NEWS/BLOG

Carry Me Home is HERE!

Carry Me HomeWe are LIVE! Carry Me Home (Paradise, Idaho, Book 1), is now available from Montlake Romance!

What is it? It’s funny, sweet, sexy, steamy, warm & tender. And it’s scary. And it has a pretty great dog. Junior Jackson, the genuine article.

But you want to know what it’s REALLY about, so here’s the blurb:

Take one cowboy with a slow, sweet, sexy smile, add one buttoned-down, walled-off geology professor with sass to spare, toss in a campus stalker with other plans…and you’ve got Paradise, Idaho.

Paradise, Idaho, may not be the largest town, but for newly minted professor Zoe Santangelo, it’s the first step on the path to her big break. After teaching in a small Idaho school, her next stop is the Ivy League, and no one is going to stand in her way. She’ll do what it takes to move up, to protect her students from a creepy campus stalker–and to protect her heart from Cal Jackson, the hot, hunky cowboy who keeps coming to her rescue.

After a career-ending injury, Cal has left professional football behind and come home to work the family farm. He’s determined not to get mixed up with any more city girls who don’t want to settle down with a country boy. But after he rescues sassy geologist Zoe from a snowy ditch, he can’t stop thinking about her. Can Cal keep Zoe safe from whoever is targeting her–and can he show her that having ambition doesn’t mean she has to sacrifice love?

Read an excerpt

and see for yourself!

Read along with FIERCE!

Do yoFierce Thumb[2]u want to read along with my new book?

I’m writing this super-fun, very sexy, totally sweet book, first one in a brand-new series, “Not Quite a Billionaire”–a brand-new venture for me. It’s just a total kick to do. And it’s coming out on Amazon sometime around July 1.

If you’ve read JUST IN TIME (Escape to New Zealand, Book 8) in the SWEET TALK collection (the book also comes out all by itself on Amazon on June 30, with a BONUS chapter that, mmm, I think you might enjoy (but that, let’s just say, certain rules prohibited me from including in the boxed-set version)–it’s the “story within a story” that Faith writes. And you might be surprised at how it turns out! I know that Hemi and Hope are surprising the heck out of me!

If you want to read along for the first eight or nine chapters--ALL you have to do is join my mailing list, and you’ll get a new chapter every week!

This offer is ONLY good for mailing list subscribers, because it’s my way to take my readers along with me on this journey.

Oh, what’s the book? Well, so far it’s called this, and it’s THIS.

FIERCE (Not Quite a Billionaire, Book 1)

I never asked Hemi Te Mana to rescue me.

It was true that I had a lousy job. Not to mention a lousy apartment and way too much responsibility, although it was a responsibility I wouldn’t have given up for the world. That still didn’t mean I needed rescuing, if that was what you’d call the situation I ended up in.

And anyway, I knew that a multimillionaire Maori CEO with too many muscles, a tribal tattoo, and a take-no-prisoners attitude was way, way out of my league.

 So, no, I didn’t ask him to, but he rescued me anyway. Because Hemi was fierce. But you know what I found out? So was I.

Read Chapter 1 now -

Or Sign up to read more chapters!

 

 

 

Q&A with Audie-nominated narrator Claire Bocking

Claire BockingWhat goes into creating an Audie-nominated audiobook? Readers talked to Claire Bocking, the Audie-nominated narrator of the Escape to New Zealand series, to find out.

From Rosalind James’s Facebook page, April 2015. Some content has been edited for clarity and organization.

Q: Will you be going to New York for the Audie awards?

A: Aw, I WISH! My baby girl is due May 14… even if she comes early, I’m just not sure I could make it to NYC for the black tie gala. I find some comfort in reminding myself that I wouldn’t have a thing to wear! (IS there such a thing as a post-baby evening gown?) I admit, knowing I can’t make it hasn’t stopped me from practicing goofy acceptance speeches!

Q: What did you think when you received the news of the Audie nomination?

A: I couldn’t believe it! JUST THIS ONCE [the nominated book] was my first audiobook. How amazing to get such high praise right from the beginning of my audiobook career!

Q: What type of voice training do you have to come up with your wide range of inflections for the different characters? It amazes me how you switch back and forth.

A: I went to drama school in London, and completed a 3-year BA in acting. I think I was in the last year of students to take phonetics and dialect class – they don’t actually do it any more (most casting directors now just opt for actors with the real thing). I love dialects, languages and silly voices though, which helps! Perhaps also because I moved around a lot when I was a kid.

Q: How did you get started in acting, and is it your full time job?

A:. I focused on film, TV and commercials when I got to LA in 2006, but switched to voiceover after my son was born in 2010. Rosalind’s books do keep me very busy these days, absolutely – particularly now that I have taken on audiobook production as well. The books need to be turned around in around a month, so yes, it has become a full time job. I do still have a manager who sends me out on film and TV stuff though. Having said that, I’m about to have a baby any day now, so I think that might be my full time job for the next few months.

Q: How and why did you get into doing narration?

A: Not long after I made my commercial demo reel for voiceover work, I was contacted to audition for JUST THIS ONCE through a website. I’d never done an audiobook before, but I love it! It really is liberating being able to play all those characters without worrying what you look like. And really, who else would cast me as a 300-pound rugby player?

Q: How many times do you a read the book before you begin the narration?

A: I actually just read it once to prepare the script (with different colors for each character). Rosalind does this brilliant thing (which I recommend for all authors thinking of making audiobooks) where she gives me the character breakdowns. If I know who’s speaking, and have a good grasp of their character, the words tend to play out from their point of view, if that makes sense. Unfortunately there’s just not the time to rehearse it like a play, but there is something really challenging as an actor, just reacting as the words come up. I have a pretty good idea of what is happening in each chapter, but how the responses come it is quite live.

Q: When doing the Narration, I assume it’s in script form?

A: Actually, I work off a good ol’ document… and then I highlight it, and then turn it into a PDF when I’m about to record (in case I delete stuff while I’m scrolling – learned THAT the hard way). The highlighting is really important, so I know when and which character is about to speak.

Q: How long does it take you to record an audiobook?

A: It does depend on how long the books are, of course, but if I’m just reading it takes roughly two hours of reading for one hour of finished audio. I also take a bit of time to prepare the script (a different color for each of the characters) and practice the place names and Maori words.

Usually I take a bit of time at the beginning of a new book to work out the voices of the main characters too, so they feel second nature

Recently I’ve taken on the production side of things too, so from start to finish, including all the editing, mastering and so on it takes me around two months, if it’s a long one, like JUST MY LUCK.

Q: Do you have to re-record anything? Something that you didn’t like the sound of once you heard it in playback?

A: For the first four books, I worked with an engineer, and I really didn’t get to hear it played back until it was finished. I have now taken on the production side of things too, which has been fantastic for my narration – sometimes I do different takes, if I don’t like the first one, and I can be the “director” and choose which one to use. It’s so great! The main challenging thing now is sticking to choices and not being too pedantic – I have deadlines, after all!

Q: if someone were wanting to be a narrator, what advice would you give?

A: My advice would be not to make the mistake of thinking you are just reading words, or to just focus on saying the words without making mistakes. I would say you should tell the story as you hear it in your head. Telling a story is so personal, just trust that if the story is coming alive for you, it is for the listener as well.

Q: With all the books you’ve narrated, and with all the different characters you’ve done, how do you keep them separated? In JUST ONCE MORE, you have every character in this one book. How do you remember the voice that you give to each character?

A: Keeping the characters separated is definitely a challenge – especially with so many rugby fellas in one scene, and American ladies in the WAG section these days. What helps is having a strong visual to each character, and a very thorough idea of what they are like. Hannah, for example, is quite sweet and bright. Kate is a bit deeper and more sassy. Rosalind’s writing helps, of course, but I hope that as long as I can reflect their personality a bit in how they’re speaking it comes across.

Q: Rosalind’s books, while not graphic, are very sexy and steamy. Does it bother you to read the steamy parts?

A: I was a little awkward at first! When I got home after reading my first steamy scene in JUST THIS ONCE, I told my husband I wasn’t sure if I could do it – it was so surreal. He looked up and said, “You’re an actor, though, right? Isn’t it your job to make that work?” Very sound advice. It’s not about me, and me being awkward, it’s about the story. So I just try and tell it the best I can.

It’s just about putting myself aside and being committed to the story, which is never hard to do with Rosalind James’s books. Her characters are always so well filled out, you’re usually so happy for them, and the sex scenes come from a good, fun place. I did turn down narration on one book, which involved a sadist and lots of violent rape scenes. I just didn’t want to go there.

Q: You have the Kiwi accent down. How hard is it to go to an American accent?

A: I actually think Kiwis might disagree with you… it’s a very tricky accent. American is much easier, because it’s so easy to hear… it’s everywhere. NZ accents, not so much. What you hear is my Australian, which is very similar, (a bit like Canadian is similar to American) with a few NZ vowel sounds thrown in. I WISH I were better at it… but I can understand the Kiwis who get upset, ‘cos I’m not a real Kiwi. I’ve made my peace with it, and decided I can’t let a few wobbly vowel sounds get in the way of a good story.

I  did reach out to Kiwis on the “Kiwis in LA” Facebook page, asking for help with Maori pronunciation. Lots of people were happy to help, and they were all so friendly! I think my favorite NZ line was Nate saying, “All I know about business could fit on the head of a pin” which in NZ is, “fut on the hid of a pun.”

Q: Where’s your home town in Oz?

A: I was born in Adelaide, South Australia. I grew up more in Canberra though. Go the Brumbies!

Q: Did you like rugby before you started narrating Rosalind’s books?  Especially since you are doing the All Blacks and you are an Aussie?

A: Actually if I can be honest, I wasn’t a huge rugby fan growing up – the big boofhead boys going out to play rugby couldn’t be more different than me, headed to drama with my copies of Shakespeare. During university I worked at Bruce stadium, home of the Brumbies, and they had a great season, so I guess I cheered for them by default. I certainly got to know a lot about rugby, and the guys, their speeches, and the fans… but I wouldn’t say I was a fan until I started reading Rosalind James’s books. She writes these guys with so much depth and internal conflict… it’s nice to think of them as big softies at heart.

Q: Which of the books you’ve narrated so far is your favorite?

A: I really went places emotionally in JUST FOR FUN [her fourth audiobook]. I think I finally started hitting my stride with that one.

What Makes a Book Re-Readable?

I answered a survey from Amazon Crossing today (my German publisher). One of the questions they asked was, “As an author, which of these are most and least important to you”? About ten items followed—such things as “making a living,” “artistic/creative expression,” “connecting with readers,” “professional recognition,” etc.

It was pretty easy for me to choose my “most important. “ “Artistic/creative expression” and “making a living,” in that order. I want to write the books I love, and I don’t want to do anything else! But after I filled out the survey, I realized there was an item that wasn’t on there:

Writing re-readable books.

I’m a huge re-reader. If I love a book, I often go back and read it again. I want to savor it, to re-experience it. (Same thing with movies. I watch them twice.) I have a few authors whose books I’ve read and re-read over the years, whose books have really stood the test of time for me. Only a few. Jane Austen, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Georgette Heyer, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Dick Francis, the wonderful and under-recognized Eva Ibbotson. I own those authors’ books in paperback, ebook, AND audiobook, just so I can read or listen to them any time I want.

I realized that, for me, the very best thing would be to write books that are re-readable in that way. My favorite emails from readers are the ones that say they’ve re-read the books, or that they’ve listened to the audio and it’s been so much fun to hear the books. And that made me think about a couple of things.

First, it’s why I don’t go faster. I’ve tried to push my process over the past year or so, when I found out that other authors were able to write eight books a year where I could only write four. But I found that my books stubbornly refused to get thought up faster. My one experience where I started writing without really knowing my characters, without getting fully into their heads, was JUST GOOD FRIENDS. I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to write a second book, I jumped into it too fast. I finished it and was happy, but I sent it to my beta readers, and they said, “Ehhhh…” Kate’s character, it turned out, wasn’t developed enough, because I hadn’t thought enough about what it would FEEL like to have been in her situation, to have been stalked and terrorized. Once I did, I rewrote the book, and everybody liked it much better.

Same thing with writing. It takes me 4-6 weeks to write a 100k (350-page) book once I start, and while that sounds fast to non-writers, for many romance writers it would be a snail’s pace. But I find that I need a certain amount of time to write, edit, polish the prose; time to think and let the book “rest,” to come back the next day and edit some more, to have the characters’ reactions, on and off the page, unspool in my head, in order for the book to have some richness, for the other things to occur to me so it isn’t just a rush from A to Z and on to the next book.

I’m not saying that those who write faster aren’t writing rich books with great character development. I’m saying that for me, there’s a pace where that happens, and a pace where it doesn’t, and I need to be good with that.

So—what DOES make a book re-readable? I think it’s all that–the depth and “reality” of the characters, that they’re people you remember after you finish the book. There are some authors who write very well, and the experience is pleasant, the cost of the book well worth it, but I couldn’t tell you a single memorable character from any of their books, even if I’ve read 15 of them.

Then it’s the flow, the ease of it, and the writing quality, too. It’s some indefinable spark that makes that book come alive, where you’re escaping into that world and just—immersed. Whether it’s a thriller, a mystery, a historical novel, a romance, a literary novel, you’re THERE. As a writer, during that 4-6 weeks when I’m writing, I’m totally wrapped up in my book. I’m with the characters, believing that they’re real, living in their heads and hearts. My goal, my dream, would be that I could transmit some of that “life” to my readers as well; that they could believe, for just a little while, that they were there, too. That’s the sharing and connection that makes it all worthwhile for me.

What do YOU think? What qualities make a book re-readable? Who are your most re-readable authors? Whose paperback books are still on your shelf in this digital age? Whose books do you go back to for a comfort read? I’d love to know.

Just This Once Nominated for an Audie!

Rosalind James Audie

How the heck did this happen? “Just This Once” just received one of five nominations in the Romance category for an Audie award! The nominees are:

- The Bridges of Madison County (Robert James Waller; read by Stephen O’Hare and Kelly Pasquale)
– Burn for Me (Ilona Andrews; read by Renne Raudman)
– First Love (James Patterson; read by Lauren Fortgang)
- Just This Once (Rosalind James–ME; read by the FABULOUS Claire Bocking)
– Rumor Has It (Jill Shalvis; read by Karen White)

It’s CRAZY! If you don’t know what the Audies are–they’re the Oscars of audiobooks, and being nominated is a huge honor, especially for an indie author. Mainly, it’s one pretty massive testimonial to Claire’s skills–narrating her very first audiobook, which makes it all the more amazing.

Here’s her”congratulations” video from Audible–I love this. It made her laugh and cry–and it should have. We’re goin’ to New York City! (Awards ceremony end of May.)

If you want to listen, you can get the audio version for only $1.99 via the WhisperSync program, if you own the Kindle book (which is FREE).

Here’s a sample chapter, if you want to hear Claire doing her stuff. (You can hear a chapter from every one of the books by going to my Audio page, right here on the site.)

What Am I Working On?

Sweet TalkWell, you know what–I’m writing JUST IN TIME, which will be the full-length Escape to New Zealand book included in SWEET TALK, the Brenda Novak boxed set! (Which will be up for two months only, May & June. After that, JUST IN TIME will be available separately.)

What is JUST IN TIME? Well, it’s actually Will’s story. Will Tawera thought his life was all sorted once he moved to Auckland to play for the Blues. Seems Will has just about everything, until he doesn’t. And once he spends a holiday–all right, runs away–to Las Vegas…what happens in Vegas isn’t going to stay in Vegas. One stupid decision after another, and all Will’s chickens are coming home to roost. Suddenly, he’s in way over his head, because Fate has a pretty funny sense of humor. Good thing Will’s got a Swim Buddy to keep him from drowning…

How far have I gotten? One week in, I’m about 25% of the way, blazing along, and even I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen next.

Beautiful New Zealand

My son on a rope swing above Hahei Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, on Christmas Eve.

My son on a rope swing above Hahei Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, on Christmas Eve.

Hubby took this picture a few years ago. Want to see more? Check out one of the most gorgeous collections of New Zealand images I’ve ever seen.

“Is it really this beautiful?” people will ask. Or are there just pretty places, and the rest of it is nondescript? No. It’s really this beautiful.  When I went there the first time (and I’ve been to a lot of places in my life), I had “beauty overload.” After a week, I’d looked at one beautiful place, then another beautiful place, then another beautiful place…I was overwhelmed.

We have a picture of a sign saying “Scenic Overlook.” We took it because it was funny. Because nearly every spot you can pull off the road is a scenic overlook.

Just in Time

Just in Time Thumb JUST IN TIME: Escape to New Zealand, Book 8

What happens in Vegas…

Will Tawera doesn’t do commitment, except on the rugby field. Moving to Las Vegas to become a kicker for the NFL would be a big change from New Zealand rugby, but then, he’s ready for a change. And when he’s asked to do a little modeling on the side? Thousands of dollars to hold a beautiful blonde while looking dark, dangerous, tattooed, and Maori? He could do that.

Faith Goodwin doesn’t do dark, dangerous men. Especially not when they make her laugh, take her miniature golfing with four-year-olds, and are far too sexy and sweet for comfort. But when Will finds himself in hot water back in New Zealand, who’s he going to call? And who would be able to resist answering?

READ AN EXCERPT (First three chapters!)

 

Auszeit in Neuseeland–Bestseller in Germany!

Auszeit in NeuseelandWell, THIS is awfully exciting. As of today, AUSZEIT IN NEUSEELAND, the German edition of JUST THIS ONCE, will have been on the bestseller list in the German Kindle store for 8 days!

What you see here is my German translator, Antje Papenburg, holding the book at the Frankfurt Book Fair last month. Doesn’t she look a little bit like Hannah?

CARRY ME HOME (Paradise, Idaho, Book 1)

Carry Me Home

We are LIVE!

Carry Me Home (Paradise, Idaho Book 1): Releasing June 16, 2015 from Montlake Romance!

And, yep, that thing up there? That’s the theme song. Hope you like your guys big and tough, because that’s what I’ve got for you.

Here’s what it’s about:

Paradise, Idaho, may not be the largest town, but for newly minted professor Zoe Santangelo, it’s the first step on the path to her big break. After teaching in a small Idaho school, her next stop is the Ivy League, and no one is going to stand in her way. She’ll do what it takes to move up, to protect her students from a creepy campus stalker—and to protect her heart from Cal Jackson, the hot, hunky cowboy who keeps coming to her rescue.

After a career-ending injury, Cal has left professional football behind and come home to work the family farm. He’s determined not to get mixed up with any more city girls who don’t want to settle down with a country boy. But after he rescues sassy geologist Zoe from a snowy ditch, he can’t stop thinking about her. Can Cal keep Zoe safe from whoever is targeting her—and can he show her that having ambition doesn’t mean she has to sacrifice love?

 

Read an excerpt


And here’s the other theme song, for the end of the book. This song always makes me cry. This is Cal’s soft side, the side he keeps hidden, but that Zoe brings out in him, and how I love that.