The Matchmaking Chef Collection
by MADDIE JAMES
The eight novellas of The Matchmaking Chef Series
Maddie is giving away 1 ebook copy of The Matchmaking Chef Series Collection. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter.
Crystal: Today as part of this Bridging the Gap Blog Tour I have the opportunity to ask MADDIE JAMES a few questions. Welcome Maddie, I'm so happy to have you here today. Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?
Maddie: Hi Crystal. Thanks so much for having me here today. I’m excited to chat with you! A little about myself? I am a full-time romance author, but I also have my fingers in other areas of the book world pie. Besides writing, which I have done forever, I am also the owner/publisher of a small publishing house, an occasional book cover designer, and book blogger. I love living in the writing/books world 24/7 and I quite my day job in order to spend all of my time here! I write mostly from home in my sunroom office, where I have to negotiate with two cats and a dog for the sunny spot!
Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for your current release?
Maddie: The Matchmaking Chef series is a spin-off of the Ladies of Legend series of books I co-author with my writing friends Janet Eaves, Magdalena Scott, and Jan Scarbrough. My first book in that series had a character I could not let go of. She eventually became the matchmaking chef, and before I knew it, I’d written 8 stories with her as the recurring character.
Crystal: What are you currently working on?
Maddie: A new series, actually. I just finished final edits on the first book in a time-travel series titled, The Legend of Blackbeard’s chalice. The first three books in this series are actually re-released titles, but there have been extensive revisions and changes in the books. The last two books in the series are brand spanking new. They will all come out in 2014 and the first book, Entranced, will be out in March. I am very excited to put this series out there!
Crystal: Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?
Maddie: No, I really don’t. I am more of a by-the-seat-of-my-pants girl. I get up each morning and let the day unfold. I do have a few morning chores, but when it comes to writing, I don’t follow a specific routine or ritual. Some days I want silence. Others I will crank up the music. Often I write at the desk, sometimes with my feed up in my favorite “happy chair.”
Crystal: . Did you have to do a lot of research for this book or any other? If so do you have a fascinating fact that you have learned you would like to share with us?
Maddie: For the Blackbeard series, yes, I did a lot of research and reading about the pirate era in the coastal Carolinas in the year 1718 (the year that Blackbeard was beheaded). This was a very interesting time, and yes, many facts and a lot of lore, that I have built into the first book. Did you know that Blackbeard’s head was supposedly never found? But that it is rumored to still exist as a silver-plated chalice, today? You’ll have to read the book to find out how I used that piece of legend in the book!
Crystal: Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?
Maddie: I’ve been writing steadily for quite a while and I don’t read as much when I do. I do love Sandra Brown and have for a long time. Lately, I’ve been reading Lorelei James. I also love great women’s fiction like those written by Elin Hilderbrand and Anita Shreve.
Crystal: Is there any genre you haven't written that you would like to try?
Maddie: I write romantic suspense, but I have never written a pure cozy mystery. I have an idea for one that will take my matchmaking chef out of her comfort level a little bit… Stay tuned!
Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?
Maddie: Sure! Let me give you a little set-up to this scene from Romancing The Scone, book 6 in The Matchmaking Chef series. Sydney is a baker and she has just won the Best Scones of the South award, and suddenly finds herself being “stalked” by the man who had won the award for the five previous years. As the title may suggest, Stone (Steve) Kellerman is out to “romance” the winning scone recipe from Sydney.
Here is the scene:
“Sydney, I have to tell you that I am in love with that orange scone of yours. You have to tell me more about it.”
Okay... We’ll talk about the scone first. Not a bad idea. Could lead right into the line of discussion I want to start.
“Well, Steve. It’s simple, really.”
He chuckled. “Not simple. It has fabulous flavor. Very complex. And I love it with the coffee you served up.”
He noticed that. Hm. Good.
“I intentionally serve that coffee on orange scone day.”
“I figured as much.”
She leaned forward, loving this conversation. How often did she really get to talk about her scones? It made her almost orgasmic. “It’s the flavor combination, you know? People don’t realize it, but all they know is they want to come back for more.”
“It’s brilliant, actually.”
Satisfied, Sydney sat back and took another sip of her wine. “I thought so.”
“I get a hint of nut in the scone....it’s subtle, but noticeable. Yet, the texture is not nut-like.”
She smiled. He was good. “It’s the flour.”
His eyebrow peaked. “Oh?”
“It’s a nut flour.”
“Ah. Will you tell me what kind?”
Sorry, Buster, until I know more about you, that secret is safe with me. Grinning, she replied,
He grinned back. “You are a sly one, Ms. Sydney Schul.”
“I’ve been told that.” Her tummy did a little twitter.
He studied her for a moment. “It’s macadamia nut flour, isn’t it?”
She tried very hard to keep a poker face and wondered how she was succeeding. How did he guess that? “You are just thinking that because of the coffee. It’s Hawaiian, remember? It’s tricky.”
It was his turn to sit back in his seat now. “No... You’re trying to throw me off track. It’s macadamia nut flour. I’m certain. And I bet my bottom dollar that it’s Grand Marnier in the icing and not Curaçao.”
“You’d lose that last dollar then,” she countered.
“You’re certain about that?” Leaning forward again now.
She did the same. “Positive.”
For about ten long seconds, they sat there at the little table staring into each other’s eyes, then finally Sydney said, “Talking about food is a little like foreplay, isn’t it?”
Steve took a deep breath. “I have to admit, I’m a little turned on here.”
“Well, Ms. Sydney, I do recall thinking to myself the other day that eating your scone was something akin to hot, decadent sex on a plate.”
Glancing down at their table of barely touched food, and then back up again into Steve’s eyes, Sydney mustered up everything in her and quietly said, with a tart hint of wicked in her voice, “Steve, eat my scone.”
When Suzie Matthews (Bed, Breakfast & You) accidentally cooks up a scene that causes her sister to get back together with her high school boyfriend (Home for the Holidays), she wonders if she can help other singletons living in the small mountain town of Legend, Tennessee find the loves of their lives.
Being a matchmaker isn’t really on her list of things to do—after all, she has a bed & breakfast to run, cookbooks to write, and a television show on the Food Channel to keep up with. But baking is her thing, and perhaps matchmaking can be her thing, too. After all, there is a song going through her head that goes something like this…
Matchbaker, Matchbaker, bake me a match? No wait. Make me a match. Nevermind! You get the picture, right?
Welcome to Legend, Tennessee. And welcome to the matchbaking, er, matchmaking world of Chef Suzie Matthews.
Includes the 8 novellas: Perfectly Matched, Dates Du Jour, Hot Crossed Buns, Side Dish, Mate To Order, Romancing The Scone, Better Than Chocolate, and Hard Candy Kisses, @ 133,000
Novellas also available separately.
Available at the following retailers: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | IBOOKS | SMASHWORDS | ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS
Blurbs from each novella:
Perfectly Matched, Book One
Suzie Matthews is hard at work on her new cookbook, Perfectly Matched, when she asks the local “wallflower” to help her with a project. Mary Lou Picketts dreams of falling in love with country music star, Nash Rhodes, but is ready to settle for Thurman Phillips down the street. But she doesn’t want to. Not really. When Nash comes to Legend for a music benefit and stays at the lodge, Suzie wonders if she can perfectly match this miss-matched couple.
Hot Crossed Buns, Book Two
Wild Katie Long, she’ll never settle down. But Chris Marks has had his eye on her for a long time. When Chris hires Suzie to set him up with a romantic dinner for two, Suzie does all she can to set the mood. Thing is, Katie isn’t about to be wooed and she’s hotter than hot crossed buns when she figures out what Chris is up to. Then Suzie turns the tables by supplying Chris with a couple of items that just might tame Katie after all—handcuffs and a leather riding crop.
Dates Du Jour, Book Three
Speed dating? Speed eating is more like it. When Suzie sets up lunch date after lunch date for Lyssa Larkin, Legend’s homegrown homecoming queen of 1992, she knows she’s bit off more than she can chew. Lyssa rejects dates in two bites and sends them on their way. Suzie wonders if she really wants to date or just eat two lunches, and worries that soon Lyssa’s hips won’t fit on her dainty chairs. That is, until Suzie takes a risk with a man that Lyssa knows, but doesn’t, and who is falling for her hard and fast.
Side Dish, Book Four
Becca North doesn’t want a boyfriend but her best friend Nora certainly does. Becca is soooo off men. But when Nora, owner of Nora’s Novel Niche, meets Suzie the Matchmaking Chef, during a booksigning at her store, she pays the matchmaker to arrange a romantic picnic date lunch for her—a blind date, no less. Nora drags Becca along all the way from Pigeon Forge for moral support and to check out her date. Thing is, Nora’s date would rather check out Becca, instead.
Mate to Order, Book Five
When Suzie’s success as a matchmaker hits the national scene about the same time as her debut cooking show on the Food Channel, her new producer comes to her with a list of requirements—not for Suzie’s job, but for a husband. Patricia Plum has a specific list and if Suzie really wants to make it big in New York City, she’ll make every attempt to deliver, Patricia’s “Mate to Order.”
Romancing the Scone, Book Six
High tea or sweet tea? As long as there are scones, it doesn’t matter. In fact, Sydney Schul, owner of Sydney’s Sugar Coffee Stop and Bakery, makes the best damned scones east of the Mississippi, and there was an article written about her in Southern’s Best magazine to prove it. All is well and life in Legend is good, until a mysterious male stranger comes to town, stalking her scones and coercing Legendarians to nab her recipe.
Better than Chocolate, Book Seven
When Scott Matthews escapes to Legend to visit his brother, Brad and his wife Suzie, he has only one request—he doesn’t want to talk, smell, or taste chocolate. Nor does he want to discuss getting fired as chocolate taster from world-renowned Bianchi Chocolates. What Jillian Bass needs is to make it in Legend. This Manhattan transplant knows nothing about small town living other than she wants to make it big here real bad. Forget New York, she’s trying to set up her small chocolate shop and impress the locals. And all is fine until she smacks straight into Scott.
Hard Candy Kisses, Book Eight
New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and Legend Elementary teacher Patti Jo Baker has tried every trick in the book to land a date for the annual New Year’s Eve Bash at The Lodge. This includes setting up a kissing booth at the Legend Elementary Winter Carnival—a booth which Principal Jim Hamilton promptly shuts down. Because if Patty Jo Baker is passing out kisses, any kind of kisses, he wants to be both first, and last, in line—and he definitely doesn’t want to sample them in front of the student body.
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