Ireland day two, part two

So the rest of day two went as follows. After our morning jaunt to the grocery store, we decided since it was so foggy that we’d hit the Doolen Cave. As we entered the tour, I knew I was fucked when the guide mentioned that we’d be descending stairs. Not just a few. But uhm like a hundred. For one, I have this unnatural fear of falling down stairs. I’ve had this fear ever since I can remember. I hated my high school because it was two stories and every other class for me was on a different floor and there was always a hoard of students pushing and shoving down the stairs and I was always terrified I was going to fall down them.

Now the other part of this horror story is that I knew at the end of the tour I was going to have to climb back those 100 steps. Fuck me.

I wasn’t smart enough to just tell the family, oh you go ahead. I’ll wait for you up here. Oh no. Because I wasn’t going to wimp out. So I teeter down all those damn stairs holding on to the rail for dear life. Then when we get to the bottom, we go through this slick as snot cave corridor thing with the ceiling so low that even me and my short ass self hit my head. (We wore hardhats and it’s a good damn thing.) My aforementioned six foot four husband had to walk doubled over the entire way.

But then we get to…more steps. Wet, slimy, uneven steps. Some really short. Some with a steep drop off. Again, I clung to the wet, slimy rail for dear life and my knees shook so badly I was REALLY afraid I was just going to face plant.

It was cool. Don’t get me wrong. But really? Not my thing. I love the science behind caves. I love visiting them. All those slippery steps I could have done without. By the time we left to return to those 100 stairs I had already had to climb up a bazillion slippery, uneven steps and at that point I was just done. I wanted to know where the damn elevator was.

Hubby’s sweet and he lagged behind with me while I climbed the steps holding onto the railing for dear life and thinking OMFG, WHY did I do this again?

We get out to the car and my stupid knees were still shaking so bad that I could barely get control of them. Phobias are a bitch, I tell ya.

We drove back to the cottage and hubby took the kids to some nearby castle ruins while I researched a trip I wanted to take with the kids. (The internet is so frightfully slow here that it honest to God took as long as they were gone to find all the info I wanted)

They returned laughing like hyenas because apparently daddy fell down some step at the castle or on the grounds since apparently this particular castle is privately owned and not open to the public so they were only able to get so close to it. So see? My phobia? Not unfounded. And they were also apparently accosted by some old rude Irish guy who muttered something about reading signs. Never mind the nice woman who informed my husband how far he could venture on public property.

Truly, this is the first rude Irish person we’ve encountered. Or I should say they since I wasn’t with them so really *I* haven’t met a single rude person here :) They’re all disgustingly cheerful and exceedingly helpful. Even to neurotic Americans with stair phobias…

After they return we decide to go down to the pier. Just because. No other reason. And the fog had finally lifted and there was actually SUNSHINE. And even better patches of BLUE in the sky. And I should mention that my cottage is RIGHT on the ocean and yet until this afternoon I hadn’t actually SEEN the water from my front porch because of the fog. I mean I knew it was there but you couldn’t have proved it by what I could see.

So we puttered around, enjoyed some fresh air. It’s delightfully chilly here and such a welcome change from 100 degrees and 100 percent humidity back home.

On our way back from the pier we stopped at a different pub that was offering live music beginning just twenty minutes from when we arrived, so we took a seat and ordered. The food was terrific. (So far we’re two for two on eating out in Ireland and even the kids are eating!) The music was terrific. As odd as it may sound, really you haven’t fully appreciated John Denver’s Country Roads until you’ve heard it sung by an Irishman with a guitar in an Irish pub :)

And then we took a drive, sort of a roundabout drive back to the cottage because we weren’t yet ready to get back home just yet. We saw a rooster pheasant and a hen on the road and then watched as they flew low over a field only to land a short distance away. We stopped to watch until finally they flushed up again and flew further away.

When we did finally get back home, the sky to the west was clearing over the water and I was excited because I figured we’d actually get to see a sunset that evening so I positioned myself accordingly, propped back on some pillows and lazily watched the sun go down while Hubby and the youngest two played catch in the yard.

Now I’m in bed having just watched the last vestiges of the sun slip down over the horizon and it’s finally dark (It’s well after ten) and so I’m going to sign off and work for a bit. This is a holiday, yes, but it’s a working one for me because there are some things that have to get done no matter what. But I’ll get them done when everyone else is asleep so I don’t miss any of the fun stuff :)

Good night from Doolin!

Ireland day 1 (well and 2 sorta)

As some of you may know, I’m off on our family vacation to Ireland. It’s been a super busy summer for us and I’ve really been looking forward to some “down time” I took my daughter with me to NYC for the RWA conference in June. This was after a super busy spring softball schedule! That week nearly killed us both. We were exhausted when we got back home and we only had a few days to unpack and get ready to head to Panama City Beach Florida to watch my daughter play in the World Series of Softball. Now THAT was an exhausting 9 days away from home. AND? When we got home? We again only had a few days to unpack, wash clothes and get ready to head on our family vacation.

We left the house at 8am Saturday morning. Caught a noon flight from Houston to Newark. Had a two and a half hour layover before boarding a flight to Dublin. I prefer to fly first class domestically. My husband says I’m spoiled but really there are so many reasons that I won’t go into for the sake of brevity that I refuse to fly coach. Number one being I hate people and I don’t like being that up close and personal with the cattle grid as I lovingly refer to as the coach section of an airplane.

When we flew to Scotland two years ago, husband was convinced that there was no need. We were only taking my oldest son with me and he said we’ll have the entire row to ourselves! No other people to deal with blah blah. Ok well, he was miserable the entire 8 hour flight. He’s a big guy. Six foot four. Broad shouldered. My son is also a big dude. Yeah, you can see how that worked out in our little coach seats.

So this year I put my foot down, told him he had no say so, I was booking the flights AND I got an awesome deal on first class tickets by being flexible with the week we wanted to fly. (If we’d come next week, the tickets would have cost triple what they cost me to fly this past week) But I digress.

Let’s just say that after flying first class the entire way that my husband has vowed to never ever interfere in me making the travel arrangements and is happy to let me book whatever I like hehe. Seriously, the seats were awesome. The service was awesome. They fed us for the first three hours solid. The kids slept and I worked. I rarely ever “enjoy” flying but I have to say the first class on Continental’s 757 was freaking awesome.

We arrived in Dublin at 6:30 in the morning. I hear you groaning. So was I. It took us forever to get the rental car but we were finally on our way and it took us another three and a half hours to reach our destination of Doolin on the West coast of Ireland. So if you’re counting with me, that was a two hour drive to the airport in Houston. A 3 and a half hour flight to Newark. A two and a half hour layover. A six hour flight to Dublin and a 3 and a half hour drive to Doolin. That’s a hell of a lot of traveling. By the time we got to our cottage, I was a walking zombie. I didn’t even unpack. I fell into the very comfy bed with wonderful, plush pillows and passed out.

I forced myself out of bed a few hours later and we ventured into Doolin only to find the little grocery shop there (and when I say little, I’m talking closet size) closed but we were directed to Lisdoonvarna just a few kilometers up the road and so we set off just so we could get breakfast stuff for the next morning. We were warned not to try to buy groceries on a Sunday because the shelves would be bare and that Mondays were “stock” days.

After picking up a few items at the small grocery shop, we went across the street to the Irish Arms pub to grab some dinner. This is where my trepidation came in. To back up, two summers ago we went to Scotland and England on vacation. Now I’d warned my husband that English food…well, it’s just not good. It’s bland. Apparently there’s a law against seasoning the food. And he quickly informed me that I was right. And this guy will usually eat anything. He’s not picky like me and my daughter. We nearly starved and finally halfway through the vacation we gave up on eating out in establishments. We started going to the grocery store in Inverness and we’d buy yummy breads, sandwich meat, cheeses and drinks and we’d pack a lunch and eat wherever we decided to stop.

But to get back to Ireland, the food was really good at the pub where we ate. Even my daughter (who eats NOTHING) loved her food. Afterward we drove back to our cottage and sort of laid around looking at each other with glazed eyes and finally decided to go to bed at 9. It doesn’t get dark until well after nine but we were too tired to care.

This morning we staggered out of bed and hubby cooked breakfast. Or as well as we could given that we only had eggs, bread and the European version of bacon, which is nothing like American bacon. But at least WE cooked it similarly to American bacon. When we were in the UK, the bacon was always kind of half cooked, pale and slimy. I’m still shuddering as I think about it. Then we headed out to Ennistimon where we’d been told there was an actual grocery store (that was bigger than a closet)

Another thing we’ve discovered, or at least that my kids have told me, is that they hate the milk over here. Now I don’t drink milk in the states but they all do and they’ve said the milk here is “gross” I’m not sure what the difference is. But even my husband turned up his nose.

We’re starting to sound like a picky lot aren’t we?

The grocery store was fun. We were on the hunt for biscuits. Not cookies. Our cookies are biscuits but I wanted what OUR biscuits are. Finally found some scone mix and we’re going to attempt to make those for breakfast tomorrow to go with our funky bacon (that more resembles a thin porkchop) and our very orange yolk eggs. I do love the bread over here though and I hit the bakery and got a nice selection :)

This afternoon we’re going to visit the Doolin Cave because the fog is still as thick as soup and there’s not much to see. I can only see perhaps fifty yards out my window before I encounter a solid wall of white. On Wednesday the kids are going horseback riding but there’s supposed to be NO chance of sun on Wed and a 90 percent chance of raining so that should be fun for them…

We have a whopping forty percent chance of SUN tomorrow *laugh* and only ten percent chance today. I think forty percent is the highest percentage of this entire week so tomorrow we’ll likely try to take a boat over to the Aran Islands.

That’s my adventure so far! Tonight we’ll probably hit a local pub here in Doolin where they play traditional Irish music and just chill. If I find internet again, I’ll post more of our week as I’m able.

Hope all is well with all of you!

An update from Maya

Hey gang,

I just wanted to give you guys an update of what’s going on lately. I haven’t been around much. I owe you guys a Be With Me scene too (I haven’t forgotten!)

Things are really insane for me right now. I don’t want anyone worrying. It’s not horrible but it is very stressful and time is a very precious commodity these days. Summer just started and I’m having to once again adjust to having all my children home with me in what is usually my work time where I have few if any disturbances. As I’m typing, I have FOUR 11 year olds girls squealing in the back ground, a barking dog and two boys who are literally running for their lives (away from the hoard of 11 year old girls)

I’m a solitary, cave dwelling hermit, so it’s difficult for me to adjust to having people around all the time :)

I obsessed endlessly over Whispers in the Dark. I wanted it to be perfect and in doing so, I was late turning it in. I don’t regret it. Not one bit. I wanted it to be the story that was in my head. I wanted it to be something my readers would love. But the fact is, I’m having to work long nights to catch up on the other projects that suffered because I took the extra time with Whispers. I’m loving Sweet Addiction. I mean LOVING it. This has evolved into a much better story than I could have ever imagined and I refuse to rush it simply because I’m behind. Again, I want it to be a book that I’m proud of and that my readers aren’t disappointed in. If it takes me longer, then that’s what will happen because I refuse to turn in an inferior book just so I can say I’m “caught up”

Because really, being caught up is kind of a fleeting goal for most writers lololol

My summer is just packed. I do a lot with my family. They come first. My daughter is winding up her spring season of select softball. They made a deep run in the state tournament last weekend and this weekend they won the championship just yesterday evening by going undefeated through the entire tournament. It was their last “regular” tournament of the season and a fantastic way to go out. They are now preparing to travel to Florida for the World Series in less than a month.

My daughter and I will be in NYC next week for RWA. We come back a week and then travel to Florida for her week long tournament. We’re back a week again and then off for our family vacation.

So between work, finishing Sweet Addiction and the Colter Christmas plus the promised Be With Me follow up and my family obligations, I’m not going to be around as much as I’d like for the next two months.

But know this. I’m working very hard to give you books that you will love. That’s my absolute goal.

This Fall my schedule lightens considerably and I’ll look forward to being able to hang out with you guys a lot more!



Looking for short story recs!

I was having a twitter conversation with Inez Kelly about how little reading time I’ve had lately. Seriously, this year has been CRAZY and the ironic thing is, that it was supposed to mark a slowdown for me. But uhm yeah, not so much. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve written a historical romance, two shorter contemporary romances for Harlequin Desire, an erotic longer novella (40k words) the 4th KGI book and now I’m immersed in Sweet Addiction. So yeah, my reading time has been non existent because along with all the work I’ve been devoting time to, things have been really busy with my family.

We’ve traveled. My daughter is playing softball and we’ve devoted a lot of time to her practices and her tournaments. The year has sped by so frighteningly fast that well, reading has just fallen by the wayside. Which makes me sad.

But I’ve found that even if I can’t commit to a full length novel (even as insanely fast as I read) that shorter works really do the trick when I really just need time to let my brain rest and enjoy something. Such was the case when I impulsively picked up Cara McKenna’s latest short story, Don’t Call Her Angel. It was perfect, see, because I was done in about half an hour. And then I could go back to work, or go take my daughter to practice or even cook supper. OMG you guys seriously don’t know how long it’s been since I last cooked lololol. My poor husband was in shock last night when I actually went into the kitchen and fixed supper.

I’m getting off topic….

So to get to my point, I’d LOVE some recommendations for SHORT stories. Novellas, short stories. But I want them to be really good. And satisfying. They don’t have to be “change the world” earth shattering. I just want something yummy that satisfies my need for a “quick fix”

Got anything for me? Oh and yeah, I should clarify, I want it to be romance. Don’t make me sad when I’m trying to work!! :)


How time flies. It hardly seems possible that what seems like such short time ago we were all ringing in a new millennium. And now we’re already a decade, a DECADE into it. It makes my head hurt!

But this has been an awesome decade for me. So many things changed in my life and career. It was in 2002 that a friend of mine and I decided to take up the pen (or keyboard) and write with the goal of becoming published.

Now at the beginning of a writing career, everything is new and shiny and you have big dreams. The thing with those big dreams is that you aren’t really certain, or even halfway convinced, they’ll ever come true, but it doesn’t stop you from daydreaming about “one day.”

So much of my writing career didn’t go as I planned. Okay, none of it did. I look back on how things have gone and I just shake my head and have to laugh because nothing went the way it was supposed to.

And that’s a good thing.

You see, if things had gone the way I planned? Well, I probably wouldn’t even have a career at this point.

I never planned to publish predominately under Maya Banks. It was a pen name I made up on the fly when I sold a book to an epublisher. Even after I sold a few contemporary erotic romances, I still figured I’d publish historicals under my real name. Then I sold a contemporary romantic suspense series and then I sold contemporary romances to Silhouette Desire. All under the name Maya Banks. And well, the final laugh was when I did eventually sell some historicals, and they too sold under my pen name.

Yes, this decade has been exciting. It’s been a wonderful ride. But 2010, especially, was a year when I achieved those impossible dreams. The ones new writers like to tantalize themselves with. At least I did.

Earlier in the year, I hit the USA Today bestseller list with a book I wrote for Silhouette Desire. Then in September, The Darkest Hour also hit the USA Today bestseller list and for me this was so incredibly sweet, because this book was one I had waited years to be able to publish. It was a book I started on way back when I was still only writing historicals. But Ethan and Rachel’s story came to me and it wouldn’t leave. It stuck with me through all those years until the time was right and I pulled it back out. And the Kelly series was born.

To close out the year, the second book in the KGI series, No Place to Run, landed on the NYT bestseller list and remained on for a second week.

It took a bit for it to truly, truly sink in that so many of my goals had been reached. I’d actually done it. My books landed on the USA Today and NYT bestseller lists.

Four years after publishing that first book, I achieved something that I wasn’t sure I’d ever achieve. It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around it, but I’m more grateful than you can imagine for the opportunity to do something I love so very much.

And I’m grateful to you, the reader, for making it all possible.

My best wishes to you for a happy and safe 2011 as we embark on a brand new decade. May this year and this decade be as sweet and rewarding for you as the past year and decade has been for me.



Snow and more snow :)

I’m currently sitting in front of the fire watching the snow come down outside my window in Beaver Creek, Colorado. It’s gorgeous here. It’s snowed ever since we got here Friday. The kids are out skiing with their dad and I’m about to do some writing before I wade out in the snow to meet them for lunch.

Aren’t my snow babies cute?

A big thank you to all my readers & my glamorous life…

Yesterday was such an exciting day. No Place to Run placed #18 on the New York Times mass market fiction bestseller list. And you guys totally put it there! Thank you so much for pre-ordering it and going out and buying it in release week. *squeeze*

It’s a little surreal. I mean every author hopes to hit the USA Today and the NYT bestseller lists. But if feels like a pipe dream when you’re first starting out. It’s a little weird to think that I’ve hit both lists with my KGI books. Books that are so special to me. A series that is so special to me. To get to do what I love as my job is spectacular enough but to achieve any level of success doing what I love is just priceless. I can’t thank my readers enough for that opportunity. I’m grateful for you every single day.

Just so I never, you know, get too full of myself *snort* As some of you know, my husband is a forester. He buys timber for a paper company. Which means he deals a lot with loggers, good ole boys. (Our kind of people! lol) Anyway we have this friend who owns a logging company and a saw mill. He kept nagging my husband to make me get Word Feud on my cell phone because he thought it would be cool to play against an author.

So I’ve been playing Word Feud for the last few weeks with him. So last night when I saw it was my turn (these games go on for days) as a teasing way of telling him my news, I sent him a chat message through the game saying “You’re now playing Word Feud with a NYT bestselling author heh”

To which he responds: “Yeah, well, you’re playing Word Feud with a drunk redneck”

Well there you have it folks. My life. Glamorous huh?

Oh lots of stuff to talk about

No Place to Run released this week. A huge thank you to those of you who’ve already bought and read it. You guys are so fast! And I hope those of you who are buying later will enjoy it!

There are lots of updates to the website this week as well. FInally an excerpt to Colters’ Daughter yay! AND I’m SO excited because not only do I finally have blurbs for my Scottish historicals that release next fall, but I also got new titles as well! I didn’t like the old ones and the reaction to them was pretty tepid. But I’m so very happy with the blurbs and the titles now. The blurbs are just gorgeous. Gorgeous! I’m so afraid now the books won’t live up to the wonderful back cover copy hehe.

But the new titles are In Bed with the Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass and Never Love a Highlander. You can check out the blurbs on my coming soon page! And please do let me know what you think :)

Hubby and I went couch shopping tonight. Now the thing is, we just moved into this house a year ago. In fact this very time LAST year we were furniture shopping and I picked out TWO couches for our living room. So why were we shopping for another couch?

Because my children are wallowers.

Seriously. The problem is the couch that my husband and I sit on in the evening… Well it’s a large deep couch. I sit on one end and I work. He sits on the other. I sorta stretch out and put my feet on him. Sometimes he’ll lay toward me. Sounds perfect right?

Well, back to the wallowing.

My children refuse to sit on the OTHER couch. It’s going completely to waste. No, they have to sit with mama and daddy. Or ON us I should say. My two youngest pile on the couch and then wallow all over us as they snuggle and wallow and make their place ON us lol. Cute huh?

So I told my husband we simply have to get a bigger couch to replace BOTH couches so that everyone can sit (and wallow) together because right now it’s just not comfortable because while the couch is PERFECT for me and hubby, it is NOT perfect for 4-5 people.

So we went couch shopping and I brought the kids and made everyone sit and wallow on it to make sure we’d all have room and be comfortable. I think the saleslady thought we were insane, but hey, she got a sale out of it!

I’ll have to post a pic of the dogpile when we get the new couch…

It’s been awhile!

It’s been so long since I last blogged that I couldn’t remember my login info. Yeah, that bad…

I’ve been incredibly busy this fall. I don’t think I’ve stopped since August. I’ve churned out one book after another and the result has been edits on all books coming at me all at once along with MORE books that I’m trying to get done in short order.

But enough about that. It’s why you haven’t seen much of me, though I tend to check in on my Facebook page more often.

Had a super weekend. Cooked yummy food, put up our Christmas tree, hung out with the kids and snuggled on the couch in front of a fire. Tonight I’m working on copy edits for Sweet Possession. I’m almost done, done, done! I also just finished up Colters’ Daughter and Hidden Away. Like I said, I’ve been busy!

No Place to Run releases in just a week! Amazing how fast the time has gone by. I swear it was just yesterday that The Darkest Hour released. I LOVE this series. I’m already day dreaming about KGI #4. I have a tentative title but can’t share it until I get final approval from my editor. I LOVE it though. It fits the story so very well. I’ll also let everyone know WHO is in KGI #4 as soon as possible :) I want to make sure I have it all cemented before I let my readers know. Let’s just say I doubt it’s who you think it’ll be ;)

Friday confession

Okay so I have a confession to make. And I feel pretty silly saying it’s a confession, like it’s some tawdry secret I should be whispering or something, but I feel like I’m breaking some kind of unwritten author’s code by saying what I’m about to say.

I love my books.

Okay. There. I said it!

It’s really interesting because I never see authors expressing pride in their work. I’m not saying they don’t. I’m just saying I don’t see it. In fact I see the opposite. I see a lot of “this is a piece of crap.” Or “I NEVER read my book ever ever ever again after final galleys.” or “I never want to see this again. EVER EVER EVER”

I’m not ragging on these authors whatsoever. This is a stressful enough business without me giving people grief or telling them how they should or shouldn’t act (okay so that’s a whole other topic I’ll never get into ;) I’m merely saying that the mindset seems to be it’s not okay to love your book. Or at least ADMIT to liking your own book publicly. (I imagine that’s more the case than really not loving your book)

But I’ll say it again. I love my stories. It wouldn’t make sense if I didn’t! If I didn’t love what I wrote, I wouldn’t sell them so that other people could read them. I simply couldn’t write a story that I didn’t love and have an emotional investment in.

Here’s another deep dark secret for you. I reread my books from time to time. To me, there’s nothing quite like reading a finished book. It feels completely different than reading a word file a million times and then reading a PDF galley. I like holding it in my hands and revisiting characters that I put my heart and soul into. I mean hell, I lived with them while writing them. It’s not like I can just turn off my emotions for them.

Yesterday I was in a bit of a funk so I picked up my first Desire trilogy and read all three books. Know what? I love those stories! :) Book two, The Tycoon’s Rebel Bride, is still my favorite, but I love all three.

There you have it. My deep, dark, shameful secret. *snort*