Southern Sin: Maya's Blog

News about the Surrender Trilogy for my UK and Australian readers!

Hi Guys,

I’ve been SWAMPED with questions from my UK and Australian readers about WHY they haven’t been able to buy and read LETTING GO yet since it released here in the U.S.

My agent sold World English rights to the trilogy just a VERY short time before the February  4th release date here in the U.S. So my UK publisher put it in high gear to get the manuscript through production, covers created etc so that they could publish the first book, LETTING GO, as soon as humanly possible.

The UK/Australian release date for LETTING GO is April 15th. HOWEVER, the second and third books, GIVING IN and TAKING IT ALL, will release in the UK/Australia on the SAME day as they release in the U.S.

The silver lining? Though it sucks to have to wait on that first book, when you ARE able to download it you’ll only have a couple of WEEKS until GIVING IN releases so you’ll have virtually NO wait time woot!

At any rate, the PREORDER links are UP in the UK and Australia! My publisher has assured me that all the preorder links for all the territories they distribute will be up SOON if they aren’t already.

AND be on the lookout next week for the UK cover reveals for the Surrender Trilogy :) My publisher (Headline UK) will be posting one cover a day starting on Monday, ending on Wednesday and of course I’ll be posting them on MY Facebook and website as well.

xoxo

Maya

 

E-Book Giveaway Winners!

I’m happy to announce the winners of my E-Book Giveaway. You will all be receiving emails shortly about claiming your free e-book!

And here are the names of the winners:
Cora Fulton
Becky Schwalm
Pam Sherman
Debbie Carter
Shannon Harris
Jean Galloway
 

Reviews and such

I’ll preface this entire post with the fact that NONE of what I will be discussing in ANY way pertains to ME or MY writing or reviews done of my writing. It wouldn’t be possible at any rate, because while it may seem odd or unbelievable, I don’t read reviews of my books, good or bad. I don’t have a Google alert because I’ve always (and always will) said an author doesn’t NEED to know every single thing said about them on the web. You KNOWING what is said or inferred or whatever doesn’t change that it was SAID. So why give others the power to hurt you, make you feel bad or pick your poison (or emotion)

But I’m digressing *g* (nothing new about THAT)

But since I did bring it up, I’ll at least explain WHY I don’t read reviews of my own books. I firmly believe, and many would disagree, but others WOULD agree, that reviews are NOT for authors. Say it with me. Reviews are for READERS. Reviewers owe authors nothing. They’re shelling out their hard earned money for a book so regardless of whether they like it or not, they’ve earned the right to say or not say whatever they want about a book.

Which is why I hold firm in my position that reviews aren’t for authors. It isn’t a reviewers job to make an author feel validated or make them feel all warm and glowy over their books.

So you might ask yourself why I don’t read POSITIVE reviews. Well for one, how would I KNOW if a review was positive unless I was LOOKING for them or actively searching them out? Secondly, positive, glowing reviews can be as distracting as negative ones. Don’t scratch your head. Think about it for a minute. You get a review saying you are the best writer EVAH and you get all excited and then you drop everything and tell your friend, or tweet or retweet it then you post it on Facebook and then you bask and glow a little more and before it’s over with, several hours have gone by. Hours that you SHOULD have been writing the NEXT book ;) But hey, that’s just MY personal philosophy.What, in my opinion, the role reviews play such a huge part of is helping OTHER readers decide if they think they’d like or want to buy the book BASED on the opinions of others.

Reviews are tools. Nothing more. Nothing less. Well, I suppose I should amend that to say that reviews are also a way a reader is able to express their opinions of a book they spent hours or days reading. It’s a way for them to share with OTHER readers their thoughts and open dialogue to either agree or disagree.

It’s why I hate to see an author intrude in a reader conversation online, or pop into the comments, even if it’s to simply THANK a reviewer or commenter. No, I’m not being rude, nor do I want to appear ungrateful. But the presence of an author, again in my opinion, squelches conversation.

Even though everyone knows the internet and all it’s nooks and crannies aren’t private and that there is a likely chance the author COULD be “listening in” it still isn’t the same as when it’s a known FACT the author is there reading, responding. So the result is that readers then feel hesitant to express their honest, unvarnished opinion. (Not all do, but some, yes, they do absolutely)

What they might say if they didn’t KNOW the author was “there” could very well be different then if the perception was that the author wasn’t “around.”

It probably sounds silly but the thing is I’ve witnessed it far too many times for me to discount my opinion on this. I’ve read reviews (yes I DO read reviews, just not my OWN, but I’ll get to that in a minute) where a healthy, vigorous conversation is being held and then? The author pops in whether it’s to say thank you, be polite or the complete opposite and forget their crazy pills that day and go batshit crazy and then? Silence. Maybe one or two comments but for the most part, the conversation shuts down.

So with all that out of the way, I’ll finally get to the reason why I even began this particular discussion (aren’t you relieved?)

Over the years I’ve heard many (too many to count) authors say they’d rather get a 1 star review than a 3 star. That they either wanted a 5 or a 1 but nothing in between because in their mind a 3 meant “meh” that the reader wasn’t passionate about the book in a positive OR a negative way and that the general consensus among the authors I’ve conversed with over the years is that even if the reader HATED the book at least the author elicited a reaction, any reaction, instead of a *yawn* and a 3 star “meh” rating.

I think in the very (very) early stages of my career when I was still in that stage where I thought I knew a hell of a lot more than I did in actuality I probably agreed with this sentiment. More likely I’d just heard it often enough that I just sort of adopted it as truth.

But now? And again, remember, I’ve said that in my opinion, reviews are for READERS, so I’m going to address this from that perspective.

Now, I think 3 star reviews are by far and large the most HELPFUL reviews in aiding readers in their decision over whether to buy a book or not. Why?

Because a LOT of 5 star reviews are not a lot more than “OMG I loved it!!!” and maybe one or two lines that really give no insight into the STORY but just express their adoration. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not criticizing ANYONE here.

At the other end of the spectrum, the majority of the one star reviews I see are the same as the 5 star reviews except with the reverse sentiment.

I should probably take a moment to explain why I don’t read reviews of MY books but I’ll absolutely read them for books I’m buying.

Because I’m seeking information, clues, triggers and ESPECIALLY spoilers and I find that 1 and 5 star reviews don’t give me what I want and need to make that decision for me.

A reader who gives a book a 3 star review is, again, in my opinion (wow I’m saying that a lot aren’t I?) I just don’t want to give anyone the impression that what I’m saying is FACT and that I’m all arrogant and know it all. These are simply MY observations over the years.

Now, back to that reader who gives three star reviews. I find those 3 star reviews are usually a LOT longer than 1s or 5s. And they explain what worked for them AND what didn’t work for them. They give the positives AND the negatives and they inject more thoughtfulness into explaining or at least it seems that way to me.

Believe me, I get WHY reviewers dish out 1 star and 5 star reviews. Because sometimes you just can’t SUMMON anything more than “OMG I LOVE LOVE LOVED THIS” or “This is the worst piece of shit I’ve read in my life!” Because I’ve read those types of books where it overwhelmed me to fully outline how much I LOVED a book or how much I HATED a book.

But what I AM saying is that I don’t subscribe to the idea that a 3 star review is “meh” and that I find in my experience that one 3 star review will more often convince me to buy a book than a HUNDRED 5 star reviews. Especially if the review contains spoilers *g* I do love spoilers!

So that’s my rambling thoughts on reviews or at least the “dreaded” 3 star review :)

 

How a deal began over “coffee”

Since I’m in story telling mode this week haha, I thought it would be interesting to post how a coffee date at RT with May Chen turned into a book deal!

It’s a well known fact that I adore Lisa Marie Rice’s books and May Chen happens to be HER editor and May is on twitter and she’s incredibly sweet, chatty and approachable so I totally emailed her and was all ballsy and begged her to send me an ARC of Lisa Marie Rice’s upcoming book. This was like a year or so ago..

She was nice enough to send it to me and then months later when it was time for the NEXT book, I emailed her again and asked very nicely if I could have the ARC of THIS book. She sent it to me and then asked if I’d be willing to give Lisa Marie Rice a quote which I happily supplied because again, I love her books.

So this last March, May emailed me and said hey I see you’re going to be at RT this year. So am I. I’d love to buy you a coffee as a thank you for the quote you gave Lisa and we could dish books (because many of our emails turned into book dish fests as we talked about books we loved or didn’t love lol) So I said sure because I love dishing books!

So we met in the lobby of the hotel and I was thinking this would be like a twenty minute chat at most. An hour and a half LATER we were still talking and we covered a variety of topics. She told me how much she LOVED RUSH and FEVER and asked ME for an ARC of BURN and then we started talking about storylines that I had on the back burner but had never had time to write and I told her about this idea that I’ve literally had for YEARS that I would LOVE to be able to write but didn’t see an opportunity any time soon since my schedule is so crazy.

After I told her about the idea she was like OMG I LOVE that idea you have to write it for me! And I was like yeah yeah whatever lol. I didn’t think anything about it but at the END of the conversation she says well go home and talk it over with your agent and let me know.

Picture me with a deer in the headlights look.

So I go home and never gave it another thoughts. Didn’t mention it to my agent because again, I expected NOTHING to come of this whatsover. Well, the day AFTER I got home, May emails me and says hey did you talk over your idea with your agent?

At this point I hit the panic button and I forwarded her email to my agent and said OMG what do I tell her? And then I said, I did NOT commit to ANYTHING and what do I do now? My agent said don’t worry about it. Just email her back, say how nice it was talking to her at RT and if she has any questions she can contact me.

So I did as my agent said and then promptly put it out of my mind again.

Until the next DAY when my agent emails me with the subject line of HOLY FUCK (seriously haha) and she then said that May Chen had just CALLED her wanting to talk about a book deal for the idea we’d discussed at RT.

Uhmmm okaaay. Not exactly what I was expecting. Because in reality this sort of thing happens a LOT as in an editor will approach my agent about wanting to work with me but nothing ever COMES of it.

May Chen has some BALLS y’all! haha. She totally made this deal happen. My agent and I were BOTH flabbergasted over how this came about and how hard May worked to MAKE this deal happen.

So by the end of May (the month lol) we had a deal in place for three books and a new series with Avon Books and May Chen is my editor. Wow!

And all because I had coffee to dish books at the RT convention. So you never know when an innocuous meeting will turn into a book deal!

The new series is called SLOW BURN and the first three books will be published in October 2014, Jan 2015 and March 2015. The titles are: KEEP ME SAFE, IN HIS KEEPING and SAFE AT LAST (of course they’re subject to change but right NOW those are the titles)

 

I love New Yorkers

I was pondering this on the flight home from NYC this past weekend and laughed over the stereotype that New Yorkers are “rude” This has certainly NEVER been my experience.

Over the last couple of years I’ve made about a dozen trips to the city for various reasons. Business and personal. And I’ve never had a single experience with a “rude” New Yorker.

My love for New Yorkers actually dates back YEARS and I’ll tell you a story :)

When I was a teenager, I spent a summer in France as an exchange student. When I was sixteen I participated in an exchange program and this was also going to be my first flight EVER.

These were the days of no cell phones and no computers to check flight statuses or changes online, nor did you receive “alerts” if your flight was changed or canceled. These were also the days of paper tickets you received in ADVANCE and well you showed up at the airport and just HOPED that your flight hadn’t changed or been cancelled.

I was flying out of New Orleans with a group of exchange students all from Louisiana and we had a connection in Charlotte where we’d meet up with MORE exchange students and then we were flying on to JFK where we’d get our Air France flight to Paris.

I lived in central Louisiana and we had family in Baton Rouge so we drove and spent the night with them the night before my early a.m. flight out of New Orleans. Well, when we arrived at the airport we were met by a harried exchange student representative who said they’d tried to call us the evening before to let me know my flight had been changed to a much EARLIER flight, a flight I had now MISSED and they’d also called every single hotel in the New Orleans area, hoping to “find” us, not realizing we’d spent the night in Baton Rouge.

They then told me I had FIVE minutes to catch a flight to Detroit where I could then connect to Laguardia and a representative would meet me there and we’d take a taxi to JFK. My mother was freaking out and of course didn’t want her baby thrown onto a different flight where I’d have NO supervision or anyone else traveling WITH me but what else were we to do?

My luggage obviously wasn’t going to make it on the flight to Detroit but they assured me it would “catch up to me” They then rushed me to the terminal where the plane was already pulling AWAY from the gate. They called it to come BACK for me (that would SO never happen today lol. Once that door closes there is no reopening it!)

So I get on the plane and everyone is staring at me because they had to pull BACK to get me. The stewardess then very apologetically told me that since I was an unplanned passenger that she had nothing to eat for me but offered me a coke instead.

I flew to Detroit not knowing WHAT I was supposed to do. A very nice agent at least got me to the gate with the connection to Laguardia and I sat on the floor for two hours waiting to board.

I was seated in the very front row of coach and still terrified. I was seated next to a woman who looked to be in her 40s and her teenage son. The woman must have sensed my utter terror and noted the fact that I was an unaccompanied minor and so she asked me my name and where I was traveling etc.

Turns out she was a New Yorker and her and her son had been visiting the university of Michigan and were now returning home. When she learned of my circumstances she instantly mothered me and talked to me the entire flight and took me under her wing and promised to stay with me when we landed until we found a representative. How awesome was she? I’ve never forgotten her to this day.

When we landed, she took me in hand and told me everything would be fine and true to her word, she stayed with me until we found a representative from my exchange program. But her kindness didn’t end there. She took my phone number and promised to call my parents and assure them that I’d arrived safely in NYC and  had met back up with my exchange group.

When I got home a month later, I wrote her a letter to thank her for her kindness and she wrote me back and we exchanged letters for a couple of years. I”ll never forget her. She took a terrified teenager under her wing and kept me from melting down. And she was a supposed “rude” New Yorker *snort*

In all my trips to NYC since all those years ago, I have never encountered rudeness at all. In fact, I’ve found New Yorkers to be some of the kindest, most generous people in the world. And I’ve traveled a LOT since that first flight when I was a teenager.

This past weekend I took my oldest son to NYC for his birthday because my younger two children had gone with me in the past but this was my oldest’s first visit. He too marveled at how NICE everyone was.

So while the “south” may have a reputation for “southern hospitality” we certainly don’t have the market cornered on nice OR hospitable!

And that’s my shout out to all the lovely New Yorkers I’ve met during my travels and especially to the wonderful woman who took a scared teenage girl under her wing and mothered her :)

 

Theirs to Keep winners!

EDITED TO ADD: I’m SUCH a bubble head today I swear! First to answer the question of why only 9 winners. When my assistant came over to get the books so she can mail them on Wednesday we only found 9! I have NO idea where the other copy went to! Sorry guys!

SECONDLY! It would HELP if I gave y’all my email address so you can email me your mailing info. *sigh* I need to go back to bed… It’s maya@mayabanks.com

Ok guys here is the list of winners of the early copies of THEIRS TO KEEP! I’ve posted the entire comment with name and comment number so you can easily tell if it was you or not.

PLEASE REMEMBER! You MUST email me no LATER than NOON tomorrow to claim your book! Prizes will be mailed out tomorrow afternoon because in addition to having a root canal in the morning, I leave Thursday for the Emerald City Conference in Bellevue, WA so if you want your copy before release day (or at all) you have to check in and email me your mailing info by the requested time!

Without further ado, here are the winners!

Comment 551

Beth Johnson says:

I want to win one for my mom. She is a big fan of yours.

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Comment 264

Patti Fleming says:

Can’t wait!! Love all your books. Thanks for the great giveaway :)

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Comment 342

Amber H. says:

Thanks so much for the giveaway! Can’t wait to read it either way!!!

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Comment 174

Nancy Milligan says:

Would love to win a copy. Love the Colters, as well as Fever, Rush and Burn. I have too many of your books to mention them all!

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Comment 200

bree talley says:

Maya I absolutely love your writing style. It’s never boring and always keeps me on the edge of my seat. Would love to have an early copy of Theirs to keep.

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Comment 55

barb says:

I love your books and am reading BE WITH ME. You are a fantastic author and would love to win one of your books. Thanks for the opportunity.

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Comment 96

Debbie Lemon says:

Would love to win.Have a safe trip.looking forward to this release.Waited along time.

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Comment 501

Kaytee Hazlewood says:

Awesome giveaway!! Can’t wait to start on another fabulous series of yours!

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Comment 816

megan williams says:

I can’t wait to read this book. I already know its gonna be amazing!!