Double Exposure

Hey, everyone. Happy Friday!

I’m excited because I’m involved in some delightful double exposure today.

I’m being interviewed by the lovely Savannah Rayne on her Hugs and Nightmares blog. It’s my first official author interview. Woot! In case you didn’t get the same goosebump jolt I did, let’s just say I’m jazzed :)

Drop by to see what we’re chatting about. I’m sharing about Weathering Rock, my favorite authors, and Chef Boyardee frozen pizza among other things.  Aren’t you curious?

I’m also blogging at Lyrical Press, sharing news on an upcoming contest I’ll be hosting on my blog from July 1 through July 4. It’s easy to enter, so be sure to check out the details.

It’s a Double Exposure Friday!

Mae Clair: Blogging with Style

I had a pleasant surprise yesterday when I learned I’d been nominated for the Stylish Blogger Award by my friend and sister author, L.J. Kentowski. Thanks, L.J.!
I’m jazzed by the honor. :)

So the idea is to share the last time I dressed up.  Hmmm . . .

I work in an office in a position that requires me to dress up each day. I admit I’m a bit of a girly-girl so I like that, including all the accessorizing it allows me to do. Jewelry, shoes even reading glasses. Don’t ask how many pair, especially when it comes to shoes. Can we say ‘addicted?’ It’s embarrassing.

Since I’m in earth tones today (brown, black and topaz) and they’re not very exciting, I’ll spin the clock back to last week: black flounced skirt, bright turquoise blouse, bright turquoise high heels and a black summer jacket. Jewelry, of course, had to be turquoise with silver. I’m pathetically coordinated.

And now I’d like to pass on this illustrious award to other incredible bloggers:

Donna Cummings
Jenna Storm
Christina McKnight
Stephanie Ingram

Mae Clair: When the Sky Had a Tail

Last week I read a great blog post by Stephanie Ingram called Aliens Have Landed.  She relayed how as children, she and her brother searched for aliens in the fields behind her house. Imaginative fun!

Stephanie pointed out that much of what we experience as kids makes its way into our writing as adults. Some of it is conscious, some not so conscious. I love the frivolity of childhood and the stories I used to invent with friends. I was always dreaming up something, or imagining a secretive place tucked under the horizon of a far-off land.

If you scroll down the sidebar of my blog you’ll see “12 Weird Facts About Me.”  Note number three. Minus any eye-rolling, please! ;-)  The story is this:

It’s a warm summer night, almost dark, and I’m sitting on the front porch with my father. He didn’t realize The Spooky House was two doors down, (for some unfathomable reason he thought it was a simple office building), but I was conscious of it even then. He and I often sat together at dusk, especially if there was a thunderstorm brewing.

He must have worked a long shift, because he drifted off to sleep. Shortly afterward, a large green object trolled across the sky. I remember it as a semi-cloud, the color of algae-enriched seawater. Light spilled from the bottom, drenching the street, front lawn, and half of the porch in an eerie green glow. The light swept over me but didn’t touch my father who remained seated in the shadows.

I don’t know why I didn’t wake him. When you’re a kid you accept the unusual. The ‘cloud’ moved past, and soon people were walking up the street, jabbering excitedly. My dad woke up and I followed him down to the sidewalk where a woman stopped to chat. She’d come from the below The Spooky House, and told my father “the sky looked like it had a tail.” I remember those words clearly.

Had I seen a UFO?

Maybe not of the alien variety but, even now, with the hindsight of an adult, I can’t say what it was.

Hot air balloon?  Weather anomaly?

Given the woman confirmed something strange had happened that night, it will live forever as a goose-bump ‘what-if’ memory in my mind. At some point in the future that strange dirigible will most certainly worm its way into a story.

Are there childhood events, mysterious or common, you see yourself using in fiction?  Maybe you already have. Do tell! Inquiring minds (er…that would be me), want to know! ;-)

Weathering Rock: SSS 6-17-12

Welcome back to Six Sentence Sunday. I’m sure I’m not the only one saddened to know SSS will be coming to an end in early 2013. I’ve met many incredible authors and readers through SSS, and have developed several friendships as a result. I will miss my regular Sunday excursions, hopping blog to blog, reading the latest SSS snippets. Although I don’t know them personally, I applaud the administrators of the SSS site for making the whole thing possible and allowing me to play in their arena for a while.

This Sunday’s six is once again from Weathering Rock (my paranormal / time-travel coming in October from Lyrical Press). For a short video book trailer showcasing what the story is about, please visit my Weathering Rock page.

For the last few weeks I’ve been leading up to a dinner date between Caleb DeCardian and Arianna Hart. Next week I’m going to get them together. Promise!  :) 

This week, I wanted to share a glimpse of the 19th century home where Caleb lives since it’s central to the book and the novel carries its title. I’ve chosen my six just as Arianna is arriving for her date with Caleb:

 ~ooOOoo~

The sun was sinking toward the horizon when she pulled up the drive at Weathering Rock. The fading light cast long shadows over the grass and drew eddies of tangerine and gold from the front windows. The house looked different during the day, its three-story height imposing. She hadn’t considered it closely when she’d left Saturday morning, but now realized a series of lightning rods jutted from the roof. They varied in size, some ornate and engraved with elaborate scrollwork, others plain. It made her think of the ball lightning she and Caleb had seen, and how reluctant he’d been to acknowledge it.

 ~ooOOoo~

Next week, onward with the date! :)

Hope you enjoyed the snippet. Be sure to hop by the SSS site for more participating authors and gobble up some great reads!

Liquid Sunshine

It rained Tuesday. Most all day. I made a new friend through Twitter who calls it “liquid sunshine.” I did try to see it that way, honestly, but by the end of the day the effort was wearing thin.

Don’t get me wrong. I like rain in the right doses, especially in autumn when the air is perfumed with wood-smoke and the leaves vibrant as gemstones. I like to curl up with a book and a cup of coffee or tea, serenaded by the soft crackle of a fire in the hearth. Or I might escape with my own characters, pecking away at the keyboard while the rain dances on the windowpanes.

Summer is different. Summer = sun = warm weather = it-shouldn’t-be-damp-dreary-and-cold. I had to get a sweater out in the middle of June!  I’m not sure I’ll recover.

I was traumatized.

Kidding aside, I decided to make a list of what I do like about rain in the summer:

  • I didin’t have to water all those new flowers I planted.
  •  We didn’t need to add water to the pool after several days of evaporation. My husband had to drain water by the time the rain departed.
  • My car got a bath (metallic black is a magnet for the tiniest speck of dirt. Yuck!).
  • I got to use the fancy little lamp in my office instead of the fluorescent overhead at work (I turn it on to make it cozy).
  • I put off stopping for gas until Wednesday. Chore avoided for another day.

See that?  A positive spin on something I’m not overly fond of. Thanks to Catherine Russell for introducing me to Liquid Sunshine. Drop by her website for information on her novel The Stage, a vampire tale you can curl up with when it rains. ;-)

The Lucky Seven

The wonderful Annie Seaton has tagged me in The Lucky Seven. Thanks for the nomination, Annie. This will be fun!

Here’s how the challenge works:

Post seven lines from an unpublished work of fiction by following these rules:

Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript (fiction or non-fiction)
Go to line 7
Post the next 7 lines or sentences on your blog as they are (no cheating, please!)
Tag 7 other authors to do the same

I’ve got several WIPs clamoring for attention right now, and chose this from a story that is nearly finished. The book is called The Twelfth Sun. My leads are Breanna Cassidy and Dr. Elijah Cross, a marine archeologist. The two are thrown together during the search for a maritime artifact.

~ooOOoo~

He winked at her, the irreverent grin resurfacing, now when she wanted him to be sensible.

“After what you did in my Jeep today, I could use a cool down.”  He hopped on one leg, peeling off his pants to reveal a pair of dark green boxers with black vertical stripes.  “Unless you plan on leaving your door unlocked tonight.”

Breanna swallowed, her mouth dry.  The man was practically naked.  She should be used to the sight, having seen him in the buff, then dripping wet wearing only boxers.

~ooOOoo~

And now my seven nominees:

Lorraine Paton
Angela Quarles
L.J. Kentowski
M.L. Falconer
Loni Flowers
Stanalei Fletcher
JoanneWadsworth

The Magic of Betwixt

Enchantment lingers in transitional periods, those fleeting moments when time hangs suspended before hurtling forward into definitive change.  I’ve always been fascinated and inspired by those passages.  Not sure what I mean? Here are some of my favorites:

Twilight.
The first tentative rays of dawn.
The transition between seasons.
The arrival of a storm front.
The sliver of time between 11:59 and midnight.
New Year’s Eve at midnight.
The awe-inspiring cusp of a century. Remember how you felt on New Year’s Eve 1999?

As far back as childhood, betwixt moments have conjured a sense of wonder in me.  

For the most part, I’m a disciplined writer. Over the years I’ve trained myself to sit down and begin story-crafting with minimal effort. Let a transitional element wash over me, however, and the need for discipline vanishes. Creativity unfurls in its rawest form and my muse, bless her fanciful little soul, starts spinning out ideas like shooting stars. I feel connected, acutely aware of the ephemeral passage of time.  Creatively awake.

Perhaps that’s why transitional periods resonate so strongly. They transport me back to those days when technique had little to do with writing. When it was all about snagging the tail of a comet and hitching a ride to a brooding mansion, a magical forest, an underwater labyrinth, or a forgotten graveyard. To this day I feel that familiar rush at twilight, or when the weather turns warm and windy, the sky black with storm clouds. The thought of New Year’s Eve is sheer magic, and the sound of a clock striking midnight, every bit as enchanting as a fairy-tale spell.

What about you? What are the moments that inspire your creativity to blaze out of the ordinary?  I’d love to hear about them!

Weathering Rock: SSS 6-10-12

Happy Sunday, Sixers!  It’s time for another round of six sentence snippets. Once again, I’m posting from my upcoming time-travel/paranormal release WEATHERING ROCK. Thanks to everyone who has been commenting and following along. I’ve made so many wonderful friends through SSS. You guys rock! :)

And now onward to the six!

For the last few weeks, Caleb DeCardian has been trying to coax Arianna Hart into having dinner with him (in hopes of atoning for something he’s done to upset her). There is some back and forth verbal tug-of-war but she finally agrees when he tells her to pick the night. She chooses Thursday evening and he hedges (yes, I skipepd that part). She tells him if it doesn’t suit they can forget it altogether, at which point Caleb concedes.  

Later he tells his ‘brother,’ Wyn DeCardian, about the date he’s made and the two end up in an argument.  The six picks up there with Caleb speaking first, followed by Wyn (I’m snipping a bit to make it work):

 ~ooOOoo~

“It may surprise you, Winston, but I am intimately conscious of the lunar cycle. The moon may look full on Thursday, but it will be waning at ninety-seven percent.”

“Not on Wednesday, it won’t.  I’m going to have to lock you up like I do every month and you’re going to turn into that thing. The next day–Thursday, in case it’s eluded you–you’ll be worthless as shit. You’ll be lucky if you can walk down the steps without falling on your ass.”

 ~ooOOoo~

To find out more about the nature of Wyn’s true relationship to Caleb and Caleb’s connection to full moons, check out my WEATHERING ROCK page

Can’t get enough of Six Sentence Sundays?  Then hop on over to the SSS website for a complete list of all the participating authors. Good reads abound!

The Spooky House

There’s one in every neighborhood. When I was six, the spooky house was two doors down from my home on an urban tree-lined street. A brooding three-story structure of gray stone with a sprawling covered front porch, white columns, and side bump-outs, it oozed mystery. The adults might have been clueless, but the neighborhood kids knew it was haunted.

No one actually lived there. It had been converted for business offices with a huge parking lot in the rear that butted against an alley. The lot was sectioned off with lengths of heavy chain strung between squat cement posts. We’d see people come and go, swallowed up inside, but there were never many cars in the lot and that made us suspicious.

My friends and I were convinced a coven of witches met there, and that if you ventured too close to the sides where the shadows were thickest, you’d get sucked up into a coffin tucked under the eaves. No one would ever know since an evil twin, capable of fooling everyone, would take your place.

The house also had a ghost who lived on the second floor. We knew this because the south facing room had a trio of beautiful stained glass windows and that was the perfect place for a ghost to languish.  Our phantom was female. She was a melancholy soul who’d been separated from her true love and imprisoned by the witches because they were jealous. She spent her time listening to an old-fashioned music box, weeping for her lost love, and looking romantically tragic in a flowing white dress. It’s amazing what six-year-olds can envision when inspired by Dark Shadows and Quentin Collins.

Once when we were swinging on the metal chains in the parking lot (kids do dumb things when adults aren’t around), one of the neighborhood boys fell and cracked his head on the asphalt. It was a traumatic experience with a lot of screaming, crying and blood splatter. I remember following the trail of blood down the alley and across a connecting street to his house a day later. The evidence stayed there a long time before the rain washed away the grisly reminder.  Although Chester recovered, we were sure the witches had caused his fall, angry that we’d discovered their secrets. I don’t think he ever swung on the chains again. I’m not sure I did either.

Not long after that, my family moved to the suburbs where I made new friends and found a new house to invent stories about. Why is it that old homes twine so ideally with the paranormal?  Perhaps writing about WEATHERING ROCK, a nineteenth century home in my novel of the same name, has me thinking about those fanciful haunts from of my childhood.

What about you?  Was there a spooky house in your neighborhood that still resonates in your memory? I’d love to hear about it!