Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two New Contracts! Beauty Bites and Edie and the CEO

Lots of news!

I've signed a contract for the next Biting Love novel! Beauty Bites is Biting Love Book 6. Here's a first-draft blurb to whet your appetite.

When top Minneapolis ad man Ric Holiday is asked to design a campaign for the quaint town of Meiers Corners, he says no, in no uncertain terms. Meiers Corners is too near Chicago, the residence of the vampire who turned the orphaned Ric as boy. Then the city sends medical student Synnove Byornsson to plead their case. Synnove has the body of a Scandinavian model and the face of an angel. She is a sunshine Ric hasn’t felt since he was a human boy basking in his parents’ love. But Synnove also has the determination and intelligence of a doctor, and she won’t take his no for an answer.

Synnove walked away from her residency when a surgeon botched a surgery because he was staring at her chest. With time on her hands, she can’t say no when her cousin asks her to approach Holiday. But she’s all about substance, not image. Holiday represents everything she hates. She agrees to attending his Christmas-in-July party only reluctantly.

On the way up to Holiday’s penthouse, she’s hit on by four rowdy drunks, one of whom rips her blouse to reveal the lacy bra underneath—just as the penthouse door opens. Synnove gasps, near-nudity forgotten. Holiday is far more than she expected. The heart-pounding thrill at the sharp planes of his handsome face and azure eyes. The bright lust flooding her at his broad shoulders and tie nestled in the valley of his pecs. The warmth as he drapes his silk suitcoat over her shoulders.

Synnove knows she must get this man to agree to her proposal at any cost, though he continues to say no. But when a voluptuous, sly woman makes a counter-proposal to remold Meiers Corners into the New Vegas of the Midwest, and backs it up with practiced seduction, Synnove finds out what the cost of Ric Holiday’s help really is.

Bonus. If you've been waiting for Twyla and Nikos's Happily-Ever-After, you'll want to read Beauty Bites!


And I've signed a contract with Crimson Romance (home of author friends Elle J Rossi and Eliza Daly) for a contemporary 40,000-word story, Edie and the CEO!

Here's a first-draft blurb to give you a taste.

Edie Rowan is passionate about workers’ rights, wanting her Sixties protester grandparents to be proud of her. But championing the little guy gets her in trouble with sexy CEO Everett Kirk. Kirk is Mr. Ultra-Executive with his expensive hand-tailored suits and his eyes the steel blue of a finely-tempered sword—but for the intriguing contradictions of his neat ponytail and square workman’s hands.

Edie’s latest disaster, a teambuilding exercise gone facepalm wrong, leads to a knockdown drag-out with rival manager Bethany “The B”—or add the “Itch”—Blondelle. The incident is the last straw for Kirk. He sends Edie to management camp and to her shock, announces he will drive her there himself. She wonders why he would want eighteen hours of enforced intimacy with her, even as she’s dazzled by his sparkling white smile and killer dimple.

Everett walks away from the confrontation with a headache. For years he has protected Edie from the fallout of her righteous crusading, but this may be the last time. A corporate backstabber is trying to eject Everett from his job. Even so, he’s looking forward to spending time on the drive with Edie, attracted to her sunny red curls, fiery personality and fine dark eyes.

Then a snowstorm forces them to seek shelter in an empty mountain cabin. Edie thinks she will take the lead in wilderness survival but Kirk proves more durable than his Italian loafers and silk sweater would suggest. The extended stay rubs them together in all sorts of ways, kindling emotional and physical flames. But when their corporate shells burn away, what secrets will be revealed?

Tuesday, November 20, 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.

Change the resolution of a beloved theme at your own peril.

The plot should resolve in the final part of the book in a way that is unexpected but clicks for the reader. Twists, variation and conflict are great except when a) they aren't connected in any way to what's happened or b) they run counter to a theme embedded deep in the reader's psyche.

Example: "There's no place like home" resonates with purity and simplicity for anyone who's seen or read The Wizard of Oz. You can change that but be prepared for the resolution to ring false for many of your readers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Under Her Spell--Guest Eliza Daly--Plus Giveaway!

Eliza Daly is another wonderful author I met through my monthly writer's group. Her books are smart, sassy, sexy...see for yourself!

Under Her Spell

When a series of failed relationships and business ventures have Monica Jackson doubting her self-worth, she turns to spell casting to attract positive energy and the opportunities needed to achieve her goals.  But can Monica’s belief in spells restore her belief in herself?

Monica creates a spell to find her soul mate, and one to ensure the success of her new romantic event planning company, Enhance Your Romance.  Monica is confident she has found her niche until divorce lawyer Reed Walker opens a practice next door to her office.  The anti-marriage slogan plastered on his office window, and his down-on-love clients, quickly prove detrimental to Monica’s business.  When his arrival appears to trigger a string of bad luck, Monica fears one of her spells sent negative energy into the universe and it has returned to her threefold.  Although Reed is beyond sexy, and she admires his self-confidence, she’ll do whatever it takes to get the universe back on her side, and Reed out of her life. No way is she losing another business.

Reed finds himself attracted to Monica’s beauty and her optimism. His job and his parents’ divorce have made him a pessimist, especially when it comes to love. However, he soon finds that Monica’s pro-love attitude is rubbing off on him, causing him to lose his edge.  If Reed doesn’t distance himself from Monica, he’ll likely destroy his reputation as a pit bull divorce lawyer.

Can Monica and Reed look past what they might be losing to realize the love they have found?

Excerpt Reveal for Under Her Spell


Monica Jackson was raising a bowl of sea salt, preparing to cast a spell circle on her bedroom floor when the door flew open. She nearly dropped the bowl as her cousin Hope stormed in, covered with flour and cake batter — the Unhappy Homemaker from Hell.

“No way is he getting the BMW,” Hope said, shaking a wooden spoon in her hand and sending batter flying across the room.

The night before, Hope had caught her scumbag husband Kyle in bed with another woman. Not wanting to impose on her happily married friends, she’d showed up at Monica’s door, even though they weren’t exactly close. Hope made a Stepford Wife look like a total slacker, and the only thing she and Monica had in common were their Italian features: dark hair and brown eyes. A wedding cake decorator, Hope was coping with Kyle’s infidelity by baking like a mad woman. Forget the cake. Monica would shove Kyle in the oven and roast him on high.

“What are you doing?” Hope’s gaze narrowed on the small wooden table in front of Monica, where her ingredients for the soul mate spell sat on top of a red tablecloth: a red candle, lavender incense, jasmine oil, cinnamon, and a love letter to her as yet unidentified true love.

“Casting a spell to help find my soul mate.”

“A spell? Does that really work?”


Monica’s psychic friend Jordan had convinced her that spell casting was a viable alternative to Milwaukeemates.com and speed dating in general. Neither of which Monica had time for, since establishing her new business was top priority. Her company, Enhance Your Romance, planned unique romantic events and was sure to succeed, unlike her other dozen failed business plans. Society was obsessed with being in love.

“A spell … ” Hope mused, then her face lit up. “If there’s a spell to attract a man to a woman, there must be one to repel women from a man. Right?”

“Spells shouldn’t involve negative energy. Sending out negative energy can cause it to return threefold. They aren’t intended to harm someone or make them do something against their will.” Jordan had drilled this into her head.

“I wouldn’t be making Kyle do anything against his will. I’d be warning women to stay away from him.”

Sounded borderline.

“Please,” Hope whined, picking a clump of batter from her long, wavy hair.

Monica let out a defeated groan. “All right.” Hope would never actually cast the spell anyway. When they were young, Hope refused to wear a Casper costume for Halloween because she didn’t believe in ghosts. She was closed-minded when it came to paranormal or New Age beliefs. And you had to truly believe in a spell for it to work.

Monica set down the bowl of salt and grabbed a pencil and pad of paper off her desk and handed them to Hope. “Write this down. It’s called,” she tapped a hot pink nail against her lip, “the dirtbag spell.”

“Like it already.” Hope jotted down the title as she perched on the edge of the bed’s purple floral comforter.

“Take one of Kyle’s socks, fill it with dirt, and add a photo of him. It’s critical you aren’t in the photo.” Monica paced, tightening the sash on her lavender silk robe. “Include something of his like … ”

“His new Rolex?”

Personally, Monica would list the watch on eBay and pray for a bidding war. But Hope, no matter how ticked off, was too timid to sell Kyle’s precious watch, and too frugal to risk damaging it by mixing it with dirt.

“That’s fine. Sew up the sock and bury it in your front yard. It’ll warn all women he’s a dirtbag.”

Hope poised the pencil against her lower lip, reviewing the spell. “Don’t I have to say something when I bury it, like a chant?”

What happened to being spell ignorant?

“Bury it in the moonlight while saying … ” Monica scrambled for a few rhyming lines, “moonlight, glowing bright, warn all women in your sight, the man who lives in this house, is a dirtbag and a total louse.”

“Perfect.” Hope sprang from the bed, looking inspired. “Kyle’s at work. I’m going over to the house right now to bury that sock.” She turned and marched out, a woman on a mission.

Monica nibbled nervously on her fingernail. Hope wouldn’t seriously go through with casting the spell, would she? A big part of spell casting was psychological, focusing all your energy on making something happen. Monica had never seen Hope look so determined, or vindictive. Hopefully, if she did cast the spell the negative energy didn’t return threefold.

What was the worst that could happen?

Please leave an insightful comment about the post to be entered to win one of two e-copies of Under Her Spell (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo). Please leave your e-mail address with your comment or check back for the winners, which will be announced on November 18th.

I’d like to thank Mary for having me here today and helping me celebrate the release of my debut romance, Under Her Spell. And thank you to everyone who stopped by and commented on my post. Please check out future stops on my blog tour, ending November 27. I’ll be giving away a variety of gifts. If you comment on 5 stops, and are a Facebook fan, you’ll be eligible to win one of two $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift certificates at the end of my blog tour. Winners will be announced on my website’s news page the end of November. A December Holiday Giveaway for my readers will also be revealed at that time.

Eliza Daly’s first attempt at creative writing was in fourth grade. She and her friends were huge Charlie’s Angels fans and she would sit in her bedroom at night writing scripts for them to act out at recess the following day. She was Kelly Garrett. Fast forward to the present, she’s still writing stories about beautiful women who always get their men. The journey from fourth grade script writer to published author wasn’t an easy one, but it was always an adventure and the final destination was well worth it.

When Eliza isn’t traveling for her job as an event planner, or tracing her ancestry roots through Ireland, she’s at home in Milwaukee working on her next novel, bouncing ideas off her husband Mark, and her cats Quigley and Frankie.

You can find Eliza on the web at Website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Under Her Spell is available at Amazon, iTunes, Google Play (Nook compatible), Kobo, and Barnes & Noble (coming soon).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November 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/2012/11/november-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 October's giveaway is Anonymous/blacksnake! Congratulations! I'll be contacting you at the email you gave me about your prize.