Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Witches' Wish List--Guest Elle J. Rossi--plus Giveaway!

I get together with a group of like-minded authors once a month and got to know the wonderful Elle J. Rossi through them. Elle is multipublished and multitalented! She writes awesome stories that are "wicked, haunting, dark, and edgy"--all my favorites :) Welcome, Elle!

First, I’d like to thank Mary for letting me hang out at her house today! It’s paranormal season and I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be!

In honor of All Hallows’ Eve, and because I love witches, I wanted to share a list I’ve compiled. As I learn more about magick and the women who make it all happen, I add to the list. Currently I’m at 13 and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. All witches, dark or light, good or bad, have a place in this world. Without balance, the world would tip and many of us would fall off. Personally, I own a lot of Super Glue and plan to put it to good use.

The comparison of these two lists is incredibly interesting and I often wonder which side I’m on. I truly think it depends on the day.

Good/Light Bad/Dark
1) A companion to grow old with 1) Someone to fetch them things
2) Angelica to heal 2) Ammonia to hex
3) A magical broom 3) A magical axe
4) Fruity bubbling concoctions4) double, straight up
5) Evanescence 5) Nox Arcana
6) A black cat 6) A black panther
7) A cloak and a skirt 7) A bustier and leather pants
8) A garden 8) A dungeon
9) A coven to laugh with 9) Enemies to war with
10) Candles 10) Wax
11) A spell book 11) A black magick tome
12) Sisters 12) Victims
13) Serenity 13) Power

Time to have some fun! I’m giving away an eBook of The Luminary, book 1 of the Brennan Coven Trilogy. For your chance to win, just follow the instructions below. It’s really that easy and you have until 11:59 pm on Thursday to enter!

Most of us are made up of light and dark qualities. Pick two from each list and show us what kind of cauldron you stir.

The Luminary

When Meera Brennan learns she’s a Luminary, one of the most powerful witches in existence, it rocks her already fragile world. To save herself and keep peace within the veiled community, Meera will have to hone her powers and brave an ancient realm to destroy the slayer’s magickal source. She alone must dispel chaos and ensure the balance of good and evil for all mankind.

Banished and stripped of his guardian powers because of a witch, Ghanem Adamo, former Prince of the Saharren realm, receives a chance at redemption when his estranged father reveals an immortal battle destined to alter all realms. In order to protect the innocent, regain his title, and reunite with his family, Ghanem must destroy the slayers’ source of power and bring down their terrorizing leader.

Her life . . .

Or his throne . . .

Challenged by fate, can love survive a nefarious battle that can result in only one prize?

Stop by Crimson Romance to purchase The Luminary from any of several online stores.

Elle J Rossi grew up in rural Indiana surrounded by great people, a huge family and more animals than she could count. But the sites and sounds of the world beckoned, so she left her small town to escape into a creative world full of music. As a full time singer she was able to lose herself in a thousand different songs in a hundred different places. After meeting the love of her life and settling down, she yearned to find a new and fulfilling creative outlet. Overly fond of the happily ever after, she wondered what it would be like to have her own characters lead her down dark and twisted paths. The very first word on the very first page sealed her fate. She'd found a new love. She'd found her escape.

Now along with weaving haunting tales about the journey to love, she's creating cover art for authors around the world and loving every second of it. For fun, she cranks country music to take her back to her roots, and sings karaoke anytime she gets a chance. Her husband, two children, and two cats that rule the roost keep her company along the way and guarantee she doesn't get lost in the enchanted forest. She wouldn't have it any other way.

Here’s where you can find Elle online:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Inspiration is a Funny Thing -- Guest Leigh Morgan -- plus Giveaway!

I'm thrilled to have friend Leigh Morgan visit today. Leigh is an amazing person (check out her bio) who writes wonderful, vibrant romance. Welcome Leigh!

Inspiration is a funny thing. Sometimes it eludes me as I sit at my keyboard randomly hitting keys, hoping something wonderful sticks. Sometimes it smucks me upside the head and screams: “Pay attention. I’m inspiring here!”

That’s what happened with Second Chances.  I heard a song on the radio, fell in love with the gravely, raw voice and I built the rock star of my dreams around that voice. Of course I had to have someone so off his radar that had they met under normal circumstances they may have looked right past one another. Someone so real and so intriguing that she captures his imagination from the moment he first sees her shouting at a sheep in the road, to the moment she inevitably captures his heart, which quickly follows. I love these characters and this story so much that Ramsey Macleod and Rhiannon Thorson-Macleod make a cameo appearance in Fighting Fate, Book Two of the Warrior Chronicles.

I read my first romance novel: DEFY NOT THE HEART by Johanna Lindsey the summer after my first year of law school. My husband and I were on our way to the Rockies to camp after an incredibly stressful year. The gas station had a turnstile of books, most of which were male thrillers I’d already read. I wasn’t interested in the non-fiction aimed at saving my soul (although arguably I could have used one of those). And there it was, a vividly erotic cover with those words emblazoned in gold lettering: Defy Not the Heart. What the heck, at the time I needed some defiance and some romance. I read that book all the way through by flashlight as evening came and went. I’ve been hooked on romance ever since.

Romance novels got me through the rest of Law School with my sanity intact. The day I started practicing law, another major shift in my reality happened: I walked into my karate school and never walked back out again. I’ve been practicing Okinawan Shorin Ryu for twenty-one years consistently. It is so much a part of me now it’s like breathing. I love it and I love romance, so it was a natural progression to weave the two. I started doing that in my Warrior series. SPARRING PARTERS, Book One of the Warrior Chronicles and FIGHTING FATE, Book Two of the Warrior Chronicles. Each have a tie to the martial arts.

I created a world in Sparring Partners as a result of being hit in the head again with inspiration. This time, the inspiration made me mad as hell. I had an elderly client in a nursing home that was not meeting her needs. She had no family to complain about her lack of care, and she was paying $6,000.00 a month to share a room, drink Ensure. I had to fight to get her a used walker. It took me two months to get her out of that place ($12,000 later) and into a home-like facility where she now has her own room and bath, complete with a kitchenette, library and a communal dinning area she loves. (She pays less than ½ what she was paying.) I couldn’t change that system, so I created an alternative health care facility: Potters Woods, where people could live with dignity and where they’d get the best care for their bodies, minds and spirits. Of course it helps to have a spare billionaire to help fund it! Another instance of writing the world as I want it to be, being the best therapy. The result is fabulous, the inspiration still has me grating my teeth!

In Fighting Fate, I explore myth and magic, two elements I believe dance through our daily lives. I set part of the story in Glastonbury, England, where magic is tangible and anything can and does happen.

Defending Destiny, Book Three of the Warrior Chronicles will be available soon. It too has some myth and magic woven into everyday life. Daisy, my heroine, is in Argyll, Scotland, searching for the legendary Druid’s Scroll. Danger, love and a chance to change the world await her. In Defending Destiny, Scotland and its many mysteries is my inspiration. I can’t wait to finish this book and go back in time to when the Druid’s Scroll was first created and hidden. My next project will be set in Scotland about 1100 A.D. laying out the framework for my contemporary myth-hunters in Fighting Fate and Defending Destiny.

I love creating worlds that look and feel like ours, but where the magic is real and anything can happen. Inspiration can come from anywhere. What moves your soul? Where do you find inspiration? What is your favorite book? Does it take you away, make your world more colorful? Does it make you believe anything can happen? I wonder how different my life would have been had I never picked up: DEFY NOT THE HEART. Inspiration is an odd thing indeed! 

Leigh's books are available at Amazon, including Second Chances and The Warrior Chronicles Sparring Partners and Fighting Fate.

GIVEAWAY! Leigh is offering not one but TWO prizes! All three ebooks to two lucky winners! Comment to enter. Through Sunday. Winner announced here Monday.

About the author:

A native mid-westerner, Leigh lives in Southeastern Wisconsin and is currently dreaming of owning a cottage in Scotland.

Leigh is currently working on a series of stand alone contemporary novels, The Warrior Chronicles, with a tie to the martial arts. Adventure, romance, and themes such as ‘what constitutes a family’, and ‘living by a personal code’ all wrapped up in a tail-kicking package that will make you laugh, cry, and feel good about the world and your place in it.

A graduate of Marquette University Law School, Leigh studied Comparative Mythology, History and Philosophy as an undergraduate. Who knew this would lead to a lifetime of love with mystical romance, both contemporary and historical.

Leigh is a fourth degree black belt in Okinawan Shorin Ryu karate. She has continuously trained over a twenty year period with Master Daniel Schroeder in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. She also holds a fourth degree black belt in Matayoshi Okinawan Kobudo; weapons training. Leigh has taught self-defense for women and practical defense sequences for writers.

Leigh is an avid motorcycle enthusiast. (There’s nothing like a TRIUMPH!) Most summers (when she’s not out riding) you can most likely find her in Highland Gear walking her Scottish Deerhounds and promoting Macski’s Highland Foods at local Scottish Games and Festivals.

You may visit Leigh at: www.leighmorganauthor.com

For speaking engagements and martial arts seminars, please email Leigh at: leighmorgan@bardintraining.com

Friday, October 19, 2012

More Hot Chips and Sand; NEW Samhain Newsletter

Five more pages of the contemporary romance Hot Chips and Sand are available on my Side Trips. Here's the link for the current pages: Hot Chips and Sand

Sign up for the Samhain Newsletter! Get monthly updates on your favorites in romance, paranormal, horror, retro and more! http://eepurl.com/euszI

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

3T Writing Tidbit

I've been published since 2009 but I've been writing for a lot longer. Over the years I've accumulated various items of wisdom from all over. Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit will showcase these items one at a time in no particular order.

Look for the motive behind the others, the one pushing and obscured by lesser motives. Then build your reveal backwards, starting with the easily seen but less-powerful motives (and emotions).

Friday, October 12, 2012

More Hot Chips and Sand; Giveaway still going on

Five more pages of the contemporary romance Hot Chips and Sand are available on my Side Trips. Here's the link for the current pages: http://maryhughessidetrips.blogspot.com/search/label/current

See Live Edits! at the RWA's FF&P.

There's still time to comment and enter Cassiel Knight's giveaway!

And don't forget my monthly giveaway! Comment here: http://maryhughesbooks.blogspot.com/2012/10/october-1t-giveaway.html

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I blame Indiana Jones – Guest Cassiel Knight -- plus Giveaway!

I blame Indiana Jones.

You see, from the moment Indiana Jones came to life on the big screen in Raiders of the Lost Ark, I’ve been hooked on all things archeological. And when Lara Croft played by the uber awesome (to me) Angelina Jolie, followed years later, I was a goner.

Since then, while I’ve always loved history and mythology, Indiana Jones introduced me to archeology but not the profession but more the seedier side – tomb raiding or grave robbery as it’s also been called.

You see, what Indiana did, even when he sold the pieces to the museum, was and is grave robbing. Now, given his love of history, he did it with the best intentions, however, it was still robbery.

But, that’s not the romance of tomb raiding and tomb raiding does have a romance attached to it. It’s action, adventure, mystery, thrills and chills combined to find some fantastic treasures. That’s what so many are attracted to and while Indiana Jones was so popular. Well, that and Harrison Ford as Indiana.

Tomb raiding is an ancient profession. Some experts believe it started in force from about the 16th century and forward. We are talking at minimum from about 1501! That’s a long time ago. But the stories go that tomb raiding goes back even farther. No one knows for sure.

According to SAFE (Saving Antiquities for Everyone), because tomb raiding is theft, it is hard to give the exact size of the black market trade in antiquities. An article by Arielle Kozoloff says while legal antiquity trade generates $200 million in sales per year, the illegal market is measured in billions per year (The Antiquities Market: When, What, Where, Who, Why, and How Much? [Who Owns the Past? Rutgers University Press, 2005]).

But more than the money aspect, looters don’t care to preserve the site. Many of the amazing architecture of Egyptian tombs were destroyed by thieves in their quest for gold and other things to sell. Iraq, during the war with Saddam Hussein, was not spared and many of their treasures were looted.

And it’s not limited to Egypt or other places across the world. Right here in Amercia, there’s a robust trade in black market artifacts. If you visit the SAFE website (http://www.savingantiquities.org), you can find a wealth of facts and figures about the extent of this profession.

When I wrote Blood on the Moon, I knew I was stepping into a shaky area because of the black marks against tomb raiding. Again, this is where I blame Indiana and Lara because of my romanticism of that profession; I knew I had to write within that world.

My goal was to craft a tomb-raiding heroine who thrived there and walked a gray line of romanticism and reality and a hero on the opposite side who helps her change. It was not easy to do. I hope I succeeded.

Blood on the Moon is the first adventure into this often dark and seedy world. I plan to explore that side in future books.

I hope you enjoy this quick jaunt into the second oldest profession in the world.

If you want to read more, here are some excellent resources:

Loot – Sharon Waxman – 978-0-8050-9088-8
The Great Belzoni – Stanley Mayes – 978-1-84511-333-9
The Rape of the Nile Brian M. Fagan – 978-0-8133-4061-6
Stealing History – Roger Atwood – 0-312-32407-3
Finders Keepers – Craig Childs – 978-0-316-06642-6

Cassiel, thanks so much for being my guest today!

Blood on the Moon now available at Champagne Book Group and Amazon!

Find Cassiel online!
Twitter - @CassielKnight

To celebrate the new release of Blood on the Moon, Cassiel is doing a giveaway! Prize is winner's choice of one of Cassiel's ebooks. Comment to enter. 
Contest runs through Sunday (Oct 14 2012), winner posted Monday. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 1T Giveaway!

Welcome to the First Tuesday giveaway! Each first Tuesday of the month I'm offering a contest where I choose one winner (who hasn't won in the past twelve months) by random number from all comments on that post. (Please comment at my blog here: http://maryhughesbooks.blogspot.com/2012/10/october-1t-giveaway.html)

The winner will receive his or her choice of one Biting Love ebook (including Biting Oz) *or* a $5 gift certificate from Amazon or Samhain!

If you're a 18+ and an adult, and if you consent to having your name listed on the rotating 12-month winner list, just comment on this post to enter! Void where prohibited. Please note, the Biting Love books contain explicit sex and violence. If you win please consider that when making your prize selection. Winner chosen at the end of the month and posted as part of next month's contest.

And the winner of September's giveaway is Gayle! Congratulations, Gayle. I'll be emailing you for your selection of prize :)