Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays! A gift to my readers--Edie and the CEO Cover revealed!

Edie and the CEO

A contemporary romance from Crimson Romance

Coming February 4, 2013!

"Funny, unique, witty & smart - the romantic comedy is back!" --Edie Ramer, author of Stardust Miracle

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

3T Writing Tidbit

This month I'm doing something slightly different. I've accumulated some pet peeves over the years and I'd like to set a few out now.

Ten light-years later. I shudder to admit I've actually written this. The problem? A light year measures distance, not time. If you can use feet or meters in the sentence, you can use light-year. Even if it were a time, one light year takes one year, which is redundant.

The lush strings of Chopin. The problem is, musicians read. If you're going to use a specific musical term or composer, make sure it makes sense. Yes, Chopin was a Romantic composer. But he's best known for his solo piano works. Chopin's lush strings makes about as much sense as citing a Smart car as an example of trunk space. Yes, it has a storage area but that's not what it's known for.

His voice dropped an octave. An octave is a big-assed jump, folks. And we already talk in the lower part of our range. Dropping an octave will make him sound like he's gargling used motor oil.

The tornado decimated the village. Strictly speaking, this works. But I think using the word decimate to mean annihilate loses the true flavor. Even using it "correctly", the horror of the word of the word is lost. Dictionary purists will tell you it means "one in ten". Yes. But the horror comes from which one in ten, and what happened to them. Roman armies used to punish their own troops. It was a punishment for group cowardice. The group would be forced to draw lots, and one in ten were picked. Then each man picked was bludgeoned to death by his own fellows. See, isn't that a lot worse than simple annihilation?

His face was a rictus of pain. Problem is, according to my dictionary there has to be an opening involved for a rictus. Now I learned this word it was in the sentence, His mouth was a rictus of pain and from context, I thought it meant all the muscles contorted. Well, yes, but only the mouth part. Think baby bird and its demanding breakfast. The open beak, the sustained gaping, is the rictus.

What are your pet peeves in writing?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Edie and the CEO has a release date!

I'm thrilled to announce that Edie and the CEO, my contemporary romance story with Crimson Romance, will release Monday, February 4, 2013! This is a fun, short, sensual read that will appeal to a broad range of readers and fans. Cover art coming soon!

Edie wants to make her 60s protester grandparents proud. But championing the little guy gets her in trouble with sexy CEO Everett Kirk. Someone's trying to force Everett out of his job, and Edie's latest escapade hasn't helped. A snowstorm and an empty cabin makes them confront their attraction.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Smell of Christmas--Guest Cynthia D’Alba--plus giveaway!

Before you begin reading this blog, shut your eyes and take a couple of breaths through your nose. What did you smell? Last night’s liver and onions? The vanilla candle burning beside you? The lemon in the furniture polish you use? In full disclosure, I’m writing this sitting next to a Sparkling Cinnamon Yankee Candle so I have the wonderful aroma of cinnamon affecting my writing today.

Research shows that the sense of smell is one of the most important elements in evoking memories. And I’ve found that each season has its own unique scent.

In Spring, the aroma of flowers—maybe roses or that out-of-control jasmine along your fence—fills the air with scents designed to pull us outdoors and back into the sunshine after a long winter’s nap.

In Summer, it’s the smells of fresh mowed grass and hot asphalt that make me smile. You may be wondering about the hot asphalt smell because after all, it’s kind of stinky. But when I was going up, my parents would take my sister and me to Six Flags over Texas every summer. All the paths in that park are—or were—paved with asphalt. In the Texas heat, the asphalt would give off its characteristic smell. So my brain associated hot asphalt with pleasure.
In the fall, the crisp air carries the smoke from fires, either in fireplaces or from someone burning leaves in the yard.

But I think the scent of Christmas has the greatest potential to arouse the pleasure centers in our brains. What does Christmas smell like? For me, it’s cinnamon and cloves and vanilla, mixed with a citrus tang, like an orange. It’s the smell of a hot, gooey pecan pie as it’s pulled from the over. Cedar from the fresh cut Christmas tree tints the air in the living room as the proud tree stands guard over the pile of presents at its base. It’s my grandmother’s homemade yeast rolls as the brown in the oven.

Words cannot begin to capture the fragrances that make me smile. But a recipe can. I found a wonderful recipe on www.food.com that I think captures my Christmas.

The Scent of Christmas
Add orange and lemon slices to dry mixture of spices. Put in a small sauce pan with 4 cups of water. Simmer on low to release the fragrance. (NOTE: You might try other liquids instead of water for simmering, such as apple cider, to give your own personal twist.)

IF you simmer it for a few hours, you will need to add more water or liquid occasionally so it doesn't boil dry. Store in refrigerator when not in use to prevent molding. It can be simmered over and over again! Always add more water to equal 4 cups before each use.

So that’s how Christmas smells to me. Tell me about your favorite Christmas scents.

To celebrate the season, AND to celebrate the release of Texas Two Step in print on January 1, 2013, I’ll give a digital copy of Texas Two Step: The Prequel to the first TEN people who write me via my website contact page. I’ll  pick one lucky person to win a digital copy of TEXAS TWO STEP. Occasionally I’ll have some swag (pens, jar openers, magnets, etc) just for the asking! Send a note through my website contact page for swag.

Cynthia D’Alba began writing after a long career in both the medical and academic worlds. Her debut novel, Texas Two Step, was released by Samhain Publishing in digital format on February 28, 2012. It comes out in print on January 1, 2013. Want a taste? Here’s an except from Chapter One.

A BOY, A GIRL, AND A TIGER in the Wild At Heart Anthology, Vol. 1, available now in Digital and Print formats.

Learn more about Cynthia D’Alba at her Website, Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Next Big Thing--What I'm Working On

I'm fortunate to have met a lot of wonderful authors during my publishing career but one of my biggest inspirations is the awesome Edie Ramer. So when she invited me to join a fun serial party, I jumped on it!

Edie's Next Big Thing, Miracle Pie, is here.

And here's mine! Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

What is your working title of your book?
Alphas Don't Wear Bows

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Hubby and me, while driving somewhere, trying to top each other for funny characters/story lines.

What genre does your book fall under?
Paranormal romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
That's a hard one. Noah is black haired and silver-eyed (at least to start) and Sophia has glossy bronze curls and star-shot blue eyes indicating her witch's power. Maybe someone could suggest actors and actresses for me.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Witch princess, alpha wolf, meddling magical aunt--what could possibly go wrong?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'm going to try for an agent with this one.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Started it during one of the NaNoWriMo so 1 month. But filling out the end and editing added another month, and polishing it through SavvyAuthors' EditPalooza in January will add another.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Stephanie Plum meets Team Jacob with a shade or two of Grey.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Husband. Also WisRWA conference pitch where an editor told me she was looking for paranormals with more than one kind of magical being.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Sophia Blue embraced magic and all it entailed, until magic turned on her. Now she's studying to become a humanist minister. Noah Blackwood fought for control of the Blackwood pack before he was ready and now someone's trying to oust him--or worse. And he has some doozy secrets...including why a black raven familiar has been searching for him for years...

I invited four other awesome authors to join the party! Their Next Big Thing will be coming December 12. Visit them here:
And after Edie tagged me, the lovely Valerie Clarizio also asked me to participate! Her Next Big Thing about a sexy man put in a fish out of water situation, is here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 2012 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/2012/12/december-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.

***Some changes coming to the 1T Giveaway in January. Prize will be a backlist book or something else yet to be determined (but I'm thinking T-shirts). This is the last month that Biting Oz will be offered as one of the prizes.

And November's winner is--Stephanie M! Congratulations! Please contact me at mary @ maryhughesbooks.com for your prize.