Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bite My Fire on sale now!


Comedy Erotic Romance Vampires & Zombies
All that and more is Bite My Fire

At last, the perfect lover. Now what? Stake him, shoot him—or screw him?

Elena O’Rourke lusts for two things—her detective’s shield and a good lay. Sass-Cgal’s “Bad Girl Sex Tips” will win her the man. But keeping the shield hinges on solving a murder.

Warrior-gorgeous Bo Strongwell stands in her way.

Powerful as a Viking warship, Bo would be Elena’s one-stop solution to celibacy—except for his apartment building full of mysteries. Plus, his kisses…and nibbles…and full body tongue-swipes…keep distracting her from the case. As if a caped clown named Dracula, a hooker with a heart of gold (and boobs of steel), and Elena’s own clueless partner aren’t distraction enough.

Bo Strongwell is a master vampire who needs a cop snooping around like he needs a garlic enema. Fighting rogues keeps him busy enough without Elena trying to pin the murder on one of his kind…even if she does taste like heaven.

Two fighters for justice. One incredible attraction. A terrible secret. Drunken women dancing on the bar… It all rides on Elena solving the Case of the Punctured Prick.

Product Warnings: Jammed with hot explicit sex, graphic fanged violence, and acid cop humor. May contain donuts.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Welcome Guest Blogger Vivi Andrews!

Please welcome Vivi Andrews, author of top-selling Serengeti Heat and upcoming The Ghost Exterminator!Vivi is an amazing woman, winner of the RWA's prestigious Golden Heart award and author of several books plus prolific blogger (her own Vivi Andrews site and The Ruby-Slippered Sistehood to name two).
 

The thing that most impresses me about Vivi is her big heart. She offered me a guest interview last spring and I said sure. When I saw our books were releasing the same day, I thought that was it--why invite the competition? But she renewed the offer (see my interview on her blog November 1)! That impressive heart, that warmth and openness is the rich soil in which her success will continue to grow.
Besides being an awesome writer, Vivi is one of the most incredibly talented bloggers I have ever read. I laugh, I think, I learn something in every post. So you're in for a real treat!


Workshops are the Antichrist.


Shortly after the release of my first novella as an ebook, I went to a local romance writers’ meeting.  Afterward, at lunch with a trio of aspiring writers, we whiled away a few hours chatting about the biz.  It was heady stuff, my first experience being appealed to as a published author in the know.  But I quickly discovered I had no idea how to answer their questions – not because I knew nothing about writing (though that may be more true than I’d like to admit) but because their approach to writing so wildly differed from my own.

They wanted to know how I got the brass publishing ring into my hot little hands, but their first question wasn’t about how I researched which editors and agents to submit to or how I plotted my multi-pronged attack on the publishing industry, but rather which workshop I thought was most directly responsible for my publication. 

Erm… I don’t know.  I, uh, I’m not really such a big fan of workshops.  I attend writers’ workshops and conferences for the sense of camaraderie I get with other authors – writing is a solitary business – but I can’t go to “craft” workshops.  The idea that there is One Right Way to Write makes me break out in hives.  I have a little too much rebel in my soul to believe listening to someone tell me what to do could ever make me great.

I tend to think workshops suck the heart out of writing.  Not that mechanics and technique aren’t necessary, but if they take up too big a chunk of your brain, there’s no room left for randomness and inspiration.  I couldn’t take it if I was writing and there was a little voice saying, “That verb is weak” and “Passive voice is eeeeevil” in my head.  I think I’d need a padded room pretty damn quick. 

Next on my eager trio’s list was to ask if I analyzed published books.  Being a naturally analytical person, I answered that I absolutely did.  Turns out, their idea of analysis and mine differed quite a bit. 

My idea of analyzing books is to become highly aware of my own reading habits.  Did I just zone out during that lengthy description of the heroine’s home?  Okay, I’ll use shorter, more evocative descriptions in my writing.  If I find myself engrossed, I may pause to think about how the author caught me so thoroughly.  My analysis centers around the impact of the work, rather than the minutiae of composition.

The aspiring trio looked at things differently.  To them, analysis was breaking a book down into pieces.  How many words in the average sentence?  Sentences per paragraph?  Paragraphs per page?  Pages per chapter?  How many point-of-view shifts were there in the book?  How many pages into the book did the first kiss occur?  How many pages from the first kiss to the consummation?  No detail was left undissected.  It was clinical. 

Yes, I believe you should study the “masters” of your craft, but study the poetry of them.  The beauty.  Study what makes them art (if it isn’t too weird for me to use the phrase “art” when talking about writing a romance novel). 

Let’s run with the art analogy for a second.  Say you want to be a painter.  You can analyze every line in the Mona Lisa, figure out the exact proportions and color palette.  You can memorize each brushstroke, but when you put your brush to canvas, all you are going to end up with is a wooden, lifeless imitation of the Mona Lisa. 

Maybe that’s all you want.  Technical skill.  The ability to parrot what you see.  Maybe you want to be able to paint family portraits.  There may very well be a solid career in that.  But if you want to make art, copying the Mona Lisa isn’t going to help you unless you feel it. 

Too many aspiring writers get sucked into the workshopmania.  There is comfort in doing things the Right Way.  But the Right Way is a formula.  It’s about doing what’s expected.  But what’s expected isn’t original and fresh.  I often write humor and, for me, laughter is found in the unexpected.  Doing things always according to Hoyle would suck the funny right out of it. 

Locked in that workshopmania, it’s all too easy for writing to stop being joy, passion and creativity, and turn into POV, GMC and rules, rules, rules. 

I don’t have anything against the rules themselves – they’re tools which can be used to great effect.  But they are just tools.  Just because you use the same kind of paintbrush as Da Vinci doesn’t mean you can paint the Mona Lisa. 

I don’t believe in workshopmania.  I believe in the unique, the fresh, and the pure joy of writing something no one else could have written.  Sure, go to workshops.  Learn the mold.  Then break it.  Break it hard.

The workshops are trying to show the shiny new writers the magic formula that will launch them to bestsellerdom.  The big problem with that is that all of those magic formulas leave out the most crucial ingredient: magic

What you love about a book isn’t the POV or GMC.  Find your love for words again.  Your love for story.  It isn’t in the ingredients.  It’s in the mix.  The magic.  

(My original question--What is a major writer's condition that *doesn't* apply to you? Is there a conventional wisdom that you don't follow or that you think might be actually bad for some writers?)





Friday, October 23, 2009

A Pearl for Your Fantasy--offsite post

Originally posted in the April 2009 Samhellion.


A Pearl for Your Fantasy—World Building Made Easy

You’ve won a million dollars! Ever wonder what you’d do? Would you buy a sexy negligee, or a Maserati? Take an island cruise? Make a loan to a favorite relative?
What else would happen? Well, every investment broker on the planet would call you. Empty hands would deluge you. The one relative you can’t stand would demand the biggest handout (but you could flip him the bird. Go ahead. Hey, it’s your fantasy).
Take one thing, just one, and change it. That is the seed of world-building. The grit to the pearl. Take the world you know, plus one what if. What if I won that million? What if my job were perfect? What if people lived forever (except, possibly, my mother-in-law)?
What one thing would you change? Let’s try—what if magic existed? Imagine cleaning with the snap of a finger, everything you want free! Wouldn’t life be grand?
Well, no. Remember, we only get to change one thing in our fantasy world. Basic human nature doesn’t change. People are still good and bad and just plain silly.
Sex, though…that’d be fun. Imagine not just two hands and a tongue, but as many fantasy hands and tongues as you want…yeah, keyboard getting drooly here.
Should you invent language? Let’s take our magic example. Every culture has a way people get extra energy. Tea, coffee. Coke, both the legal and illegal kind. Kaffey’s been overdone (IMHO) but you’d need to name the substance people use to jolt up the magic. MagiCoke? Maybe that’s illegal too, so you’d have MagiCoke pushers. Assign a shorthand. Call them Mushers…or Puscokers…well, maybe not. But you get the idea.
Take one thing, and change it. Like a pearl, your world will soon grow!

Mary Hughes is the author of Biting Nixie. You can visit her website http://www.maryhughesbooks.com

Confessions of a Resolutions Junkie--offsite post

Originally posted in January 2009 Samhellion

Confessions of a Resolution Junkie

I have a deep, dark secret. And a game.

The secret? I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions.

Sacrilege! I hear. If you don’t set goals, you are a worthless pile of dung, says the tiny, pinched voice of my sixth grade teacher, Miss Abbie Neezer-Skruge (not her real name).

What resolutions do you make? Diet? Exercise? Giving a speech in front of people without peeing?

Me too. Great resolutions, laudable goals. If you actually do them.

I mean to. I have the best intentions, but there’s this new romance to read, or extra hours at work, or my kid needs to talk, and I’m just flat worn out.

So what’s the point? Well, that’s the game.

Let’s list three resolutions together. I’ll write mine, and leave a space for yours.
1) _______________________ 1) I resolve to do a marketing plan.
2) _______________________ 2) Next year I’ll do my Christmas shopping early.
3) _______________________ 3) I will stop eating like a pig (unless my husband buys me chocolate, ‘cause come on, it’s chocolate).

Okay, now we do a modified Sesame Street. One of these things is just like the others…what do your resolutions have in common? For me, they’re all things I avoid. Because they hurt, or I don’t do them so well (honestly? Marketing plans just scare me).

The thing is, my life probably would be better if I did them. A marketing plan would help my career. Christmas shopping connects with family and friends. I’d feel better eating less.

How about you? Did you list your dreams, your fears? Now look closer. Are they about your job, your family and friends, yourself? The core that’s you?

Resolutions tell you what’s important to you.

What’s behind them tells you who you are.

All right, you’ve caught me. I do make resolutions. But I make them, then throw them away. Because it’s not the resolution that’s really important.

It’s discovering the soul behind them.

And that’s something worth a New Year’s celebration.

Mary Hughes is the author of Biting Nixie, just released. You can visit her website http://www.maryhughesbooks.com