Meg placed a hand on his chest. “And inside here?” she questioned softly. His eyes widened with something she dared not question as her hand lay heavy on his chest. Did she chance going on?

“Is this just a facade? A thin, calm veneer covering some frenzy inside?”

Who are you, Smyth Parker?

It took him several minutes to answer. Minutes spent searching her face, playing over her features. Meg watched him, his hesitation confirming his internal struggle. Did he possess demons as awful as hers?

“Perhaps,” he finally answered. “But sometimes I think...looking at you is like looking into a mirror. I see the same things reflected back at me.” He broke away and turned toward the sound, leaning into the railing. Meg watched him, her back against the post. A myriad of emotions slid over his face. He knew so much, yet so little. As did she.

After a moment he turned back to face her. “Dance with me?” He held out his hand. Confused, Meg stared at his open palm. Bradford had been like this, so charming, so romantic. He’d swept her off her feet and she hadn’t landed for six months. But after the wedding...

Could she risk this?

Her heart beat erratically in her chest, her blood thrummed in her veins. After a second’s pause, she looked back into his face and took his hand.

“There’s no music,” she whispered as he pulled her closer.

He chuckled softly. “Oh, yes there is, can’t you hear it? Listen.”

Again, he placed a finger on her lips. His other arm circled her waist and their bodies met. “Listen,” he repeated in a hushed voice. “The music is all around us.”

And as though it really were, their bodies swayed to the invisible rhythm. Smyth’s finger drew down the side of her face and Meg trembled. He was too close. As his hand slipped to her back, he drew her closer still until her head rested on his shoulder and he dipped his beside hers. Her eyes closed. She lost herself in the moment, the power of their closeness. She felt their breathing slide in sync as they leaned one way then the other. As one.

All at once, as if the music stopped, they stood still. Sighing, Meg opened her eyes and shifted slightly away from him. Both his hands left her back and went to her face, lifting it to his. When their eyes met, she saw the desire on his face. As his lips lowered, Meg thought of all the reasons why she shouldn’t let him kiss her. And as his lips brushed against hers, sending sweet ecstasy down to her toes, she silently thanked her weak side that she hadn’t listened.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Is it still a matter of trust? An Excerpt from A Perfect Escape

A Perfect Escape by Maddie James
Resplendence Publishing
http://www.resplendencepublishing.com


From Chapter Nineteen....


“Why won’t you accept any help from me?”

The sudden anger in his face alarmed her. She answered him quickly. “It’s not your problem.”

“What if I want to make it my problem?”

“You can’t.”

“Why?”

“I won’t let you.”

“Won’t let me, or you don’t want me to? There’s a difference. Am I not good enough for you? Perhaps you’d rather have a man in a suit after all.”

Angered now, Meg thrust her hands in the air. “Let you, Smyth. That’s what I said, that’s what I meant. Who you are? And the fact that you don’t wear a suit doesn’t even enter into this. I think that’s your problem, not mine. Obviously that ex-wife of yours did a number on you or something. I don’t care what you wear or what you do for a living. I simply am not going to drag you into this. I can do it on my own.”

“Can you?” he returned sarcastically.

Meg felt the breeze off the ocean warm her, or perhaps it was her blood pressure rising. Suddenly, she grew tired of playing games, with Smyth or anyone else. Stepping closer to him, she stared straight into his fuming eyes and wondered if hers reflected that same anger. Her pulse pounding, her heart swelling, she knew it was now or never. She had to lay it all out on the line. And she had to be honest with him. It was the only way.

“Look,” she huffed out. “I’m so tired of making up excuses and alibis. I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t want you killed. I couldn’t live with that. If Bradford ever does catch up with me, there is no doubt in my mind that he would kill both of us. I can’t knowingly put you in that position. We’ve already risked too much.

“If I let you help me get out of this situation, then that means I’m going to get close to you. I don’t know if I can handle that right yet. It’s too soon. I’ve just come out of one hellish nightmare and right now every single one of my emotions is laid bare for the world to trample on. I don’t know you well enough to lay myself open to that, even though I’m severely tempted.”

Meg forced out a deep breath and went on, slightly unnerved at the flare in his eyes at her last statement. She had to get it over with.

“And the more I’m around you,” she continued softly, “the more I feel I’m falling for you and I’m afraid you’ve got problems of your own to deal with. I don’t know how well I could handle falling in love with you and then have you turn around and leave me.”

Knowing she’d revealed a whole lot more than she really wanted, Meg felt like running, but her feet were frozen to the spot. She shook her head and looked away.

“How do you know I would leave you?” he returned blandly.

Tossing her gaze right back at him, she immediately felt the hurt in his voice. “No,” she returned on a whispered breath, “you probably wouldn’t. I would end up leaving you and breaking both our hearts.”

His expression unmoving, Smyth clutched at her hands and pulled her closer. “It’s too confusing right now. We need to figure out where we’re both coming from. We need time.”

Meg nodded. “Confusing isn’t the word for it. Right now, I’m not even sure I should be here. I’m so mixed up. I don’t know what’s happened to Rudy. I’ve been worried about Becky ever since you mentioned the possibility of them finding her. I don’t know if Bradford's thugs tailed me here. And I don’t have any inkling of what’s going on in your head. So I really think that the best thing you and I can do is stay away from each other until the next boat comes, or whatever, so I can get off this island and away from you because I honestly don’t know what will happen if I don’t. It scares the hell out of me.”

Meg huffed out a quick breath and looked toward the village, tears aching to spill from her eyes. Not meaning to bare her soul so completely, she wished she could take back about half of what she’d said.

First, she felt his warm hands snaking up her arms, raising the goose flesh on her skin. When his fingertips grazed her shoulders, she shivered and vowed she wouldn’t look at him, but as his palm smoothed over her neck and under her jawbone, she was drawn to him like a magnet. Turning to look into his face, she felt all self-control wash out of her as her gut tightened and then seemed to melt into molten liquid. His eyes, deep brown and filled with desire, searched her face. His gaze finally rested on her lips. A craving to be close to him swept over her body in an instant, making her suddenly alert to every molecule of testosterone oozing from his body.

Her pulse pounded in her ears and every defense she thought she possessed had cut out underneath her like a dangerous ocean riptide.

“I’m scared, too,” he whispered as she watched the slow movement of his lips. “I’m afraid the best thing that ever happened to me is going to fade away before I have a chance to make it work.”

Tears slipped over Meg’s lower lids and slid down her cheek. Her lips trembled as she started to speak. “I...I can’t be the best thing that ever happened to you. Things are so uncertain. There may be no future.”

“There’s today.”

Her eyes met his and suddenly it all made sense. He was right. All they really had was today. As one hand slipped around her back, pulling her closer, the fingers of his other threaded into the hair at her nape. Meg closed her eyes and waited for his lips to capture hers.

She didn’t have to wait long.

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Interested in taking a stab at the trivia question from yesterday? Hint, the picture provides a clue.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A New Excerpt: A Perfect Escape

A Perfect Escape

A Romantic Suspense Novel by Maddie James
Resplendence Publishing
http://www.resplendencepublishing.com

From Chapter Four…

“Are you in trouble?”

“In a way.”

“Are you running from the police?”

Meg shook her head. “No,” she said. “From someone else. I haven’t done anything wrong,” she added quickly. “But the police are looking for my car. I haven’t stolen it, it’s mine. But there’s an APB out on it and me. I can’t let them find me. I don’t want to lead them here. I want to lead the trail far away from here. I just want to sell the car, get a new one, and get on with my life.” Her voice nearly pleaded.

Meg’s heart pounded against her chest wall. Her breathing came in short shallow breaths. Why did she tell him all that? She shouldn’t have. Her stomach felt jumpy. He must think her some kind of lunatic.

She backed away.

Glancing at the floor, Meg shook her head. She didn’t want to look at him. She didn’t want him to see the tears near the surface of her eyes. How could she have been so stupid?

“Never mind,” she said almost under her breath. “I’ll take care of everything.” Whirling away from him, she started toward her bedroom...until she felt his fingers grip her upper arm. Turning back, she looked directly into his face.

“Do you need to sell the car? Do you need money?”

“No,” she replied in a squeaky voice, glancing down at his fingers curled around her arm.

He released her and stepped away. Nodding, he then watched her face, questioning. “That’s good. If there’s an APB out on it, every dealer in the country will be alerted. There’s got to be a better way.” He searched her eyes. A momentary confusion hit her. “Get some sleep. We’ll talk about it in the morning.”

Meg stepped back, then spun and walked quickly down the hall to her bedroom. She left the light off, undressed, slipped into an oversized T-shirt, and slid between the covers of her bed. She didn’t want to think any more about what the day had brought. It was all too confusing—the news about Bradford, the car, and now Smyth Parker.

Could she trust him?

More important, could she trust herself around him?

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A Perfect Escape is Now Available as a New Release on Fictionwise -- and for 15% off!

http://www.fictionwise.com

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Trivia Fact: A Perfect Escape is set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Maddie's favorite place! Can you guess her favorite island?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Up on Fictionwise!

I was surprised to find A Perfect Escape up on Fictionwise today when I got home from work. So you know what that means, right? It's also on sale! All new releases on Fictionwise are at a cost of 15% off the regular price.

So wow, this is a very good time to buy! In the mood for a on-the-edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense? Well...have I got a story for you.

Just click the new ebooks tab on the home page. http://www.fictionwise.com

A Perfect Escape ~ from the Prologue

Prologue

The hot-shot assistant district attorney lay face down on the cold slab of concrete. His hands tied tightly behind him caused his shoulders to bow into an unnatural backward arch, even though his body fell slack with fatigue. Bruised and battered, he lay surprisingly conscious, his starched white shirt now limp and soaked with blood. His blood. Thick bubbles of scarlet gurgled from his nose with each labored breath he took. He looked somewhat like a dying fish gasping for air.

What a horrible way to die.

But he hung on a lot longer than she’d expected. Especially for all he’d been through the past hour.

The horror of it all seized her and wouldn’t let go. If it weren’t for the fact that her own hands were pulled into a vise grip behind her, forcing her into an upright position, she would have bent at the waist and retched all over the floor. The stench of imminent death forced bile into her throat. The shock alone of what was happening—directly in front of her—should have rendered her immobile. She never dreamed Bradford would carry things this far, that he was capable of creating terror of this magnitude.

Without warning, a silver flash arced through the charged atmosphere. She instantly felt, as well as heard, the resounding echo of a single gunshot and simultaneous rip of the bullet. The force sent blood, matter, and tissue flying, spattering her face, clothing.

She was that close. Too close.

An ungodly scream, like the shriek of a wounded animal, rent the air and she realized it came from her own throat. Immediate terror so powerful it nearly rocked her off her feet gripped her and the nausea took over. Her legs went limp and she did what she didn’t want to do, vomit down the front of her shirt. Teetering on the edge of consciousness, her head hung, the hands holding her from behind the only thing keeping her from falling onto the floor.

Her own pain brought her quickly back to her senses as someone snatched and yanked a handful of hair at the back of her head, forcing her to look straight ahead.

Into his face. His eyes.

What now?

His evil stare bit back with a sadistic power she never knew he possessed. How often she had seen those eyes look at her so differently. In adoration. In excitement.

In lust.

His power over her, over most women, was his charm. His charismatic demeanor, his enigmatic ability to turn a woman into putty within thirty seconds, their downfall. And she fell into that trap. Probably more deeply than most.

But she’d never seen the veil of evil cast over those eyes before.

Not like this. Not until now.

She’d known his reputation as a shady dealer, not above an illegal act—an egotistical, self-centered, domineering, power-hungry sonofabitch.

But she never expected he was a murderer.

He jerked her hair again, physically moving closer. He brought the pistol up to her chin, the cold, hard snub jabbing into her tender flesh. So vile, so despicable. She found it difficult to keep her gaze pinned to his face, into his eyes. But she needed to. She prayed if she kept the connection he might remember something, anything, that would endear her to him and he wouldn’t kill her.


A Perfect Escape
Now Available at Resplendence Publishing, www.resplendencepublishing.com
Coming soon to www.fictionwise.com and www.amazon.com

Sunday, August 03, 2008

It's Excerpt Week (and that means a book giveway!)

It's excerpt week here on the blog and that means you have a chance to win a free book! All week long I'll be posting some new excerpts from my romantic suspense novel, A Perfect Escape.

So what do you have to do to win a free download? Just come by and visit, leave a comment on the blog, and you are automatically in the running.

Cool, huh? And very easy.

So here's a teaser about the book. I hope you come back tomorrow for more.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


A changed identity. A secluded beach. A sniper.

Megan Thomas is running for her life. From Chicago, from the mob, from her husband.
She runs to the only place she feels safe—a secluded cottage on an east coast barrier island.

Smyth Parker is running from life. From work, from society, from a jealous ex-wife—his only consolation the solitude of Newport Island. He doesn’t need anyone to screw up that plan. And he sure as hell doesn’t need to complicate it with Megan Thomas.

But when Megan fears she’s been found, she runs to the only safe place she knows, and straight into the arms of the one person who might be able to help, Smyth. Her escape might yet still be perfect.

Or is it?

A Romantic Suspense Novel by Maddie James
Available Now from Resplendence Publishing
http://www.resplendencepublishing.com

Available September, 2008, in print
www.amazon.com