Tuesday, October 17, 2017

3T Writing Tidbit

I think I've done a 3T Tidbit on this before, but it bears repeating...writing is all about setting up expectations, then knocking them over in interesting ways.

But you have to set up the expectation before you can play with it.

One thing I see a lot is a line like, "She thought about doing the thing, but decided not to, because of reasons."

So, that sets up expectations, which is fine. But it's a little unsatisfying. Where's the danger, the intrigue, the conflict? The potential for, "No, Lucy, don't do that!!"

Solution? Let the character actually DO THE THING before the plot negates it.

Example:

Before




Robert had fought in the Dovaronian War. Glynnis suddenly longed to ask him about it, about the Battle of Boswin, about all those things Fearghas had told her about—and that this man had experienced.

But a warning glance from Caer kept her silent. Later, she promised herself. There would be time later.
After
Robert had fought in the Dovaronian War. Glynnis suddenly longed to know about it, about the Battle of Boswin, about all those things Fearghas had told her about—and that this man had experienced.

She opened her mouth to ask.

Caer sliced her a warning glance.

She closed her mouth. Later, she promised herself. There would be time later.

The difference here is subtle. She's not taking much action. But she does take action, opening her mouth. That lets Caer's reaction, the warning glance, have that much more impact, and for the conflict of that moment to burn just a bit more without using a lot more words.

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.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

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. I thought you might be interested in seeing those posts now.

 5 Places to Travel to Feed Your Muse--Originally posted October 15, 2014

Author, writer or reader, we all feel dry sometimes. Here are 5 places to find rejuvenation.

photo credit: Rob Unreall via photopin cc
  1. London. There are 2 Alpha ++ cities in the entire world, according to Wikipedia. London and New York are both hubs in the global economy. Studded with restaurants, theaters, and libraries, and blessed with an amazing public transport system, London has centuries of history, learning, and arts to feed your mind and soul. Edie Ramer has just visited, ask her about her favorites. I personally enjoyed Shakespeare's Globe Theater, the London Eye, the BBC, St. Paul's, and All Flutes.
  2. Your basement or attic. Whichever one gives you less guilt. lol. As an adult these are places we shove taxes and yet to be unpacked moving boxes. But as a child, ah, these are mysterious places full of old, forgotten treasures. So try this. stick your head in your attic or take a short trip to the basement and close your eyes. Breathe in the scent and let it take you back to those days of mystery and adventure.
  3. The Grand Canyon. This is one of the places I have yet to go. I've heard it's one of the few that lives up to expectation. Almost 300 miles long. Breathtaking scenery and nearly 2 billion years of geological goodies. The Colorado River. Mule rides. Some of the cleanest air in the US. Condors. How cool is that? I love visiting the Badlands so I hope to get here one day.
    photo credit: Brian Auer via photopin cc
  4. A museum, travelogue lecture, iMax theater, observatory, conservatory, concert, park...? The important thing here is go someplace bigger (or smaller) than yourself, where you'll see or hear something brand-new. Keep your phone in your pocket or purse and your eyes and ears open.
  5. Books. You don't have to travel physically to refresh yourself. Treat yourself to a day reading, or just an hour. Move to a different room, pick a comfy chair or indulge in a warm scented bath. Have a selection of books to suit your whims. Biography, romance, history, fantasy, science or science fiction, just pick up a book and do your mind and heart a new world of good.


What's your favorite way to refresh yourself?

Let’s get to know each other!

In these first months as a Magical Musings blogger, I’m sharing my 10 favorite things and hope to hear about yours. This is #5 Travel/Books (Travel for the mind and soul.)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

1T Status Update--It's OCTOBER already?

Whew! That was a whirlwind of releases last month. First the explosion of activity to launch the 22-author Billionaire Ever After anthology/box set. Then the gnawing of the fingernails waiting for the lists to post...then the joy of learning that, at long last and after many attempts, we'd made USA Today. Then the giddy week of Night's Caress and a return to my favorite small Midwest town, Meiers Corners.

So I'm basking on my well-deserved vacation now, right? Um, not quite, lol.
  • Night's Kiss (The Ancients bk 2) proposal package submitted. Draft is coming along nicely.
  • Hot Chips and Sand--Sale coming up Oct 30-Nov 3
  • Hunt Mates (Pull of the Moon, #3 by the new numbering system) releasing early November
  • Bad Boy Billionaire's Lady releasing late 2017 or early 2018
  • I'm participating in a mind-blowing citizen's police academy. I'm going to have to adjust the Taser scene in Biting Oz.
  • Gearing up for the holiday season
  • My new orchestra is fun! There were nine cellos though so hubby is playing second violin. Keeps him out of trouble :)

Monday, September 25, 2017

New release, new Kindle FIRE giveaway, plus USA Today thank you!

Night's Caress releases today! Join me this week for all things Night Caressy and Kindle FIRE-Y!

Amazon | BN | iBooks | Kobo | Google | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

In this small town, nothing is as it seems…

When artist Brie Lark left her vampire ex and her straitjacket of a hometown to breathe free in New York City, she promised herself two things: she’d never go back to Meiers Corner, and no more vampires. The last thing she expected—or wanted—was to be sent back home on an assignment. But her boss at the FBI needs her undercover on a murder case, working with a black-haired, black-eyed giant god of a man who’s her idea of perfection, except for one thing—he’s a vampire.

FBI Special Agent Seb Rikare is an ancient vampire hardened by loss. He’s cut all emotions to protect himself and leads a deliberately steady, almost sterile life. The brash young woman forced to pose as his lover irritates him, with her jangling bracelets and colorful hair. But as much as she irritates him, he finds himself drawn to her lively spirit and he’s tempted to make fantasy a reality.

Read the entire first chapter on my website!

Kindle FIRE Rafflecopter! Plus visit the great sites on my tour to read another exclusive excerpt!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Today's visits are at:
Book Magic-Under a spell with every page
CelticLady's Reviews
Evermore Books
Harlie's Books
Once Upon a Book Blog
Romance Junkies
Splashes Into Books


Thursday's visits:
Book Loving Pixies
Cathy's World
For Love of Books4
Joyfully Reviewed
Lisa's Book Blog @ LEL
Lisa's Loves (Books of Course)
OMG Reads
D.E. Haggerty
Romance Reviews Today
Victoria's Thoughts and Reviews

Wednesday's visits:
Delilah Devlin
Bibliophile Ramblings
Em and M Books
Fiona Reads
Not Enough Tomes
Read-Love-Blog
Those Crazy Book Chicks

Tuesday's visits:
Book Crazy Scrapbook Mama
Book Lover Promo
The Book Quarry
The World As I See It
I Smell Sheep
Ebook Indulgence

Monday's visits:
The Book Disciple
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
I Love Romance
Nikki's Book Nook
Rolo Polo Book Blog
Tangled Hearts Book Review
Yearwood La Novela



The world of books really is a wondrous community. My thanks to everyone, readers, editors, authors, bloggers, reviewers, publicists, friends, family, and the other 21 authors in the Billionaire Ever After anthology. You're the reason I have exciting news today. Billionaire Ever After hit the USA Today bestseller list!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Join me on my preorder blast! $25 Amazon GC



Have you Pre-ordered Night’s Caress by Mary Hughes yet?


Author Mary Hughes’ newest release NIGHT’S CARESS is book one in The Ancients series. Brie Lark has given up her hometown and vampires.  Too bad the FBI just teamed her with the perfect male specimen, special agent and ancient vampire, Seb Rikare.

Pre-order NIGHT’S CARESS and add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads! Then keep reading to get an EXCLUSIVE sneak peek at NIGHT’S CARESS and to enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card!


Title: Night’s Caress
Author: Mary Hughes
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: September 25, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Series: The Ancients
Page Count: 288 pages
Format: Digitial
ASIN: B074DZH8YK
ISBN-13: 9781640633360



Synopsis:

In this small town, nothing is as it seems…

When artist Brie Lark left her vampire ex and her straitjacket of a hometown to breathe free in New York City, she promised herself two things: she’d never go back to Meiers Corner, and no more vampires. The last thing she expected—or wanted—was to be sent back home on an assignment. But her boss at the FBI needs her undercover on a murder case, working with a black-haired, black-eyed giant god of a man who’s her idea of perfection, except for one thing—he’s a vampire.
FBI Special Agent Seb Rikare is an ancient vampire hardened by loss. He’s cut all emotions to protect himself and leads a deliberately steady, almost sterile life. The brash young woman forced to pose as his lover irritates him, with her jangling bracelets and colorful hair. But as much as she irritates him, he finds himself drawn to her lively spirit and he’s tempted to make fantasy a reality.

Pre-order at:  

Google Play http://bit.ly/2wjslWc

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card from Mary Hughes!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Night’s Caress Excerpt
Copyright © 2017 Mary Hughes
“I tell you, Sera, I’m never going back to Meiers Corners.” I spoke into my Bluetooth headset as I skimmed through the glass doors of 26 Federal Plaza, hitting the Broadway-side concrete concourse at the height of the lunchtime rush.

A pizza delivery guy ran toward me like a bullet. I dodged him then played do-si-do with a nanny shepherding three identically dressed little boys clutching brand-new balls.

One bright red ball slipped from chubby fingers, getting kicked away by oncoming traffic. The youngster’s face clouded. Before his thunderstorm could burst, I twisted and lunged, my rainbow bracelets jingling like bells, and caught the ball on a bounce. Tossing it back to the nanny earned me the boy’s bright grin, totally worth my getting knocked around by a pair of freight-train pedestrians.

“Never, Brie?” The voice in my ear was warm and compassionate, my friend and, until I’d gotten my job with the FBI and moved, one of my roommates, Serendipity Braun Thorsson. “But it’s Oktoberfest. And there’s beer.”

Practically a microbrewery on every corner. As I crossed the street, I admitted, “That’s tempting. Not tempting enough.”

She knew why I’d left the Corners. Cheating ex and stifling small town might be cliché, but add in the fact that the ex was a vampire? And the town was ambitiously folksy, to the point that my high-school job was making sculptures out of cheese and summer sausage? I was exhausted living with all that day in, day out. New York was the first place I could breathe.

“Brie, I miss you.”

I winced. Temptation punch crowned by guilt KO, the specialty of every Meiers Corners matron. Sera must’ve learned it from her mother.

“I miss you, too. Why don’t you visit me here? We can take in a Broadway show, go dancing—Oh, shit.”

“What’s wrong?” Her voice went high, breathless.

I’d been heading for a hot dog cart near the corner and had just spotted a man standing in line. He stood unmoved by the bobbing masses, literally head and shoulders above the crowd.

Only one man I knew that stunningly tall—Special Agent Seb Rikare.

Or rather, not man. I guessed Rikare was a vampire.

“Brie?” Sera prompted.

“It’s nothing. A ping on my asshole meter.” My last boyfriend had been a vampire. It had not ended well, like a marshmallow Peeps party held in a microwave. I’d vowed never to get involved with another fanged male.

Naturally, Fate, who was a snarky bastard, molded the very next guy I met into my idea of perfection—gleaming black hair, granite jaw, bedroom eyes, and muscles like bowling balls, plus a brain that catapulted him to top agent with the FBI.

I’d have tapped that in a second except for the likelihood that, along with his shield, Rikare carried the extra-large V-size condoms in his wallet.

Under my breath, I muttered, “Damn it, I just want to grab a sandwich. I don’t want to deal with him now.”


Other Books by Mary Hughes

BITE MY FIRE  http://amzn.to/2wleuUl
CIN WIKKID  http://amzn.to/2y6C2bV

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

3T Writing Tidbit

Ever read a clunky sentence and the perfect replacement pops into your head? A brilliant, fresh way of saying the thing, so amazing you just have to preserve the before and after (either to show how brilliant you can be or how utterly clueless, lol). Or just a simpler, cleaner phrase?

I have a couple files on my writing computer where I store such eureka moments. One is called "Great Lines" to store all those things friends or family have said that resonate (or are laugh-out-loud funny).

The other is "Improving Writing.txt", and I thought I'd share a few of those with you today.

Stronger phrases (before/after):
  • He wanted so desperately
  • He yearned
  • emotion that never made it to the surface
  • emotion that never surfaced
  • the expression on his face
  • his expression
  • which will mean death for any vampires between New York and Chicago.
  • and light a fuse of death for vampires from Chicago to New York.
  • a desert water pump
  • a water pump in the desert
  • John, bleeding heavily from a nasty head wound
  • John stumbled down the stairs, eyes glazed, blood streaming from a nasty head wound
  • She managed to slide her nearly naked behind into the other chair and found herself sitting in a cuddly cloud
  • She managed to slide her nearly naked behind into the other chair and found herself cuddled by a cloud
  • "Cedric of Gherwyn, son of Aldric the Proctor, grandson of Cedric, Magistrate of Gherwyn.” The way he said it made it sound like a royal succession.
  • He proclaimed the names like a royal succession.

  • A wave of nausea passed through her, followed by an overwhelming tiredness.
  • A wave of nausea passed through her, followed by a bone-deep fatigue.

  • “The cost is horrendous,” Caer said shortly
  • “The cost is horrendous,” Caer bit out.

  • As soon as Caer left, Robert unfroze, stutter-stepping to keep his balance.
  • At the slam of the door, Robert unfroze, stutter-stepping to keep his balance.

  • A surge of pride went through him.
  • Pride surged through him.

  • She didn’t like how her friends were being threatened because of her.
  • She didn’t like her friends being threatened because of her.
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.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

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. I thought you might be interested in seeing those posts now.

Everything Old is New Again -- Guest Lori Handeland--Originally posted September 25, 2014
I'm a huge fan of Lori's books, so I was thrilled when she agreed to be my guest. Lori is a NYTimes/USA Today bestseller/Multiple RITA winner. Please welcome Lori!

Readers may be wondering what's up with books they've read being re-released with new covers (and in some cases new titles) all over the place.

It's called reversion of rights and where once there wasn't much for authors to do with a book when their rights reverted from the original publisher, there is now. We call them e-books and print on demand and self publishing.

I asked for the rights back to every one of my titles the instant they were available, long before there was anything to do with these reverted works. When my publisher asked what I planned to do with my reverted titles I said, "Anything I want." And now I am.

When the rights to a book revert to the author, she needs to have a new cover designed since the cover design belongs to the publisher and the artwork/photo to the artist/photographer.

I am re-releasing the New Orleans trilogy of my Nightcreature Novels. Here are the original covers. At the time, this was the paranormal romance look. It is no longer.



Here are the covers I had done. Love them? I do.



As for titles, I usually keep the original titles because I want readers to know if they've read the book before, and that's the easiest way. However, I did change the title on one of my reverted books. I titled my first contemporary series romance COACH MOM. It's about a teacher and Little League coach being a mom and a teacher and finding romance, of course. Harlequin changed the title to MOTHER OF THE YEAR. I never much cared for that title, but the book sold well and I've learned over twenty years not to get attached to a title. But that's another blog.

Family playing pranks on a couch.LoriHandeland_MotheroftheYear_800pxWhen the rights reverted to me, I released the book with several covers and the same title. Sales were meh.

LoriHandeland_OutofHerLeague800

One of my friends had retitled one of her category books and had great success. I figured I'd try it. I was going to go with COACH MOM, but my cover artist thought it should be something sexier. We went with this. She was right. Sales went way up.

I wrote in big letters on the blurb and in the file that the book had previously been published as MOTHER OF THE YEAR. That seemed to help.

Are you like me? Do you go into bookstores or surf online sites and look at covers? For me they're artwork and I just adore comparing and contrasting. What are you favorite types? Clinch, guy only, heroine only, still lifes, landscapes? Where do you stand on the retitling question?

Lori's online! Visit her web site at: www.lorihandeland.com For up to date information join her newsletter: http://www.lorihandeland.com/full_moon_club.html Follow Lori on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoriHandeland