Saturday, December 31, 2016

Rewatching: Elizabeth Gilbert, on your elusive creative genius...

I was recently reminded of a Ted Talk video I shared at a workshop I presented nearly six years ago. It's a video that touched me the first time I watched it, and evidently, it touched many of the authors who were in attendance that day.

One of those authors brought it up again to me -- just this morning, actually -- so I wanted to go back and rewatch.

I want to share it with you. You may begin to look at your muse, and writing, a little differently.

Elizabeth Gilbert is simply brilliant. Watch this if you want to ponder things like creativity and genius, writing and art, the assumption that artistry leads to anguish and that creativity is linked to suffering, the relationship between humans and the muse, surviving your writing life after success, and more....

Watch it if, like me, you've been floundering with your writing of late. I've decided to show up.

It's nearly 20 minutes in length but it's worth it. Take 20 minutes for you today. You're worth it.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Blog Opportunity for Romance Authors

Authors!

I'm opening my blog back up for romance author features on Tuesdays and Fridays. Here are the details:

#TeaserTuesday
Authors can post a graphic teaser of a new release or a backlist book. A Teaser Tuesday post should include:

  • Book cover
  • Brief book blurb/description
  • Teaser (usually done in a graphic)
  • Link to an excerpt on your website (if you like)
  • Buy links




#FridayFeature
A Friday Feature post is for new releases only. It can include any and all of the bulleted items listed above, with the addition of a posted excerpt. Excerpts can be from books of any heat level BUT the posted excerpt cannot be X-rated. (This blog does not have an "adult" warning.)

Contact me to schedule your post before sending any information. You can check out my Events Calendar on my website here for any open Tuesday and Friday dates. http://www.maddiejames.net/2015/12/wheres-maddie-i-will-be-attending.html. Then let me know which date you prefer. First come, first served!

Allow as much advance lead time as possible. Once the post is scheduled, then include all of your content in an email or Word document and send to maddie@maddiejames.net. The more organized you are, the easier I can post! Thank you.

Besides being featured on this blog, your post will be shared to my Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest pages--and I'll feature at least one featured author each month in my newsletter!


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Quit the day job? Me, I took it back.

Back to work. It's a short work week for me and for that, I am thankful. On the other hand, I know that there are probably not enough days in this work week to accomplish what I need to get done. And there you have it, the struggle.

I often think about normal people -- you know, those non-writer people. They go to work, then come home, and sometimes they even think about work at home or (gasp) even do work at home. And it's okay with them because it is their job, and maybe they are even passionate about their job, and they don't mind.

That's cool. I get that.

But what I don't think non-writer people get is that we writer people have two jobs. For many of us, it is the day job that pays the bills, and maybe even, if we are lucky, it's a job we love and feel passionate about. And then there is the writing.

And it's not just writing. There are websites to update, marketing plans to make, daily check-ins on social media or the writing groups, or proposals to write, deadlines to make. And more.

It's a business. It's a job. Not a chore, necessarily. (At least not most of the time) But a job all the same. Because you see? Us writer-people? We all secretly and truly want to make enough money to quit the day job -- even if we love the day job and even if we are passionate about it.

I did that. Quit the day job. Twice. I supplemented my income with some part-time consulting work. I also did cover art and ran a small publishing house. In fact, I did so much to help out with the writing income that I ended up severely cutting into the writing time. Hm. The reason I quit the day job with benefits and insurance and a retirement plan was so that I could have more time to write and make bigger money writing. What the hey?

I went back to work. Both times. I'm back at work now. (Well, not at this minute unless you are reading from 9-5.) And here are the lesson's I've learned from this experience:

1. I'm actually happy to get up every day and go to work. I see people. I talk to people. Writing and working at home all day by yourself can get lonely. I get twitchy.

2. I enjoy receiving the benefits, the insurance, the retirement plan. At my age now, I'm realizing that in the not so distant future, I'll be needing all of those things more. Writing full time can't give me that. Not yet, anyway.

3. I'm more stable financially. Bills are paid. I'm not tapping my fingers on my desk waiting for the Amazon payment to drop any longer. Book income is now extra income, and I like it that way.

4. I need the day job for me. For my mental health. To feel fulfilled at the end of the day. To work in teams and accomplish tasks. To be a leader and lend my years of wisdom, expertise, and advice to others. To give back.

5. I'm getting the joy of writing back. I'm not totally there yet. But for years I kept chasing the release. Had to get one out there every so many months. Worried about the numbers, the income, the reviews, the sales ranks....

Okay, I'm done with all of that on number 5 right now--except the joy part. There could come a time when I worry about all of those things again but right now, I can't. I just want to write my stories. I want to paint pretty pictures with words.

I am enjoying watching and feeling stories unfold. And, I'm doing it with a day job. I've finally left that struggle behind. You know the one? The balance between the day job and writing. The constant of wanting to quit in order to write. We've all been there.

I've buried that. Now, I'm thankful for the work that I do, the job that I have. I'm keeping the day job. And I'll still write. Maybe not as much, but I write.

Write more. Write often. Write now.  (I think I'm beginning to see a theme here....)

Until the next time,
Maddie

Monday, December 26, 2016

Write more. Write often. Write now.

It's the day after Christmas. I'm supposed to be writing. I'm thinking about other things.

In five days we'll have a new year. I'm good with that. I'm ready for that. Fresh start. New beginnings. You know what I mean?

I think a lot of people feel that way considering the comments posted on Facebook and Twitter. People unhappy with politics, the electoral college, the democratic process, the president. People upset about people dying. Actors and artists of their youth, and people in their families. Hell, Carrie Fisher (stable condition right now). George Michael. Prince. So many others. So sad.

Yes. Unhappy people. Everywhere.

Is 2017 going to fix this? No. The same issues, the same politics, the same everything will follow us into the new year. Yes, even death. A new year, new resolutions, a fresh start -- none of it will fix this. Stuff still happens. Good stuff. Bad stuff. Shit.

Yeah, shit happens.

What we can fix is our attitudes. Our outlook on life. We can shift the blame from "look what you did" to "what can I do for you?" We are the only people who control our personal happiness. How we feel about life. How we feel taking the next step forward. What we do next.

What kind of attitude we will have when we cross over into 2017. Yes, it's up to us.

I struggled through a few life changes in this past year. I could let them rain on my parade but I won't. I could be angry about it all and strike out at the world. I won't do that either. I'll just simply say this: I started out the year supporting myself as a full-time writer and part-time educational consultant. I started out this year as part of a couple. I started out this year with a mother.

All of that is gone now. Done. Over. Gone.

I now work full-time as a director for a non-profit organization. My writing career has taken a back-seat. My relationship is over. My mother passed on to Heaven.

Change is inevitable, right? And the only constant? Or so they say.

But I still have so much. I get to get up and go to work every day with great people and for a wonderful cause. I have a job that pays the bills and then some. My job plays to my strengths and I'm in control. I am fulfilled and happy at the end of each work day.

I have children and grandchildren who love me, and I so love them. I am blessed each day I can
spend time with them. I have a warm, beautiful home that I bought and decorated myself, just the way I want it. I have a crazy, assertive rescue dog who keeps me company and warms my feet at night. I have a father I'm learning to have a different relationship with, after all of these years.

Despite all of the personal setbacks. Despite the political future. Despite the fact that I am getting older and people my age are dying every day. Despite the fact that everyone on social media airs all of their "shit happens" moments for public consumption -- I'm good.

I'm blessed. I'm okay.

I just need to write more. Right? So that's the message I'm carrying over into 2017.

Write more. Write often. Write now. Yeah. That's it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Romance Sampler, anyone?

I came to a realization this week -- I haven't had a release in a little over three months. Now, I've had a lot of life happen in the past six months (like we all do) and my writing has taken a back seat. I've tried to get motivated. I attempted to do NaNoWriMo. Fail. I downloaded the Write-o-meter app for my phone to remind me to write everyday. I keep swiping the reminder away. I signed up for My Write Club to try to keep up the little bit of momentum I had gained with NaNo. I keep forgetting to update my page.

Small momentum gained from NaNo. I didn't win but I did realize one thing: My average writing day is now about 500 words a day. I can't seem to get many more words than that. So okay, I'll just roll with it. 500 words is better than none. Right?

Maybe not having a release doesn't sound like a big deal, but the moment I realized that was the case, was the same moment I looked at my tanking sales figures on Amazon.

Bleh. Not good.

No recent release. Sales tank. It's been slightly over 90 days since the last novella went up on my KDP dashboard. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not. I'm not going to tempt fate any longer so I created a release.

Created? Yes. I scoured my files to see if there was anything -- any Work-in-Progress -- I could speed along. Nada. I had two stories half finished. Another one a third of the way done. Nothing close enough to get up there ASAP. I had to get creative.

Creativity is my forte, right? Sure. I'll buy that. So what to do?

I have boxed sets. I've serialized one of my novels. I've had to get creative before. What now? I created a Romance Sampler, with a twist. Here is what I came up with:

This Romance Sampler is a collection of firsts--three first in series complete novellas or novels, plus sample first chapters of some of my single title works. I've also provided a first "sneak peek" into an upcoming novel, yet to be released, and an erotic romance novella that you can find only in this collection (not yet released elsewhere!).

Inside this collection you will find the following "first in series" books:

Bed, Breakfast and You (contemporary/romantic comedy novella)
Entranced (time travel/suspense novel)
Double Trouble for the Wedding Planner (contemporary erotic romance/menage novella)

The first chapters of these romantic suspense novels:
Tempt Me
A Perfect Escape

The first chapter of my western romance novel, Rawhide and Roses, and a sneak peek at the first chapter of this upcoming western romance novel, The Cowboy's Secret Baby (the sequel to Rawhide and Roses)

And a Bonus! Also included in the sampler is a full-length erotic romance novella, available ONLY in this sampler, The Spy Who Topped Me. And the best part? Right now it's all only $0.99.

Currently available at AMAZON | KOBO. Watch for B&N and IBOOKS coming any moment!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Seducing Sarah - My Hell Yeah! Kindle World Story @Maddiejames

Yesterday I shared the news about my latest release, Seducing Sarah. Today I'd like to share one of my favorite scenes with you. Here's a excerpt from my Hell Yeah! Kindle World story, Seducing Sarah. Remember, you can pick up a copy of your very own at Amazon!

SEDUCING SARAH
an excerpt

Sarah woke in the same position in which she went to sleep—with her cheek resting against Cole’s
chest, and his arms wrapped snug around her. Not sure how long they had lain there together, she knew it wasn’t long enough. At least for her. She could lay in his arms forever and not complain.
But how was he feeling about all this?

She’d barged into his room like she’d owned the place and never stopped to think that perhaps he had plans. He had just showered—obviously—his skin dewy soft and damp, contradicting the hard plane of his chest, tempting her. The towel wrapped sloppily around his thin hips.

She’d wanted to run away and bury herself in his arms, all at the same time.

But God, what she really wanted was for him to bury himself in her.

Her thoughts shot back to him standing there in the room wearing nothing but a towel. Even in her frantic state of mind, she’d noticed that he was one fine-looking specimen of cowboy. His chest was hard, his stomach flat, with pretty much a six-pack instead of a belly. She liked that. What she’d wished, that she’d been brave enough to slip her hands down under that towel and slide them over his hips to see what else was underneath.

Hell Yeah! I'm in Sable Hunter's Kindle World @MaddieJames

Today I'm excited to share my latest release! I've teamed up with eleven other authors in the debut launch of Sable Hunter's Hell Yeah! Kindle World! 

We've all been working hard to pull this together and I'm happy to say that Seducing Sarah, my book in the series, is available at Amazon today!

Here's a peek at all of the launch books.


Let me tell you a little about....
Seducing Sarah

Sable Hunter’s Hell Yeah! Kindle World 
Montana Heat, Book 2
Sweet Water Ranch, Prequel 

Can a love-at-first-sight weekend turn into the happily-ever-after neither are sure they even want? 

When Cole Stevens travels from Montana to Texas to close a business deal with his old friend, Heath McCoy, he never expects to close in on a relationship, too. But with one brief moment of contact in the airport with a pretty young woman carrying a guitar, his heart starts to unravel.

Sarah McClendon, fresh out of the gate after landing the runner-up spot on American Star, is touted as the up-and-coming country music star of the year. When she tangles with her manager at the Highlands Ranch annual barbecue, Cole steps up to the plate to protect her from the smarmy, poor excuse of a human being.

But it’s just a weekend right? Cole will be back home on the ranch in Montana come Monday, and Sarah has a career to get off the ground. Can a love-at-first-sight weekend turn into the happily-ever-after neither of them are sure they even want?

Now available at AMAZON!

Monday, August 08, 2016

Today's New Release - A #Kobo exclusive - The Montana McKennas Boxed Set

Jan Scarbrough and I are offering a special deal to our #Kobo readers for the next two weeks. We are releasing the complete Montana McKennas series in a boxed set, currently listed at Kobo only, and for a really great deal at $2.99 for the next two weeks.

Don't usually buy your books at Kobo? No worries. It's easy to set up an account there and they have this cool Super Points thing where you can get discounts off the books you buy by earning points. Anyway... So don't let that stop you from taking full advantage of this deal.

I'll be honest--Jan and I are undecided if we will offer this set for sale at other retailers. If we do, it will be at retail price, I'm pretty certain. We're going to see how things go after August rolls by. So, I'm saying it COULD be released at other retailers down the road, but right now we have no plans to offer it at this low price again for quite some time. So now's the chance. (Remember, the regular retail price for this set is $8.99)

Not sure what books are included in this set? Well, here you go:

THE MONTANA MCKENNAS BOXED SET

Welcome to McKenna Ranch! Meet Brody, Callie, Mercer and Parker—the four siblings in the clan of James McKenna, a Montana rancher, and their mom/step mom, Liz. Growing up on the ranch was a great life, until Callie and Parker’s mother passed away, leaving James a widower. It wasn’t long, however, before he remarried, bringing Liz into their lives, along with her son, Brody. Soon, James and Liz added a new McKenna to the family, when daughter Mercer was born.

Brothers and sisters are prone to disagreements and this Brady Bunch family of step, half, and full siblings is no exception. As they grew up on the ranch, they learned values that stuck with them throughout their lives—even though they may live apart as adults. But there is one thing that will bring them all back together. Their father’s only wish.

Beginning with a short prequel novella that tells the story of James McKenna and Liz Caldera, and how they came to blend their families, these stories put you on the McKenna Ranch near Yellowstone National Park. This series continues with Jan Scarbrough’s Brody, and with Maddie James’ Callie following, with additional stories that bring all the siblings home to the ranch.

These sweet to sexy stories give you a glimpse into Montana rodeo and ranch life, and of course, provide lots of contemporary cowboy love and romance.

Included in this set: The Montana Ranchers Series

The Montana McKennas: Prequel, Book 1, by Jan Scarbrough and Maddie James
Brody, Book 2, by Jan Scarbrough
Callie, Book 3, by Maddie James
Parker, Book 4, by Maddie James
Mercer, Book 5, by Jan Scarbrough
Liz, Book 7, by Jan Scarbrough

The Montana Heat books written by Maddie James are not included in this set.

Get yours exclusively at KOBO.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

LEGEND’S LANDING BED & BREAKFAST, THE COLLECTION – BOOK 1-13 @MaddieJames


****LATE SUMMER SALE! **** 
$0.99 NOW THROUGH END OF AUGUST 

This set includes the 13 stories of the original Legend’s Landing Bed & Breakfast series, including the eight Matchmaking Chef stories, all in one ebook collection!

AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2atGefd 
IBOOKS: http://apple.co/2adfblK 
KOBO: http://bit.ly/2avglvf 
B&N: http://bit.ly/2a9Ug5Z 
GOOGLE PLAY: http://bit.ly/2a9UfyW 
SMASHWORDS: http://bit.ly/2a9Up9m 

Bed, Breakfast and You – Chef Suzie Schul tangles with fling from her past only to realize that he’s come to town with a plan—and that plan includes making her his, forever.

Home for the Holidays – When Suzie’s estranged sister Chelly finally comes home for the holidays, Suzie does more than forgive her sister – she sets her up to reconnect with her old high school flame. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Just Released - TRUST ME

What if you were the last blue-eyed woman?

The year is 2095. The Americas Revolution has ended. And Cyan Sebastian—the last blue-eyed, Caucasian woman known to exist in the Western hemisphere—is on the run. Her safe and sequestered life ripped apart, she is running with a man who has sworn to protect her. A man who once hunted her for the bounty she would fetch. The man whom days before, killed her father.

Devin McCrae is that man. Having tracked Cyan and her family for years, Devin never dreams her father will one day drop her in his lap, with a proposition he cannot refuse. He never imagines that instead of hunting Cyan for the bounty on her head, he will become her protector to the end, and safeguard her from all the others.

Most of all, he never expects he will fall for her. If ever there was a woman who is hands off—Cyan Sebastian is that woman. Turns out though, keeping her hands off him, is the bigger problem. And it’s a deadly one, at that.

99 cent Promotional Price through June 30 ONLY! 
Regular Price, $3.99

IBOOKS | AMAZON | GOOGLE PLAY | KOBO | BARNES & NOBLE | ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS | SMASHWORDS | PAPERBACK


Read the teaser....

She woke later with a warped heaviness hanging over her, one that she couldn’t quite grasp. Sleep. Deep sleep had come in the night. Blessed sleep. And she was ever so grateful.
But the heaviness that encircled her came from something more than a sleep-of-the-dead night. It came from something warm and secure and safe, all-encompassing.
All consuming.
And it smelled like a man.
Cyan fluttered her crusty eyes, focusing her gaze across the way. Yes. Still in the cave. Facing the opening. But she was tucked back into a cranny, shielded from view.
She could only see the top half of the opening, and knew it was daylight. Bright sun pierced the depths of the cavern for about five feet inward. Beyond that, it was dark. Dark around her. Dark around them.
Them.
For what shielded her from view was McCrae’s arm lying protectively across her face.
Her father used to do the same, lay beside her—her and her mother—his arm draped over them, protecting….
Tears stung the backs of her eyelids. Her parents. Both gone.
What would she do now?
She lay on her side, half on her stomach, her right cheek resting against the cave’s dirt floor. McCrae was nearly on top of her, his bare arm draped snug over her from behind. His body wrapped protectively around hers. His weapon in his hand.
Poised. Pointed outward.
Nothing was getting to her unless it got to him first.
Drawn to his dark skin—much darker than hers—she almost lifted a finger to smooth over his forearm. Touch him. Run the pads of her fingertips over the dark, fine hairs of his arm.
But no. Not a good idea.
She had no doubt that should the smallest movement, the slightest sound alert McCrae, awaken him, he would be up and shooting within a millisecond. She wouldn’t risk touching him. Even though she was intrigued, fascinated by the tone, texture, and color of his skin. He was Mulatto. A novelty for her, in some respects, as much as she was a novelty for him.
Something to explore another time.
Mulatto. The term, she’d read and heard from her parents, was once derogatory to Blacks of African Heritage, and others in the United States of the Americas. Her father, a scientist, and her mother, a forensic empath, had home-schooled her well as they tripped from hiding place, to hiding place, across the globe. Although considered resident citizens of the United States, they called whatever country they’d landed in—temporarily or semi-permanently—their home.
In some cultures, she’d learned, the use of the term Mulatto was accepted—in the old United States, not so much. But now, on the cusp of the 22nd century, in the true melting pot that was the United States of the Americas, it was a common term worldwide.
Mulatto. It was the norm, rather than the exception.
She was the exception, rather than the norm. Caucasian.
But for now, he slept. And she would let him.
He needed to rest for whatever came next.
They needed rest.
It was okay. Her pursuers were far away. Off track. Off course. Frustrated.
She knew it. Sensed it. Her sight became clearer when she was rested, calm, safe… And she trusted her sight, her gift, more than anything.
Had to.
McCrae’s head lay lax against the side of her cheek. The heaviness comforted her, in a strange way. The steadiness of his inhale-exhale-inhale-exhale calmed her. The stubble of his whiskers raked against her temple. The pound of his heart beat against her back in a steady staccato rhythm. She could feel it. Somehow the murmur of it all reassured her.
He’d protect her. To the end. She was sure of it.
A slight snore escaped his lips. His breath sifted soft and moist across her cheek. Warm.
Hot.
Lying so damned protectively across her.
Dammit.
Something stirred in her gut. Zinged throughout her body. Her chest.
No. Not him.
Not now.
Trust him.
No, dammit. Not in that way. Not with her heart, anyway. But her father bade her to trust him. Trust this Devin McCrae. Those were his last words. His last action. She wondered if he realized how difficult a task that would be?
Trust him? Yes.
Give her heart? No.
Never.
She wasn’t even sure she had a heart to give. With her body? Maybe. That might solve at least one immediate problem. Although it was more than forbidden. Giving over her body to a man could mean certain death.
And likely death to whomever she gave it to.
****
There were days Devon McCrae pondered how his life had ended up as it had. After all, he was just a poor kid who grew up in a rough neighborhood in El Paso. He didn’t really know his father—just what his mother chose to tell him—and he figured what she hadn’t told him he was better off not knowing. He knew there was a jail term because he’d overheard his mother talking to their priest about it on occasion.
At least his mother had insisted upon his religious upbringing. For all the good it did him now. If there was a God, he had surely offended him and then some over the years.
His sins were many. He doubted atonement would come in his lifetime. Or afterlife. If there was such a thing.
He didn’t possess a college education but had earned a degree in hard knocks—not to mention natural street smarts. A few tours in the Middle East running special ops added to his education. Enlisting was the best thing he’d ever done for himself, until the Army turned him to the other side. At least he’d learned how to shoot.
Sniper.
Assassin.
Hired gun.
Bounty hunter.
Whatever you wanted to call him. Whatever he needed to be. Didn’t matter. All the same. A way to make a living. Survive.
This time, however, the tables were turned. Unexpectedly. Edward Sebastian had been the unlikely turner of the events.
As he lay still in the cave, his gaze trained on the entrance, the leaf-filtered morning light creeping in, and the floral scent of Blue’s hair tickling his nostrils—he decided he couldn’t ponder this turn of events any longer.
Block it.
Not a killer now. Protector.
He’d made a deal. A life-altering deal. In the process, he’d likely sealed that deal on his own life. Rather than the hunter now, he was the hunted.
Tables turned.
Maybe my soul has a chance now. Although he doubted that one act of good would erase the years of killing.
Edward Sebastian had gotten to him. Blue had gotten to him.
Tables turned.
Block everything else out. Mission at hand. Get them to Betatakin.
Get her to her safe place. Deliver her. Only then he could ponder the blunders of his own life.
Blue stirred in his arms. She would wake soon. He needed a game plan.

IBOOKS | AMAZON | GOOGLE PLAY | KOBO | BARNES & NOBLE | ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS | SMASHWORDS | PAPERBACK

Read a Preview at AMAZON

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Way I Price My Books

There has been a lot of discussion in writer's groups and among readers lately about book pricing, sales, free books, and the devaluation of an author's work.

Many authors worry about devaluing our work by cutting prices and under-pricing, and feel 99 cent and free books have no place in the marketplace.

I've heard readers say that when they see these low prices and free books, they wonder if the book is priced as such, because we, the author's, think it is an inferior book. One reader shared that she never buys 99 cent or downloads free books, because of that reason.

Others have shared that they get to know an author's habits about deep discounting and simply wait to buy a book until it goes on sale.

So, I'm posting my pricing guidelines, or how I price my books, and why below. Feel free to share your thoughts about pricing in the comments below, if you like.

My Regular Price Points

Short Story/Short Novella - Under 20K words - $0.99
Novellas/Short Novels - 20-50K words - $2.99
Novels - 50-100K words - $3.99 to $4.99
Boxed Sets or Collections - $3.99 - $9.99

Some caveats:
I never price at $1.99. So, a book either has to go $0.99 or $2.99, and if it's in the 15-20K range, I could go either way, depending upon the genre of the story and whether it is part of a series, or not. 

I write a lot of short stories/short novellas, so you'll see a number of $0.99 books on my list. Just remember, these are short stories or short novellas, not full-length books, so the $0.99 price point is a good price for those. It's not a devaluation, it's where I think the price should be according to the length of the story, and the amount of time it took for me to write it. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

A New Look - Legend's Landing Bed & Breakfast Series

Many of you have read the Ladies of Legend books written by Janet Eaves, Jan Scarbrough, Magdalena Scott, and myself. Several months ago when our publishing house closed, we decided we each would control our own books from now on. So, with that in mind, I set out to rebrand my books. Same stories, same titles, new covers (mostly), and a new series name and brand. Welcome to Legend's Landing B&B!


BED, BREAKFAST & YOU, Book 1

Bed and Breakfast owner, Suzie Schul and Chef Brad Matthews

Suzie Schul has it all. A booming business, a wonderful town to live in, and, well, food. Yeah, she loves to cook and she’s the best darned cook in Legend, Tennessee. Everybody says so. She runs her own B&B, has published a cookbook, conducts cooking classes on Saturdays, and caters for special events and holidays. What more could she want, really? Nothing, that she will admit, anyway.

And let's not even think about that brief escape to Gatlinburg several months back when she had separated from her then-husband, Cliff. Or the fact that the man ran off with her little sister while they were, um, estranged. And let's definitely not bring to light that she'd never really revealed to anyone in the small town of Legend what exactly had happened between her and Cliff. Or the fact that while she was off "finding herself" and "losing her husband" at the same time, she sort of, well, had a fling. But never mind about that, because "the fling" is long gone and likely doesn't even know where to find her. Besides, he was trouble.

And just when Suzie thinks all is well, Mr. Trouble rides up to her B&B doorstep on a bad-ass Harley and tosses her perfect little world into some kind of big, bad tumble. READ MORE >>


Monday, April 18, 2016

Today's #MondayMashup with Maddie James

It's a quiet Monday morning in Maddie Land. I hope all is well in your world! Here's your mashup for today, Monday, April 18, 2016. (How in the world is it April 18 already????)

I'm blogging today over at Wild and Wicked Cowboys. Come read more about Jan Scarbrough's latest addition to our Montana Rancher's series.

Did you miss my blog last week at Gems in the Attic? The subject was Softball, Baseball, and The Heartbreaker. Drop by if you get a chance.

I have two titles up for pre-order. (Yes, I've been busy!). For the past six months or so I've been working to complete several unfinished projects.

The Complete Bella Masters Short Story Collection is an anthology of ten erotic short stories that mostly (except for two) were previously published under other pen names of mine. Since I am no longer going the extra pen name route, and am writing everything under the one, Maddie James, pen name, I've collected them together in this new volume. Plus, there are two new, never more published, stories. These stories range from short stories to short novellas - all erotic.

Grab your pre-order now from IBOOKS | BARNES AND NOBLE | KOBO
This collection is also now available in PAPERBACK!
This pre-order is at the regular price of $2.99

The second title available for pre-order is Trust Me. This story was once a novella, published many years ago by a small publishing house. It's now a full-blown novel with the same premise. (The novella has not been available for years, and won't be). Here is the premise.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

A Teaser from WIND RIDGE - #TeaserTuesday

Today's Teaser is from my latest release, Wind Ridge. Bekah McCauley is at the local feed store buying more plants for her garden--the garden that was just torn up by fox hounds ripping through while chasing a coyote. For the second time that day, she has an encounter with the infamous Collin Kramer...

*****
“I don’t need your help, Mr. Kramer.”
“I didn’t say you did. I feel responsible.”
“Don’t you get it? I don’t want your help. I just want you to stay on your own side of the damn fence.”
“Stubborn woman.” The two words whooshed out of his pursed mouth. Collin swiveled toward Butch. “Baker, fix her up with whatever she needs and put it on my bill.” He turned to head for the exit.
Bekah stepped forward. “No. Don’t do it Butch.”
Collin whirled. “Do it.”
“No!” She faced him.
“I’ve already given the order.”
“And you’re so damned used to getting what you want, aren’t you?”
“That’s generally the way it works.” He inched closer.
“Well not this time.”
“Really?” Collin chuckled.
“No.”
“And why is that?”
His tongue swiped across his lower lip and Bekah’s pulse quickened. “Because you’ve never had to deal with me before.”
Butch hooted from behind the counter. Collin glanced to him and then back to Bekah. In one swift motion, he grabbed both of Bekah’s shoulders. As he hauled her body into his, his lips descended, searing down on hers. Hot, steaming, smoldering liquid heat enveloped her mouth.
Well, shit! Bekah tensed up. Her hands shot up between their chests and she pushed with all her might, but his arms were wound too tightly around her. His tongue dipped between her lips. Testing, taunting… She felt like biting it, but her eyes closed involuntarily and she found herself returning the kiss as fervently as he gave it. Hot breath escaping, flesh mingling, lips tasting. Push-pull. A tug-of-war, a battle of wills, each trying to outdo or perhaps dominate the other.
Or prove a point. Butch whooped again from behind the counter.
Collin released her and took a step backward, steadying her. “And you, little lady, have never had to deal with me before.”

Monday, April 04, 2016

Today's #MondayMashup with Maddie James - April 4, 2016

Happy April!

My April newsletter went out this morning. If you aren't on my list, you can sign up here. Many thanks for subscribing!

Remember, my latest release, Wind Ridge, is on sale at 99 cents for the month of April. Be sure to grab it while you can, as this one will not be on sale again this year. You can find Wind Ridge at all ebook retailers and in print.

NOW at IBOOKS | AMAZON | KOBO | ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS | GOOGLE PLAY |  BARNES & NOBLE SMASHWORDS | PAPERBACK

Giveaway! Check out this link for my latest Amazon Kindle ebook giveaway! https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/e748fc2e396bdb03 

Have you read any of the Montana McKenna books yet? Jan Scarbrough's latest in our cowboy sereis is now available for pre-order. You'll want to see what happens next with Liz!


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

10 Reasons Why Blog Comments Matter - #MicroWorkshop 2 #WriterWednesday

Yes! Comments on my Blog!
Do blog comments matter? It might depend upon the perspective, but yes, they definitely benefit your blog. However, I know with my own blogging experience, most visitors to my blog do not comment—but that doesn’t mean they don’t visit or read the post. (Or at least some of the post.) My stats show that the hits to individual posts are generally a lot higher than the number of comments left behind.

But do comments really matter? Besides the argument that regular, fresh content and comments can help the search engines find your blog—let’s talk a bit about why you want to invite comments. And why, if you are a blog visitor, you might want to leave a comment on other author’s blogs.

But first, let’s assume your blog is focused in the writing/author world, and the visitors to your blog are generally from that same world—other writers, bloggers, and hopefully, readers of your books. Making this assumption, we can safely say that your blog plays an important role in networking with other writers and readers—and is an important piece of your marketing plan.

Why you want comments on your blog.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Today's #MondayMashup -- Maddie's Manic Monday

Yes. Just another manic Monday, is right! Today is release day!


Wind Ridge has officially released! You can get your copy now, for only 99 cents -- so grab it while you can. The price goes up to $3.99 end of April.

NOW at IBOOKS | AMAZON | KOBO | ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS | GOOGLE PLAY |  BARNES & NOBLE SMASHWORDS | PAPERBACK


In other news, I've been working on getting all of my books, even the shorter novellas, into print. I just want to be able to provide as many formats as possible, so that readers have choice! Once print is conquered, then back to audiobooks...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

To Blog or Not to Blog - #MicroWorkshop 1

Greetings and welcome to the first installment of my Maddie James' MicroWorkshops. I call them that because seriously, these are teeny, tiny, little workshops wrapped up in a blog post. Basically, I'll be offering a short article about a subject relevant to the writer's world, which can include writing/craft, marketing, publishing, and more. Often they are geared to the beginner, but some may be more advanced. Comments and questions are welcome and encouraged! Topics come generally from questions I've been asked. I will consider requested topics.

So let's get started... The first few topics will be about, eh, guess what? Blogging.

***

MicroWorkshop #1 - To Blog or Not to Blog

OMG! That was my question!
To blog or not to blog, is often the question. Authors are sometimes told, “You must blog.” And so, you set up a blog, and you post, and no one comes. What good is the blog then?

Blogging can be beneficial to authors in many ways. It can help make your website fresh and current. New content triggers new visitors, and new visitors often push your blog/website higher in search engines. It doesn’t happen overnight, so remember that baby blogs have to grow over time—just like your writing career.

Blogging can also keep you in the writing game -- giving you an excuse to keep up the habit of daily writing. Blog posts don't have to be super long. In fact, it's okay if they are super short. Just make them work for you, and write!

But sometimes having your own blog is not the best thing for you. You're not really into it, and it's not your thing. That's okay. Maybe you don’t want to waste words on a blog everyday—you need to be writing that book! In that case, try out a group blog. This is where several authors together “own” a blog, and each author is responsible for one or two posts a month. Keep in mind that with group blogs, you share in the other work, too, like helping design the site, keeping content current, uploading sidebar items, and so forth. It is a group effort, so expect to do your part. Be sure that on the group blog, there are opportunities for everyone to link back to their own websites, so that visitors to this group blog, know where they can find out more information about the blog authors.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

From PARKER - Today's #TeaserTuesday

Series: The Montana Ranchers, Book 4


AMAZON | IBOOKS | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | SMASHWORDS | PAPERBACK

People die, people change, and sometimes both happen and people fall in love.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Just another #MondayMashup with Maddie James

The view from here...


Waking up to a pretty Kentucky sunrise coming to you from Louisville suburbia. The picture doesn't do Mother Nature justice. But it's sun, and not rain, and birds are singing--and I have a full day of work ahead of me.


Friday, March 18, 2016

I'm at Wild & Wicked Cowboys today talking about, what else, cowboys!

Cowboys are Cowboys....

Hi everyone. Maddie James here, coming to you from Kentucky bluegrass horse country! Even though the Kentucky Derby is a couple of months away, we’re all gearing up here for the big horse race…


Source: Cowboys are Cowboys by Maddie James

Monday, March 14, 2016

Today's #MondayMashup - 3-14-2016

The view from here....

Good rainy, Monday morning! Spring has definitely sprung here in Kentucky and that means the monsoon has set in. We've banned the dog from the backyard due to mud, and we actually might try to grow some grass back there this year. Poor thing, she's perched on the back of the sofa in my office staring out the window like a child who can't go out and play. Well, same thing...  See?


Me? I'm here trying to get moving on my day, 2500 future words staring me in the face as soon as this blog post goes up. The Cowboy's Secret Baby is well on its way and I am loving this story! I hope you will too. Finally, Mack and Jillie will get their story told. (Did I mention there will be a snowstorm? Oh wait, I was going to keep that a secret. Anyway....)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Evolution of a Book Cover - #ThrowbackThursday with Maddie James

If you were to ask me to list some of my favorite things, I would easily make the following list:
  • M&Ms
  • New Playdoh
  • New Crayons
  • New Paint
  • New cover art
Hm. Weird list huh? And actually, I have more favorite things--like lasagna and anything made with butter, chocolate and sugar--but the above 5 favorite things all have something very much in common.

They have pretty colors.

I love color. I could also add fabric to the list above but since I no longer sew like I used to, I forgot to add it. It can be a latent addition to the list, although not an insignificant one. But I digress and let's get on with it.

Color. I love the colors of M&Ms, new Playdoh, Crayons and paint. I love them when they are new and fresh, and I'm the first person to crack open the container or box and use them. Squeezing the new dough with my hands is pure heaven. Making that first stroke with a new Crayon nearly makes me giddy. Is it no wonder that one-upon-a-time I was a preschool teacher?

Nevertheless, color attracts me. It's why my bedroom walls are turquoise and my bathroom walls are about to be painted red. Color speaks to me.

And so does cover art. I've designed a bit of cover art over the years and I still do some occasional designs for a few regular clients. I love playing with photos and color. I'm self-taught and have no clue if I do things the conventional way -- I just do it  how it works best for me. It seems to work, so I go with it.

Which leads me to this #ThrowbackThursday theme. I change out my own cover art from time to time. Why? Mostly because I can. Sometimes because I want to see if different art will help boost sales. Sometimes I just get tired of the same art.

With the book Rawhide & Roses, part of it's cover art evolution has to do with the fact that it was first traditionally published. Back then, we had little say in cover art design but I have to say that I was pretty much thrilled with my very first cover. Then, the book published by Kensington was titled, The Wild West (and you see I was writing under another name). 

Later on, when I received the rights back to the book and self-published with additions and revisions, I designed this cover to the right. I liked it and R&R had this cover for several years. Then came Amazon....

And the offer to publish in Germany through their Amazon Crossing program. It had been a while since I'd had a foreign edition of any of my books and I was thrilled with the opportunity. I also loved the cover they designed for R&R. 


After a bit of time, however, I just wanted to change out the cover for the English version. So, I began looking at other cover art designs for westerns. Choices, choices. A kissing couple? Just a cowboy? Does he need a shirt, or not? This is not an erotic book. Is there sex? Yes, but this was "late 90s category romance sex," so not of the super-heat level variety. In the end, for this newest cover, I decided, yes, he needed a shirt and yes, he'd be the only person on the cover. So far, I'm liking the look. 

What do you think? 

What are your 5 favorite things? Comment below to be eligible to win a signed, print copy of Rawhide & Roses!

Rawhide and Roses can be found at these retailers:

Wind Ridge - Now on Pre-order at IBOOKS.

My latest romantic suspense release! Exclusive Pre-order at ‪#‎ibooks‬.
Official release date - March 28, 2016.

Buy Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wind-ridge/id1090681795?mt=11

Rebekah McCauley is back home after ten long years of living and working in New York City. She left the Big Apple under circumstances she’d rather not share with her family—not yet, anyway—and all she really wants is time to heal and recover from the mess she’d made of her life. Luckily, her grandparents’ Kentucky bluegrass farm, Wind Ridge, provides the safe haven she craves, and the solitude she needs to heal.

Collin Kramer, the fox hunter next door, seems determined to infiltrate that peace and quiet, and invade that safe haven—not only with his noisy hounds running amok over her land, but with his Alpha male, take-charge attitude running roughshod over her wounded heart.

But as Bekah softens to Collin’s conquest, he realizes his own toughened heart needs mending. And just when he thinks he has that conquered, as well, all hell breaks loose. Poisoned horses, gutted dogs, and a barn fire are only the beginning. When Bekah’s farmhouse burns to the ground too, they know someone means business. But who? And whose past, Bekah’s or Collin’s, has come back to haunt them?

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

It's #TeaserTuesday with Maddie James - CORPORATE COWBOY

From Corporate Cowboy, Chapter One. Emma Lavender's first week at work at her new job in Billings, Montana doesn't turn out quite as expected.

***

I always appreciate a good workout, and today is no exception.


Coming at the end of a grueling day, a hard and fast run on the treadmill is normally a godsend. My brain blank, my concentration targeted on one thing—watching the numbers roll by on the console. Heart rate. Calories burned. Miles ran.

Crappy day forgotten.

But I struggle to get through it, blowing out a breath, and hitting the button to lower the incline and speed. Time to cool down.

“Quitting already?”

Candy, my new friend from accounting, huffs out the words while she runs on the treadmill beside me. “Yeah. I’m beat. Cooling down.”

Out of shape.

My last semester of college was the culprit. Cramming. Finals. Too much junk food. No exercise. Yeah, Emma Sanders Lavender had a summer full of parties and lazy afternoons on the beach—that effectively slowed down my metabolism. Why am I surprised my clothes don’t fit this fall?
And why don’t I have the metabolism of a sixteen-year-old any longer?

Lord knows I can’t afford a new wardrobe. Thank God, the new job comes with some perks—like this gym.

Walking for a little while, my heart rate finally slows.

I hit the stop button and pull my towel off the handle, then jump off the belt to grab a bottle of spray disinfectant. Giving the console a good squirt, I wipe it and the handles down, and then turn to Candy. “I’ll meet you in the locker room.” We are going for drinks and appetizers somewhere.

I’m ready for a hot shower.

She nods, still running, and blowing out her cheeks.

I hang up the disinfectant, snatch my water, and toss the towel into a nearby hamper. As I head for the locker room, I pull another clean towel from the shelf, simultaneously dropping my water bottle on the floor.

It spews water in a small arc. “Jiminy Crickets,” I mutter.

Quickly, I swipe the towel over my sweaty face, shoulders and arms, and then reach for the bottle on the floor, intending to clean up the spill with my towel.

My fingers collide with someone else’s.

“Oh.”

Rising without the bottle, my gaze travels up the tall length of a man. His hair is ink-jet black and his complexion tan. This is a man who either works out a lot or works at a job that is purely physical. What captures me most, however, are his eyes—the color of coal, deep-set and fathomless—and they stare back at me with intent.

Intent for what, I’m not certain. His presence sucks the breath right out of me. I gasp and stagger a little.

My God, he is gorgeous. Fabulously striking. And dangerously sexy.

He is dressed for a workout but isn’t sweaty. His T-shirt is dry, his hair un-mussed. I kind of wish he was sweaty. Sweat reminds me of sex, and he reminds me of sex, and sex is something I’ve not partaken in of late.

“Your bottle.”

“Oh.” Right.

He thrusts it toward me, his stare pinned to my face, his voice deep and a little gravelly. I am easily drawn to him. My gaze drops to his hand—big, long fingers, a dusting of dark hair on the backs of his knuckles—and I take the bottle.

“Yes, thank you.” The intensity of his heat is palpable. I look up.

“My pleasure,” he says. No smile. No expression. Matter-of-fact. Then, as if forcing himself, he turns and walks away.

Pleasure. All mine.

I stand there, watching, mesmerized by the way his body moves across the floor. Shoulders back. Determined. Purposeful. He is fit, tight, and obviously strong, if the biceps peeking out from under his T-shirt sleeves are any indication. His ass is high and taut, a pleasurable sight to be sure. His broad shoulders triangle down to a narrow waist above that fine well-toned gluteus maximus.

Clearly, he is a regular.

The man steps up to an elliptical and positions his feet.

I find myself unable to tear my gaze away and then even more so, as he looks into the mirror in front of his machine and takes my eyes hostage again.

Crickets. My heart rate kicks back up from out of nowhere. I glance off.

“Welcome to hell,” Candy said, stepping up beside me.

“What?” I look at her.

“I said, ‘Welcome to hell.’”

“Hell?”

She nods. “Yeah. He’s pretty. That’s for sure. Dark, sexy, and dangerous. You’ll want him. We all do. But none of us will ever have him. He’s off limits. And that sure is hell.”

I slowly swivel my gaze back to Mr. Dark, Sexy & Dangerous. “Off limits?”

Candy chuckles and hooks her arm in mine, dragging me toward the hall and the locker room. “Yep. And you’re toast if you go anywhere near him. Braver women than you have tried and didn’t live to see the break of dawn.” She giggled. “In other words, they disappear by Monday morning, never to be heard from again.”

“Disappear? Oh my.” I stop outside the exercise room. “But I don’t get it.”

Candy grins. “You will. You just met Gage Parker. The owner of WestInn Enterprises. The guy signs your paycheck.”

Corporate Cowboy is available at the following retailers:

Monday, February 29, 2016

It's Monday! And here's my #MondayMashup for 2-29-2016

It's Leap Day! How nice waking up to know we have an extra day this year. I wonder what all I can get accomplished? Hm. Remains to be seen. I just know that my to-do list is mighty long, so I'm grateful for the day. How about you? What are your plans for this beautiful last day of February?

Here's my #MondayMashup for today!

Re-released! As you may know, I've retired my Bella Masters pen name. I guess I'm getting too old to juggle two of everything as an author. Either that, or I've just realized that one pen name is better than two, and to heck with those who think you can't write both sweet and erotic under the same name. Phooey. I'm just being me from now on!

But I digress. I'm slowly re-releasing Bella's titles as Maddie James. Sometimes I'm packaging them differently, such as in a collection. Bella wrote a lot of short stories, so that makes sense to me. The latest release, however, is pretty much intact as it was, although I've added a teaser at the end for yet-to-be published short story that will be included in an upcoming anthology.

Previously titled Switched, I've now re-released this one as Cuffed, Again by Maddie James. Here are the details.

The Chief Financial Officer of the non-profit Cerise Thacker runs has been cooking her books. The DA fears the CFO’s deep family roots will come after her, particularly after the CFO states he will “effing see to her death.” So she’s whisked away in a Yellow Cab into a short term police protection program to keep her safe.

The cabbie? Isaac Walker, undercover cop. For the duration, Isaac will be her protector, even though she doesn’t want protection.

But Cerise and Isaac are not strangers. They’d shared a role play Fem Domme/sub encounter a year earlier–neither of them revealing who they really were. Now they are thrust together in a situation of extreme danger, passion, and trust, where Isaac must remain in control of the situation at all costs, even though he so very much wants to give it up to Cerise. And Cerise must do everything that Isaac says to the letter, even if she doesn’t want to. That is, if they want to get out of this thing alive.


New in Paperback! Two new titles are now available in paperback! Both books are #FREE in ebook formats. Get your print copies at these links:




Did you know I am also blogging at....

Gems in the Attic. Today is the very first blog post for a new blog from some of my oldest author friends. In the late 90s I published my first book with Kensington for their Precious Gems line of books. See where the authors are today and how we've come together to share our news on this new blog. Be sure to subscribe to keep in touch! Here's the direct link: http://gemsintheattic.blogspot.com/  I'll be blogging there on the 2nd Monday of each month. Come see me!

Wild and Wicked Cowboys. I also blog here on the 18th of each month. I'd love it if you stop in when you can. And be sure to visit the other authors post there too! Here's the direct link to my recent posts. https://wildandwickedcowboys.wordpress.com/author/surrenderpublishing/

Until next Monday. Toodles! ~ Maddie