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 ┬áhad 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 :)

HUGE thank you to all my readers!

This last week has been a little surreal for me. On Wednesday I learned that BURN was the #1 bestselling book on the USA Today as well as hitting the top spot on the NYT Trade Paperback list, the NYT digital list and the paperback/digital combined list. A clean sweep!

I’ll admit, I did NOT expect to hit the #1 spot on the USA Today or the NYT digital. I had some really TOUGH competition with JK Rowling in the top spot on the Trade Paperback list and her book under her other pen name was #1 on the USA Today last week and still going very strong! Not to mention James Patterson had a new release out on the same day as BURN and he is a very consistent top placing author on those lists! So I was STUNNED when I learned that BURN had earned the top spot.

But you know what? I should have had more faith in my AWESOME, AMAZING readers and for that I apologize! You guys are SO good to me and it’s solely because of YOU that BURN hit that top spot.

I say it every time, but as an author *I* don’t hit those lists. All I do is write the book and unleash it in the wild and hope for the best because once it’s out of my hands, it’s squarely in the hands of the READERS as to whether it becomes a bestselling book or not.

So THANK YOU. I owe you all more than I can ever hope to repay! But I hope to at least give back SOMETHING by continuing to write and give you stories that you enjoy and want more of. I am SO grateful to have such wonderful, supportive readers. Without you, I would not be living my dream of writing stories that fill my mind.

In the very beginning of my career, it was a dream, and in my mind a PIPE DREAM, to even HIT a list like the NYT and the USA Today. The very first time I ever accomplished that (because of YOU!!!) I was flabbergasted and so very grateful.

To a new author, reaching the top spot on ANY list is one of those things you kind of wistfully think in the back of your mind “oh one day… One day I’d love that” but you don’t really ever think it will happen!

So imagine by shock, amazement and utter gratitude when it happened! It finally happened!

I’ve written and published over 50 books in the 7 years I’ve been published. (My 7th anniversary was June 6 of this year) and with each one, I’ve been absolutely humbled and a little baffled at how wonderful my readers have embraced them.

If someone had told me back in June 2006 when I published my very first book that 7 years later I would have a USA Today and a NYT #1 bestseller, I would have laughed and said NO WAY. But it happened. And it happened because of YOU.

I will never be able to properly express my gratitude to my readers. I know it sounds corny, it likely doesn’t sound genuine. Simply because I’ve thanked my readers after every single time one of my books has hit the best seller lists. But you know what? I am one hundred percent sincere. *I* did not hit the best seller lists. YOU did that. YOU put the books there. And for that, I will be eternally grateful and so very humbled by your support.

xoxo

And PS: I’ll be posting news this week! New covers (OMG are they AWESOME) and blurbs for my next trilogy which will be releasing starting in February 2014 :)) So be on the lookout Tuesday for the reveal!

Love,

Maya

A big huge thank you!

To everyone who helped spread the word about the auction, donated, bid and got behind the fundraiser for the Unleeshed girls. The auction was a huge success and we were able to raise the money necessary for the girls to make the trip to Panama City Beach, Florida in July for the World Series!

There is amazing generosity in the romance community and I’m so privileged and honored to be a part of that group of awesome, awesome people.

Love,

Maya and the Unleeshed 12U team :)

Auction update and a way to donate!

Auction update and a way to donate! Hey gang, less than 24 hours before the end of the bidding for all those fantastic signed books and ARCs and a few lunches as well! For a complete list you can go here http://www.ebay.com/sch/forestertjl/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686

I’ve gotten several emails from wonderfully, generous people who have said that the bidding has gotten out of their price range for several of the items but that they’d still really like to help out with a small donation and asked how to do so. First, I can’t thank all of you enough for your kindness. I am truly wowed and so grateful for all the fantastic people who’ve responded to this fundraiser.

On the Unleeshed blog page http://bunaunleeshed.wordpress.com there is a paypal donate button on the upper right. This same button can be found on the team website, http://www.unleeshed.com and donations can be made directly to the team in ANY dollar amount. Every penny counts toward these girls dream :)

I was also asked for the team address so that a check could be mailed. If anyone has interest in doing this, any correspondence can be directed to

Buna Unleeshed 12U
PO Box 121
Buna, TX 77612

Again, thank YOU ALL for helping to spread the word, for your kind words, your support and your bids and donations to help our girls go to the World Series. They are working hard (As I type, they’re hosting a tournament as another fundraiser so they’ve given up their entire weekend, dawn to midnight to put on and work a tournament) and they appreciate all your support as well.

Auction to benefit the Unleeshed 12U girls softball team!

Hey gang,

If you follow me on twitter or read my Facebook or even this blog, you’ve probably heard me talk about Girlie and her softball team many, many times. This year they’re playing as a 12U team and they’re planning to go to the World Series of Softball in Panama City Beach, Florida in July. To help them raise money, I thought it would be awesome for romance authors and readers to play a part in sending a girl power team to Florida for this awesome opportunity to play teams from all over the country. We’re having an auction Mar 1-3 to benefit the team and thanks to the generosity of many authors and publishers we have some TERRIFIC items to auction off. We have signed books, advanced copies of several upcoming releases and we have a few lunches with authors at this year’s RWA conference in Anaheim, CA.

So if you get a chance, go check out the Buna Unleeshed Blog for more details as well as a list of all the items we’re auctioning. (Check back because we still have more items to add!) And you can also check out the Unleeshed website to get to know the girls that you’ll be helping get to the World Series this year.

Much love, and thank you for helping “my” girls! :)

Maya

Reading report card :)

If you’ve spent any time on my Twitter feed or on my Facebook page, you’ll know that I’ve been seriously whining about not having had time to read in a very long time. It’s true. It’s a truth and an inevitability that I hate even as I acknowledge why. My first priority is to write MY books and give my readers the stories I promise them. Then and only then do I get to indulge in being a reader and fan of OTHER authors’ works.

Now I read fast and the thing is, when I do get some precious time to read I an one grumpy bitch if I get interrupted. I binge read to the exclusion of all else. I’ll stay up an entire night reading one book after another and once I START a book I am absolutely resentful of ANYTHING that interferes with me finishing that book. I HATE having to close a book in the middle of it.

So for the past few months, I’ve continued to buy books, even knowing it might be forever until I got to read them. But there is a certain comfort in having the books on my Kindle for “when I get the time” And if I don’t buy the book I’m interested in RIGHT THEN, I’m likely to forget all about it and never get to go back and get it. I try to preorder as much as possible just so the books are automatically downloaded and I don’t have to worry about missing a great book.

I finally got a chance to do some reading over the weekend. I didn’t really have the time to be honest, but I was at “that point” where my brain was just shutting down. I’m tired. I tend to cram into three months what a normal year’s worth of work is, so I feel like every three months I NEED some sort of vacation. And I can’t just read as soon as I finish up one of those back to back to back deadlines because my brain is seriously so shut down that I can’t even fathom opening a book to read.

Reading is…I can’t even explain it in words. I mean it’s something I’ve loved since I was a child. A very young child. I never owned a television growing up. Books were my EVERYTHING and I do mean everything. Libraries and my local librarians are absolutely why I’m a writer today. They fed my voracious appetite for books because I simply could not have afford to buy 40 every week to read. So I wore out that library card and read every single thing I could get my hands on.

So when I go a long time without reading, I get cranky and the longer I go, the harder it is for me to actually be able to open a book and dive back in. Weird huh? So it always takes me a little bit because I resist all the books I have because I’m just so tired and brain dead and I have this fear that especially since I’m trying a “new” book that it won’t be awesome or that I’ll be disappointed which is WHY I do a LOT of rereading. I have my “comfort” reads and these are the books that I pull out when I’m really dragging the bottom of the barrel and I need my batteries recharged but I don’t want to take a risk on a book I won’t like. So these comfort reads get read over and over. I have print copies and I have kindle copies because I’m one of “those” readers who will absolutely buy both formats.

Anyway to get to my point, not only was I craving some time to read but I really wanted to branch out and try something new and different. Maybe a little out of my comfort zone. I never read in the genre I’m writing in, and I really have no explanation for that one, but I just don’t. I know other authors who are the same way so at least I’m not alone in my neurosis. So the fact that I write so many genres? Well, it limits my options. I’ve only just recently started reading a few erotic romances simply because I’m not writing as many as I used to. I’m very picky about it so I’ve been selectively getting a few to read here and there. Since my other two “main” genres at the moment are romantic suspense ( hate that tag. I really don’t write suspense. I write action adventure) but anyway and I also write historicals so I’m not reading romantic suspense or historicals. Which leaves me with contemporary….and well, paranormal. And I’ll be honest. I don’t read a lot of PNR. And I never ever read Urban Fantasy. I just don’t. Nalini Singh is like my one exception but she’s made of awesome so really, she’s worthy of being an exception!

But several months ago I decided to give Kresley Cole’s IAD series a try. The current blurb intrigued me so I read it. It wasn’t my favorite but I was sufficiently intrigued enough to go read the first in the series. Now. Holy shit. THAT book I loved. Liked seriously had mad love for. So I bought the rest of the series and loved some more than others. Like LOVED some. Was okay with others. But It was definitely enough to make me buy Lothaire and I loved it. Kresley has a very entertaining way of writing that keeps you turning the pages. It’s kind of like crack. So maybe she’s found a way to be spell her books?

And then I emailed a friend because (and I’m still not sure what prompted me) but I was suddenly and inexplicably intrigued by Patricia Briggs. Now I should explain I do not read first person books. DO. NOT. LIKE. So WHY was I contemplating reading her Mercy Thompson series? I have no bloody idea. In fact I once sent a love letter to Nalini Singh THANKING her for writing an Urban Fantasy series in third person because I was like YES, FINALLY someone broke some implied rule that all UF MUST BE first person. Ok I’ll stop now lol.

And then I was told about her Alpha/Omega series which IS in third person so I pounced on that first and very quickly consumed the novella and first two books in the series. And the thing is I love her writing. It’s just very evocative. I can’t even explain how it makes me feel but it’s mesmerizing. (Maybe she and Kresley Cole are onto something with that be spelling thing??)

So then I bit the bullet and bought the Mercy Thompson series and it had the same mesmerizing quality that her writing had for the A/O series (and yes people I do know that Patricia Briggs is a writing team but for my purposes it’s just much easier to say HER instead of him/her at every turn) I’m only up to book 2 so far but obviously I’m not stopping until I get to the present book at which point I will bitch and moan ENDLESSLY over having to wait for another goddamn book in the series. I mean I’m already whining because I have to wait until March for the next A/O book. (Patience is not one of my finer virtues, BELIEVE ME)

So the verdict? I have loved THREE PNR/UF series in the past year, people. That’s huge for me as before I only read like a very, very (count on one hand) PNR authors.

Let’s see what else have I read in my binge? I read two Lisa Marie Rice novellas. They were “snacks” because the thing is I love her full length books so much and it’s kind of frustrating for me to read something so short from her because I just want to say NOOOOOOOO where’s the rest?? But they were good and satisfying and a good follow up to the original novels.

Awhile back I did a shout out on twitter to see if anyone had read Barbara Elsborg and if so what they thought? I didn’t get many response and they were varied but nothing just overnethusiastic. But there were two of her books that I had bought because the blurbs intrigued me. This was a few months ago and I finally decided to take the plunge last night.

Holy fuck, people.

Ok, I get that maybe I might be in the minority. Maybe a lot of people just haven’t read her. But wow did I love the two books I read. They were An Ordinary Girl and Strangers. I really don’t have the words to describe how compelling I found these books. I mean it was like I just couldn’t stop reading. They weren’t easy, “fluffy” reads by any means and I kept reading with this sense of dread KNOWING that the entire world was going to go to shit at ANY minute. I was holding my breath at some points and then was cursing because I was like damn it, this is stressing me out. Strangers was my favorite of the two but they were both just so good. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love me some angst and drama, the more the better and Strangers had it in spades. The ending of that book just had a huge knot in my throat and my chest was tight because I just knew what conclusions the hero had drawn based on how they “met” and that he was going to think she was dead because he couldn’t find her anywhere. And then they find her abandoned car… Ok I’ll stop but wowza, those books just hit all my buttons. They were meaty reads that had me absorbed from beginning to end.

So anyway, that’s my reading report for now. I’ve been on a great self published search and I’ve bought a couple of titles but I’m scouring for more because I know there are some hidden gems out there and I’m always very happy when I find a new to me author who knocks my socks off. So I’ve been hoarding some, buying as I come across them but the search continues :)

And now that I’ve told you all about what I’ve been reading, what about you?? Got any awesome rec’s for me? I may not be able to READ them right away but my one click finger works VERY well hahahaha. I click and then just know it’s there to read later ;)

2011 was a really terrific year

I have my readers to thank for a really wonderful year as an author. 2011 is a year I’ll long remember and it’s because of you guys. In February, Colters’ Daughter hit the NYT and the USA Today for two weeks and was the first digital only book to do so. In March, just a month later, Hidden Away, book 3 in the KGI series hit #11 on the NYT and #43 on the USA Today. It also hit the digital NYT list and the combined print and digital as well as the Publisher’s Weekly bestseller list.

Then in April, Sweet Possession hit the trade NYT bestseller list as well as the USA Today list.

In September, my Harlequin Desire, Enticed by His Forgotten Lover hit the NYT and USA Today bestseller list and then again in November when Wanted By Her Lost Love releases so it was a very exciting year for category romance and the Desire line in particular!

Perhaps most exciting was how well received my Scottish historical trilogy was. Believe me when I saw I was terrified. I love writing historical romance. I’ve always loved it. It holds a very special place in my heart. I was so worried no one would like it and that I wouldn’t be able to continue writing those types of romances. But not only did you guys go out and buy them and talk about them and recommend them but you put all three on the USA Today bestseller lists for 10 combined weeks. You also put two of them on the NYT Bestseller list and Never Love a Highlander swept the lists much in the way Hidden Away did back in March by hitting three NYT bestseller lists, the USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly. Never Love a Highlander also became my highest placement on the USA Today when it hit #32.

You guys have been absolutely amazing to me and I’ll never be able to tell you how much your support means.

Take a look above, because all of that? YOU made possible. Anyone can write a book, but it takes really special, devoted readers to put that book on the bestseller lists.

Thank you for making my year the best year yet.

Love,

Maya

Back home!

After an endless Sunday of traveling that began at 6 a.m. Dublin time (or midnight back home) I arrived back home after two hours in the Dublin airport, a 7 hour flight to Newark, a five hour layover, a 3 hour flight to Houston and then a two hour drive home from the airport. Needless to say I don’t remember much beyond stumbling into bed around 11 last night.

But I’m home and I have SO much catching up to do. I need to blog about the remainder of my adventure in Ireland as well as post some pics now that I’m back in the land of high speed internet.

I finished Sweet Addiction while on vacation but as soon as I got to the end, I knew the ending was all wrong. *sigh* I pondered it for two days including a sleepless night in the hotel in Dublin the night before our early A.M. flight home. And finally pinpointed what was wrong. So I’ve now deleted the entire last chapter and I’m currently rewriting the ending and already I know I have it right this time.

I have so much to do this week that I’m in meltdown mode. You know sometimes when you have SO much to do that you don’t even know where to start so you just sort of sit and stare blankly because you’re so overwhelmed? Yeah, that’s me right now lol. Of course the smarter thing to do is to make a to do list and start tackling the items on it. That’s what most organized people would do….

So I’m back but up to my neck in “stuff” If you’ve emailed me, contacted me etc please please be patient with me. I have a backlog of emails that is insane!

Internet woes in Ireland (or day 4)

I know I promised you guys pics. I even bought an outrageously expensive flash drive for the occasion. (okay so everything over here is ridiculously expensive. I don’t know how people make a living here with paying the huge income tax percentages and the prices of EVERYTHING.) But I digress (what else is new) But the fact of the matter is, my internet sucks ass here. I haven’t had this much frustration since the days of dial up and hell, at least it WORKED back then. It was slow as hell but it stayed on. Not so much with this stuff *sob*

It takes me forever to get on and once I do manage to have the stars align just right and get a connection, it then drops randomly and so you have to keep trying to get to where you’re going on keep trying to check email until you hit those few seconds where it works with no interruption, type like hell and then wait again while it blips off to God knows where.

So uhm while I have pictures on my laptop now, the chances of me getting them posted? Let’s just say I’d probably win the lottery before that happens. So the pics will have to wait until I get back to the land of high speed internet.

As for day 4? I worked all day today. The fog was super thick and it was chilly. Hubby and the kids went to play golf again and I stayed behind to curl up under a blanket and try to finish this book. (I’m almost there and won’t go to bed tonight until I finish. Or rather, I’m already IN bed, but I won’t go to sleep until this book is done, done, done.

Tomorrow the kids are going horseback riding in the morning and hubby and I are going to do some shopping. I think tomorrow afternoon if the weather prediction was accurate, we’ll take a boating trip :)

So there’s the update such as it is. I’m hoping this will post in this lifetime and I’m getting back to work on the writing. I left my characters all in turmoil and they’re probably pissed at me because I haven’t gotten back to them to solve all their woes.

Ireland day three!

Today started, well it started late *g* We all slept in as people on vacation do. I’ve never been up on getting up at the crack of dawn and go, go, go all day only to collapse into bed at night and the end result is going home EXHAUSTED and thinking DAMN I need a vacation… Agree?

So anyway we slept late. Got up cooked breakfast and then hubby took the kids to play what I guess is the Irish equivalent to putt putt or mini golf. It was a pitch and putt course. They played for a couple hours while I perched myself on my chair that overlooks the ocean from our cottage and I worked for a little bit but mostly I sat and soaked up the sun and the breeze and the smell of the ocean. Ahhh it was nice.

When the kidlets returned, we had a light lunch and then decided we were going to hit the road because the weather was just so amazingly gorgeous and we wanted to do some exploring. We took the coastal road from Doolin around to Ballyvaughn and further to a castle (the name escapes me at the moment even though I can hear the eldery Irish caretaker pronouncing it so I had the right of it) But hey I’m tired and my brain’s a bit fuzzy and full of gorgeous sunsets.

We stopped along the way and clambered over rock outcroppings to peek over the cliffs and we sat awhile and enjoyed the view. Our entire motto was “we’re not in a hurry” Although I did keep telling my daughter “don’t break your leg. Please don’t break your leg” I swear my youngest two are such daredevils and they scare the bejebus out of me because they’re so uninhibited.

We came back through Ennistimon instead of going back around the coastal road because I needed to find a flashdrive so I could transfer pictures from hubby’s laptop (where he downloads the camera’s pics to) to MY laptop because you guys keep asking for pics and well, I haven’t had a way to post them yet!

So I’m working on it. I’m hoping by tomorrow’s post to be able to give you guys a glimpse of our trip.

When we got back to the cottage, the kids went outside to play and hubby cooked dinner. Then we all sat outside watching the sun go down, and truly, this was as beautiful a sunset as we saw in the US Virgin Islands. We had plans to go into town to one of the pubs to listen to some more music this evening but we were all comfortable being lazy and so we just laid back and watched the sunset.

So there you have it. Day three. Not so exciting. But rather a lazy day taking our time and getting off the beaten path a bit. But then that’s what do most vacations. I jokingly told hubby that the year we went to Scotland that I swear we saw parts of Scotland that I doubt most Scots have never seen! Said jokingly but it was the absolute truth. I do know that there were many times we didn’t see a single other car for super long stretches of time when we were traversing the countryside.

I’m heading to bed where I’m going to work for awhile. I’ll catch you guys tomorrow!