Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Author Tool Bag

Mobipocket has a free ebook creator. I use it for making ARCs. Check it and the free ebook reader here:

My Author Tool Bag features sites I use in writing, editing, and marketing. It's stuff I've found online. The usual caveats apply--no recommendations either expressed or implied, don't click on blind links, have a good antivirus, etc. You know the drill.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Crush--guest Barb Meyers!

Barb Meyers is a fellow Samhain author. She writes sweet, spicy, sexy contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and screwball contemporary fantasy--all favorites of mine, but what really caught my eye was she enjoys reading and Bejeweled Blitz. A fellow soul :) Please welcome Barb!

I started sixth grade in a new school in a small farming town in Illinois.  From the moment I stepped on the bus the first day a boy in my class developed a crush on me that lasted…well, I don’t know how long it lasted because I moved away from the area after my sophomore year in high school.

His name was John but everyone called him Pus Head.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know why he was the kid perceived to be in the unpopular group.  I remember little about him, except that he had white blond hair and a younger sister named Rainfall.

I was a deeply insecure child who lacked both self-confidence and self-esteem.  Plus I was naïve.  After being sheltered in parochial school public school was a shock to my delicate system.  Still I knew enough to scramble so as not to be one of the kids on the outer fringes of the popular group.  There were only thirty or so kids in our class, so you can imagine how the rankings went.  I ranked pretty low on the totem pole but I’d have dropped even further if I’d given John the time of day.

So I was mean to him.  I ignored him.  He made absolutely no secret of the fact that he adored me.  Everyone knew it and it wasn’t helping my status at all.  Ironic, isn’t it?  In a new school where I didn’t know anyone I should have been looking to make friends.  Instead I ran from someone who wanted to be near me.

At the eighth grade dance guess who asked me to dance?  I probably said no, but I’m pretty sure a teacher pushed me out onto the floor and into John’s arms.  Awkward!  Several of the girls told me afterward that he was looking down my dress.  Maybe he was, but there wasn’t much for him to see.  Maybe he was looking down at me hoping I’d look into his eyes for once instead of avoiding his gaze. A friend who went to college with him told me that at some point, a glass was lifted in memory of his crush on me.

What if I hadn’t been so insecure?  What if I’d given John a chance, got to know him instead of ignoring him?  Would he still adore me?  Or would he have run the other way if I ever let him see the real me, if I’d even known who I was then?

Why is it that so often we attract the kind of male attention we don’t want?  At least we think we don’t want it.  But years later, we might ask ourselves, “When’s the last time a guy acted like he adored me?”  Gosh, I miss that.

In THE FIRST TIME AGAIN, Baylee remembers the first time her high school crush Trey draped his arm over her shoulders as “the most delicious feeling in the world.”

Anyone else have a lasting impression of a crush?  Or a crusher?

The First Time Again
There’s no defense when love blindsides your heart. 
The Braddock Brotherhood, Book 3 

Once Trey Christopher was the small-town golden boy. Now he’s just another burned-out, washed-up ex-quarterback with a bum knee, a tarnished reputation, and a simple wish. To be the kind of man he can face in the mirror.

Moving back home is a start, as is hiring a down-on-her-luck local woman to help him out around his grandparents’ old homestead.

The last thing Baylee Westring wants is to clean house for a high school crush who barely remembers her name, but Trey’s money will finally top off her get-out-of-Henderson-forever escape fund.

Before she hits the road, though, Baylee’s got something for the man she still finds wildly attractive: the virginity he almost—but not quite—took during a drunken teenage party.

Neither is prepared for the emotional impact of that encounter. But just when Baylee dares to believe in happy ever after, an old enemy turns up to even the score. And Trey finds his heart left in the red zone, with his last chance for love ticking down to zero.

Warning: Contains an overeducated housekeeper who’s open to receiving a pass or two, and an ex-football player who can’t seem to stop himself from showing her all his moves.

The First Time Again now available at Amazon, BN, Samhain

Barb sent along a smokin' hot excerpt for your reading pleasure! Click here to read it.

More about Barb Meyers
I write the kind of books I’d like to read: Sweet, spicy, sexy contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and screwball contemporary fantasy. 
When not writing fiction, Dr. Seuss-like poetry or song lyrics, I put on a black cap and a green apron and supply caffeine-laced substances to addicted consumers for a world-wide coffee company. 
Things I enjoy (in no particular order): premium coffee, white zinfandel, giant Hershey bars with almonds, reading, Bejeweled Blitz, long walks, bicycling and playing tennis badly. I’m still married to my first husband, have two fantastic children and one almost perfect dog. I currently reside in Central Florida. 
Visit me at
Follow my infrequent posts on Twitter @barbmeyers and @ajtillock or Facebook
Read my blog at

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My Author Tool Bag

Naming your character? Here's a blog with some tips for you.

Check out USA popularity of names by birth year:
And last name popularity in 2000 and 1990

My Author Tool Bag features sites I use in writing, editing, and marketing. It's stuff I've found online. The usual caveats apply--no recommendations either expressed or implied, don't click on blind links, have a good antivirus, etc. You know the drill.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

3T Writing Tidbit

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.

Romance offers opportunities and challenges not found in other genres because you're always dealing with at least two major protagonists (hero/heroine). Each must have their own NEED and WANT and therefore their own character arc.

Get extra resonance by integrating H1's and H2's arcs.
Example: When H1 solves her problem it gives H2 insight into his own problem.
Example: H2 tries to cure his own weakness in H1 (H2 can see his own issues more clearly seeing H1 wrestle with/act on the same thing).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Author Tool Bag

This tip is courtesy of Erin Richards of the Crimson Romance author's group.

You can see all the Goodreads lists your book is on by:
1) Go to your book page.
2) At the end of the URL is your book number. Copy it.
3) Add it to the end of this URL

Biting Oz is here on Goodreads:
Extract the book number: 14896833-biting-oz
Add it to the list URL:

So for Erin, her list link is

Here are the rest of mine:

My Author Tool Bag features sites I use in writing, editing, and marketing. It's stuff I've found online. The usual caveats apply--no recommendations either expressed or implied, don't click on blind links, have a good antivirus, etc. You know the drill.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bad Boy Heroes--Guest Amy Sandas!

Amy Sandas is a phenomenal person, an amazing author who can also put together a state-wide conference and make it look easy. Gracious and talented, I know Amy both through Samhain Publishing and WisRWA. She's here to celebrate her brand-new release Reckless Viscount. Please welcome Amy!

We know who they are.

They appear in as many guises as there are writers and dreamers.

They are the Bad Boy Heroes of Romance. As a group they are far-reaching and encompass a wide variety of characteristics. Your favorite may be tortured and dangerous. Or roguish and charming. A rebel with a cause, or a man motivated by demons from his past. He may be the wolfish shifter who hunts in the night, the rich playboy who cares only for himself and the pleasures he can explore, or the man who rides at the edge of society.

No matter what form he takes, we all know him by a few specific traits:
  • He is an unrepentant rule-breaker.
  • Beneath his harsh blackened outer shell, he is as vulnerable as a lost child.
  • And when he finds that one woman who manages to convince him he is worth it, he would give up his soul to keep her.
So, what is it that holds us so enthralled when it comes to these men who are mad, bad and dangerous to know?”

Why do we agonize over their pain and wish for one of these devastating heroes to have as our very own?

I think we have all heard the theory that girls go for the bad boys because they want to change them, fix them, heal them.

Do we yearn to nurture the tortured soul of a devastatingly handsome, recklessly deviant and wonderfully bad man, proving ourselves worthy of his unending devotion?  

Of course we do! (I mean the heroines. That is what we want the HEROINES to do. Geesh!)

But I believe it is also about so much more than that.

Whether the heroine is an innocent, pure and naïve, or a tough chic out to get what’s hers, there is something liberating in being in the presence of a rogue who has no concerns with reputation, consequences or the polite expectations of others. Bad Boys give even the most pious little good girl the unspoken permission to be a little bit (or a lot!) wicked themselves. The sexy thing about not following the rules is that it allows us to see all the potential that exists outside the bounds of what others have deemed as appropriate. We are freed to explore things we may not have had the courage to do before meeting Mr. Dangerous. Boundaries drop away, life is newly exciting and love… well…

Don’t forget, these men typically know exactly what to do when they’ve got you alone and they don’t tend to hold back. A man like that can easily release a girl’s inhibitions because she knows there will be no judgment if she goes a little wild or completely loses control. The Bad Boy will continually challenge his lover to see just how far she is willing to go.

Leif Riley, the hero of Reckless Viscount is like that. He accepts that he is notorious amongst polite society and he feels no shame for it. He has his reasons for the wicked path he has taken through the richest boudoirs of England and that is enough for him. Until he meets a woman who seems to see beyond the façade he created for the rest of the world. An innocent from the Irish countryside, there should be nothing about her to tempt a man as jaded as he is, but he cannot seem to chase her from his thoughts.

For Abbigael Granger, Leif is a man to be avoided at all costs, but he accepts the shadows in her soul as no one else has ever done. His easy acceptance of things she tried so hard to conceal, allows her to see herself in a new way. And he encourages her to explore a rich sensuality she had no idea she possessed.

 Excerpt from Reckless Viscount

The curve of his mouth turned devilish and his voice took on a cavalier tone. “I’d make a dreadful husband, probably the worst that ever existed, but you would never be bored.”

“There are things that frighten me far more than boredom,” Abbigael countered.

She desperately tried to ignore the delicate little thrills that chased over her skin in reaction to his suggestive tone and his overwhelming nearness and the way the warmth of his hand holding hers seemed to spread throughout her entire body.

“Like what?” he asked in a low murmur.

Stray bits of moonlight filtered through the patterned leaves and danced over the sharp planes of his face, accenting the stern line of his jaw, the aristocratic length of his nose, the masculine width of his forehead. He was truly stunningly handsome.

And he was fully aware of it.

An inexperienced girl could become ensnared in his attentive gaze. Abbigael was unwilling to look away in fear she may miss some deep revelation in the swirling colors. Her brain was softening, as was the curve of her spine. She felt herself leaning in to him, enjoying the caress of his thumb as it pressed into the flesh of her palm.

He watched her intently, waiting for something. Oh yes, he had asked her a question. What did she fear more than boredom?

“Loneliness,” she breathed.

The black centers of his eyes dilated. She wondered at it, but her mind couldn’t seem to find purchase on any solid thought at the moment. Her lungs felt heavy and restrictive.

“You’re not alone right now.”

Abbigael suppressed a gentle shiver. She loved the sound of his voice when he lowered it like that. It twisted around her like a silken snake, tempting and teasing a personal truth she had buried long ago. As much as Abbigael yearned for the simple, quiet joy of a loving family, a part of her was undeniably attracted to the more intense emotions within herself. Emotions she constantly repressed in fear of losing control.

Almost everything about this man called to that part of her.

“You’re not going to kiss me again,” she muttered with trembling conviction.

His lips twitched.

“I’m not?”

“No,” she replied more confidently. “Because even as you are not what I want, I know I am not at all what you want.”

“I doubt you have any idea a’tall what I want, Irish.” Weary arrogance rode along the crests of the deeper sensual undercurrent flowing through his voice.

There was something else as well. Something that begged to be defined.

Abbigael shifted her position to face him more fully. She tried not to think too long on the heady warmth that spread from her belly when her side pressed against his chest. She lifted her hand to the side of his face. It was a bold move, but Abbigael was beyond the point of concern for propriety. He grew very still at the unexpected contact, and Abbigael almost smiled at the idea that she had managed to shock him, if only a very little.

The subtle growth of hair along his jaw was rough beneath her hand. She enjoyed the unexpected humanness of the texture. Not a god or fairy prince then.

He lowered his eyelids to half-mast, perhaps as a means of shielding his thoughts. But the action lent his expression a distinctly seductive appearance, and Abbigael’s blood pulsed swiftly in her veins. In spite of her body’s distracting reaction, she remained focused on his face. There was something there she needed to understand, something out of place in the world-weary angles and planes that defined his features. The short lines between his brows were too deep for a man his age.

On impulse, she extended her thumb to press it firmly against the center of his bottom lip. There was far too much tension there.

At the touch of her thumb against his lips, his breath drew in sharply, audibly. She lifted her gaze back to his. The myriad color scope of his eyes was bright and intense.

She took a deep and quiet breath, slowly filling her lungs. Then she spoke, the words falling softly from her lips before completely clearing her mind.

“I suspect you want far more than you lead people to believe.” She watched as the blue and green sparks faded into the golden glow of his eyes. Pulled in by the sudden heaviness in his gaze, she murmured under her breath, “I wonder if your refusal to please the world is a way to hide the fact that you cannot please yourself.”

His countenance darkened as she spoke and the muscle in his jaw grew taut beneath her palm. Abbigael worried she may have angered him with her thoughtless speculation.

Then he smiled. A wide and reckless grin that instantly chased away the soft haze of emotional intimacy that had clouded her perception.

“Oh, I know very well how to please myself.”

He wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her against his chest as he laid back. He dropped his other hand to the outer curve of her hip and pressed his fingers possessively into her sensitive flesh.

Reckless Viscount now available at Amazon,, Samhain Publishing

Amy’s love of romance began one summer when she was thirteen and complained of boredom. She ended up with one of her mother’s Barbara Cartland books and an obsessive interest that expanded from there. Her affinity for writing began with sappy pre-teen poems and led to a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

She writes in the early mornings while her young kids are still asleep and dreams of a future when she can write all day instead of going to her “other” job. In the evenings, Amy is a full-time wife and mother who enjoys pizza, wine and dark brooding heroes … namely, her husband.

For more about Amy Sandas:
Website, Facebook, Twitter



Thursday, June 6, 2013

My Author Tool Bag

Check out website popularity. Gives global and US ranking as well as # sites linking in.

My Author Tool Bag feature sites I use in writing, editing, marketing. It's stuff I've found online and the usual caveats apply--no recommendations either expressed or implied, don't click on blind links, have a good antivirus, etc. You know the drill.  Feedback appreciated!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June 1T Olio

GIVEAWAY! Like paperbacks? How about a chance to win one of two autographed copies of Biting Oz? Now through June 30, enter my Goodreads Biting Oz giveaway!

Biting Oz print--July 2, 2013
Beauty Bites ebook--August 27, 2013
Downbeat ebook--March 2014
Beauty Bites print--July 2014

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Biting Oz by Mary Hughes

Biting Oz

by Mary Hughes

Giveaway ends July 01, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win