Musician’s and Writer’s Brain by Mary Hughes (with giveaway)

We have a winner! Congratulations to Tammy Turner! You’ve won your pick of a backlist ebook by Mary Hughes. 🙂
MaryAsPitMusician (1)Mary Hughes is a wonderful writer, musician and friend. There’s a rhythm to her writing. A beat. I love her quirkiness, too. And the coolness, because writers and musicians are cool. One lucky reader will get her choice of an ebook from Mary’s backlist, winner’s choice of my backlist ebooks, either red-hot PNR or sensual romantic comedy... I’ll announce the winner’s name here on Saturday morning. Enjoy!

Do You Hear What I Hear

My thanks to Edie Ramer and Magical Musings for having me here today!

Musicians are like cats—we don’t come when we’re called. In just a bit, I’ll tell you why.

We’re also a tad weird, and not only because, as Pat McCurdy sings in “I’m Artistic”, our clothes are blacker than yours. We’re wired differently.

Picture an mp3 player. See the ear buds? Plug them into your ears—and leave them there. Music on. Forever.

Now you know why we don’t always answer when we’re called, and why some of us float around like we’re in a state with legalized marijuana. We have tunage going through our heads 24/7. All radio, all the time.

The good news is, it makes us interesting authors. Smell, touch, taste. Sensory detail snaps a story to life. We put in lots of aural detail because we’re trained listeners. The foosh of the bazooka, the swish of the air going by on a kick are as natural as the word choice to capture the song that is a Welsh accent.

Speech is a marvel of music. Here’s an excerpt from Biting Nixie:

Bo’s words were a symphony of meaning. Detective had a lilt that told of deep affection. Bo said detective the way another man might have said sweetheart or love.

But the word gang had deep, ominous overtones.

One thing musicians and authors have in common—our aim is to give the audience an emotional ride. Ordinary flutist Rocky toots in an average community orchestra. Then conducting superstar Dragan Zajicek mounts the podium. From Downbeat, coming March 4.

Zajicek lifted his baton. An all-embracing sweep of his black gaze gathered our eyes up to him. We waited, our breath and very hearts in his fine hands, ready to leap to our deaths if he bid it.

He gave the downbeat.

Normally we crank out the first note of a rehearsal like a car grumbling to life on a sub-zero morning. We putter along well enough once we get going, melody recognizable, harmonies not so much. […]

Zajicek pulled music from us. We played better than ever before, better than we knew we could, swept along in a tide of almost perfect music.

Magic. That’s the only word that comes close. From our dross he spun emotional gold using only his fine hands. We responded with everything we had, everything we were.

Thanks for listening!

(Written to the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, playing in my head while the cat snoozed in the chair next to me. Edited to “I’m Artistic”, which became an earworm that ate out my brains. Luckily, people expect me to be a tad strange.)

Can you think of a song that reminds you of a book? You can read more about Mary’s latest book below. 🙂

Downbeat (Biting Love Book 7) blurb:


Striking the right note could shatter more than their hearts.

After an attack that slaughtered his family, vampire Dragan Zajicek walled off his heart and went on a sixteen-hundred-year rampage with the bad boys of history.

Now a rock star of the concert podium and master freelance spy, he’s taken the baton for a small orchestra near Chicago to investigate rumors of a monstrous, undefeatable vampire dubbed the Soul Stealer.

But it’s the lovely, unassuming Raquel “Rocky” Hrbek who mesmerizes him from the first touch of her luscious lips on her flute.

Rocky, a shy shadow scarred by middle school cruelty, is mystified as to why core-meltingly gorgeous Dragan would notice a mouse like her. As his stolen kisses draw her dangerously close to the edge of her carefully constructed comfort zone, he exposes her secret—she’s investigating the monster herself.

As their quest draws them closer together, the monster zeroes in on the woman Dragan’s rebellious heart tells him is his mate. Now they must find a way to destroy the indestructible before Rocky is utterly consumed. And Chicago is bathed in the blood of innocents.

Warning: Contains a master of seduction and symphonies, an awkward and innocent flutist, small-town humor, heart-stopping action, and an exodus to Iowa. Oh, and the cheese balls are ba-a-ack—and deadlier than ever.

Enjoy the following excerpt for Downbeat:

“May I accompany you, Ms. Hrbek?”

I jumped and nearly tripped. Zajicek caught my wrist to steady me. His fingers were long and slender but amazingly strong—and fiercely warm. Like iron filings to a magnet, my skin aligned instantly to him. Hot sensation juddered through me, knocking me even more off balance. I scrambled to regain my equilibrium, only to have my feet scud into one of the semi-vertical sidewalk stones. My flute bag slipped off my shoulder and nosedived into the crook of my arm, yanking me sideways. I went down.

Powerful arms wrapped around me and saved me from severe pavement burn. The arms were gentle righting me, and I stood in their comforting embrace a moment to get my breath back. A strong heart beat under my cheek. My palms pressed against warm, crisp cotton. The body under the cotton was a solid, cloth-covered cliff, so unlike my own soft limbs. I shivered.

“Are you all right, Ms. Hrbek?” Zajicek’s deep honeyed tones, tinged with amusement, came from somewhere over my head.

“Huh?” Not the snappiest of rejoinders but I was cheek-to-massive-chest with Dragan Zajicek, the posterboy I’d had the hots for half my life.

He was definitely not pasteboard now. The longer I stood there the more I felt. Every ridge of his taut abdomen, the roped muscles of his long thighs, the poke of his belt buckle; they all became alarmingly three-dimensional. His warm breath stirred my hair. Something else stirred too, at hip level…and silent laughter rippled through him.

My brain churned. The intimate way he held me made no sense, but the laughter, well, my clumsiness had lightened the room on more than one occasion.

Then Zajicek’s long fingers slid under my chin, raising my face. His brilliant eyes were shuttered by slumberous lids. I stared in bemusement as his face expanded in my vision…

His lips found mine.

Warm. Smooth. Exciting. “Some Enchanted Evening” sang through my right brain.

My left brain locked up in utter confusion. A man was kissing me. Zajicek was kissing me. The sum of my kissing experience was a slobbery grandmother and a few rushed awkward sexual encounters. I never really saw what the fuss was about. Until Zajicek.

Available for pre-order: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Samhain Publishing
30% off at Samhain through March 20!

Connect with Mary online:



This entry was posted in Edie's Posts, Giveaway, Guest Posts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Musician’s and Writer’s Brain by Mary Hughes (with giveaway)

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Mary, thanks for being our guest today, and for your lovely post. I didn’t know that about the constant earworm, or I would’ve put that in my last book. Actually, that’s something I don’t miss having. lol

    Another great excerpt! I’m eager to read Downbeat!

  2. Tammy Turner says:

    I fell in love with your series when I got Biting Nixie! They are still my favorite couple in this series. I love how the perfect vampires are only made perfect when they find their slightly imperfect mates!

    • Mary Hughes says:

      Tammy, thanks so much for the <3!! Oh, that's poetic, "the perfect vampires are only made perfect when they find their slightly imperfect mates!" I adore that. Here's a tidbit for you–Nixie and Julian play a big part in Downbeat–and we meet their baby, Jaxxie Emerson 🙂

  3. Mary Hughes says:

    Hey Edie–thanks again for having me, and suggesting this great topic. Earworms are fun but I think everyone has something. What do you think about standing in line at the checkout? Writers people-watch and create stories. IT people see computer acronyms everywhere. I’d love to know what outdoors people think about.

    Tammy, thanks so much for the <3!! Oh, that's poetic, "the perfect vampires are only made perfect when they find their slightly imperfect mates!" I adore that. Here's a tidbit for you–Nixie and Julian play a big part in Downbeat–and we meet their baby, Jaxxie Emerson 🙂

  4. leigh morgan says:

    Mary, I love the way you describe the senses and the way you evoke each in your writing! Looking forward to spending some quality time with DownBeat. Wonderful interview, Edie and Mary. Thanks! 🙂

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Leigh, Mary’s voice is so unique yet readable and smooth. I wish I some of that musician’s brain.

    • Mary Hughes says:

      Thanks Leigh! I love your physical descriptions, the way you paint a character in a few deft words. By the way, your martial arts demo helped me write more vivid fight scenes in November’s Assassins Bite–thanks!

  5. Edie Ramer says:

    Mary, what I wish I’d think about while standing in lines is what I forgot to put on the list. Two days ago, I forgot chocolate. Now I have no chocolate in the house. 🙁

  6. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Mary,

    Welcome to Magical Musings. That’s a fun and intriguing story you have going on – I love it!

    And it’s a great cover – good luck with this release! 🙂
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Knock, Knock… book 5 of the Psychic Visions series is on SALE now!

  7. Hi Edie and Mary! It’s nice to meet you, Mary. And gosh, your words had me right there on the street with Zajicek and Rocky. I agree with Edie, your writing has such a beautiful rhythm and I’m hooked. Does your Biting Love series of books need to be read in order?

    Congratulations on the release and best wishes!
    Robin Bielman`s last blog was …The Look of Love

    • Mary Hughes says:

      Nice to meet you too, Robin! Thanks for your nice comment–I love that scene 🙂 The books can be read separately, thanks for asking! Previous events are sketched in as needed, without giving too much away to readers who want to go back.

      Your contemporary romance Her Accidental Boyfriend sounds delicious. (BTW, I think Harry is an awesome name for a Labradoodle.)

  8. Misty Evans says:

    Great to have you here, Mary! Writing and music have always gone hand in hand for me. I have playlists on my website for some of my books, and get a lot of fan input about those.

    Your covers are always fabulous and I love your vampires. Best wishes with the new release!

    • Mary Hughes says:

      I’m so happy to be here, Misty! Thanks for the warm welcome. Kanaxa does fantastic covers and I was absolutely thrilled when she gave me the flute on Downbeat 🙂

      Congratulations on your new romantic suspense Stealing Justice! What an awesome start to a new series.

  9. Welcome to MM, Mary. I love the sound of Downbeat, and I LOVE the cover. Wonderful!
    Michelle Diener`s last blog was …Mistress of the Wind Tour Grand Finale

    • Mary Hughes says:

      Michelle, thank you for your welcome and kind words! I do love this cover, with the twinkle in Rocky’s eye. The cover for your fantasy Mistress of the Wind is gorgeous. The roaring bear, Astrid’s white hair flung by the wind…fabulous!

Comments are closed.