Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflecting...

As 2011 draws to a close (approximately one hour left as I write this) I sit reflecting over the past year of my writing career. There were some unexpected surprises along the way and I have to say that I am most grateful for everything.

2011 provided me with my first Top 100 bestselling romance novel on Amazon. In fact, I had a total of 5 novels place in that Top 100 bestselling list, with one of them landing as high as #8 in Contemporary Romance, this  year. This was a first in my fifteen year career as a published romance novelist. I also had two additional titles place in Top 100 bestseller lists for smaller categories. What can I say? A banner year.

The thanks go to all of you, who bought and read my books. Without you, I wouldn't have a career, and I'm forever grateful for your readership. I hope the stories entertained, made you laugh, cry, sigh... Hey, whatever they are supposed to make you do, I hope they did!

There were two other significant events that contributed to my writing year. The first, is the growth of Turquoise Morning Press. You might know that I am the owner of the publishing house, although I do that work under my "real name" and not my Maddie James pen name. Still, I make no bones about the fact that I'm also my own publisher. (Yes, I still have an editor!) In this new age of publishing, it makes sense if I am publishing other author's works, to also publish my own. Will I always put everything in my own house? Perhaps not, since all eggs in one basket may not necessarily the best thing, but I certainly do like being in control of my career. :) But me aside, I have to say that I am totally into being a publisher, and love working with authors and helping them to move their careers forward. It's a joy to work with each of them every single day. I love being writer and publisher.

Enter another unexpected surprise. In 2010, I was freelancing and writing full time, with TMP emerging early in the year. Then in April of 2011, I was presented with the opportunity to go back to work full-time for my previous employer. It was not in the 2011 plan to do this. After some thought and discussion, I decided to accept. It threw a kink in the plan, yes. I had to reshuffle the workload, and hire and train more staff at TMP, yes. I had to re-prioritize my role in the company, yes. And more....

Friday, December 30, 2011

Backlist Friday - Kentucky Blues by Cat Shaffer

I met Cat Shaffer many, many years ago and our writing careers have sort of paralleled each other over time. I remember an RWA conference many years ago, where we were waiting for agent appointments, lamenting over the fact that either a. ) our careers seemed to have stalled, or b) we were not where we wanted to be at this point in our writing careers. We both said, "we need a five year plan." 

That was way past five years ago and today, Cat is a multi-published author writing under two pen names and for two publishers (let's not forget she's also a managing newspaper editor and writes tons of non-fiction on a regular basis). We still talk about that day years ago and our five year plans, and how far we have come. 

I've recently started featuring a backlist book from one of my author friends on Fridays, so I'd like to introduce you to Cat, and her Kentucky Blues....

 
Kentucky Blues
by Cat Shaffer

Elise Drummond never forgot her first love—and never expected to learn via the grapevine that he was back in Brookville and living with her mother. Sam McCade had broken her heart, and she wasn’t about to let him destroy her mother’s as well. A quick trip back to Kentucky to lay down the law and she could head back to the safe life she’d built for herself in Kansas City.

When Sam McCade went “on the run” in the middle of the night to save his sister from her abusive husband, there was only one person he could trust to help them, Hannah Drummond. He expected the local gossips to have a field day with his return to Brookville, but he never dreamed Elise would roll into town to check out the situation for herself.

Reviews
“A truly good read, perfect for an afternoon swinging away with the wind chimes playing and the spring sun shining.” ~Amazon Review

“…a large dose of sexual tension--the chemistry between Sam and Elise sizzles--some great suspense that keeps the pages turning and you have a sure winner in this story of love lost, regret and redemption. If Kentucky Blues is typical of Cat Shaffer's books, prepare to add her to your automatic read list.” ~Amazon Review

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My wish for all of you...

For happiness,
For health,
For love,
For wealth,
For wisdom,
For patience,
For friendships,
And for family.

Have a wonderful holiday season, one and all.

Maddie


Monday, December 19, 2011

Do dead guys still want it?

Three sisters, Southern-fried born and bred, and the men ghosts who love them...

Good old Southern fiction humor, a naughty ghost, a hint of mystery, and a smattering of romance. What more could you want?

Yesterday, the launch book in my new series was released. This series is a little different for me, combining a few genres all into one novella. You might think--how can you have a mystery, romance, and a ghost story all wrapped up with a twist of humor? In a novella?

Well, I hope I've pulled it off. I guess my readers will be the judge of that. I'm eager to see. If you read Freshly Dead, let me know what you think, okay?

I'll give you a little taste of the story here.

First, the blurb:

All Mitzi Winston wants is enough money to pay this month's mortgage payment. That's the only reason she even considers the phone sex job. Ever since her husband's disappearance, she's held things together quite nicely--until recently. And now, well, she just needs the money.


So, she bites the bullet and goes for the interview, only to find that the phone sex job isn't real and she's too late--not for the interview, but to save her husband. For there he is, dead on the floor, a bullet to the back of the head. To make matters worse, his ghost is hovering around and chiding her for being late. Not to mention he's horny as hell and trying to cop a feel.


Which only begs the question, "Do dead men still want it?"


And, an excerpt:

Friday, December 09, 2011

Maddie's Recommended Book of the Week

Raeliksen
by Renee Vincent

Buy at Amazon!

Mara, the daughter of an Irish clansman, was raised to believe the men of the North are heathens - murderous pagans without a moral bone in their bodies. Despite warnings of the Northmen's raids, and the growing threat of another incursion, Mara is continually drawn to her favorite place - the River Shannon.

Dægan Ræliksen, a wealthy chieftain from Norway's frozen fjords, secretly discovers Mara at the water's edge. He is charmed by her beauty and sensuous grace. As the days pass, his contentment with watching her grows thin. He can no longer deny his desire.

Mara and Dægan come face-to-face in a time when every Irishman is being called up to fight against the Nordic foreigners. In these times of upheaval, can Dægan make peace with Mara's father and acquire the woman he treasures? Can Mara move past her fears and find the noble man within the savage?

Friday, December 02, 2011

The Bachelorette Party 101 Series is Complete!

About a year or so ago my daughter was the party planner for her older half-sister's bachelorette party. Of course, I was not invited, and that was perfectly fine with me. I am, afterall, way past the bachelorette stage of my life. But I did experience the party second-hand, voyeur-style almost, via Facebook.

I'm here to tell ya, the pictures posted were, um, questionable. So much so that I called my daughter and requested that she "unfriend" family members immediately!

The bottom line is that the girls were having a whole lot of harmless (abeit decadent) fun, and me? Well, I got a series out of it. Nice, huh?

The Bachelorette Party 101 Series by Mia Jae
So, the Bachelorette Party 101 Series was born and this week, the last novella in the series was released.

And yes, these titles are released under my Mia Jae pen name and they are, quite a bit more risque than the regularly-scheduled Maddie James title. But they  are cute stories, all with their humorous moments, and of course, laced with a heavy dose of naughty.

I Want, is book three, and here is the book blurb:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

An interview with urban fantasy author F. L. Bicknell

Every once in a while a book comes along that you simply can't get out of your head. For me, that's the sign of a good one. Recently I read F.L. Bicknell's Ruby, the White King, and Marilyn Monroe and I have to tell you, the story is a keeper. Drawn initially to the  catchy title, I was even more captivated as each chapter rolled on.

Here's the premise:

Reincarnated over the centuries. Stuck with a ditzy Marilyn Monroe lookalike. Falling for a rich albino guy. It’s just Ruby’s luck for Hell’s “real” angels to ride into this life and screw it all up.

Paranormal romance takes off full throttle as demonic motorcycles and their beautiful riders chase Ruby to the rocky shores of Key West for a battle of epic proportions. Are they angels, demons, or something else entirely? Ruby must send them back to a hell unlike anything the world has ever imagined. But will she allow herself to love the White King who has found her again over one thousand years later?

I've known F.L. Bicknell for quite some time, having connected several years ago via the Internet. We've never met face-to-face, but that doesn't matter. I've come to respect her hard work as an author, her determination and perseverance, and her continual striving to move her writing career forward. I think Ruby, the White King, and Marilyn Monroe could be just the book to do that.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Up with the chickens...

It's 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. At 1:58 a.m. I woke, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, as they say. I didn't know what time it was, having left my cell phone, which serves as my alarm clock, in the kitchen the night before. I had intended to sleep in--to sleep until I woke up.

I had no clue that would be 1:58 a.m. As I stumbled into the kitchen ready to start the coffee maker, I glanced at the kitchen clock. Groan. I knew it was early, it was still dark outside, but I had figured it was maybe something like 5:30. Noooooo...  Not me, not lately.

My sleep habits lately have run amok. Not sure why, I thought I had finally nipped that in the bud, since I'd started back to work full-time. Admittedly, I had fallen into some bad sleep habits the year-and-a-half I had worked from home. It hadn't mattered then.

I think it sort of matters now.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

A book and its cover(s)....

Book covers are fun, huh? I always love getting new ones, and I even enjoy designing them. When the cover really tells a story, and hooks the reader in, it's a great thing.

I have a new release this week--actually, it's the now digital version of an older print title--and I have to say I really love the cover. I won't even say that I designed it. Oh, okay, I will. I did.

Actually, if the truth be known, this cover (left) is version three of the cover. Each cover I designed I thought was awesome. And then I would let it sit a while, and I'd decide it wasn't so awesome. Not quite sure why, because they were perfectly nice covers, but they just didn't do. So, I went back to the drawing board and back to the stock photo places to browse.




Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Special Guest Today - Author Renee Vincent!

Please join me today in hosting a special guest, a fantastic romance author and my friend, Renee Vincent. She's posting here today as part of her Blog Tour for her recent release of Silent Partner. Helloooo Renee!
~~~~~
This past weekend, I was at my first Buffalo Girls horseback riding trip of the year and it's a special ride I don't ever miss. We only have two scheduled girls rides a year, so it's something I strongly look forward to attending.

There are no boys allowed on our trips and it's a great time to kick back from the hustle and bustle of life, forget the stresses of work, and absorb yourself in the surrounding nature while taking in the view from a saddle. It's great therapy - both physically and mentally.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Making Time for Reading?

Everyone once in a while I lament the fact that I'm not taking the time to simply get lost in a book. I mean, really get lost in it. You know, one of those days when you cuddle up with your favorite afghan on the sofa, donned in your comfiest clothes that you wouldn't be seen out in public wearing, and without a care in the world, do nothing all day long but read

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What is abundance?

Recently I was gifted with the book Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. It's not a new book to me, I remember it well from the late 90's. In fact, way back then I bought the workbook to work through, and did get so far through it. Why I bought the workbook, and not the book, I am not sure. Perhaps the book was sold out. At any rate, many years later, I now own both book and workbook, and as part of my morning "Circle Time" I'm moving through them.

The book is designed for a daily bit of reading and inspiration, starting January 1. Since today is February 15, I'm a bit behind, so I'm reading through January now to catch up. I'm glad I didn't start in August.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Circle Time for Me

Circle Time
Having taught and worked in public schools for 30 years, I've spent a lot of time in the classroom. For the past 15 years, most of that time spent in early childhood classroom settings, both as teacher and consultant. Being a "teacher of teachers" I found myself often sharing the advice, "ground your preschooler's day with some sort of opening activity. Do it everyday. Be consistent. Have a routine. A daily Circle Time is a good start."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Publish well, publish often, publish to sell

Note: This article in its entirety was published yesterday at WG2E, The Writer's Guide to EPublishing.

By Kim Jacobs (aka Maddie James)
CEO and Publisher, Turquoise Morning Press

I’ve said it myself—anyone can publish a book in today’s publishing world. It’s true. That statement is also a misnomer.

You can publish. There are dozens of options from which to choose. The key, however, is to publish well, to publish often, and publish to sell.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Winter Newsletter Posted!

Hi everyone! Thought I'd pop in real quick to let you all know that I've uploaded the latest Maddie James Newsletter. You can view it online here!

It's got a snazzy new look, too. And so does my website!