Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Author Interview VIDEO - Terri Meeker on Billy the Kid and Forks in the Road

I met Terri Meeker through Samhain Publishing. She's awesomely entertaining and so much fun to read. I'm delighted she could visit my blog amid her packed schedule. Enjoy! Original post http://maryhughesbooks.blogspot.com/2018/04/2t-repeat-performance.html


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

3T Writing Tidbit

This is another in my 25 Ways You're Losing Readers (and what you can do about it) series.

One size does not fit all. And it's getting more so.

The market it huge and getting bigger. It's also tiny and getting smaller. In the music business, this is called fragmenting.

The days of the monolithic cultural icon are disappearing. We had three channels, so it was easy to talk about popular things around the watercooler. Almost everyone had watched Dragnet the night before.

Now, even if you watch prime time television, more likely your neighbor is streaming Netflix. Or an alternative show on YouTube.

We can find exactly what we want, now. And a lot of it. I love quirky scifi with a magical twist. In the old days there was...nobody. Now there's Butcher and Stross and Hearn and the guy who wrote Red Shirts and...

See? How many of you read any of those authors? There are still monoliths like JK Rowling and JD Robb that we've most read or at least heard of.

The good news is, you can write your particular brand of story and there's gonna be at least one other person out there who's hankering to read it.

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits. Click here to see all 25 Ways You're Losing Readers.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

2T Repeat Performance

In December 2016, the lovely Magical Musings crew decided it was time to close down their blogging shop. I had three wonderful years with them. This is another of those posts.

photo credit: Lex Photographic via photopin cc
My #1 Favorite Thing--It's Not What You Think--originally posted March 4, 2015.

Can you name some famous introverts? Some of the names may surprise you. Answer below :)

Those who know me, know I'm an introvert. So this may also come as a surprise.

My #1 favorite thing is--other people.

First, let's take a look at what being an introvert actually means and explode a few myths while we're at it.

Myth #1: Introverts like to be alone.

Not true. As Sophia Dembling in PsychologyToday.com's Introvert's Corner says, "Introverts are people, and people need people. That's human nature." (Aaand of course Streisand singing "People"..."people who need people" loops in my head.) It's just that, being quiet is how I recharge my batteries. While many people get energy from groups, like big parties--I don't know the science behind it but maybe it's like being in front of a really big pipe organ playing Phantom--introverts can get overstimulated.

You can prove this if you don't believe me. Take your introverted SO to a quiet library. He/she will happily stay there hours, even if it's wall-to-wall people.

photo credit: JoeInSouthernCA 
via 
photopin cc
Myth #2: Introverts don't like other people.

Actually, just the opposite. We care so much about our relationships, we're all about one-on-one time.

Okay, if that's true, why do introverted friends screen phone calls, even from friends?

Because we want to be sure we're mentally and emotionally in the right place to give our friends our very best.

If an introvert loves you, you're really special to them.

Myth #3: Introverts can't be leaders.

Not according to Susan Cain’s life-altering book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Introversion isn't a handicap. It doesn't stop a person from doing anything. From PsychologyToday.com's post 5 Myths Abount Introverts and Extraverts At Work by Adam Grant, Ph. D.: 'As actress Emma Watson (a.k.a. Hermione Granger) laments, “If you’re anything other than an extravert you’re made to think there’s something wrong with you.”' Now that people are beginning to recognize that, 'Leaders are coming out of the introvert closet in droves.'

Are you introverted? Here's a quiz you can take, 23 Signs You're Secretly An Introvert at HuffingtonPost.com.

Those famous introverts? Emma Watson, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, Heath Ledger, JK Rowling, Lady Gaga, Michael Jordon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Harrison Ford, Charles Darwin, Marilyn Monroe, David Letterman, Courtney Cox, Christina Aguilera, Audrey Hepburn...add yours below!

Let's get to know each other! In my first year as a Magical Musings blogger, I'm exploring my 10 favorite things. This is number one.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

1T Status Update

Forecast for May: Changes.
And the time it takes to get those changes right.
  • Night's Kiss (The Ancients Book 2).
  • Printing with the printer which has been working fine for two years.
  • Piccolo playing (which I've done off and on for decades).
  • Computer programming (ditto).

Computer programming story
I've been writing pretty much since middle school. In 2010, I made more money with my books than I did through computer consulting, so I gave full-time writing a go. Changes in the publishing industry has since cut into sales until it's simply not paying anymore. I'm working hard learning advanced advertising skills, but when a programming gig opened up, I decided to look hard at getting back into the game (that is, learn the newest programming techniques). It's been nearly ten years and a lot has changed, but the educational opportunities are insanely good. I've been halving my day between writing and programming videos, which unfortunately makes progress in both twice as slow.

Piccolo playing story
I bought my Yamaha 61 with my first real paychecks. I love that piccolo, and it's a lovely instrument, grenadilla wood and cork pads and an upper register that'll knock your socks off. But playing it in my new orchestra, I can't make the high G sound in tune. Eek! Fortunately, a nice piccolo showed up the last time we were visiting our local music store. I'm giving it a try.

Printer story
So when I get something expensive (see piccolo story above) my husband usually gets something, too. In this case, his main go-to for entertainment, Imgur, wasn't loading and he wanted a new router. Great! Got the router, he installed it, I connected my computer and tablet, typed in the new password and away we go! Except... connecting my wireless laser printer wasn't so easy. The documentation had outdated links plus instructions that plain didn't work. I ended up blowing away its configuration and redoing it from scratch. THERE's three hours of my life I won't get back. (*grumble, grumble*)

Night's Kiss story
In August 2017, I submitted the book proposal for Night's Kiss. I finished a few projects, then, having heard back once from my editor requesting a couple easy updates, I went ahead and wrote the book. In February I finished the first draft. Naturally, it was at this point that the proposal came back with the need for major revisions. It took a lot of back and forth, but finally we came up with an updated proposal both my editor and I were satisfied with. Now if it passes the head editor's inspection, I'll be rewriting the book...

These things happen. Some months are like that. Meditation helps keep me balanced. Reminding myself nothing, if you learn from it, is wasted--that helps. Other people have just as hard a time if not harder. I'm glad for the opportunities I've been given.

Hubby made me cake, and that helps a whole lot, too.

Sometimes progress just takes longer and requires more effort. If anyone's wondering why things are going a bit slowly, this is why.

Hope your month is going better!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Who's your Prince Charming?

A while ago I was asked to describe my Prince Charming. Here's my answer. What's yours?

Tall, dark and handsome or blond and seductive, I think we all want a man who is strong, can-do, intelligent, and capable—and it doesn’t hurt if he’s good-looking and rich, lol.

But the most important quality for my Prince Charming is that he loves me to pieces!

After that, well, I admit a great body (or great bodies!) wouldn’t hurt.

Eyes that stun me or take my breath away are right up there.

Some mystery is nice.

Cheekbones you can cut your finger on, anyone?

Me, I’m a sucker for musical talent.

And a voice like a deep, dark cave. *Shiver*

Bottom line, I want a man who loves me, helps me be a better person, and walks with me through the sorrows and joys of life. That's my idea of my prince.

What about you? What traits does your ideal man have?

(This post originally was at Nice Ladies, Naughty Books.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

3T Writing Tidbit

This is another in my 25 Ways You're Losing Readers (and what you can do about it) series.

 Do you know how many books there are for sale right now on Amazon?
Well, since one of my books is ranked 1,439,629 right now, at least a million and a half. With ebooks never going out of print, that number will only go up.

Readers have a heckuva lot of choices TOO MANY choices. You used to have a chapter to capture their interest. Then a few pages.

Now, you'd better snag them from word ONE. Because it's too easy for them to go on to the next book.

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits. Click here to see all 25 Ways You're Losing Readers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

2T Repeat Performance

In December 2016, the lovely Magical Musings crew decided it was time to close down their blogging shop. I had three wonderful years with them. This is another of those posts.

Guest Post: Terri Meeker on Billy the Kid and Forks in the Road--originally posted February 5, 2015.

Terri Meeker is a fellow Samhain Publishing author who's awesomely entertaining and so much fun to read. I'm delighted she could join us today amid her packed schedule. Enjoy!

 When you come to a fork in the road, choose the path that will make a better story.

These are words that my daughter’s ex boyfriend lives by. Yeah, I know. Ex. But he’s a great guy and has some pretty amazing adventures. Lately, I’ve been pushing myself a bit with his motto. People express regrets on their deathbeds, but you never hear “I wish I’d have stayed home more. Played things a little safer.”

A few months ago I took a solo drive to Wyoming to see my Dad. While planning my trip home, I got a horrible/wonderful idea. Since I was in the middle of writing a book about Billy the Kid, and his old stomping ground was a mere few states away… a little detour was awfully tempting. And between a direct route of 1,200 miles or a side-trip to New Mexico – it wasn’t hard to see which would make the better story.

I phoned darling hubby. “What would you think if I came home via New Mexico? It’s kind of on the way.”

“Define kind of,” he replied. “Because my map of earth says otherwise.”

“Well, it would add more than four hundred miles on the trip,” I admitted. “But still. Billy the Kid!”

He’s known me for a while and he knows I am a woman of obsessions. Since beginning my Billy book, I’ve devoured more than a dozen books on the Kid. Hubby has sat through countless documentaries. But a trip to his actual haunts would be magical critical to my research! (Spoiler alert: my approach to Billy is somewhere between serious scholar and your average 12-year-old girl’s position on One Direction.)

At six pm, I said goodbye to Dad and started driving. I drove all night. The next day around noon (and 943 miles later) I pulled into Fort Sumner, New Mexico. A dusty little town with one going concern when it comes to dining establishments. But it featured no less than two Billy the Kid museums. I spent the day taking photos of saddles and cooking equipment and getting into passionate discussions about Billy with a lot of old guys wearing seriously enormous belt buckles.

At dusk I made my way to a lonesome cemetery, where Billy and his two best ‘pals’ are buried. They even share a tombstone. I’d bought a fifth of Jack Daniel’s in town at the Liquor Store/Minimart. As the sky turned from orange to purple in the setting sun, I sat down by Billy’s grave and splashed out the first shot on his grave. It was, admittedly, very dorky but - I ain’t gonna lie - it was also kind of awesome.

The next day I went a hundred miles further south, further away from home. To Lincoln – the site of Billy’s most famous jailbreak and the setting for the first third of my book. Was it awesome? Well, is the thought of me drinking whiskey by myself in a cemetery creepy? (That was rhetorical. The answer to both is yes, of course.) It was one of the most charming experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

I’m not entirely insane, however. Though I got into many wonderful conversations with many Billy experts throughout the day, and took scads of notes, I was hesitant to come right out and tell these strangers what kind of book I was writing. Or even that I was a writer. These were serious Billy scholars, who’d dedicated years reading old newspaper accounts and letters.

By nightfall, I settled into the Wortley Hotel. It boasts a mighty eight rooms, but I was the only one staying there. At a population of 52, Lincoln is a pretty quiet little town. But the Wortley sits right across the street from the jail and figured prominently in his escape (and my book).

Donna, the hotel’s minder, was thrilled to hear I was writing a book and plied me with questions, snacks and wine. So we sat on the porch as the sun fell. I watched Billy’s jailhouse window from across the street (word to the Billy fangirls, upper left corner) and we finished off the bottle. Then we finished off another. By the third bottle, I was telling Donna all about my story.

“It’s a time-travel. I’m sending a professor from 2015 back in time and she will mess with Billy’s jailbreak. And then he’s going to experience things from our time and see what’s become of his image. I’m especially excited for him to see a clip from the movie ‘Young Guns’ because his reaction is going to be some next level shit.”

Wine will do that to you. Make you choose the path that might make a more interesting story. In this case, when the hotel’s owner and acting ‘mayor’ of the little town showed up, she insisted I tell him all about my wacky time-travel romance featuring their town’s legend. And I did.

He laughed his ass off and was fully on board.

He said not everyone in town likes people messing with the legend. That some took their Billy quite seriously. But he insisted most folks would like it and Billy hadn’t gotten the time travel treatment that he knew of. He even confessed that he too had gone to Billy’s grave years ago and shared a beer with him at sunset. (Okay, he was a teenager at the time and there was simply no excuse for me … but… moving on!)

I’ll be damned. When you that interesting path sometimes it yields pretty amazing stories. In this case, a real, actual story! I’m on my second draft now and my ‘little’ detour to New Mexico has made all the difference in understanding the tale.

And as pure bonus, I met some pretty amazing people along the way.

Read Terri's debut time-travel, Not Quite Darcy.  

How to Woo a Gentleman and Weaponize Dessert
Romance novel junkie Eliza Pepper always thought she was born too late, but now she really is stuck in the wrong time. Tasked with mending a tear in the timeline, she's trying desperately to fit into 1873 London. But dang it, mucking out a fireplace while looking like the lunch lady from hell is hard.

If she can just keep from setting the floor on fire and somehow resist her growing attraction to the master of the house, she'll be fine. All she has to do is repeat her mantra:  "He's nothing like Darcy. He's nothing like Darcy."

William Brown has always taken pride in his mastery of English decorum, but his new maid is a complete disaster, has thrown his household into chaos...and he finds her utterly captivating.

Though he's willing to endure extreme physical discomfort to keep their relationship in proper perspective, her arrival has brought out a side of him he never knew existed. And Eliza has an innocently erotic knack for coaxing that decidedly ungentlemanly facet of himself out to play...

AmazonB&N
Also at iBooks, Kobo.

Terri Meeker is supposed to write her author blurb in the third person. It’s just how things are done. She shouldn’t question it, but then she’s always been difficult. Even in high school, her best friend’s mother described her as ‘eccentric’ before urging her daughter to make friends with a nice, normal girl.

She was born in Wyoming but has made her home on Fidalgo Island in Washington state. She’s loved history since childhood and has been fortunate to live in lots of places with fascinating pasts, including: Washington DC, Philadelphia, Virginia Beach, Albuquerque, Missouri and Mons, Belgium. She’s an ex-history teacher, a mom a Whedonite, a gamer and a ginormous nerd. She also loves to write.

Terri is really getting into this third person thing and thinks it will give her a lot of gravitas during future dinner conversations. She thinks you should probably start doing it as well.

Her website is at terrimeeker.com. Check it out and you’ll be able to find her on twitter, fb and all that social stuff. She’d love to hear from you. Trust me.

Website: http://terrimeeker.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terri.meeker.1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ActualTerri
Blog: http://terrimeeker.com/preface-blog/