Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Turquoise Trail

There is nothing better than a Saturday all to your own. I set out mid-morning and arrived back to my hotel in the early evening, wearing a big smile and feeling more calm, cool and collected than I have in a while. The day was a beauty, a true gift from the universe--the sky so blue, the air cool and crisp. The kind of day that just makes you sigh.

I decided to take New Mexico Route 14 north to Santa Fe, otherwise known as the Turquoise Trail. I'd not been this way before and enjoyed the drive so much I headed back to Albuquerque the same way. I'd passed through the small town of Madrid on my way to Santa Fe truly on a blink. I was determined to stop there on my way back.

The colors of New Mexico always surprise me. I suppose all the brown and red and earth tones are there on purpose...so the colors that those who live there choose to decorate the place with have the perfect backdrop to make the colors pop! I loved these blown glass balls in a weathered trough. Just one of the treasures I discovered along the way.

I've documented a bit of my trip for you. Would that you had been riding along side me in the passenger's seat, this is the kind of terrain you would see on our way.

video

Once I'd arrived in Santa Fe, I spied a Jackalope sign. I've heard of the place. There is one in Albuquerque and Bernallilo and in LA, I believe. Look at all the pretty baubles!
There were, of course, items of a Southwest nature and I bought a couple of small things... (not a lot of room for shopping in my suitcase, unfortunately)

...but I have to say that I was disappointed with the amount of China and India imports, expecting more Southwest. They were beautiful, of course, and highly priced. A bit out of reach for this do-it-yourself, yardsale reinventor kind of gal. But I got PLENTY of ideas.

I lunched on local Mexican cuisine, Chile Rellenos, and brought half of it home for my dinner. Yum. Side note: While heading out of Santa Fe, I passed this vehicle and had to smile. See that suitcase strapped to the top? Across its side is written "Emotional Baggage." LOL I tried to get a side view pic but alas, the little bug was too quick for me.

I did make my stop on the way home in the teeny tiny little community of Madrid. I think when I grow up I'll run away to live there. Very artsy and laidback. I got the feeling that this may be the place old hippies go before they die. Or, maybe they've been there since 1968. Not sure. At any rate, it's kinda cool and I had fun roaming a few shops and talking with the proprieters.

For all the brown in New Mexico, this place was like a splash of rainbow plopped down on either side of Route 14. Oh yeah...and I did make one purchase. Nice, huh? Turquoise from the Turquoise Trail. Why not?
So then I headed home (er, hotel). Back toward the Sandias and Albuquerque. What a lovely day. Thanks for coming along with me!

video

Setting out on a Saturday...

Good morning. I'm feeling rather decadent this morning. In fact, I feel like I have run away. It feels rather cool. Free. Interesting. Bubbly and almost downright giddy. The sun is shining, the weather dry and crisp, and I'm taking off for a Saturday adventure.

I have been traveling for weeks and this weekend I decided I'm tired of getting on a plane and flying home. So, I didn't. I went AWOL. I didn't get on the plane. I'm still in Albuquerque and it's Saturday.

How unreal!

For all the days I've spent in New Mexico and Albuquerque, I'm rarely here on a Saturday. And guess what. I'm not working. Nope. Today, I play.

I'm not sure exactly what I will get into. I've heard the drive along the Turquoise Trail to Santa Fe is nice. Might do that. I'd kind of like to shop at Jackaloupe, too. Not sure I can squeeze them all in.

So today could be an adventure. I'm about to set out. I'm not thinking about work all day (tomorrow, said Scarlett, I'll think about that). So here I go...

I'm free! I'm free!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

One More Sale Day on Fictionwise!

FINALS DAYS: The Two Trillion Word March with 60% Micropay Rebates!

Fictionwise passed the "one trillion words served" mark recently and wants to jump-start their march to two trillion! Now through Sunday, January 25th, all Fictionwise eBooks have a 60% Micropay Rebate when buying with a credit card or PayPal.

Don’t miss out on this unprecedented offer! Build your eBook library today. And don’t forget, if you buy your secure eBooks in eReader format, you earn an additional 5% rebate on top of the 60%!

Here are the links to my bookpages on Fictionwise if you are looking for book ideas!

Maddie James

Mia Jae

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tired as a Puppy

I'm spent. Drained. Exhausted. Just really, really tired.

Yes, like a puppy spent from an afternoon of being wallowed by kids.

I'll attempt to refrain from one of those "oh woe is me" type blogs. No. I would not do that to you. But I know you understand when life just gets a bit overwhelming and the walls are starting to pull in on you and things are spinning out of control in your head.

Ever know that feeling?

Okay, well then, you know where I've been lately. Spinning. Trying to keep head above water. Swimming as fast as I can. And all of those other cliche phrases that just mean we've got too darned much to do and too little time to do it in.

The blog has suffered. (picture a seriously frowning face here) I know, I don't like that either. But I'm sure if you are a regular reader you understand. We all have these days (weeks?), don't we?

Here's to Monday and the start of a new week. I'm looking forward to it and I'm sure you are, too.

The good news is that I finished the galleys this morning on my next release. Perfectly Matched, book one in The Matchmaking Chef series, will be out mid-February with Resplendence Publishing. I can't wait to share some more with you about this series, so look for some excerpts and the final cover art coming up soon!

Okay, so now I'm back to vegging for the rest of the Sunday afternoon. I plan to visit more this coming week. Take care and talk soon!

maddie

p.s. The puppy? That's my new grandpup, Molly. She's a purebred Bloodhound and evidently already giving my son a few fits with the housetraining. I'm glad he's practicing with dogs first before children....

Monday, January 12, 2009

An Old Friend

I've rediscovered an old friend.

Twenty-some years ago, when the writing muse kept scratching at my brain and tempting me to put word and thought to paper, I discovered a tool that was invaluable to me--Writer's Market.

Part of the Writer's Digest family, the book was (and still is) a wealth of information that shared not only current markets but contact names, what they were looking for, how to submit, and basic and sometimes advanced, how-to writing articles.

I bought my fresh new copy of Writer's Market every Decemnber and devoured it.

Sometimes I bought Novel Writer's Market or Poet Writer's Market or just the plain Writer's Market... and I often subscribed or picked up at the bookstore the most recent Writer's Digest magazine. I ate this stuff up!

Back then, I was pushing for bylines and publishing credits anyway I could get them. And it worked. I wrote a couple of columns for local papers and magazines. I submitted Op-Ed pieces to regioual papers. And I worked the query process with magazines, big and little. Then, I started moving more and more into fiction and after a while, my writing was focued entirely on fiction and novel writing.

With one exception--I was writing a heckuva lot of non-fiction in my day job. After several years, I realized that I have dozens of published non-fiction clips. Wow! I'm credible in the non-fiction world. I have bylines and work published nationally.

So I've been thinking lately about pushing the non-fiction queries in addition to the fiction writing. Afterall, a writer writes, huh? I love words and stories and information and... well, I just love to see my name in print. LOL

My brand spankin' new 2009 Writer's Market arrived on my doorstep last week and opening its pages was like greeting an old friend after a long absence. I've spent hours working through it. And guess what! This deluxe version also has an online subscription with constant updates. How cool is that? A big change from my 1989 version. A great deal!

So don't forget that Writer's Market is a excellent tool and resource for both your fiction and non-fiction writing needs. This 2009 deluxe version has listings for agents, large and small press fiction, magazine, journal and newspaper, plus some helpful articles and of course, the online updates. Pick up this old friend if you haven't perused one in a while.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Catch-up Saturday

I hope everyone is having a super Saturday evening! I've been busy today catching up after being gone for several days and unfortunately, that is going to be my lifestyle of late as I have a heavy travel schedule upcoming.

I thought I'd top off this week by leaving you with a slide show of my stay at the Bahia Resort in San Diego. Have a look and relax!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Early Birds

I'm an early bird. I can get more work done before 9 a.m. than most people. I love getting up early when the day is fresh. So it's not unusual that I was up at 5 a.m. this morning. I worked for a while then showered and dressed and then noticed a sliver of light coming through my hotel room drapes.

Sunrise. Yes. But as the drapes were pulled back, I noticed a heavy mist over the bay and also a bit of fog on my sliding glass door.

I also saw this:
What in the world?

I had a clue so I slowly unlatched the door and slid it away. The things came closer and stared.

Waiting.
For something.
Coots!

And I think they wanted food! I had nothing to give them so they hung around for a while and then when another human presented himself on the dock, they waddled and swam his way.


The old coots. Guess they figured this early bird might have some worms. Wrong. I'm still waiting on room service!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Bahia Resort, San Diego

I've had the pleasure, this week, to stay at the Bahia Resort in San Diego. This family-owned hotel is a gem full of tradition. I've heard a few stories from staff while I'm here and the one thing they convinved me of was this--this is where I will stay when I come to San Diego in the future.

Even though San Diego is a pretty big place, it feels "small" here. There is a private beach on the bay, and all of the other amenities you want in a large hotel. But the atmosphere is homey and cozy. A couple of blocks away, within easy walking distance, are shops and restaurants, the Belmont amusement park with an old wooden roller coaster, and, sigh, the ocean. That's the best part for me. The ocean.
Oh, and Seaworld is on the opposite side of the hotel! So, great place for families or to just get away. Might even be kind of nice for a little writer's retreat.
Food! I forgot to mention the food. I'll just say the meals at the hotel cafe are very reasonably priced and excellent. Enuf said for today. Perhaps more to come.
For example, take a look at this. Good looking donuts, huh? Think again! These suckers are onion rings! And they were to die for...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Sunshine, Blessed Sunshine...

I have a friend who says that when she travels to the west coast from home (we're in the Eastern time zone) she always feels like she needs to eat four meals. I'm the opposite. I don't think as much about eating as sleeping. Right now the 6 o'clock news just came on and I'm bushed. I'm trying to stay up another hour so I won't be up before the seals.
Speaking of seals... There are a couple of young pups in a pool outside my hotel room door. I photographed them this afternoon while they played. Am pretty sure I'll put that into a slide show this week. Until then, here is a pic of the seals and a few select others I snapped on my walk around the resort this afternoon.



Enjoy!




Sunday, January 04, 2009

A blog and books and nominations and suitcases and flying and...

Just a couple of quick notes today as I get myself ready to head out very early in the morning for San Diego. I'll be out there for a few days for the day job and am hoping to find some sunshine, somewhere, as it seems in short supply here in the midwest! I have an insanely early flight so it will be early-to-bed-and-early-to-rise for this old chicken.

Here are a few things I wanted to share. All good!
  • I just posted a blog over on SisterWriters about what a difference ten years has made inthe publishing industry. Check it out if you get a chance.

  • I've been nominated! I'm thrilled to announce that my romantic suspense/thriller novel A Perfect Escape has been nominated in the Best Thriller 2008 category in the Preditors & Editors Reader's Poll. If you have read the book and care to vote, you can do so by clicking here.

  • I've been nominated, again! Well, or I should say, Mia has. My erotic novella Nice and Naughty, written under my pen name, Mia Jae, has been nominated as Best Erotica 2008 in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll as well as for Best Cover! You can vote by clicking on the links for the categories. You have until January 14 to vote!

  • Wait! Another nomination? What now? That's right, this time it is not for one of my books, but for this blog. I found out yesterday that Life, Unedited, has been nominated for a 2009 bloggie award. The nominations are open until January 12. The blogs with the most nominations stand a chance of becoming a finalist. Life, Unedited was nominated in the best-kept secret weblog category. If you would also like to nominate my blog, you can do so by clicking here and scrolling to the right, to the best-kept secret weblog category (it's pink!) You'll need this information: 1) Nominee: Life, Unedited, and 2) URL: http://www.maddiejameslifeunedited.com By the way, they ask you to nominate three blogs, so if you don't have three blogs in mind, look to the right sidebar of this page and see a few that I frequent. Maybe you'll see one you like, too!
That's it! Thanks for indulging me in a bit of shameless promotion and almost downright begging. LOL Know that I appreciate your support in any and all of the above.

Happy Sunday and talk soon. Got to finish packing now...

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Deal of the Day! Jan 3, 2009

Every once in a while I come across something that I call The Deal of the Day. Today was one of those days. I stopped in to my local Kroger to pick up my prescriptions and discovered the motherlode.

Now, it's really kind of an interesting story. I'm standing in line at the pharmacy and glance to my right at the woman's cart next to me. I notice she has chocolate of all sorts--candy coating, chips, baker's, cocoa, etc--powdered sugar, brown sugar, Crisco, and so on. My first thought was, hm, it's after the holidays. Why is she buying all that stuff now?

Then it was my turn at the pharmacy window and I forgot all about it. Until I headed toward the exit.

I was met with a swarm, yes a swarm, of women. They were all huddled over about 3 bins of stuff in the aisle. I look. I step closer. I see carts full of sugar and chocolate and spices and gravy and...

What the heck?

Then I see the sign. "We bought too much" it read. And the contents of those bins were ridiculously on sale.

I mean, utterly, ridiculous. So of course, I jumped into the fray. I'm a baker, okay?

Here is my stash. Just take a look!

And guess what I paid for it all? I mean, really. I want you to guess. Take a good hard look. Everything you see on the table. What would you think I paid?

I'm waiting. Think about it.

Have a thought?

Are you sure?

Okay, well, the total bill came to $67.71 but that was before they took the discount. Are you ready? I paid only $17.00. That's right! $17.00. Even Steven.

Now, I can hear my mother in my ear saying, "It's only a good sale if you are really going to use these things."

Oh, don't worry Mama, I'm gonna use these things. Look! I got cupcake liners and pumpkin and butter flavored Crisco and cocoa and graham cracker pie crusts and sugar and evaporated milk and chocolate chips....

I better get baking.

Friday, January 02, 2009

An Iron Cupcake Challenge Flunky...

Okay, guys, I seriously need your help. I'm counting on y'all.

As you may, or may not, have realized, I flunked the Iron Cupcake Challenge this month. Why? Because I did not enter! Not sure HOW I let that happen, I'm sitting here appalled at myself. After all, the secret ingredient for December was of all things -- chocolate. Chocolate! How in the world did I let the opportunity to bake chocolate cupcakes get by me?

I have no clue.

Oh, perhaps it was that holiday thing. And work. And the writing deadline. Hm.

Anyhoo, a winner has been chosen and congrats to her! You can read more about it here. And that cupcake in the picture? Yep, that was the winner. Yum, huh? You betcha.

But here is my dilemma. I do not want to let January pass me by without a Maddie James entry into the Iron Cupcake Challenge. So... I need your help. In what way, you say? Ideas! And here is why. It's that secret ingredient thing.

Which is... wine!

It doesn't matter what kind of wine, the secret ingredient just has to be wine! I'm lookin' for ideas. How would you use wine in your cupcake?

C'mon, you guys. I know you like wine! What kind of wine would you use? How? Be creative!

We have a little while to ponder this. The entry does not have to be posted until noon on Jan. 24. I'd love to hear your ideas and then, I'll design my recipe. And of course, I'll give you all the credit!

But wait. If you comment and give me your ideas this weekend, I'll put your name in the hat for a drawing for a 2009 Flavors of Life Calendar. How's that?

(be sure and leave me your contact info if I don't have it!)

Perfectly Matched

I mentioned yesterday that I finished my work-in-progress earlier this week. It's so great to have a writing project finished so I can begin thinking about the next one. In this case, my next one will be book two of the series that I'm just starting.

Some of you may remember Suzie Matthews. I totally fell in love with Suzie's character when I wrote her into the novella Bed, Breakfast and You, which was in the first Ladies of Legend anthology, Finding Home.

I don't know why I love her so much, I just do. I've thought about this. Maybe it is because Suzie is really me. Or, well, my fantasy me. Or maybe the me I strive to be. Or the me I plan to be when I grow up.

Am I grown up yet?

Yes. I just decided that I'm growing up this year. This, of course, is another subject entirely but I'm tired of putting off growing up, or saying, "I'll do that when I'm grown up." Dammit, I'm grown up! It is now time to DO IT.

So I will. I'll be Suzie.

Anyway, Suzie lives in Legend, Tennessee and she is the owner of Legend's Landing Bed and Breakfast. She's also a chef and a cookbook author. In fact, in Bed, Breakfast and You, she was writing her cookbook, The Best of Legend's Landing Bed & Breakfast. I've often wondered if perhaps I should actually write that cookbook. We'll see.

And Suzie, even though she has had her own story, has occured in cameo in several other stores in the Ladies of Legend series. But now... Now, she is back! And this time she is wreaking havoc as The Matchmaking Chef!

Perfectly Matched is the first story in the series. It will be released in February. Here is the blurb:

Suzie Matthews is busy working on her new cookbook, Perfectly Matched, when she asks the local “wallflower” to help her with her project, in an attempt to bring the young woman out of her shell. Mary Lou Picketts dreams of falling in love with country music star, Nash Rhodes, but knows she’d settle for Thurman Phillips down the street if she had to. But she doesn’t want to. Not really. When Nash comes to Legend for a music benefit and stays at the lodge, Suzie wonders if she can perfectly match this miss-matched couple.


A couple of days ago I got the drafts for the covers of the series. Please note that these are the drafts and they still have a watermark on them. The final versions, of course, will not have that. But I love the covers and think they are very cute!


What do you think?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Focus

It's January 1. New Year's Day. And I have a confession to make--I didn't watch football. Nor did I watch a parade.

Now, I do love a parade but somewhere during this past year I decided that it was okay that I didn't really like football. That's a mouthful for a girl who grew up in a big Ohio State Football supporter family. But there you have it. I really don't care to waste my time watching football.

Instead, I choose to spend my time in other endeavors, like... oh, writing. Thinking about writing. Promoting my writing. Pondering my writing. Criticizing my writing. Plotting my writing. You get the picture.

My brain just seems to be spinning and sparking the ideas these days. Fiction. Non-fiction. Short. Long. Spicy. Sweet. Let's just hope not dull and boring.

So why is this?

My brain is uncluttered. That's right. I've been off work for several days the past couple of weeks. I've gotten enough sleep. I've not been time-zone hopping. I've finished the current wip. Because I'm rested and the chatter is dying down in my head, ideas are springing forth and there are so many, it's difficult to capture them. And not only ideas, but tasks that need to be done and projects I want to finish.

So, the name of the game the past few days has been this: focus.

Because of all the spinning and sparking, I've forced myself to focus on one thing at a time. So far this week I've stuck with the current novella until I finished it. (yay!) I've revamped the blog. And now I'm reorganizing my office. I won't start the next task until that one is finished.

Focus.

Perhaps, on this January 1--the first day of the new year--that should be my buzzword. Focus. Then perhaps, I can see many of these ideas come to fruition this year.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Restaurants I've Visited

I don't like to say that I do restaurant reviews because I really don't feel qualified to say I'm a restaurant reviewer! So, I just say I'm a "visitor" and leave it at that. I like to take pictures of the food and people look at my very strangelike when I do, but I don't care. I hope you enjoy my restaurant visits and maybe they help you find a great restaurant (or not!) when you are in the area.

Here are some I've visited:

My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, Tempe, AZ

Range Cafe, Bernalillo, NM

Boon Family Thai BBQ, Farmington, NM

The Monte Carlo Steak House, Albuquerque, NM

Captain Merriweather's, Bismark, ND

Sanford's, Rapid City, SD

Random Recipes

Some links to some random recipes featured on Life, Unedited!

Lima Bean and Ham Soup

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

What to do with Leftover Halloween Candy

Bread Pudding

Everyday Spaghetti Sauce

Clean out the Fridge Vegetable Soup!

About Family Stories, Family Recipes Cookbook

About Family Stories, Family Recipes Cookbook

Why Write Family Stories, Family Recipes?

Featured Story and Recipe - Nancy's Cornbread

Featured Story and Recipe - Granny's Fudge Frosting

A Portion of Royalties will Support Family Literacy

What to submit your story to Family Stories, Family Recipes? Click here for more information. You will need to sign in to Yahoo to access this pdf form. If you prefer, email me at familyrecipes [at] insightbb [dot] com and I'll send a word doc form to you!

Cupcake Recipes

Here are the links to my recipes submitted in the Iron Cupcake Challenge

Iron Cupcake Flickr Group

Iron Cupcake Basil

Iron Cupcake Cheese

Iron Cupcake Cranberry

Cinna-mocha chocolate fudge brownie

Long Island Tea Cupcakes, Kentucky Style!

Pinon and Peppers with a lovely cream cheese frosting

Guest Blogs and Interviews

From time to time I feature guest bloggers or author interviews on Life, Unedited. Here are the authors who have visited with me and their blog posts and/or interviews!

Aleka Nakis

Cheryl Norman

Gayle Trent

James Goodman

Jan Scarbrough

Janet Eaves

Karen Sandler

Lisa Dunster Moeller

Linda C. Wisneiwski

Magdalena Scott

Marcia James

ML Cordle

Resplendence Publishing CEOs

Some Articles about Writing

Looking for Writing Tips? Here are some posts about writing that might interest you.

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

Self-Editing

Edit-orial -- Editing and Technology

Dialogue Tags

Doing Edits/Revisions

Why Ebooks?

Checking Out Ebooks, At Your Local Library

To Ebook or Not to Ebook?

Some Popular Posts

I've listed some popular posts here!

In Search of Wine

The Hurrieder I Go...

Caged Bird?

Letting the Chatter Quiet Down

Never Give a Baby Ramen Noodles

Reviews of Maddie's Books

Maddie's Books have been reviewed by a number of Romance Reviewers. The links to some of the reviews are listed below.

A Perfect Escape - Fallen Angel Reviews

Ladies of Legend: Finding Home - Coffee Time Romance
Ladies of Legend: Finding Home - Dark Angel Reviews

Murder on the Mountain - Night Owl Romance - Reviewer Top Pick!
Murder on the Mountain - Dark Angels Review

Red: A Seduction Tale
Red: A Seduction Tale, Romance Book Scene

The Curse - Coffee Time Romance
The Curse - Romantic Times

The Cult - Dark Angel Reviews

Blue - The Romance Studio
Blue - Short and Sweet Reviews

Nice and Naughty by Mia Jae - The Romance Studio
Lust, Lies and Tinsel Ties by Mia Jae - Coffee Time Romance