Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Force is Strong with this one!

Hey all,

I don't know about you, but I absolutely LOVED Star Wars #7, The Force Awakens. And the best part for me was -- my four year old loved it, too! Okay, she didn't stay for the ENTIRE movie. Four year olds can be pretty wiggly, as many of you probably know! But she fell in love with the story of Rey and Finn and BB8. And ever since she's been running around the house roleplaying Rey.

Now you gotta understand, this is a girl who never met a princess dress she didn't like. She's into My Little Pony, Tinkerbell, Cinderella and Elsa. The more glitter and pink and purple the better!

A typical ensemble! 

And while I absolutely don't think there's anything wrong with her loving girlie things--because I don't think "girlie" should ever equal "inferior" - I have to admit, it warmed my heart a little to see her embracing a tough, confident, capable character like Rey.

Rey is an awesome role model for all children--boys and girls--and she really did an amazing job in the film. It wouldn't have been the same film without her! (Despite what some toymakers may think!) 

In any case, this Valentine's Day, in lieu of more candy, we decided to take her to the Disney Store. We told her she could pick out any costume she wanted to. And this is what we came home with! 

I die! 

And yes, tomorrow she may go back to being her girlie girl self, decked out in pink and purple and glitter and tiaras. And that is totally fine! All I care about is that she believes in her heart that princesses (and normal girls) can do anything they set their hearts to! And they never have to feel the need to wait for a prince to come along. Like Rey, they have the power inside of them to save themselves.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sun, Sand, and Reading!

Gotta admit, I've been a bit distracted at my desk this week. Because as of Thursday I am headed to the above photo--Daytona Beach! For the Coastal Magic Convention. This is a reader's and writer's convention that's held every year at a hotel on the beach in the winter. Sun, fun, AND readers! Sign me up!

Last time I came to this convention a couple years ago it rained most of the time. Hopefully that won't happen this time around. But even if it does I'm sure I'll keep busy with all the events they have going on. Panels, parties, meet and greets and lunches. It's going to be great.

My only regret is that JUST THIS NIGHT won't be out yet for sale. When I had originally signed up, the book had been scheduled for a January release so I thought the timing would be perfect. BUT it was not meant to be. That's okay though. I do have some ARCs to give away to readers I might meet and postcards. And I can always show off my Mari Mancusi books.

I have to say - I love conventions like this. Sometimes writing is such a solitary venture and it's not until you go to things like this and really get to know and interact with readers that you remember how important your job is as a writer. Because it's not just about the stories. It's about connecting with other people through your words. THAT is the real magic in my opinion. And going to things like these really makes that magic feel real.

I promise to take lots of photos and post them when I get back!!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Taking time to paint the dragons

We've all heard the saying, "Taking time to smell the roses." But I've never been much of a gardner. And too much flower sniffing makes me sneeze. 

Still, the sentiment is important! We get so caught up sometimes in everyday life--going from here to there without even thinking about it. And sometimes we look up and can't believe how fast time is passing. I swear--just yesterday it was October. Now it's nearly February! 

I think when you have kids it's especially hard. You desperately want to spend time with them, but things always seem to come up. My daughter will ask if I will play with her and I find myself saying, "I will in a minute. I just have to (fill in the blank.)" And often that "fill in the blank" isn't even important in the grand scheme of things. 

And then sometimes I look up and I realize she's getting older. She'll be five in June. And at some point she's not going to want me to play with her anymore. She's going to shy away from my hugs and be embarrassed at public displays of affection. I hope we will still be great partners in crime and that she'll always know she can come to me when she has a problem. But it'll be different. There won't be that sweet innocence she has now. That heart overflowing with love that she's not afraid to share. Right now I swear her most common phrase is, "I LOVE YOU." And it hurts a little to think that won't always be the case. That she will be hurt by someone. She will be told she's not good enough. That she will believe this. And I won't be able to convince her otherwise. 

One time a few months ago, she was being silly--kissing me like a thousand times in a row and finally I laughingly had to tell her to stop. STOP KISSING ME! I cried. And then I thought about how crazy that was. Because I wanted all the kisses. And someday I won't get them anymore. So I need to take as many as I can get now! :) 

Yes, we all have responsibilities. And we all have busy lives. But they are so fleeting and it's important to keep an eye on what really matters--and what is just distraction to that. So this year I have made a vow. To take the time. To play the games. To hug the hugs. To paint the dragons. To just BE in the moment with the ones I love. 

Because nothing can be more rewarding than that.  


Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year

Well, it's finally here! The little one is back at school and the husband is back at work and I'm back at my computer desk...working. Sort of.

Kind of?

I did successfully take a nap earlier. So that's, um, something. Right?

I don't know about you but I find it SO HARD to get back into the routine after an extended absence. Especially when I've got a new book to start. I don't mean to procrastinate--and I really don't get much joy out of scrolling FB all day long, wasting time. But opening up that MS Word document and diving in all over again can seem so daunting.

It doesn't help that, of course, I've mentally set all these goals for myself. Like instead of just easing back in the groove I'm going to write 4,000 WORDS EVERY DAY THIS WEEK, damn it!! After all, I've seen all the big writers brag on Twitter already how many New Year words THEY'VE written. What's wrong with me?

Sometimes, when I'm not in the writing mood I convince myself that I'll never write again. That those 22 books were all just a fluke and I will never get back into the groove. It seems ridiculous to type it out--and maybe that's WHY I feel the need to do so. Because it IS ridiculous - but even knowing that in my head doesn't help when I feel this way.

I look back at my latest book, BREAK OF DAY, which I turned into my editor in early December. There was a point when I was tempted to turn it in without an ending cause I had NO IDEA how to end it. Yet now the ending seems so obvious and it seems crazy I would have ever felt that way. So I have to keep faith that at some point I will pass in this new book. And I will feel the same way.

Of course my distress is nothing compared to the pressure poor George RR Martin must be facing with Winds of Winter. I read his blog post on January 2nd about how the book is still not finished and it felt as if his words were literally bleeding on the page. The stress he must be under! All the fans begging him to finish before the new season starts! That kind of pressure can derail even the most prolific of writers. UGH.

But it's easy for me to give GRRM a pass. Take your time--we'll still be here when you're done! Harder to do so for myself. Every day I don't write I feel this horrible guilt. This pressure of deadline. This worry that I won't get what I need to do done.

But in my heart, I know I will. Maybe I won't get 4,000 words done today. Maybe I won't tomorrow either. But at some point this book will be finished. This book will be on store shelves. And I will be proud of it. And I won't even remember that there was a time that I sat blogging, wondering why I couldn't get myself to write.

Until I start the next book...


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My little inspiration!

I figured since I am doing this blog, I should introduce those of you who don't know me to my little girl, Avalon. She is my only child, 4 1/2 years old, and is the light of my world. She's smart and funny and ridiculously imaginative and never stops talking for a second! And the way she looks at the world--with eyes filled with wonder--it just makes my heart swell. I waited a long time to have a baby girl--and she is worth every second of the wait. (Even those colicky months when she was a baby that I didn't think I'd make it through!)

When you read JUST THIS NIGHT, you will see I had a lot of fun with the hero and his daughter Ashley. And let's just say it's definitely not a coincidence that Ashley is also four years old in the book! In fact, I outright stole some of my husband and daughter's most adorable moments for the book. (Hey! They say write what you know, right?)

The part that was hardest to write, however, was the backstory of Mac's ex-wife, who chose her career over her family and abandoned father and daughter in the worst way possible. When Ashley wakes up from a nightmare screaming for her mother, Mac is rendered completely helpless. He doesn't want to alienate his daughter from her mother. But how does he explain that she's not coming back--in the way a four year old would understand.

It was hard writing those pages. But I'm most proud of them. And I love having a hero who's also a good father. He may be damaged goods, he may not always say or do the right thing. But his heart is always in the right place, devoted to his baby girl.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy Holidays!!!


I feel kind of strange writing this blog before any of the books officially come out. Like I'm shouting into a dark room! But in case you stumbled upon this blog or maybe are one of the bloggers or other advanced readers who scored an early copy -- WELCOME!! It's great to have you here. :)

I'm writing this on my first day back to "work" since the holidays and I put "work" in parenthesis because I pretty much did NO WORK TODAY. Well, I did take two very productive naps which were VERY needed and I met my friend Jo out at Kerby Lane for breakfast tacos (it's a Texas thing!) and we drank HUGE hot chocolates with lots of whipped cream and worked on our GOALS FOR 2015 list.

It's something we've been doing both yearly and monthly. Coming up with goals for each month and then meeting the next month to go over them and see how we did. We aren't always 100 percent, but at least it gives us something to strive for and check off our lists. We also do affirmations -- since much of the writing business is out of control, we write down positive things we would LOVE to happen, but can't make happen of our own volition. For example, my affirmation for 2015 is to become a USA Today Bestseller. It's a lofty goal, I know! But you know what? Back in 2005 - my entire goal was just to have a book published. And that seemed even loftier at the time. In fact, I don't think many of my friends or family believed it would actually happen. But I held the dream in my heart and 10 years later I have 22 books to my name - with more to come.

In the words of Frank-N-Furter from Rocky Horror Picture Show: "Don't dream it. Be it."

Also...did I mention hot chocolate?

It was REALLY good hot chocolate.

Anyway, I'm trying to take it easy this week cause starting next week I really have to ramp things up. I have a middle grade book called, IF THE SHOE FITS, (that title might change) that I need to write in the next month or so. Once I finish that, I need to get started on the third EXCLUSIVE ROMANCE series--the book that comes out after BREAK OF DAY. I think we're calling it LEAVE AT DAWN. It has a war-torn foreign correspondent that I think many readers will fall in love with. Heck, I already have a crush on him -- and I haven't even started writing his story yet!

OKAY must go pick up my daughter from preschool! She's very excited cause she moves up to Pre-K2 next week. What a big girl!! :)

Talk soon!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Hello World!

Greetings and salutations! 

And welcome to my brand new blog. I'm Mari Madison, author of the upcoming contemporary romance novel, JUST THIS NIGHT, part of the Berkley Sensation line (Penguin Random House) and launching in January 2016. 

This book is the first book in a new series of romances I'm writing, all set in a bustling TV newsroom where the news is hot...and the men are even hotter! And I have to say, hero #1, Jake "Mac" MacDonald (seen above), definitely fits the bill. I was so pleased when my editor sent me the above cover--the models look just how I imagined my hero and heroine to look and the vibe is both sexy and sweet--like the book itself. (If I do say so, myself!) 

While I've written almost two dozen books in the past (under the names Marianne Mancusi and Mari Mancusi), this is my first contemporary romance and I had so much fun writing it. The setting is close to home, too. For years I worked as a producer in a TV newsroom and I even won two Emmy awards in the process. Which means I know, firsthand, just how much drama can take place behind the scenes, when the cameras stop rolling. Seriously, the stories I could tell! :) And maybe some of them will wind up in these books--fictionalized, of course, to protect the um, guilty. 

These days, however, I've left TV behind for good--working full time as a writer of books and mother of a happy four year old girl named Avalon. You'll probably hear a lot about Avalon as I continue this blog. And in truth she was a great inspiration for this book, as the hero also has a four year old daughter. Maybe that's one of the reasons I love him so much--in addition to being super hot and really good at his job, he's also an extremely devoted father. There's just something special about a devoted dad, don't you think? 

Well, I guess that's it for now. Thanks again for stopping by and be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get all the info on the upcoming release, sneak previews and awesome giveaways. 

Yours Exclusively,