Monday, April 30, 2012

Guest Blogger: Babette James

Today my guest is Babette James.  Talking about her new release: Clear As Day

Welcome Babette.

Tell us a little about yourself:

Thanks, Marie, for letting me visit here today.

I write contemporary and fantasy romance, and I’ve always loved writing and making up stories, beginning back when I used to act out epic fantasy tales with my dolls. (My Barbies had swords and knew how to use them.) I even have a degree in Literature, but it wasn’t until 2004 that I wrote my first full rough draft of romance novel and began gathering up my nerve to pursue publication. I fell in love with writing romance and have focused on that ever since. Clear As Day is my debut novel and began its life as a short story I wrote back in college. It’s been a story of my heart in many ways, so seeing this story bloom and come to life as a full-length published novel truly has been a dream come true. Receiving the 4 1/2 star scorcher review from Romantic Times and being able to hold my book in my hands have been truly thrilling moments.  I’m also a teacher, and I enjoy encouraging young readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. My class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! When not writing, teaching or reading, I dabble with bread baking and painting, and try to keep up on weeding the garden beds. I live in New Jersey with my wonderfully patient husband and our three extremely spoiled cats.

What do like the most and the least about writing?

I love writing the first draft, I enjoy the surprises of storytelling. The first draft is all happiness, seeing that word count grow, finding favorite passages, fun lines.  I enjoy seeing a story grow out of a little idea, plots twist and turn, expand and shift, how one story can spawn into a series, and how the characters grow and reveal their lives and find their happily ever after. I love seeing characters emerge and reveal their stories. Creating characters is like making new friends and rediscovering old friends—always full of surprises. I’m a pantser, so it also can be frustrating as they send the story off on in a dozen unexpected directions. The most angst is definitely in the editing stages. All that lovely word count, those brilliant passages ( lol ), and fun lines now must be corrected, gutted, rearranged, whittled down, tightened up, fluffed, and polished. It seems endless and it’s easy to lose sight of progress when focused at the word and sentence level.

Give us a peek into your latest published work:

 Clear As Day, is a spicy contemporary romance about two friends with benefits facing the fears and uncertainties of their changing relationship and is set against the background of the summer heat and cool waters of Lake Mohave. I hope you enjoy Nate and Kay’s journey as much as I have.

What’s a girl to do when her summer lover wants forever?

Haunted by dark memories of her parents’ volatile marriage, artist Kay Browning keeps her heart locked behind a free-spirit facade and contents herself with the comfortable affair she has every summer with easygoing photographer Nate Quinn.

The only trouble with her plan? This summer Nate’s come to Lake Mohave to claim the lover he can’t let go. He’s done with the endless traveling and settling for temporary homes and temporary loves. Kay’s always been more than just a vacation fling, and now he must convince this woman, who sees love as a course to certain heartbreak, to take that leap of faith and learn how safe love with the right man can be.

What’s next on the writing horizon for you?

I’m currently working hard to finish and submit the next story, currently called Love Burns, featuring two of Nate and Kay’s friends. This story takes off right from where Clear As Day ends. I love this couple’s chemistry, and I’ve enjoyed seeing their story come to life as they work through their personal trials and find their own happily ever after together. I also have a fantasy series that’s simmering on the back burner while I focus on these contemporary stories. Thank  goodness for coffee!

Is there anything you want to tell readers?

Never give up on your dreams. Clear As Day started life years ago as that “story under the bed you love but can’t do anything with.” There were many times I felt like giving up, but I kept on writing new stories. Then, the day came I finally knew what to do with Clear As Day and how to really write Nate and Kay’s story. Because I didn’t give up, now I can share this story I love.

Excerpt of Clear As Day:

If anything could beat waking to the sight of Kay’s beautiful face and breasts, at that moment Nate didn’t care.

She blushed and brushed a curl back from his forehead. “Hi there, sleepyhead.”

“Sorry I crashed on you.” He swept his gaze over her, enjoying how she flushed even deeper and her nipples tightened. Kay was a delicious mix of bashful and bold. “I’ve been seriously jet-lagged and road-lagged for days. Any phone calls or messages while I was out?” Guessing by the shifted shadows, he’d been out cold for a couple of hours. Not the most romantic move, but he felt rested.

His lame joke nudged a smile out of her. “Not a one.”

“One of the sincere advantages of no phone service.”

“You’re a nut, you know?” She leaned over and hesitantly kissed him. “I know I said it before, but I’m glad you’re here.” Kay was always soft-spoken, but the vulnerable note in her voice this time seized his heart hard.

With the I love you he wanted to say straining at his throat, Nate tugged Kay down into his arms and drifted his fingers over her spine. He had to do something about the tension gripping her. She’d stayed with him while he slept. That was a change, a very good one, but he still needed to soothe and distract her before she slipped away and disappeared into her thinking, planning, and painting. He let his hand circle in an easy, undemanding caress.

Why not say it? Doubts? No, no doubts at all. He felt it, he meant it, he’d even typed it into e-mails, but why keep swallowing his I love you now?

“So, you missed me?”

Her elusive grin flashed. “Well, it’s nice having someone else clean the fish for a change.” Soft giggles escaped her, and her tension released under his hand.

“Ah hah! An ulterior motive all along. Here I just thought you wanted my body.” He chuckled and tickled her side, and dove in for the sneak assault of kisses on her sensitive ears.

Want me for more.

Stifling her giggles, she caught his hand to her side. “Hmm…it is such a lovely body. I’m very fond of it.” She made a playful show of ogling him head to toe, her glowing smile making his formerly sated body wake right up and his heart crack with joy. He stroked his thumb over the lush handful of her breast, teasing the pert nipple, smiling at her catch of breath. “I may have mentioned I had some fantasies…” He tugged her over to straddle him and stroked his hands over the soft curves of her bottom.

“Anything in particular?” She leaned forward with her hair spilling over her shoulders, her breasts playing hide and seek behind the silky locks, and she teased her body over his rapidly hardening shaft.
Her eyes filled with laughter, and the sweet curve to her mouth was pure feminine mystery.
He sucked in his breath and arched under her. “Anything you want, babe.” 

You can find Babette:



Facebook Page:


Book Trailer:

The Wild Rose Press– Paperback & eBook – Paperback & Kindle

Barnes & Noble – Nook

Come fall in love at the river.

Thanks for being my guest today.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Romance Readers

Sorry, I missed posting last week.

I found some statistics about Romance Readers and thought I'd share. The full report of the statistics can be read by clicking here.
  •         Women make up 91% of the romance book buyers, men make up 9%

 That's not really surprising to me, more women than men read romance.  But it is nice to know that men are buying the books.
  •      The U.S. romance book buyer is most likely to be aged between 30 and 54 years

I wonder what age is prevalent in other countries.  But the key words I saw was "most likely". 

  •          Mean age for print romance book buyer: 49
  •          Mean age for e-book romance buyer: 42

Not that big of difference, which I must say surprised me.  Usually the younger generation is more comfortable with technology and uses it more often.  This tells me that e-readers on the market are getting easier to use, which is great.

  •          Top overall decision factors in buying a romance:

o   The story
o   The author
o   It's part of a series
o   Back cover copy

These were all very interesting to me both as a author and as a reader.  It shows that story really does matter.  Readers want a really good story and while an author's name or being part of a series still sells the book, story is the most important.

  •          1/3 or romance book buyers (31%) surveyed currently read e-books, while 69% do not
  •          Of those e-book readers, 9 out of 10 are actually using an e-reading device to read romance e-books in particular.

 What this didn't tell me is how many readers actually read both print and e-books.  I'm really interested in that statistic.  Because I hear from readers, they actually like both.

  •          E-books vs Print in Romance subgenres

o   Romantic suspense e-book 54% print 58%
o   Contemporary e-book 48% print 50%
o   Historical e-book 44%  print 44%
o   Erotic romance e-book 32% print 15%
o   Paranormal e-book 30% print 21%
o   Young adult e-book 19% print 15%
o   Christian e-book 13% print 19%

In most cases, the e-book is very close to the print percentage, there are some exceptions.  Mainly with erotic romance and paranormal, the break down give a good showing of what is selling and what isn't.

·         E-book pricing, this assumed there is a print mass market available for $9 and a digital copy of the same book; and a second assumption is where only the e-book is available.  This is how readers determined how much they would pay:

$9 paperback is available
Only e-book available
E-book too expensive
E-book high priced but still reasonable


E-book fairest price
E-book floor price (would question quality)



This was very interesting to me and it helps me understand the readers issues with the e-book being priced higher than a print book.  The one question that no one asked is how the readers feel about a $9 mass market paperback.  Most today don't go much over $7.99 so would a reader really buy a $9 book?

     ·         Activities that do or do not interest the romance buyer, here are the top, already done answers:
o   Visited author website 41%
o   Saw a promotional book trailer or bought the full book 18%
o   Read an author blog 16%
o   Followed an author on Facebook 13%
o   Gone to a live author event 12%

The rest of the answers were all below this, they include entering an online contest, watching a YouTube video, following the author on Twitter and some others.

This was interesting to me because it does show that readers go to authors websites.  While social media still play a roll (blogs, facebook, twitter) it's not a big as some have believed it is.

Next week I'll start talking about the self-publishing craze.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Back to the Writers Journey

I know the last few blog post haven't been up to my normal standard, today I'm getting back into talking about the writers journey.

Since I was first offered a contract in August 2009, things seems to have moved at lightening speed.  My first book was released in Jan 2010, then the next two books in Feb. 2011 and June 2011, now my latest release was out in March 2012.

Since the first book release I've learned a lot.  Dealing with social networking (facebook and twitter), promotion material, doing promotional mailings, setting up a mailing list, a newsletter list, making sure my website is updated, blogging not only my blog but a group blog as well, and probably several other things I'm not thinking of right now.  Oh, and writing the new books.

It's been quite a balancing act, because I work a full time job outside of writing my books, my writing happens at night and on weekends.  Of course, there's family to deal with, the housework, laundry, grocery shopping, extended family, and more and more. 

I'm usually pretty organized but in the last few months I haven't been as organized as I usually am.  I had to sit down and figure out what.  Mainly because this year has been a different year for me, let me explain.  I made the decision in January that I would leave the day job at the end of April.

This is a life changing event, while I will still have an income, it will not be what it was, but this means I will be able to write full time which is something I've always wanted to do.  Along with leaving the day job, it also means changing where I live.

So I will also be moving to a new home this year and because of my mom's health, she will be living with me.  This takes me in a totally new direction because I will be cleaning out her home so she can sell it and moving her in with me.

This will take place over several months.  The fun thing is in my new home I will have a home office.  It won't be the guest bedroom anymore but an actual office.  I can't wait.  I'm working on training myself now that when I sit down at the computer that means work, not play. 

I'd like to know any organization tips or moving tips that you may have?  I'm going to need all the help I can get.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Time is Flying

Time is flying.  I have have no idea of where the first four months of the year went.

I have been busy, His for the Weekend was released, I've been working on another story for The Wild Rose Press, and I've written two short stories for a soon to be released anthology (More later).

Along with writing, I've been winding down the day job.  I'm lucky enough to be able to retire at the end of April, so I can write full time.  With retiring from the day job also comes some life changes.  I will be moving to a new state, cleaning out one house to move to a new home. 

The move will be nice as I will have a ranch style house rather than one with stairs.  I will be closer to family and I will have an actual office, not an office/spare bedroom.

I'm a little nervous about it all, but the changes are good.

Have a great week.