Monday, August 31, 2009

An excerpt from Dates du Jour

Available NOW at Fictionwise!

Maddie James Romance Novella
by Maddie James

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....

Chapter One

“Lord. I think I might just marry the first man who pops his head into Sugar High, just so I can get a divorce and get it over with.”

Lyssa Larkin daubed at the sugar rim gracing her upper lip and dipped a cinnamon-powdered doughnut into her heavily-creamed coffee one last time. Sydney Schul, owner of Sydney’s Sugar High Coffee Stop and Bakery, frowned and watched Lyssa dunk, dunk, dunk the thing and then lean gingerly over the coffee cup. Her long brunette pony tail slid over her shoulder while she stuffed the rest into her mouth.

Sydney handed Lyssa a napkin.

“Your chin,” she said. Lyssa nodded and swiped again. “And why would you want to go and do something like that?”

Lyssa rolled her big brown eyes. “I’m an old maid, Sydney. And no one wants an old maid. Men expect that a thirty-six-year-old woman has had some experience with men. Most men assume that you’ve already been married and divorced by my age. Had kids even. Me? I’ve only had sex with two men and have never been married, no kids, and no stinking divorce!

“I’m nothing. And men just don’t understand that. They wonder what is wrong with me.”

“There is nothing wrong with you, Lyssa. You’re beautiful, smart, and a catch.”

“Tell that to the guys who look at you cross-eyed when you say you’ve never been married.”

“That’s ridiculous. Women older than you marry for the first time all the time!”

“Maybe in the big cities. But Sydney, this is Legend. Population 6,232. Small, southern, Bible-belt and all that. It’s weird here.”

“Hm.”

“So now you get it?”

“Let me get this straight.” Sydney braced herself against the counter, her palms flat on the Formica top. “You’re out to get married just so you can get a divorce? How very Bible-beltish of you.”

She shrugged and reached for another sugared treat.

Sydney put her palm over her hand. “That’s three. Don’t you think…?”

Lyssa’s baby brown’s narrowed and Sydney jerked her hand back. “Listen to what I am saying. I don’t have sex, Sydney. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke pot or do drugs. I don’t even drink diet soda laced with artificial sweetener, although some would say that I should. So let me have the damned doughnut, you hear me?”

Sydney nodded. She would give her that.

Poor thing.

The bell over the bakery door tinkled and she glanced away from the sugar-coated disaster. Sighing, she moved around the counter and rushed to take a box from the woman struggling with the door.

“Give me that.”

Suzie Matthews blew out a breath. “Thank you!”

A breeze whipped in behind them and slapped the door flat open against the wall. “Oh!” Sydney angled the box on the counter and raced before the wind caught it again and broke the old glass window pane insets.

“A bit brisk,” Suzie said, straightening her jacket about her.

Sydney firmly shut the door. “You can say that again. Thunderstorm coming, I think.” Turning, she glanced toward her cousin, Suzie, and then at Lyssa, who was dabbing off another round of powdered sugar on her Dusky Pink-lined lips and staring into her empty cup.

She glanced up. “Mind if I refill my coffee, Syd?”

“Have at it.”

Both Sydney and Suzie watched as Lyssa slid off the counter bar stool and waddled in her black stretch pants around the counter and toward the Bunn coffeemaker. Suzie sidled closer to Sydney and whispered. “Put on a tad bit of weight lately, huh?”

In a low voice, Sydney replied, “She’s depressed. Wants a divorce.”

Suzie slanted a gaze her way. “But she’s not married.”

“Yeah. Well, she needs to get married so she can get a divorce. It’s part of her grand plan.”

One corner of Suzie’s mouth drew up. “What the hell?”

Lyssa shouted out from across the room. “I took the last of it, Syd. Should I make a new pot?”

“Sure thing, hon. Go for it.”

They watched her twiddle with the carafe and the filter and the basket, punching buttons and watching the first drips hiss against the bottom of the glass pot.

“So, what do you think?” Sydney prodded.

“What?”

“Can you fix her up with someone? It’s not like it’s forever, so this one should be easy.”

Suzie turned her body fully toward Sydney. “I’m not getting caught up in this. I’m exhausted after that last bout with Chris and Katie.”

“But that worked out fine. Chris said yesterday morning they set a date. November, right? And Mary and Nash are already building a big cabin up in the mountains. Not to mention how you got Chelly and Matt back together. You’re good, Suzie. You can do this for Lyssa.”

“I know. But she’s doing it for the wrong reason.”

“Maybe you can turn things around for her.”

Suzie shook her head. “I dunno. This will require…” She glanced again at Lyssa, who was waiting for the carafe to fill while inspecting her teeth in the wall mirror behind the counter.

“Oh hell, face it Syd, Lyssa is just…different.”

*****
Read more about The Matchmaking Chef series by visiting Legend, Tennessee.
Or visit these links for:
Perfectly Matched, book 1

Hot Crossed Buns, book 2

Side Dish, book 4


And coming in September,
Mate to Order

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lisa Alexander Griffin and A Celtic Lover's Magic

Welcome to Liza Alexander Griffin.

I met Lisa a few years ago when we were both trying out Yahoo360 as a networking venue, then later connected again via MySpace, and we have shared off and on conversations over time about our writing. I'm proud to call Lisa a friend and am celebrating her new release with her!

Hi, Lisa, tell us a little about yourself.

I live in rural North Alabama with my husband and eleven-year-old daughter, three cats, a dog and a red leopard appaloosa, oh… and let’s not forget the goldfish and parakeets, Buttercup and Curio. * weary smile* If left to my daughter we’d own a zoo.

My two older children have left the nest and given me three wonderful grandchildren. As a result I stay pretty busy. My writing journey started almost eight years ago. At first my stories were an outlet of sorts for my innermost thoughts. Now I write for pleasure. Honestly, I don’t think I could stop.

You have a new book out. We’d love to hear about it.

Actually, I have two, and both are with Freya’s Bower Publishing. A Celtic Lover’s Magic/contemporary fantasy, and a story titled The Unexpected Gift in One Touch, One Glance, A Sweet Romance Anthology. I consider it an honor to be among the seventeen authors chosen for this book. Each story gives a different perspective on life and love, and guarantees to touch your heart in a unique way.
What do you love about your editor?

Faith Bicknell-Brown is a true inspiration. She gently prods, bringing out the best in me without trying to change my voice. Her zany humor keeps me laughing and laughter makes the edits less painful. Lol. Marci Baun, editor-in-chief cares about her authors and her door is always open.

What does your writing schedule look like? Are you a morning writer? A night owl?

I write some mornings, but mostly at night when the house is quiet and everyone is asleep. No one shouts Mom I’m hungry or help me with homework. No one grumbles, honey, I need clean clothes, or is dinner ready yet?

Do you have a writer’s cave? Can we see a picture?

Can’t show a picture of my writer’s cave, as it’s a recliner in the living room with a laptop table. Mom has to keep an eye on things, make sure the house runs smoothly, and keep everyone from feeling neglected.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up, no matter how many rejections you get, or how discouraged you become. Perseverance is key, along with talent and a little luck. Learn all you can, join writer’s groups for support. A group that has helped me tremendously is Avoid Writer’s Hell. Faith Bicknell-Brown, my editor, is the owner. The group is open to, and welcomes new members.

The link is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Avoid_Writers_Hell/

Mini lessons are sent through, every writing topic imaginable is discussed. We lend support, answer questions, and boost spirits. The camaraderie is phenomenal. Writing is a continual learning process. Guidelines and standards change. No writer ever knows all.

What is your next project?

Danielle’s Touch, a full-length contemporary romance targeted for Harlequin. The story addresses domestic violence issues, a woman’s strength to break free, overcome obstacles and find her HEA. Wish me luck. It’s in editing stages as we speak, and I hope to find a home for it soon.

I’ve also recently started a Native American story titled Perigee Moon, set in the Tennessee- Alabama area in1775. This is my first try at a Historical and may take a while. Lots of research!

Do you have any writing rituals? Like special music, times of the day, food quirks, etc?

I sometimes listen to music, but mostly I like quiet. When my reservoir runs dry I replenish it with books and movies. Hey! Let’s not forget the caffeine. I couldn’t function without it.

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

I still struggle with that aspect of the business. Promotions are hard. I post in-groups, my web site and myspace, do interviews and contests. Most importantly I try to stay in touch with readers. Wish I had a magic formula but I don’t.

What else would you like to tell us?

First: I’m extremely nervous with interviews. Thank you Maddie, for making it so painless.

Second: For updates on new releases, where my published works can be found, and current works in progress, check out www.lisaalexandergriffin.com or www.myspace.com/destinyschoice8 If you stop by, leave a message. I love to hear from readers and authors alike.

Third: Six wonderful authors have banned together to form a new group. Faith Bicknell-Brown/Zinnia Hope, Adrianne Brennan, Trinity Blacio, Debbie Gould, Jaime Samms and myself. Stop by and visit us at Six Dream Weavers. You just might like what you see.

We can be found here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SixDreamWeavers/

A Celtic Lover’s Magic Blurb:

Liam Macauley inherits what he believes to be a mansion in Ireland from an uncle he’s never known. The moment he sets foot on Irish soil, nothing is as it seems.

Caileaan, descendent of the Sidhe, ancient gods of Eire, the Tuatha De Danann, longs to dig her toes into freshly turned earth, toil side by side with a husband, birth his children, know what it is to be loved and alive as one with humans.

In a battle of darkness and light, will the evil Fomhoire destroy the promise made to Caileaan, and thwart Liam’s chance to gain his hearts desire?

Check out the book trailer!!
http://www.blazingtrailers.com/show.php?title=417


Click here for more Author Interviews by Maddie James on Examiner.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Double Release Day!

Side Dish
Book 4 in The Matchmaking Chef series
Now available at the Resplendence Publishing Web-site

Becca North doesn't want a boyfriend but her BFF Nora certainly does--even if she won't admit it. Becca is so off men.

But when Nora, owner of Nora's Novel Niche, meets Suzie The Matchmaking Chef during a booksigning, she finagles a way for the matchmaker to arrange a picnic lunch date for her--on television, no less! Nora drags Becca along for moral support and to check out her date.

Thing is, Nora's date would rather check out Becca, instead.

Sam Ackerman is a busy man with a business to run and no time to pursue a relationship. The last thing he needs is to be hooked into a matchmaking scheme played out for the world on national television, but he reluctantly plays along for his friend, Suzie. He knows right away that his "date" Nora, as beautiful and smart as she is, isn't for him. Her raven-haired BFF hanging around on the sidelines, though, is a tempting candidate.

So, he decides to forgo the entree and head straight for the Side Dish.

Available starting TODAY at Resplendence Publishing.

Dates du Jour
Book three in The Matchmaking Chef series
Just released today on Fictionwise.

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 Lyssa 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 who is falling for her fast.

Suzie can't help but work some of her matchmaking skills behind the scenes...

Available today at Fictionwise.com

You can read about all of the books in the Matchmaking Chef series at Legend, Tennessee.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Contest! Contest! Contest!

I'm holding a contest starting right now and going through next Thursday, August 20, for a chance to win one of two of my print books--A Perfect Escape, a romantic suspense/thriller or Ladies of Legend: Finding Home, an anthology I co-wrote with authors Jan Scarbrough, Magdalena Scott and Janet Eaves

Here's a shot of the books!

Photobucket

How to enter? Well, you are already halfway there. Just scroll down the page and find the box to join my newsletter list and sign up. That's all you have to do! Sign up for my newsletter and you are automatically entered. I will pick two winners through random drawing Thursday evening, August 20. I'll post the winners here, in the comments section of this blog, and also email the winners directly.

So hey, go sign up! You win either way, right? Because in every issue of my newsletter, not only are there articles about writing, sometimes a recipe, and news about my releases, there are chances to win free books.

More books! How can you beat that?

A banner contract signing day

Wow. I just finished signing several contracts that landed in my inbox today. All of this should keep me busy for...oh, a couple of years?

Of course, I knew they were coming. I had pitched them and had verbal agreements a while back. But it's always kind of cool to get the actual contracts to make it all feel official. And doubly exciting to see them all lined up in my inbox on the same day!

Here is what's upcoming for me in the next couple of years.

- A cookbook titled, The Best of Legend's Landing Bed & Breakfast, written by Maddie James with Suzie Matthews

- Books 4 and 5 in The Legend of Blackbeard's Chalice series, titled Wanderlust and The Chosen: Full Circle.

- An erotic short story collection by Mia Jae.

- An erotica menage a trois romance novella by Mia Jae.

- And three more additions to The Matchmaking Chef series, titled Romancing the Scone, Better than Chocolate, and Hard Candy Kisses.

All of this ought to keep me off the streets at night, huh?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Deer Be Gone!

See these?

I brought them in this evening from my small suburban, backyard garden. Yesterday, these two green tomatoes had about a dozen siblings hanging around on the tomato vines with them. Tonight, no siblings. Gone.

This is not the first time tomatoes have vanished. I had two large ones on the vine a few days before the 4th of July. I was going to visit my parents for a couple of days and figured by the time I got back, those two would be very near ripe. So I came home, meandered into my backyard, looked at my garden and...

No tomatoes, green or ripe. What?

I glanced around. Which of my neighbors...? No. I couldn't imagine that any of them would swipe my tomatoes. Then I stepped away from the garden and onto a half eaten tomato in the yard. Half-eaten. With teeth marks.

A deer? Raccoon? I suspect a deer because lately I'd noticed the tops of my hosta flowers broken off, too. And, a green pepper plant that had obviously been chopped.

So, now, here I am, with two lonely green tomatoes in my kitchen. I guess I'll fry them up tomorrow evening for dinner. I can only assume that their siblings were lunch today (or a midnight snack) for a deer family.

Sigh...


Wait! No! No no no no noooooooo.... Calliope, get away from those tomatoes!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Today's Recipe: Easy Sausage Roll

Last night was one of the evenings when I craved something different for dinner, but not sure what that might be. So, I inspected the fridge and the pantry and came with this. (I love creating something with only the ingredients on hand!)

Easy Sausage Roll

Ingredients

2 sheets of frozen puff pastry
1 lb sausage
1 small onion
Dijon Mustard
1 pkg of frozen spinach, thawed
6 eggs
Melted butter

Note: This makes two sausage rolls. Halve ingredients to make one roll.


Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degreesF
2. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray
3. Lay the puff pastry out to thaw on the cookie sheet. As it thaws, unfold on the pan. Work quickly through the next few steps so the puff pastry doesn't get too soft (will be difficult to roll)
4. Drain the spinach and squeeze out all excess moisture.
5. Fry the sausage and the chopped onion in a skillet until cooked through.
6. In a separate pan from the sausage, scramble the 6 eggs.
6. On one square of puff pastry, layer first half of the sausage/onion mixture, spread over the entire pastry. Drizzle Dijon mustard over the sausage. Next, layer on 1/2 of the spinach, followed by 1/2 of the scrambled eggs.
7. Work from one side of the pastry to the other. Gently lift and roll over the pastry approximately 1 to 1 1/2 times. Press ends of pastry together gently.
8. Repeat the process for the second roll.
9. Brush melted butter over the pastry.
10. Bake at 400degreesF for 10-15 minutes until pastry is cooked and brown.
11. Remove from oven and let sit for a moment or two before slicing.

Hint: Dip your slice in a little Dijon mustard while eating. It's great!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Help for the Louisville Free Public Library

Yesterday, August 4, 2009, Louisville, Kentucky was hit with a powerful thunderstorm that left inches of rain behind in a very short period of time. Some estimates were up to 7 inches within an hour. The rain stopped for a while, then it came again.

Louisville had no shortfall of rain prior to this and there simply was no place for all of this water to go, so it chose to run down streets, flood parking garages, homes, businesses and university classrooms, and dump several feet of muddy water into the local downtown library.

Today, the Louisville Free Public Library, is pumping and mucking out water and sludge. In it's wake, is an estimate of upwards of a million dollars in damage. This damage not only includes books, but computers and other technology equipment destined for the Newberg Center. It includes the library technology server, the air conditioning and heating systems, the electrical system, and more.

My heart breaks at the loss of the books and other library equipment. Just seeing the books floating in the murky water touched something in me. I want to do something, so today I contacted The Library Foundation for what I could do to help.

According to Mary Hunt, of The Library Foundation, the most urgent needs are for cash donations. Perhaps later, there will be a need for book donations and other kinds of support. So for now, this is where I start.

If you love books, live in the Louisville community, and would like to support the rebuilding of the Library by donating to the Flood fund, please send your donations to:

The Library Foundation
301 York Street
Louisville, KY 40203
Please note on your donation: Flood Recovery Fund

This is a start. I have other ideas for support and will be keeping in touch with The Library Foundation. I welcome your ideas, as well. Stay tuned.

Additional articles:


Louisville Libraries Hit by Flooding

Louisville Free Public Library on Facebook

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Sweet Tooth

Today I came home from work and felt like baking something--something sweet and gooey and with chocolate, of course. I wasn't sure I had the proper ingredients in the pantry but forged ahead anyway. Without thought or reason, I started pulling things out and placing them on the counter.

An Oreo cookie pie crust, a can of sweetened condensed milk... Then to the fridge and a plan started coming together.

It was impromptu. It was fun. It was, ah yes, sweet and gooey. It was...

Perfection on a Plate


And here is how you can make it, too.

Ingredients for Perfection on a Plate:

1 6 oz Oreo pie crust
1/2 of a 12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 of a 14 oz bag of sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup of chopped pecans
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

1. Remove plastic wrapper from pie crust.
2. Cover bottom of crust with the chocolate chips. Reserve a few for the top.
3. Layer the pecans over the chocolate. Again, reserve some of the nuts for the top.
4. Layer the shredded coconut on top of the nuts.
5. Open the can of sweetened condensed milk and pour the entire contents over the top of the layers in the pie crust. Yes, the entire can.
6. Garnish the top with the remaining chocolate chips and nuts.
7. Place pie shell with contents on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degreesF about 20 minutes or until the top is bubbly and turning brown.
8. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool to the touch, pop in the refrigerator and chill until it's hard.
9. Slice and enjoy!

Warning! Perfection on a Plate is very rich and extremely additive! I recommend making and then taking to the office the next morning, so it's not hanging around your kitchen (and on your hips.)

Copyright © 2009 Maddie James

Monday, August 03, 2009

A Sweetheart of a Review

Time out from your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this commercial interruption. Drum roll, please. Ahem. Maddie's naughty other half, Mia Jae, has snagged herself a nice little review. In fact, it's the best review of all the reviews last week on The Romance Studio. So please, check it out, 'kay?

Yes, that's two men on the cover. Two. Count them. One. Two. And they are both quite yummy. :)

This week's 5 Heart Sweetheart...

"This was only the second time that I had ever read a menage story that I truly enjoyed. I like the way it was written and the way the story flowed along. I also loved the fact that there was an actual plot to this book. The situations in which the main characters found themselves were realistic, believable, entirely possible, and totally probable. Not only did I absolutely love "Nice and Naughty", I will be recommending it to my friends and family. "Nice and Naughty" will be put permanently into my "to be read" pile." - Alyna Couture

Buy it today!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Accountability: Places, everyone!

So, yesterday, I came out to the world about my terribly unorganized office. I admit it, so that is the first step, correct? That is, indeed, what they say. I even asked you all to hold me accountable and my dear friend Magdalena took that request seriously.

She's been very kind this morning not to bug me about it. I really do think, though, that she is waiting to see my progress. I'm taking a deep breath now and unveiling...

My writer's cave. No, my clean and organized writers cave.

A nice cat perch, huh? Clio definitely loves this new spot. I bought this little bookshelf from a surplus furniture sale from my day job office. I think I shall always have to leave the top uncluttered because Clio has definitely staked her claim to it. Lots of birdies and bugs to watch, not to mention people walking their dogs.

And a clean and uncluttered desk. Sigh...

What? You want this chair, too? No way, sweetheart... It's time for Mama to get back to work.

p.s. I didn't show you the closet on purpose. Phase two. :)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Places, everyone!

I'm organizing. Again. It feels like I have been organizing both my house, and my life, since about...oh, January. I believe I may even have made a New Year's resolution to get organized. I'm sure at the time I envisioned that task taking a couple of weeks, more or less.

Naw.

Not this life. Not this house.

It's not that things are so out-of-control, it's that I've been extremely busy the past year. Hence, things get out of their places.

Get thee back in your places! I demand. I strongly feel this need. I mean, deep.

So this morning, I made a decision. I either have to write or clean/organize. I decided the house needed me today. I can write tomorrow.

Perhaps with house of the way, the mind can feel uncluttered and free to write? That's the theory; let's see if the practice follows.

First order of business? The office. Here is a former picture. I hesitate to mention that this was the before picture back in January when I started pulling out stuff in an attempt to pitch and organize. Let's forget that today is August 1. It is the cold, hard truth, however, that I've progressed some since then, but not nearly enough. In fact, as I look around, hm....

So hold me accountable. Please! I've already moved a lot of crap, er, stuff, and hauled in two old bookshelves from the garage. Let's see what I can report tomorrow, okay?