Monday, November 10, 2014

I'm back! Well...sort of.

It has been a while since my last post, but I'm still here...

I don't think anyone who knows me would say that I'm shy yet a few years ago when I began my writing to be published journey I was...shy.  Back then, I was simply not ready to share my writing material with the world.

It wasn't until 2009 when my daughter introduced me to blogging that things 'clicked'. Not only did blogging give me a much needed boost, but it also open a whole new world of writing possibilities. I was hooked.

Since my early writing days much has transpired. I have served as president of a local writers club, written columns, articles, and newsletters and most importantly, I have published a book --now three. In addition, I've also developed a solid social media presence and invite you to visit my site and read my personal blog, I think if you visit often you'll be pleasantly surprised at all interesting tidbits about writing life.

I will blog on this site occasionally, but my weekly blogs will be done from my personal site. If you're so inclined, please follow me on Twitter and/or like me on FB

In closing, thank you to my 61 subscribers, you kept me blogging and writing!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Top Five Favorite Authors

I believe most of us writers understand this concept: a good reader makes a good writer. So, what does this mean, really? Well, it means that we writers need to fully immerse ourselves in reading the writings of others, quality writings at that. And this does not mean reading only material in the genre in which you focus, but across multiple genres. Realize that there's absolutely nothing wrong with reading a lot in just one topic, however, you will stifle your growth as a writer if you fail to read beyond a single subject.

Now I’d like to share with you five well-known authors* and the way in which each has helped me define my own style of writing. See below in alphabetical order:

Sandra Brown – romance/suspense
Ms. Brown blends suspense with an element of contemporary romance. I enjoy reading Ms. Brown’s books because the stories are well-plotted and they offer just the right amount of tension. I also enjoy Ms. Brown’s ability to skillfully weave the romantic element in her stories.

Patricia Cornwell – suspense/tension
Ms. Cornwell writes predominantly murder mystery books, whodunit type of material. Ms. Cornwell’s background in forensics makes the autopsy scenes come alive on the page, the level of detail is phenomenal and the reader is engrossed in the moment, we can sense, almost smell the morgue, the embalming fluids. As a CSI: Las Vegas aficionado it’s really no surprise that I enjoy Ms. Cornwell’s work.

Rachel Gibson – romance/tension
Ms. Gibson writes sensual romance with a tinge of eroticism (right up my alley!) and her characters are strong and ‘real’, and by real I mean flawed; her heroes are not all sensitive-guy meets Viking-god meets white-in-shining-armor type of guy. I enjoy reading Ms. Gibson’s books because the stories are sexy, provocative, and emotionally satisfying.

Sandra Hill – romance/humor
Ms. Hill writes contemporary romance with a blend of drama and humor. Some of Ms. Hill’s work is downright goofy at times, but it makes for a quick pleasant read. I enjoy reading Ms. Hill’s books because her characters are likable and the stories highly entertaining.

Iris Johansen – mystery/tension
Ms. Johansen is a master as weaving great sexual tension with elements of mystery. The women portrayed in Ms. Johansen’s books are often strong to the point of obnoxiousness. Nevertheless, I enjoy reading Ms. Johansen’s books because the stories are suspenseful and the level of sexual tension is outstanding. The characters flirt, disagree, flight, flirt, argue; all foreplay, of course until the moment they surrender to their urges and copulate. Awe-some :)

*Material written after 2005.

So there it is folks, my top five! Do you know what you particularly like about your favorite authors?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Earth Day is April 22!

Earth Day is just a few days away. Please see below a handful of things everyone can do to make the planet a greener world:

1. Swap light bulbs
2. Plant a tree
3. Curb junk mail
4. Drive the speed limit
5. Carry your own water bottle

Here's a link to for other good ideas: http://www.earthday.org/takeaction/campaigns.html

Until next time friends!
Maria

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Blog Tour: My Writing Process

I want to say thank you to my friend Leslie Jones for inviting me to participate in the My Writing Process Blog Tour. Leslie Jones writes military romantic suspense, please take a moment to check out her Blog Hop post here.

About my writing, well I knew at a very early age that I wanted to be a writer. What’s even more interesting is that I knew at the age of ten that I’d be a romance writer. Consequently, I wrote my first short love story at the age of eleven and I’ve continued to write ever since. Now, onto a few more interesting tidbits about Maria Cox—

What am I working on?
Right now, I’m in between projects. My latest novelette, Jungle Fever was released through Secret Cravings Publishing on 2/5 and my novella Captive (V.2) is in the hands of the beta readers. Currently, I’m finishing a first draft of a ghostwriting assignment.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My work differs from others in my genre in that the characters in my stories are witty and down to earth people. I also believe that my work is different because the individuals portrayed in my novellas are diverse.

Why do I write what I do?
I write romance because I enjoy writing about complex human relationships and how men and women triumph over challenges to be together, and yes I am a sucker for a happy ending.

How does your writing process work?
When I began writing I was what other writers would call a pantser; I still have pantser tendencies, but my writing process has evolved. Today, I’m much more structured and I make it a point to write outlines and character profiles for each short story I write.

Next week: I’m honored to introduce you to 3 amazing authors. Their “My Writing Process” blog posts will be published on March 31st.

Claudia Burgoa: Claudia lives in Colorado with her family and three dogs, two Beagles that believe they’re human, and a Bichon that thinks she's a Beagle. While managing life Claudia works as a CFO at a small IT Company. Claudia is a dreamer who enjoys music, laughter, and a good story. Blog: http://www.claudiayburgoa.com/blog

Lisa Heartman: Lisa has a BA and MBA in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing. Although business is her first love, writing has become her passion. She loves the creative possibilities and escape it provides from a sometimes hectic everyday life. Lisa writes contemporary romance novels. She is finishing up her first book and looks forward to getting it into the hands of her readers. In addition to writing, Lisa enjoys movies, music, reading, anything dark chocolate or coffee related, and hobbies like jewelry making and sewing. Blog: http://www.lisaheartman.com/lisas-blog.html

Tara Majuta: Tara is a rare Arizona native. She recently moved to Phoenix in July 2012. A University of Phoenix graduate, Tara enjoys learning both academically and on her own. She primarily writes murder mystery and dark romance books that take place all over the country. A daydreamer at heart, Tara plans to find a way to turn dreaming and storytelling into a career. Tara enjoys books of all kinds, music, and art. Blog: http://taramajutabooks.com/blog/

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou - Int'l Women's Day!


http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Phenomenal-Woman-by-Maya-Angelou

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
—Maya Angelou


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Windows to the Soul

In the spirit of love and passion and all those primitive traits that make humans tempting sexual creatures, comes my three-part series: Irresistible Body Parts.

In this three-week series, I’d like to discuss the parts of our bodies that make us so attractive to the opposite sex. Week Three: Eyes. (Note: For those keeping track, yes, I missed my mark of posting this last week, lol).

Our eyes, they are one of the most expressive parts of bodies, they can convey happiness, warmth, love, anger, loss, and despair.

Have you ever flipped through a novel and read about a particular seductress who makes men melt with her gaze? Or, have you heard women talking about a guy whose "bedroom eyes" are enough to make a girl weak in the knees? I think we all have. Maybe that's why in many ways this type of non-verbal communication is more powerful than spoken words.

Take women’s eyes for example. When a woman looks at a man in a certain way, she has his undivided attention, instantly. Over many decades studies have proven that men use the art of eye flirting a little differently, however. When a man looks at a woman's eyes he focuses (whether conscious or subconscious) on her pupils then in the white areas. If a woman's white areas are bright and her eyelashes are thick and long these are excellent indicators of good health. And women in good health have the best chances at reproducing and carrying healthy babies to term (this according to different sources). 

Now, seeing as the eyes pass so much information to the brain each and every second, let's take a look at some important eye mannerisms and what they say about us.

--Glaring eyes intimidate. In males it may immediately trigger fight or flight responses.

--Small constricted pupils indicate lack of interest.

--Lowering the eyes/eyelids indicate modesty and/or submission.

--Frequent blinking during conversation indicates high interest. Some females use a rapid flutter technique to get a man's attention.

--Hooded eyes indicate passion and perhaps sexual interest.

Well, there you have it folks, the conclusion of my three-part series, Irresistible Body Parts.

Stop by soon!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

She's got LEGS, and she knows how to USE them :)

In the spirit of love and passion and all those primitive traits that make humans tempting sexual creatures, comes my three-part series: Irresistible Body Parts.

In this three-week series, I’d like to discuss the parts of our bodies that make us so attractive to the opposite sex. Week Two: Legs.

In past decades studies conducted into physical attraction already showed that taller people were generally perceived as being more appealing to the opposite sex, but until now little was known about the effect a person's leg length had on the overall attractiveness. And as it turns out men are not alone in finding the ‘leggier’ form more attractive. Women also consider longer-legged men more physically appealing.

Psychologists at the University of Wroclaw in Poland (in 2008) asked over 200 male and female volunteers to rank the attractiveness of men and women from a set of digitally altered images. The research revealed that people whose legs were 5% longer than average were considered most attractive, regardless of gender.

Scientists believe there are evolutionary reasons for the preference. "Long legs are a sign of [good] health," one researcher stated. And shorter legs have been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity in both sexes.

So whether men and women are drawn to long legs for attractiveness or good health, the truth is the legs still have it, unlike a myth that predominantly ‘old fashioned’ men are into legs.

Now, for a fascinating look at leg etiquette and what you’re legs are saying about you check out this interesting article:


Don’t forget to stop by next week folks!
Maria

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mouth to Mouth

In the spirit of love and passion and all those primitive traits that make humans tempting sexual creatures, comes my three-part series: Irresistible Body Parts.

In this three-week series, I’d like to discuss the parts of our bodies that make us so attractive to the opposite sex. Week One: The Mouth.

The lips have it! Research shows that men are drawn to a woman's mouth more than any other facial feature. In fact, the study showed that men considered women’s lips the most attractive part of her body particularly, if she’s wearing red lipstick (big surprise!).

The study, which was carried out by scientists at Manchester University tracked the eye movements of fifty men as they were presented with images of different women. Scientists found that in the ten seconds after meeting a lady for the first time, the average male would spend more than half his time gazing at her mouth. If the lady applied lipstick, the male subject found it difficult to look away. A dash of pink held a male’s attention for 6.7 seconds while the red kept him fixated for 7.3 seconds.

Dr Geoff Beattie, research lead, said of the findings, ‘For centuries, women have painted their lips red to enhance their appeal, with this practice dating back as far as the Ancient Egyptians…This study proves that lips represent one of the most sensual aspects of a woman’s body and play a critical role in human sexual attraction.”

My TOP 3 female set of lips
Scarlett Johansson
Angelina Jolie
Lea Michele

My TOP 3 male set of lips
Jensen Ackles
Channing Tatum
Liam Hemsworth

Don't forget to stop by next week!

Maria

Friday, January 24, 2014

Blogging with purpose

A blog is a great way to connect with your readers and an excellent way to reach a wider audience. If the content of your blog is interesting and updated frequently readers will subscribe to your blog, or at least you hope they will J

We, as writers, need to realize that getting readers interested in what we have to say is important specially if we are to create a buzz about us as authors and even more so if we want to create a buzz about our books.

So, all this sounds great, doesn’t it? But here’s the catch, no great outcome will come to pass unless you have the motivation and time required to commit to a blog. So, let me be honest here: Blogging is not for everyone. And, that’s okay.

Let’s say, however, that you decided 2014 would be your year to start blogging, there are some important questions you need to ask yourself first. See below:

Who is the blog for?
Don't try to be all things to all people. It's best if you narrow your focus. If you’re like me, a romance writer, then your focus should be to reach readers of the romance genre, or perhaps even other romance writers.

What does my audience care about?
Remember that your blog should be about what your audience finds interesting, not what you think is interesting. So, do a little bit of research see what other writers are blogging about and soon you’ll formulate your own unique ideas for a blog.

Where would I blog?
Many bloggers choose to have their blogs integrated into their personal websites, while others use third party blogging services, such as Wordpress or Blogger. The choice is yours.

Who will write the blog?
You, the author!

Let me extend a challenge: Why not start a blog today and commit to writing one entry a week for a month, just four weeks (I’m starting my four weeks today J)? Now, if you don’t think you can commit to that, then blogging may be for you.

Whether you love it or hate it, there are definite benefits to having a blog, which might explain why so many businesses and organizations have jumped on the bandwagon.

Make 2014 the year to start blogging!

Until next time friends,

Maria

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Being a writer in an eBook era

Ebooks are changing the way we read and write and as sales continue to rise, more authors are buying into the idea of writing specifically for the eBook market. The unique format of an eBook, however, makes writing one a little bit different from penning a printed book. Below are three important pointers that will help authors excel in the world of eBook writing.

Think SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will help your eBook get discovered, so you should think about using relevant keywords in your eBook’s title, headings, and subheadings. For example, suppose you’ve written a memoir called Out of the Dark, this title won’t really show up on anyone’s online search results because it's too broad, but if you instead called your book Out of the Dark: My Struggle with Multiple Sclerosis this title would yield more 'hits' because it's more specific, anyone searching for “multiple sclerosis” would likely locate your eBook with much more ease.

Add lots of links

The beauty of eBooks is that you can hyperlink virtually any text to material on the Internet. Say you’re listing resources it’d be an excellent idea to hyperlink them to external sites to save your readers the effort of researching, all they have to do is click on the hyperlink and there they're are. This measure is likely to augment traffic to your site. Also, at the end of your eBook, it’s a good idea to provide your e-mail address as well as you Facebook, and Twitter accounts so you can communicate with your readers. Today’s authors need to make themselves reachable via multiple social media outlets.

Include lots of extras

Readers love free content and some authors provide sample chapters of other books or even short reads at the end of each eBook. Offering the reader freebies many times translate to an increase in sales. So, if you have a short story that's been lying around unused, why not add it to the end of your eBook and attract readership?

There you have it folks three simple pointers to consider if you're thinking of writing exclusively in eBook format. Good luck and happy 2014!

Maria