Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


This cheery face belongs to my guest today, Babette James. She writes contemporary and fantasy romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints.

A teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! She lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and three extremely spoiled cats.

 What is your life like away from the computer? Tell us something about your household. Jazzie, my cat, wants to hear about your kitty-pusses.

Jazzie will be happy to learn my husband and I are owned by three very spoiled cats. Mittens, who is going on fifteen, always knows when a lap has become available. Gracie will be eleven and specialized in sleeping and mimicking a fur-covered football. Pookie, the baby, who will be nine in September, has decided it is his duty to wake me promptly at 5:00 a.m. every day so I won’t forget to feed him or give him his cuddles. I hand raised him from when he was one day old and he has been to school with me, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and Mystic Seaport, although he did sleep through most of those events.

Between launching Clear As Day and trying to finish the next book, I haven’t been away from the computer much lately, but I like to experiment with bread recipes for my bread machine, and now, that the weather has warmed up, I’ll be out in the yard more often, trying to stay ahead of the weeds. I don’t watch much television, but I’m loving Once Upon a Time right now.

What is your writing schedule like?

I try to write and/or edit every day. I like to write very early in the morning before work and at night. Morning is great. My husband is sleeping and cats are snoring, and it’s just me with my coffee and writing, sitting in the peace and quiet. I usually write while in an online chat with my critique group and other writing friends. We’ll often do timed challenges to work on writing or editing and share snips of our work.

Do you ever dream of writing in a different genre?

I’d love to try Romantic Suspense. I have a story idea that I might work on in the future.

What part of the writing process brings you the most pleasure? The most angst?

I love writing the first draft, I enjoy the surprises of storytelling. I enjoy seeing a story grow out of a little idea, plots twist and turn, expand and shift, how one story can spawn into a series, and how the characters grow and reveal their lives and find their happily ever after. The first draft is all happiness, seeing that word count grow, finding favorite passages, fun lines. 

The most angst is definitely in the editing stages. All that lovely word count, those brilliant passages ( lol ), and fun lines now must be corrected, gutted, rearranged, whittled down, tightened up, fluffed, and polished. It seems endless and it’s easy to lose sight of progress when focused at the word and sentence level.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working hard to finish and submit the next story, currently called Love Burns, featuring two of Nate and Kay’s friends. This story takes off right from where Clear As Day ends. I love this couple’s chemistry, and I’ve enjoyed seeing their story come to life as they work through their personal trials and find their own happily ever after together. I also have two more stories started for couples out of this group of friends and I have a fantasy romance series in the works. Who needs sleep?

Has your road to publication been a walk in the park or a steep mountain climb? Give us some details?

My road was both long and short. I have been writing all my life, but unfortunately, I let anxiety and doubt divert me from seriously pursuing publication until recently.

Oh, Babette, I did the same thing. I wonder how many of us have allowed self-doubt to freeze our movement foreward as writers?

Interesting question. I realized I had a choice: I could just keep filing the story ideas away, never be published, and live with wishful thinking, or damn the doubts, start the scary process of submission and maybe still never succeed, but at least I wouldn’t have to live with the worse regret of never trying.

I have received several rejection letters since that moment on different stories, and each one delivered a different level of pain and frustration, but I determined to use them to make me tell a better story and make me a better writer. My first rejection letter was the best one and I will always remember that kind editor who took the time to write a few encouraging and critical comments in her letter and spurred me on to keeping hope and continue my efforts.

Those efforts brought success when The Wild Rose Press made the offer for Clear As Day. Let me tell you, the joy from that acceptance blew away the pain of every prior rejection. 

I know exactly what you mean. I recall the feeling, the elation, the OMG moment quite well. Now, tell us about your current release.

My new release, Clear As Day, is a spicy contemporary romance about two friends with benefits facing the fears and uncertainties of their changing relationship and is set against the background of the summer heat and cool waters of Lake Mohave.

Clear As Day is my debut novel and began its life as a short story I wrote back in college. It’s been a story of my heart in many ways, so seeing this story bloom and come to life as a full-length published novel truly has been a dream come true. Receiving the 4 1/2 star scorcher review from Romantic Times and being able to hold my book in my hands have been truly thrilling moments. I hope you enjoy Nate and Kay’s journey as much as I have.

Blurb: What’s a girl to do when her summer lover wants forever?

Haunted by dark memories of her parents’ volatile marriage, artist Kay Browning keeps her heart locked behind a free-spirit facade and contents herself with the comfortable affair she has every summer with easygoing photographer Nate Quinn.

The only trouble with her plan? This summer Nate’s come to Lake Mohave to claim the lover he can’t let go. He’s done with the endless traveling and settling for temporary homes and temporary loves. Kay’s always been more than just a vacation fling, and now he must convince this woman, who sees love as a course to certain heartbreak, to take that leap of faith and learn how safe love with the right man can be.


She trailed her fingers over his collection of pebbles on the table, polished by sand, wind and water. Be happy. Be happy. How could she feel so happy and terrified at the same time? You’d think one would cancel out the other.

She would be happy. They would talk. She would sort out her mind.

Don’t worry, be happy.

She slipped on her leather sandals and picked up her sunhat, sunglasses and beach bag. “All set.”

As Kay and Olivia arrived at Spider Camp, Nate was talking and taking casual shots of Dave sitting on his boat. Dave waved. Nate stopped talking the moment she came into sight, his attention fixed on her in a way that rushed heat through her and kicked a happy tumble in her heart.

He waved. “Hey, babe!” He raked his gaze over her. “Stop right there.” He raised his camera and made swift adjustments. “Okay, move.” Rapid shutter clicks followed his order. “Oh, yeah. Beautiful. Slower. Perfect.”

He met her halfway and kissed her hot and hard. “I was about to track you down. You look great.”

“And you look happy.”

“Life is good.” He gave her another quick kiss. “I took some awesome shots today.”

Be happy. Kay smiled. She just needed to practice. Starting now. “Want a beer then to celebrate?”

“Sounds great.” Nate slid an arm around her waist and whispered in her ear, “Damn, I love this suit on you. Why does it always make me want to peel you out of it?” He caressed his hand down over her bottom, holding her close. He softly nipped her earlobe. “Between this one and that yellow-dot one, I am one happy man.”

Desire twisted and heated through her. Wanting him was so easy. That, at least, she never doubted.

“Let’s go swimming, so I can play. Hmm?” he murmured, with more little nips. “Please?”

Go on, practice being happy. Go swimming. Play. Relax. Enjoy. Love.

What was so hard about all that?


Kay tugged the knot of her pareu free and tucked the wrap into his hand. “Okay.” She pulled away from him and strolled off, slipping off her shirt and tossing it, her sunglasses and hat on a chair as she passed, kicking off her sandals as she reached the damp sand.

Running feet pounded up behind her, and Nate scooped her up in his strong arms. He charged laughing with her into the water and threw them both in, the cool shocking splash against her sun-heated skin driving a giggling shriek from her.

Laughter and friendly catcalls rang behind them from their friends.

Nate tugged her to her feet, his body hard and warm against hers. He shook the water from his hair. A big smile, alive with affection and delight, lighted his face. Mischief danced in his eyes. “Come on, follow me.” He swam with lazy strokes toward the moored boats and flipped around, floating on his back, waiting. When she followed, he kicked farther on, putting Lloyd’s and Dave’s boats between him and the shore. She caught up with him. The water here was breast deep.

He snagged her wrist and drew her close.


To learn more about Babette James and the stories she creates go to:

The Wild Rose Press - eBook & Paperback: - eBook & Paperback:


Babette James said...

Hi Vonnie! Thanks so much for letting me visit here today.

christine warner said...

Hi Ladies...enjoyed the interview. Funny how so many of us have written for so long, but put off submitting and following our dreams because we had doubt. Glad we all got over it. lol

Loved the excerpt...good luck with your book!

Joanne Stewart said...

Hi ladies! Great blog! Doubt is definitely a killer. It got the best of me once. I stopped writing for a while. He still likes to creep in and whisper in my ear from time to time, but I flick him firmly off my shoulder and tell him where to go. In a strange way, it's always nice to hear you're not alone in that feeling. And I too am glad we all got over it, or else I wouldn't have all these great books to read!

Fabulous excerpt. This one's on my TBR pile and moving up quickly!

Janet Pepsin said...

Hi, Babette,
Nice interview...if you substitute dogs for cats, we live pretty much the same life, lol!

Your book looks wonderful, and it's on my list to it available for Nook?

All best,
Jaye Marie Rome

Beth Trissel said...

Hello! I enjoyed the blog and learning more about Babette and her journey and super new release. I love cats, also dogs. One of those 'both' people. Doubt is a menace. Sail on!

Babette James said...

Christine, thank you so much! It would be nice if joy in our work was easier than the doubt!

Thanks,Joanne! It definitely helps to learn we're not alone. Finding friends in other writers and being part of a critique group has definitely made ignoring the doubts easier.

Hi Janet, thanks! Yes, it's available on Nook now.

Babette James said...

Hi Beth. Glad you enjoyed it. I love dogs, too!

Melissa Fox said...

Fun interview, Babette and Vonnie! It's amazing how much having a critique group helps with support, encouragement, and friendship. It's one of the best resources a writer has nowadays!

Calisa Rhose said...

I can so relate to this interview. Great one, btw, ladies. Babette, I did the same thing; wrote for my private pleasure until I finally decided time was a wastin and I got serious. There really wasn't angst so much as making the commitment. I literally signed a commitment paper in 2006 that "This will be my year" and though it wasn't contracturally, it was in that I submitted my first ms. Good luck hon!

Katherine said...

Babette, I was so like you too. I had three complete manuscripts on the shelf in my closet that I'd written because they wouldn't leave me alone but hadn't ever sent them out because I didn't want someone to tell my how bad they were. A friend talked me into letting her read one of them and one year and 2 rewrites later, I sold it to The Wild Rose Press. One thing I learned through all of that was never to let your doubts and fears hold you back. Hope you have much success in your writing career. :o)

Sandra Dailey said...

I loved the blurb. And, Yes, I did have a FWB at one point in my life. I never had to worry about it getting complicated, though. He was my ex-husband. It was a been-there-done-that situation.

bas1chs said...

It sounds like you have your hands full with your "needy" cats - but I'm sure they appreciate you and your lap LOL!