Monday Mayhem – Fresh Starts

I’m still working on finishing the draft of Easy Bake Lovin’ (Play Dates #2), but with the start of the Build a Book 365 day challenge I gave myself permission to play with one of the Silver Fox ideas I have rattling around in my head.

Meet Leonardo Sbaraglia. He doesn’t know it, but he’s currently serving as my hero inspiration. I promise, I will try to do him right. Ahem. I mean do right by him.

Finding photographs of heroes and heroines who fit the images in my head is not always easy, but I knew the minute I saw him, he was my man. More specifically, the man to model my hero, Dominic Mann on.

I’ll be sharing pictures of people who remind me of my characters as the year progresses. We have a lot of books coming in 2017-2018. I hope you’re ready to meet them all!

How about you? Do you picture famous people portraying the heroes and heroines as you read? Care to share some thoughts?

News and notes:

In case you missed it, LOVE & ROCKETS received another fabulous 5 star review! This one from Epilogue Book Blog. Check it out!

Also, GOING DEEP (Coastal Heat #1) and A WILL AND A WAY (Worth the Wait Romance) are both on sale for $0.99! Tell your friends!

Snowed in? Give LONG DISTANCE LOVE a shot. You won’t regret getting to know Jack and Ellie better!

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – My stories, at the core

Last week, I asked what you expect when you open one of my books. Your responses were so moving. Thank you. You let me know that I am indeed already hitting some of the key points in what I want to write.

I spent a lot of time in 2016 examining my work, and trying to identify the elements I think are essential to what I wanted to say – what’s known as a writer’s core story.

(This may freak those of you who know me out, but I’m posting a picture of fruit:)

Trying to suss out one’s core story it a little like nibbling at an apple (or so I hear). I started with reviewing some of my books and works in progress as a whole, then began to examine certain elements in small bites. When I got down to the center, I had a better handle on the parts that were so important to me that they re-appear in novel after novel.

Here’s what I think my core story is:

Heroines: Powerful, independent, unapologetically sex positive, and feminist. Their journeys mostly involve examining, adjusting, and reestablishing their expectations of life and love.

Heroes: Confident and strong, but not the stereotypical Alpha male. They appreciate complex women and are up to the challenge.

My emphasis is almost always on character growth and reinvestment in themselves. In my books, women are not always relationship seekers and men do not necessarily flee from commitment.

Humor will always be an important part of my writing. I require moments of it in all forms of entertainment – even the most gut-wrenching dramas. To swipe a quote from Steel Magnolias, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” It’s true. If I can move a reader to one or both-or even at the same time-I consider it a win.

So how did my vision match up with your expectations?

Well, we got the humor bit down. A couple of you mentioned tears, strong heroines, and guys who are up for meeting their match, so I must be doing some things right.

This is the interesting thing about being a writer. The themes we tackle in our work grow and evolve as we do. If you’d asked me in 2011 if I considered myself a feminist, I may have hemmed and hawed a bit, shying away from the label. Now, I wear it proudly. Sex-positive? I never really thought much about how we view and judge female sexuality. The norms and constraints simply were what they were. Yeah, um, no.

But we’ll talk more about those topics in another post.

My point is, life is all about evolution. Conscious or subconscious, I’ve been seeing some shifts in my own work over the last year or two. Thanks so much for your replies last week. Your feedback is vital to me. After all, I’m telling these stories in hopes that you will connect with them.

As we type, I’m working on a few different things. I have sent the first book in the upcoming Play Dates series to the fabulous Julie Evelyn Joyce for critique. I’m inching my way toward the end of the draft on book #2 and hope to have it done by the end of the month.

Just for fun, I’m participating in a 1 page per day challenge for 2017, and for that I’m playing with something entirely different. There are a bunch of current and aspiring authors participating. It’s not too late to join in. There’s also a super secret Facebook group where we babble about what we’re doing. If you want to participate, tag me. 🙂

So now you know what I think I should be writing. This time I’ll ask a different question: How do you think I’m measuring up? Are there areas where you (as a reader) think I’m falling short? Maybe one or two where I hit it out of the park?

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Monday Mayhem – The heart of the matter

Welcome 2017! I’m making an effort to start the new year off with positivity. So far, it’s been pretty easy since I’ve been in my favorite place (home), with my favorite person (Fodder), doing my favorite things (a little writing, a little reading, making some chicken salad, taking a nap). I’m really good at napping. And, as my new author shots prove, hanging off lamp posts:

2017 marks my fifth year of blogging. Yep. If you check the sidebar, you will see that I type the truth. The archive dates back to January 2012.

It’s pretty much been five years of my checking in once a week or so and babbling at you. Well, I plan to continue to do so, but I do think I’m going to make a couple of minor tweaks. I still plan to let you know what I’ve been up to over the course of the week, share writing news, and dish out a little personal TMI, but I want to try to make my posts more topical.

2016 was a year of upheaval for me and for many people I know. Like many, I turned inward. I spent a good deal more time in introspection, trying to sort out what’s important to me, and how I plan to proceed in the midst of the social-political chaos that’s swirls around us now.

In the coming months, you’ll probably hear more from me on more serious topics than those we’ve discussed before. These are the bits of me that have been stealthily weaving their threads into my stories without me really realizing it.

I’ve stopped telling people that I write contemporary romance with a lot of kissing and stuff. Of course, I do, but that’s not what I think is at the heart of my stories anymore. You’ll probably be hearing a lot from me about my ‘core story’ in the coming months. By core story, I mean the common themes that you, as a reader, can expect to find in any Margaret Ethridge/Maggie Wells novel.

 

But before I start telling you what I think they are, I’d be curious to know what your expectations are when you open one of my books. I’m not looking for flattery (though I am open to it), just your initial reaction/expectation when you hear that I have a new book available.

I look forward hearing what you have to say, as well as sharing my thoughts with you, but for now, I hope that your 2016 at least had a happy ending, and here’s to a passel more happily ever after in 2017 and beyond!

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Monday Mayhem – First Christmas

I confess, I am writing this post way early. You see, this past weekend was my first Christmas of the season. As I type this, I’m plotting and planning for the 9 hour ride to see my family. Chaos will ensue on Saturday, then we drive back Sunday. I figure I probably won’t have the energy to post when I get home, so here I am, writing like it’s Monday on a Thursday night.

How’s your December going?

Mine has been incredibly busy. Major changes at the day job this month and next month will keep me hopping. I’m also doing the behind the scenes stuff for the Play Dates series starting next fall, and one day hope to actually finish the book I started writing in November.

Oh! And I re-released Long Distance Love! Look at this gorgeous cover. If you haven’t read Jack and Ellie’s story, you need to. Grab your copy today!

Amazon ~ Apple~ B&N ~ Smashwords

Other bright spots this week included some quality time with a dog and her chicken:

And my friend, Kendra, gave me a Tribble!

Okay, it’s just one of those puffy keychains, but I like to think it’s a Tribble. What’s bright and shiny in your world this week?

 

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Monday Mayhem – A positively Gilmorian giveaway

Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I’ll LOVE & ROCKETS ya, tomorrow! It’s only a day away!

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Can’t wait for you to get to know Darla and Jake better!

In the meantime, I am still toiling away at the NaNoWriMo goals. I’m up to date and should finish on time. I have to admit, it’s been hard this year. The day job is super busy. As you know, there’s some birthday-ing going on around here (Fodder’s is tomorrow! Tomorrow! I’ll Love & Rockets him tomorrow!), there’s Thanksgiving on Thursday, and the year’s most anticipated event on Friday.

No, I’m not talking about Black Friday.

No, not even thinking about the (so-called) Battleline Rivalry game between Arkansas and Mizzou.

I’m talking Gilmore, and you know I am talking fast.

That’s right, this Friday, my pal Lulu and I will be snuggled in on my sofa with a smorgasbord of junk food, ready to live a year in the life with our beloved friends from Stars Hollow.

I CANNOT WAIT!

To celebrate, I’ll offer a little prize. Comment on this post with your favorite line from Gilmore Girls (any episode, any season, any character) and I’ll draw one name for a signed copy of LOVE & ROCKETS.

Did I mention that Darla is a spunky single mom of a brainy teenaged daughter? No? Yeah, well, you know how it is….

Now go forth and comment! I’ll pick a winner Friday, November 25th!

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Monday Mayhem – News edition

So, I’ve been sitting on this for a couple months:

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Official Announcement
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Unofficial-but-fun newspaper headline

That’s right! NaNoWriMo is about to start and I’m heading back into the cave to start work on book #2 in this series!

So if I don’t see you… Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll be back next Monday with an update!

Have a great week!

And Happy Halloween from my tiny-face pumpkin, Pumpito!

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Monday Mayhem – Sprinting

It’s going to be a bust week!

First off…did you see this?

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Pretty, huh? Mark your calendars for April 4, 2017 or pre-order now at your favorite e-tailer!

Secondly, FLIP THIS LOVE is on sale for $.99 this month!

Nothing draws a magnate like a steel magnolia...

Third – I’m giving away this adorable journal to one of my newsletter subscribers. If you aren’t on my list, enter your email address in the space on the sidebar >>>>>

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FOURTH!!! I’m sprinting to hit deadlines this week. I’m polishing up RANSOMED HEART (Silver Foxes #2, 2018) and scrambling to complete a novella for submission. Wish me luck!

And fifth – If I’m not downing a fifth of something boozy by the end of the week, it’ll be a miracle.

How about you? What’s happening in your corner of the world?

 

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Cover reveal!

It struck like A BOLT FROM THE BLUE! Here’s your first peek at the awesome cover art for my next Worth the Wait Romance coming in April 2017!

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True love, like lightning, never strikes twice—or does it?

As a free-spirited young woman, Hope Elliot was desperate to escape her snobbish high society family. So she ran off to Paris, where she lived for twenty-five years. Now widowed, she’s come home to settle her family’s massive lakefront estate. But before she can put her mother’s house on the market, it needs a major renovation. Enter master electrician Mick McInnes, a traditional guy who’s about to turn her life upside down . . .

Aside from the fact that Mick is hopelessly attracted to his latest client, Hope represents everything he doesn’t want in a woman. She’s ridiculously rich and adventurous, yet she doesn’t seem to know much about the real world. Besides, his policy is to never get involved with clients. But he can’t seem to resist the Chicago heiress’s sizzling advances—and soon enough finds himself in her bed, feeling like a teenager once again. And like teenagers, the two of them will just have to convince their families that opposites can not only attract, but they can also make the perfect match . . .

A Bolt From the Blue – April 4, 2017, Kensington/Lyrical Press

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Monday Mayhem – Fielding curveballs

So yeah, busy, busy week!

Received first round edits on A BOLT FROM THE BLUE from editor and she LOVED it! Yay! Always such a relief. Particularly this time, because I had to turn this story around so quickly. The only other person who has seen it is Jewels, and we all know she’ll say anything for a PayDay bar.

As with every manuscript, I had one word in particular I abused until my intrepid editor screamed for mercy. This time, I was enamored with the word ‘it’. We won’t talk about how times I had to rework it.

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The back cover copy isn’t officially official, and there’s no cover art yet, but here is a sneak peek at what they’ve cooked up so far:

True love, like lightning, never strikes twice—or does it? 

As a free-spirited young woman, Hope Elliot was desperate to escape her snobbish high society family. So she ran off to Paris, where she lived for twenty-five years. Now widowed, she’s come home to settle her family’s massive lakefront estate. But before she can put her mother’s house on the market, it needs a major renovation. Enter master electrician Mick McInnes, a traditional guy who’s about to turn her life upside down . . .

Aside from the fact that Mick is hopelessly attracted to his latest client, Hope represents everything he doesn’t want in a woman. She’s ridiculously rich and adventurous, yet she doesn’t seem to know much about the real world. Besides, his policy is to never get involved with clients. But he can’t seem to resist the Chicago heiress’s sizzling advances—and soon enough finds himself in her bed, feeling like a teenager once again. And like teenagers, the two of them will just have to convince their families that opposites can not only attract, but they can also make the perfect match . . .

Then Wednesday, the big news about my new deal with Sourcebooks broke in Publisher’s Marketplace:

Sourcebooks

Whoo hoo! Danny and Kate will be coming to you digitally and in mass market paperback next fall! Just in time for college football season!

While I was celebrating the announcement, I couldn’t help thinking about how happy my mom would have been to hear that some of my books will be shelved in brick and mortar stores. Thursday marked six months since her passing, and while I try not to dwell on sadness, I’m all too aware that I am still grieving.

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It has been quite a year. More downs than ups. It seems that all year long my family and friends have been dealing with hefty doses of sadness, topped with mountains of worry. But through it all, we laugh and tease and do what we can to lighten the load a bit. There are days, and then there are days, you know? But, as Mom would have reminded us, this too shall pass. On her repeated instruction, I’m trying very hard not to let my little heart grow weary.

Throughout the week, I’ve watched the Olympics. While I’m not crazy about NBC’s coverage, I never tire of hearing the athletes’ stories. I have also been working on a magazine article and a short story I hope to submit for an anthology. It’s a bit of a cat and mouse caper, and I hope it plays out well.

This week, I clean house because company is coming! Be on the lookout for photos of our antics next Monday!

What’s on your agenda this week?

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Monday Mayhem – It’s official!

Did you see it on Facebook? A BOLT FROM THE BLUE is signed, sealed, and slated for April 4, 2017 release! Whoo hoo! Here’s a rough and tumble take on how this book will shake out:

Hope Elliot hadn’t believed in the existence of love at first sight when it struck her on a Paris street a quarter century before, so she sure as hell didn’t think it was possible for lightning to strike twice. And she certainly didn’t expect it to fry all the wiring in her childhood home when it did.

Michael (Mick) McInnes is a Chicago guy through and through. He loves the Bulls and the Bears, but he’s not a fan of suburban snobs who speak with fake accents.

From the moment Mick first touches her, Hope knows the sizzle between the two of them is more than just a current attraction. But the more they expose one another, the impulse to draw blood wanes and the desire surges. Sparks fly as their verbal sparring becomes more intimate. Feeling constrained by the constant scrutiny from her sister and her friends, Hope taps into the rebellious streak that led her to Paris long ago. But this time, her attempt at living la vie boheme lands one masterful Master Electrician in her bed.

I’m super excited to be able to share this third installment in my Worth The Wait Romance series from Kensington/Lyrical Press!

That means you should rush right out and read/review the first two in the series:

three-little-words_maggie-wells-683x1024  A WILL AND A WAY

Okay, you don’t really have to, because they aren’t interwoven, but don’t you want to?

Frankly, I need your help spreading the word about my books and the best way you can give me a hand is to review at your favorite online retailer or GoodReads. The best vehicle for selling books is word of mouth, and your opinions matter in a HUGE way.

It doesn’t have to be a NYT-worth write up. Just an honest review. A few words saying what you liked/didn’t like about the book. That’s it. Every review helps increase my DISCOVERABILITY. And, trust me, I need a big boost.

And I ain’t too proud to beg.

Please, please, please!

I promise to make it easy for you to keep up with the latest Maggie Wells book news. Have you joined my Facebook Reader Group, The Margaritas? Followed my author pages on BookBub or Amazon? Please do! Every click is much appreciated!

Okay. Enough of that.

Thank you.

I’m going back to writing this week. Time to wrap up the next manuscript – the first installment in a series about hot single dads. Stay tuned, my friends!

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