Dear Reader,

I wanted to write a story that was light and fun, but with a very real character struggling to balance the life she leads with the life she wants, and that’s how Escapades of Romantically Challenged Me came to be. What do you do when what you've wanted for so long just isn’t working, and then you're offered a safe route out - do you give up the dream or keep fighting for it? And how do you handle an ex that has perfect charm, but a history of cheating? These are things I had Lelaina, our heroine, figure out, because as we all know, usually the path to becoming what we want is anything but easy or glamorous.

Lelaina and I do share some similarities, like we both tried to have screenplays produced in Hollywood. And my close friends know that many of Lelaina's little misadventures, were first my little misadventures, including the scene where she eats hand cream. During training for my first half marathon, I'd been ingesting power gel for energy, a common thing for long distance runners to do, but I forgot to pack gel on race day, so when I reached a water station ten miles in and someone handed me a popsicle stick covered in a gel-like substance, I ate it. It wasn't until I asked another runner about the weird gel flavor that I found out it was Vaseline. Suddenly it was clear why everyone at the water station watched in awe as I inhaled the gel in front of them and then tossed the stick into the trash like some kind of Vaseline eating superstar. Here I thought they were just dazzled by my super athletic prowess!

But I think that little incidents like these are what make life entertaining, and it’s the same fun that I tried to bring to Lelaina. Here’s what other people are saying:

When it comes time for summer I want something light. Something fun. Something that I can devour quickly on the beach or when lying in bed on a rainy day. And Escapades totally delivered. Well, almost delivered. The book never did make it to the beach or to a rainy day because I read the whole thing the night I bought it... following [Lelaina] as she deals with family, work and one very awkward situation involving her panties and her boy toy’s mom, is just hilarious. There are a ton of chick lit books out there right now, but if you’re looking for one that’s witty, entertaining and hard to put down, I highly recommend Escapades of Romantically Challenged Me.”

I’d love to hear from you! If you’d like to tell me about your own misadventures, email me through my website You can also visit me on Twitter at I usually share my own escapades there before they become Lelaina's!

Lots of love,

Maya Jax

Excerpt from
escapades of romantically challenged me

© Maya Jax

I’ve had moments of extreme stupidity in the past, but this may be my stupidest move yet. I’m sure I’ll outdo myself at a later date, but for now -- stupidest move ever. And yet, I’m not stopping.

“How do I look?” I ask, adjusting the zipper on my vinyl neckline as we crawl through Los Angeles morning traffic in Travis’ ancient Honda.

“You look like a mad woman, Lelaina. You’re going to creep the guy out.” Travis shakes his head, not moving his eyes from the road.

“He loves Catwoman,” I say.

“Yes, but he’s not going to represent you because you’re dressed like Catwoman.”

“But he will talk to me because he has a thing for Catwoman. Then while I have his attention, I can hand him my script.”

“Why don’t you write a new script instead of prostituting yourself out for this one,” Travis says, turning off Santa Monica Boulevard onto Wilshire.

“I’d still have to get him to read it! I’ve tried all the standard ways. I’m desperate.”

He nods, a little too enthusiastically. A woman once described him as dessert in jeans. On her sixth martini at the time, she didn’t realize he was gayer than a dancing queen. Blonde hair, blue eyes and a my-body-is-a-temple build, understandably she was devastated. According to Travis, I’m unaffected by his perfection because my man hunting skills haven’t hit puberty.

“Travis, I can’t wait on another table. I’m so sick of working at something I hate.”

“You have a law degree, Lelaina. If you wrote the Bar exam, you wouldn’t have to wait tables.”

“But I would never have time to write as a lawyer. If you met my parents you would understand.”

Travis sighs. “This stunt is just a little extreme.”

“Extreme is good. Extreme is how you get noticed.” I tug on my tail to make sure it’s securely sewn on.

“And you are aware that Catwoman never actually had a tail.”

“I know, but I need it.”

Removing his attention from the road, he eyes me. “For what?”

Pretending not to hear, I pull down the vanity mirror and check my make-up. Travis did my eyes like Julie Newmar and I have to say, I clean up good. The suit is painted on, but I’ve got Spanx in all the right places so it looks like I was made to wear vinyl.

“Lelaina?” he says, sounding a little like my mother.

“I’ll let you know when I’m done.”

“I’m already allowing you to dress as some crazed sexual fantasy and give your number to a strange man. What could be worse than that?”

“As my roommate, I don’t think you’re an authority on what I’m allowed to do and it’s not worse than that, but if you’re already judging me, explaining myself won’t make it better. Anyway, I asked you to give me a ride to pump me up. I’m about to make an ass of myself and this isn’t helping... oh wait... this is it! Pull over!” As we swerve to the curb, my cell phone rings. I glance at the caller ID. It’s my mother. Once a year we speak and she has to call while I’m about to prowl the street dressed as a mental patient.

“Who is it?”

“My mom.”

He raises an eyebrow.

“Should I answer it?” I say.

“Absolutely not.”

“She never calls. It might be important.”

“Lelaina, your mother turns you into a lunatic. Do not answer that phone. You’re a tiger in PVC, darling. Go get ‘em.”

I turn off the ringer. “Thanks. I’ll call you when I’m done.”

He pulls down my front zipper a little. “Maybe give Busey a little more cleavage.”

Script in hand, I get one foot onto the pavement and suddenly feel incredibly stupid. Holy crap. I am insane.

Judgment and awe wash the faces of the Monday morning Beverly Hills crowd as I cross the sidewalk to the LA Times newspaper box in front of the Starbucks where Tom Busey, Hollywood’s hottest agent, buys his coffee every morning. There is a large, hip-height planter between the box and the Starbucks entrance, a minor obstacle that I think I can work around. Otherwise, this is the perfect spot for my plan.

Setting my phone and script on top of the box, I drop a quarter into the coin slot and yank open the door. Carefully placing my tail inside, I slam the box shut, pulling on the fur a little to make sure it’s in good. Genius. Now Busey just has to come by and rescue me.

In an attempt to be casual, I lean an elbow on the box. It is a beautiful morning for a stakeout. The sun is shining and there’s a breeze, so I’m not totally roasting in my PVC. The occasional strong gust of wind may wreak havoc on my hair, but other than that it’s perfect.

Gazing towards the door, I watch people come and go from Starbucks. They gawk and stare, but no Busey. While this is all very embarrassing, I am getting more pleasure than I should out of wearing a superhero costume. If I had a mask, I could do this more often.

There’s a tap on my shoulder and I swivel around as best I can. Two elderly women with sun visors and fanny packs smile at me. One holds up her camera. “Can we get a picture of you?”

“Oh, I’m not really Catwoman,” I say with my eyes glued to Starbucks.

“We’d love a picture anyway,” she gushes. “Do you mind?”

I shrug. “I guess not.”

“I loved Julie Newmar as Catwoman,” she says. “You look just like her.”

The other woman nods her head. “My favorite was Michelle Pfeiffer. She’s lovely.”

Six photo ops and an autograph later, still no Busey. A line has formed inside Starbucks and I missed half the people going in thanks to my fans. I move towards the window to get a peek, pressing my face against the glass. To my horror, I see Busey in line, picking up an LA Times from a table.


What do I do? I could go in and get a coffee, but I don’t have my wallet. Water. I’ll ask for a glass of water. Even if they tell me to beat it, at least I’ll be in the same space as Busey.

Completely forgetting about my tail, I lurch forward. A sonic screeching noise, like nails down a chalkboard via megaphone, pierces the morning buzz as the newspaper box drags along the pavement. Before I realize what’s happening, the box teeters sideways. Suspended for a moment on its corners, it then slams onto the ground, pulling me down to a squat. My script sails through the air towards the entrance. It lands in one piece in front of the door, but with the planter in my way, it’s out of reach. Scrambling, I try to pull the box back up, but with my four-inch heels and awkward crouching position it won’t move. In this moment, it occurs to me that I should have packed an emergency quarter.

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Maya's got a special contest for NewsWire readers! Just visit her website and find the answer to the following question -

What color of underwear does Lelaina lose in her boyfriend’s parents’ basement?

Send your answer to and be sure to mark the heading as 'Maya Jax'. Please also include your full name and mailing address.

Three winners will be picked and each will receive a copy of Escapades of Romantically Challenged Me and a Maya Jax totebag for the beach!

Contest deadline is June 27th, 2010.

Good luck!

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