Monday, November 26, 2012

The Last Week of November

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I manage to continue to indulge in wonderful leftovers, but now I've noticed that my waistline has expanded a bit. Yes, I know the effects of overindulgence in many areas *wink* but we won't get into that.
Sadly, I'm not a creature of moderation, otherwise I could just eat less, and therefore I'm forced to exercise to retrieve my waistline. Yes, I do tend to do things the hard way, but considering the tamale dinner and sweets I'm expecting to enjoy for Christmas, I accept my fate.
Walking might be the best exercise for those unwanted pounds but I've have found another; decorating for Christmas. Yes, believe it or not, decorating takes me days. I hang garlands and lights and other decorations. This year I've found battery operated Christmas lights and am lighting up every wreath I can get my hands on.
I'm not neglecting my belly dancing exercises, of course. Those are great for strengthening your stomach muscles and pulling in that waistline at the sides. Bulging out over the top of my jeans doesn't make me happy, so a little sweating is worth the effort.
Unfortunately, I have a slice of cheesecake left in the refrigerator and it'll have to be tended to before the night is over. No, I won't do anything inappropriate like throw it away. I'll give it a proper burial in my tummy.
If only writing worked off pounds. *sigh*
Mary

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mary Corrales on Being a NaNoWriMo Tagalong

The one thing about being a writer is that sometimes life doesn't allow the time to create at we'd like. The holidays are coming and life seems to move faster. Throw in a cold or other illness and the stress alone makes it hard to be creative. Also, like most Americans I'm on a smaller budget for Christmas thanks to a crappy economy.
This is the time of year that I find myself prioritizing the most. There is a great deal to get done each day, and I have to choose what I need to do versus what I want to do. Finishing Christmas shopping is a must because I don't want to be out in the stores passed the first week of December. When you've had your shopping cart disappear in the store because you didn't physically have your hand on it, you know what I mean.
Sorry, I got off topic…a long time ago. Anyway, that's why I've been so inspired by the tweets and blogposts of NaNo writers this month. I've never participated, but these dedicated writers have kept me on course in my own works in progress. They push for those work counts and those thousands of words pile up and become a book at the end of the month. How amazing.
I was fortunate to meet one of these authors, Ivy Bateman, and the fact that she got her NaNoWriMo story published (The Fifth Story) speaks to how inspirational authors supporting authors can be. Maybe next year I might take the plunge and participate. For now, I'm a tag-along that benefits from tweets and blogs from real NaNo participants.
So what has tagging along helped me to accomplish? I have ten more pages to re-edit and then this story is going out for submission…again. Yes, I know it's not exactly writing but I'm inspired nonetheless and I've added another 4K words to the story, thereby enriching the characters. I also already know the next story I'll work on after I send this one out.
Thank you to all you NaNoWriMo word warriors out there. You Rock!
Any other tag-alongs out there?
Mary

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Writing A Character from Another Culture by Paty Jager

 Mary, thank you for having me here today! My pleasure, Paty. So what are you up to?

Giveaway
I’m on a two week blog tour and you could be a winner! I will be giving away a $5 egift card to a commenter at each blog stop and will give a bag full of goodies to the person who follows me to the most blogs and a gift to the host who gets the most commenters. You can find the blog tour hosts at my blog: http://www.patyjager.blogspot.com or my website: http://www.patyjager.net

That's awesome, Paty. Why don't you tell my readers a little of the characters for your latest book, SECRETS OF A MAYAN MOON?

While coming up with the characters for my action adventure romance I wanted a hero who was a complete opposite of my heroine. I’d been visiting with a woman who had married a Venezuelan and had lived there for several years. Hearing about her life as an outsider and the way the men of Venezuela treated a woman, I thought giving my hero that background would make for an interesting contrast to my genius, privately schooled heroine.

What I didn’t realize that while building Tino’s background I would throw in government turmoil (in Venezuela), his family fleeing that country, and his teen and adult years being spent in the United States. With this as his background, I could give him the macho attitudes of the Latin men but also have him more tolerant of the heroine’s independence because he had lived in the states. His Latin machismo comes out when he is fighting his attraction to the skinny, brainy woman he wouldn’t usually look twice at. He soon realizes it is her heart, genius, and innocence that imbeds her in his heart.

Some of the culture things I found interesting about Venezuela dealt with how the men treated the women. From my friend’s account the women were treated like children. Given money for groceries and shopping and told when they could do things. The men refrained from vulgar language while around the women.

I used the language bit with Tino. He uses stronger curse words in his head and when Isabella isn’t around and a milder one when she is with him. While she grew up secluded and pampered, he faced many harsh realities in life and knows the seedy side as well as the affluent side. This both in his home land of Venezuela and in the states. Follow the tour and learn more about Tino when he is interviewed.

Blurb for Secrets of a Mayan Moon:
Child prodigy and now Doctor of Anthropology, Isabella Mumphrey, is about to lose her job at the university. In the world of publish or perish, her mentor’s request for her assistance on a dig is just the opportunity she’s been seeking. If she can decipher an ancient stone table—and she can—she’ll keep her department. She heads to Guatemala, but drug trafficking bad guys, artifact thieves, and her infatuation for her handsome guide wreak havoc on her scholarly intentions.

DEA agent Tino Kosta, is out to avenge the deaths of his family. He’s deep undercover as a jaguar tracker and sometimes jungle guide, but the appearance of a beautiful, brainy anthropologist heats his Latin blood taking him on a dangerous detour that could leave them both casualties of the jungle.

Excerpt:
Tino pulled the truck over and stepped out. He’d have to be more careful around the doctor. For all her gullibility, she had a mind that deducted and researched. Keeping his true identity a secret from her would be a challenge. He retrieved a can of Gallo and a canteen. He slid under the steering wheel, handed her the canteen, and popped the top on the beer.

She frowned. “You aren’t going to drink and drive? It isn’t even noon.”

Her attitude reminded him of his initial perspective of her, when he only knew her name. Sour and bossy. “Yes, this is my beverage of choice since the water around here is unsuitable to drink.” It wasn’t his drink of choice. He only used it as a prop to reinforce his cover of a bum who could only get a job as a guide.

“But beer? You could purchase juice or soda.” She narrowed her eyes. “What happens if you get drunk and can’t find your way to the dig? We’ll end up stranded in the jungle.”

“I have never become drunk. I drink only when I am thirsty.” The gall of her to imply he didn’t know his way around the jungle. He sneaked a peek at the Government Issue watch with GPS strapped to his left wrist.

“I still think you could make a better choice. Alcohol has a drying effect on the body.”

Tino stabbed her with a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding stare. “What is sticking your clothes to you?” A sheen of perspiration glistened her skin, adding more definition to her collarbone and high cheek bones. His blood heated at the sight. He tamped the sensation down. Doctor Mumphrey wasn’t his type, she was out of his league, and he didn’t make attachments. In his line of work all he could enjoy were one nighters, and she wasn’t the one night type.

Isabella didn’t blush, but the indignant set to her jaw slackened. Her slender fingers unscrewed the lid on the canteen. Closing her eyes, she tipped her head back, and raised the vessel to her lips. Contentment transformed her features to the childlike innocence he’d noticed the night before. She slowly drank, savoring each mouthful and swallowing in slow motion. The effect more erotic than anything he’d seen before.

¡Coño! Tino stared out the window. The sooner he got her to the dig the better. His protective instincts had kicked in. Not good. Once he dropped her off it was adios intriguing señorita.

Secrets of a Mayan Moon is available at Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords


Bio:
Wife, mother, grandmother, and the one who cleans pens and delivers the hay; award winning author Paty Jager and her husband currently ranch 350 acres when not dashing around visiting their children and grandchildren. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

Her contemporary Western, Perfectly Good Nanny won the 2008 Eppie for Best Contemporary Romance, Spirit of the Mountain, a historical paranormal set among the Nez Perce, garnered 1st place in the paranormal category of the Lories Best Published Book Contest, and Spirit of the Lake, the second book of the spirit trilogy, was a finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.

You can learn more about Paty at her blog; www.patyjager.blogspot.com  her website; http://www.patyjager.net or on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/#!/paty.jager and twitter; @patyjag.

Monday, November 5, 2012

From Romance Writer to Published Author, What's Your Holy Grail?

When I first became a writer, all I wanted to do was be published. Of course, that many years back, the only publishers were of the New York variety. To get in with one of those major publishers was the ultimate goal if you were a writer. Sadly, you usually needed to have an agent before any of those big publishers would think to deal with you.
Times have changed with the rise of small presses and e-publishing. These smaller publishing houses have opened up the door to many first time authors and brought new and exciting voices to the romance reading community.
With these authors has come an enthusiasm for unconventional romance genres such as steam-punk, shifters and dystopian. Then there is the rise of the paranormal genre where we've fallen in love with demons, not to mention sexy angels that we never knew could be so naughty. 
Lastly, we've seen the securing of a place in book publishing history for the indie publisher. Thanks to modern technology, we all have the opportunity to publish our book and see it distributed around the world. These one ridiculed "self-publishers" are now on the cutting edge of new genres and as their rise to legitimacy gives readers a glimpse at their own possible futures as writers, if they wish to embark on the journey.
The key to a successful book has always been a good story, wonderful characters, and top-notch editing. I mention editing because nothing turns a reader off faster than misspellings, typo, and bad grammar.
This is where the big publishers and smaller presses can stay in business; by maintaining great editors that ensure high standards that don't leave room for sloppy, mass-generated books.
So is a writer's dream still to just be published? Writer's, is there one publishing house that you'd really like to have a book with? What's your Holy Grail of publishing?
Perhaps your dream is like mine…to hit that NYT Bestseller list, someday.
Write on!
NOTICE: Guest Author, Paty Jager, will be here on Thursday, November 8th and she's bringing a Giveaway for one lucky commenter. Don't miss her post.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Taking Paranormal Just a Little Too Far?

Readers, please welcome special guest author, Brynna Curry to the blog. She's got several enticing reads available that I hope you'll check out, and she doing a GIVEAWAY Today!!! Brynna...
  Thanks for hosting me today, Mary!
Ever curl up in your favorite easy chair with a hot cup of cocoa (or coffee if you’re like me) and the newest paranormal romance by your favorite author. Maybe you’ve had a long tiring day. Dinner is finished, the dishes cleared and the kids are off doing their own thing. You’ve waited months to read this new book. Finally, a moment to relax! Pure luxury.
A few pages turned and suddenly you’re stuck in the middle of a paranormal soap-opera. Complete chaos. The main character is a witch, with a werewolf husband, fairy kids (for crying out loud, somebody call Maury), maybe a vampire lover on the side and a cousin from wherever (or is it whenever) who happens to be their own grandma and second cousin twice removed thanks to a little mishap with time travel. Okay, I made that up, but really how much is too much?
If you find yourself flipping back a chapter or two to see just who has what kind of power, whether or not they are good or bad, how are you supposed to focus on the story? Kind of hard to keep up right? I don't mind a little time travel mixed in with vampires or even witches. In fact, I tend to expect some of that with those types of stories. Werewolves are complicated enough without trying to figure out the whens and wheres of half a dozen secondary characters. All with some kind of ability I might add. Sheesh. Focusing on a hero and heroine with powers in one magical world is plenty. It's their story I'm interested in! That said, there are when it works. (Heather Kruel’s Sarah Vargas series is one such situation.)
So readers and writers, how much is too much?  Do you like the chaos? Do you wish some books were toned down just a bit? Curios minds want to know.
Leave a comment and email address to be entered to win an eBook from my list of titles. Winner’s choice. One winner will be chosen and announced in the comment section of this post and at brynnacurry.com on November 2nd.


Fire’s Ice
Author:  Brynna Curry
Genre: Romance/Paranormal
ISBN: 9781616503956
Length: Novella
Word Count: 25,000
ePub Page Count: 83
Publisher:  Lyrical Press, Inc.
Publication Date: June 18, 2012
Cover art by: Renee Rocco
Formats: pdf, epub, mobi, html
Series: Elemental Magic Book 5 

Blurb: Ultimate power, or endless love?

Born the son of a Scottish laird a thousand years ago, but now trapped by his cousin's spell, Devin McLoch has seen countless battles and death. The erstwhile thief has turned away from darker pursuits to lead a life of peace, protecting those he loves and considers part of his clan. However, there is one woman he can never forget, who must be given a chance to change, to accept her heart and his.
Arianne Farrell is just as dangerous and intoxicating as her power. Imprisoned in an ancient stone dance more than a thousand years ago, her only chance at freedom from the spell is through love--a love she denied. When Devin asks for her aid to save another from imminent death, she realizes there is more at stake than just her freedom or her heart.

WARNING: Two stubborn sexy wizards using magic with no bounds, scorching love scenes, and happy ever after. Ever play with fire?

Excerpt – (Steamy)
© 2012 Brynna Curry
Dark, rich chocolate colored bedding echoed the tile framing the fireplace. Dainty furniture, curved legs and soft cushions, yet the poster bed was large and sturdy. She’d seen it before while she visited his dreams. Definitely Devin’s room. And remembering didn’t help the ache snaking through her body.

Walking into the en suite, the first thing to catch her eyes was the floor-to-ceiling mirror covering one wall. Arianne studied her reflection. Her long, dark curls were mussed and tangled around a pale face. Her lips were pink and just a bit swollen from Devin’s kiss. The only thing she wore was a long white shirt. Sniffing the collar, she smelled the crisp, clean fragrance clinging to the material. His shirt, not conjured. Devin didn’t wear cologne, but the scent of his soap always stayed with her. He must have changed her clothes. What else had she missed?

Because I love you. Men were ever a puzzle. Still, hadn’t she known? The dreams they shared had changed over time, slow and sweet instead of hot and fierce. A softness came over his face each night she visited his sleep, the same one she had seen this morning. Just that look was enough to have her quaking inside.

She found a bottle of bubble bath on the side of the tub. Thanks to Devin's dreams and Allie's influence, she had knowledge of modern conveniences such as indoor plumbing. Turning the faucet on hot, Arianne poured two capfuls under the stream and let the water run until the big round tub filled. Reluctantly, she unfastened the shirt buttons and let the material fall away to the floor. Slipping into the frothy bubbles, she sighed and let the reality of her situation sink in.

I am finally out of that wretched circle. True enough, but she was still in a prison of sorts. One with running water, walls, food that didn’t taste like air, and a sexy male witch bent on driving her to frustration. Not so bad, all things considered.

Being trapped in the stone dance didn’t mean she hadn’t noticed changes in the world around her for a thousand years. She tipped her feet out of the water, waved toward them, and turned her toenails a bright fiery red. Allie brought her little things from the modern world. Mostly books filled with sweet love stories; more than a few of them brought a blush to her cheeks. What would Ryan think of his daughter’s taste in novels? Better not to head down that road. Allie had dreams of being a writer like her aunt and uncle. If what she liked to read was any indication, she’d write hot. Very hot. Speaking of hot, a soft tapping sounded at the door. Her maddening laird had returned.

“Okay in there?” His voice sounded hesitant. “Breakfast is ready.”Time to ruffle the phoenix’s feathers a bit. “There is no need to be shy, Devin. You can come in.”
*****
The sound of splashing water rippled past his ears. Temptress.

Knowing Ari was just on the other side of the door, naked and wet, willing to succumb to every fantasy he could imagine, was a torment in itself. All he had to do was accept her sultry invitation and toss aside his plan. But she deserved a sweet slide into love, not the wild, mad rush of pleasure he craved. One palm rested on the door of its own volition, ready to comply. Not yet. Now, if only his traitorous body would listen to his heart. “That depends, sweetheart.”

“Oh?” she called out from the other side. “On what?” 

Devin chuckled at the line, but he just couldn’t resist teasing her. “What are you wearing?” 

She laughed. “Bubbles. Lots of bubbles. Share them with me.”

He saw it so clearly. Ari’s creamy skin peeking through the frothy bubbles. Open, welcoming. Need clawed under the skin, screamed at him. Why the hell not? Feeling a quiver of desire vibrate through his body, he called her bluff. “And what would you have me do with those bubbles? Hmm, Ari?”

“Oh, I am sure you could think of something. Something deliciously wicked. I have shared your dreams. I know your fantasies, Devin.”

Oh, you have no idea. His mind made up, Devin opened the door.

She lay in his huge garden tub, feet propped up on the rim, eyes closed, waterfall of black hair piled on top of her head. A soft smile graced her face. So she was enjoying their teasing banter. “Have you changed your mind and decided to join me?”

“Maybe.” No reason he couldn’t push them both to the edge. Pulling the t-shirt over his head, Devin tossed it into the corner. He laid his cellphone on the sink--out of danger--kneeled by the edge of the tub and dipped one hand into cooling water, using his magic to heat it.

“Mmm. Nice.”

He let his voice drop to a whisper as he leaned close to her ear. “I want to slick my hands over every inch of your skin until you shiver from the heat.” His fingers found the back of her knee in the water and trailed higher along the inside of her thigh. “And then…”

A soft “Devin” slipped from her lips as Arianne’s eyes flew open. “And then…”
“I’d take more.”


Bio: Paranormal romance and romantic suspense author Brynna Curry is a lifelong believer in the importance of reading. She enjoys the writing process, helping others hone their craft by lending her time to review books, critique manuscripts and serving as a contest judge. She loves hearing from her readers.
When she isn’t writing, she’s often found haunting the library for new books to read, at the park with her children, or just spending an quiet evening at home with her husband Jackie watching old westerns on TV. She makes her home in North Alabama where the history is rich with music and culture, forests and lakes are abundant and beautiful, and every day is another adventure.

Visit her at www.brynnacurry.com.
Twitter: @BrynnaCurry

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