Tuesday, November 17, 2020

3T Writing Tidbit

Again taking a sidestep from strict craft into promotion.

Many authors are introverts. They'd have to be, to get energy from such an intensely alone profession. Because we're introverts, we think about things, deeply. And some of us...overthink things.

My stories are my own reaction to vanilla romance and vanilla paranormal romance. I like just a little ghost pepper in my romance, you see. And some people have my same taste.

Some, obviously, don't care for spice in their vanilla romance, and that's okay. Until I started thinking about that, worrying about how the stories would be disappointing for those readers. I started worrying about that when I did my ads and promotions and so pulled back on what made them special. I forgot how much of a kick they are for readers who like a little pepper.

Authors! Don't worry about how your book might disappoint a set of readers. Revel instead in how it excites your readers; how it enhances your readers' lives.

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, November 10, 2020

2T Repeat Performance - Big Heart = Baking a Bigger Pie (chocolate silk?)

I've done a number of blog tours over the years, posting on different sites. Now I'm bringing them to you!

Originally published March 13, 2010 for ARRA

Hello, ARRA! Thanks for inviting me to guest blog today, and huge thanks for Bite My Fire’s nomination, an honor and thrill.

What a lovely blog and website you have! I admit to a special delight in the ARRA logo. The way the Rs combine to make a heart really tickled my fancy…and inspired this blog.

ARRA. Australian Romance Readers Association. Well, I’m a US gal but my hubby has relatives in Australia, and I studied conducting under Geoffrey Simon—can that count for a bit of a connection? I’m certainly a reader of romance. Great swaths of it, Sherrilyn Kenyon, JD Robb, Anne Stuart and now Stephanie Laurens to name a few.

So many romances, so little time! (Ninety award finalists alone, all amazing authors.) And yet we find time, don’t we? Time to read, to water the seeds of love in our hearts, our lives. Despite our busy days and nights, we somehow find time to absorb stories of the sweet joining of two people in heart, body and soul.

ARRA nurtures that love, and not just through reading.

When Maggie notified me that Bite My Fire was a finalist in the Favourite Erotic Romance category, she also mentioned an opportunity to guest blog.  I emailed my interest, thinking that with all those finalists (did I mention there were ninety?) I might get a spot sometime in 2011. Instead Debbie mailed me back that extra blogging spots would be opened up during voting.  That’s plain exceptional.

See, there’s a lot of competition out there. A lot of writers, a lot of great books. As an author it’s easy to feel lost in the sheer volume of spines on the shelf.  Easy to feel you have to scrabble and grab for your little slice of the pie (mmm, lemon meringue).

But ARRA demonstrates the secret of love in action. When faced with feeding the multitude, instead of diminishing the portions, ARRA just baked a bigger pie. (Maybe pecan.)

I have to admit—I still scrabble and have to work hard not to grab. It’s fellow Samhain Publishing author, the awesome Vivi Andrews, who taught me what a big heart is. Just walking among the stars expands me. Makes my pie a little bigger.  (Strawberry-rhubarb. Or maybe chocolate silk after all.)

Thank you, Gentle Readers, for nominating Bite My Fire for Favourite Erotic Romance—for allowing me to walk among your author stars. It is an honor I hold to my heart, which is just a bit bigger today.

Please visit me at Mary Hughes Books!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

3T Writing Tidbit

This is a slight step away from strictly writing into the marvelous, frightening world of book marketing.

One of the things I used to wonder is why there are all these articles on Steps to Follow to Promote Your Book, and they'd usually consist of things like
  • Grow your newsletter to sell more 
  • Offer free books to grow your newsletter 
  • Offer free books to get more reviews to sell more
  • Make sure there's a call to action! (or trigger)
In other words, how to increase your reach.

Now don't get me wrong, these are good and valid recommendations. But even following them, you won't sell much better unless you have a good book that people want to read.

In other words, how to increase your appeal.

Who writes articles about that? Who writes articles about the surefire way to write a blurb to get those one-clicks? Yes, the trigger is important, but so too are desire and ability. Few people write articles about how to stoke the desire to buy your books (at least, not in a step-by-step version).

Promotion is both about the books' appeal and their reach. But it's easier to quantify reach, and that's why there are more articles and posts about it.

I challenge bloggers to help authors increase their stories' appeal. How do we create the perfect blurb for our book? How do we look into our story and extract the marrow of what will appeal to readers? What if our book isn't anything like the bestsellers in the genre--and that's why we're writing, because we're tired of same-old, same-old?

So many articles on "promotion" are really on reach. Even when there are articles on appeal, it's how to promise to the broadest audience via stereotypes (dark, brooding vampires).

How do we appeal to our readers?

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 13, 2020

2T Research Tidbit

So now that I've run out of repeat performances, I thought I'd try something completely different. I do quite a bit of research in preparation and during the writing process, even and especially for the paranormal. As they occur to me, I thought I'd share some with you.

As of this writing (February, 2018) I'm doing research on Romania for Night's Kiss. Specifically, I'm putting together facts for my bad-guy vamp's hideaway castle. So I thought, why not check out Dracula's, the foremost bad-guy vamp there is?

Googling Dracula's Castle gets you Bram's Castle in Romania. But further research indicates Stoker (who wrote Dracula) didn't know anything about this castle. The two more likely contenders are castles Vlad III (the model for Dracula). Castelul Corvinilor and Poenari Kalesi (both in Romania) are linked to the Dracula legend. Not that either of these are Vlad's full-time castle. So I dug a little deeper.

And here, things got weird.

Turns out, there's a guy who did research into Stoker's notes (with the heir's help). According to Wikipedia, " Dutch author Hans Corneel de Roos,[1] proposes as location for Castle Dracula an empty mountain top, Mount Izvorul Călimanului, 2,033 metres (6,670 ft) high, located in the Călimani Alps near the former border with Moldavia."

But when I actually searched for Mount Izvorul? The only references are repeats of this particular fact. No independent corroboration.

Cue the X-Files music.

So I looked at the Calimani Mountains, hoping to identify the peak by height. Here's another quote from Wikipedia: "Maximum height is reached in Pietrosul Călimanilor Peak, at 2,102 m. Other significant peaks include: Bistriciorul (1,990 m), Stuniorul (1,885 m), Gruiului (1,913 m), Negoiul Unguresc (2,084 m), Rețițiș (2,021 m), Bradul Ciont (1,899 m), Iezerul Călimanilor (2,023 m)."

There is NO mountain peak of exactly 2033 meters!!

(There IS a Mount Izvor, but it's in Antarctica.)

So the apparent fact of Stoker's notes seems to be only a ghost of a fact. Anybody who has independent confirmation of Mount Izvor, get in touch!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

1T Status Update October

"There isn't enough time in the day" isn't quite true. What we're really challenged by is the fact that there may not be enough time to do everything that's important to us in a way that gives us satisfaction.

And yes, this is leading somewhere. I'm working full time outside writing these days, and so don't have as much time for the monthly updates or nice touches I was used to making in the online world. That may change, but for the present, this may be the last update for a while.

So, on to the good news! Giveaway! $462 in GCs plus ebooks from bestselling authors to ONE winner in this pre-holiday MEGA #giveaway.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I finished the manuscript for Night's Bliss, final book in the Ancients series, and sent it in to my editor at the end of August. In celebration, I created two short videos for the first two books in the series.



Tuesday, September 29, 2020

5T Tossup

In honor of turning in Night's Bliss (final book in the Ancients Series) to my editor, here's another new trailer, for Night's Kiss (The Ancients, Book 2). Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

4T Olio

In honor of sending off Night's Bliss (final book in The Ancients series) to my editor, here's a new trailer for Night's Caress (The Ancients, Book 1)!