Mae Clair’s Pen Pal: Meet Author Marilyn Conner Miles

Hand writing a letter with a goose featherToday, I‘d like to welcome Pen Pal Marilyn Conner Miles to my blog. Marilyn has dropped by with HOLIDAY HEART (who doesn’t like a bit of Christmas in the summer?) and a glimpse of her upcoming release, PERFECT PAIR. Naturally, before we get to the books, I’ve got a find out a bit about Marilyn. :)

Marilyn, please tell us a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.

I stated writing when I learned to print –first or second grade. I’d write stories and gave them to my family and teachers. My second grade teacher gave one back to a family friend a few years back. Then I showed a story I’d written to the librarian of our grade school and she showed the principal. I illustrated all the stories too, and made “hardbacks” out of them by using the cardboard from my dad’s new white shirt packages. I used wire to attach the story to the “cover.”  

I took creative writing classes in high school and college. But then I worked in advertising, PR and marketing and wrote TV and radio commercials and print ads for newspapers, catalogs and brochures. I kept a journal for years. It wasn’t until I “retired” that I began to think about writing stories. I’ve had two stories published and have one soon-to-be published in the past year.

What a great track record. And–wow!–you were really creative as a child, making hardback copies of your early stories. That’s so clever! I would have loved doing that with mine if I’d thought about it. Now that we know how you wrote as a kid :D please tell us about your upcoming release. 

PERFECT PAIR is the last in the series that began with ACAPULO ADVENTURE, and continued with HOLIDAY HEART. Amber, a workaholic with few real friends, gets laid off from her job with a law firm in downtown Seattle. She has to give up her apartment and hopes to move in temporarily with her parents, but that doesn’t work out. With no job and soon no place to live, she agrees to take a house-and-pet-sitting position for a while. The problem is, she’s never had a pet, and the job is at a mini-farm!

What a great set-up! How did you choose your title?

I always have a hard time coming up with a title and tend to wait till the last minute. It seems to work. I tie it in with the story after I think up an appropriate name. For this last three story series, they have all been two word titles.

They have a great ring to them. I’m frequently still fishing around for a title when I reach the end of a novel too. I don’t know why they have to be so hard (at least for me).

Let’s switch gears and talk about pets for a minute. As an avowed cat lover who always had a feline with me when I was writing, I’m constantly curious if other writers have a furred friend hanging out with them in their work space. 

My cat thinks I’m her mother and follows me everywhere. We share my home office. She sits on her cat tree and talks to the birds outside and then walks over me or across the desk or keyboard. Sometimes she stares at the computer monitor. Half the time she sleeps on my lap with her head on my arm and I have to type with one hand.

LOL! I love it!  It’s so typical of a cat, all about their comfort and timing. You can’t help but love their personalities and how they demand attention.  

And finally, the quick-silver round. Please share your favorite:

Season: Autumn
Type of music: Country-western
Ice cream flavor: Chocolate chip mint
Owl or lark: Owl
Mountains or beach: Mountains—I live next to them

I bet you have a great view. You obviously have great taste in liking chocolate chip mint ice cream. It’s my favorite too, but my husband always says it’s like eating mouthwash. 

Thanks for being my guest today, Marilyn. It was a delight to learn more about you. I wish you much success with PERFECT PAIR and your entire series. 

If you’d like to know more about Marilyn Conner Miles, connect with her at the following haunts:

Blog
Facebook
Goodreads  

photoAuthor Bio
Marilyn began writing as soon as she could print. Her first career was in the transportation industry, working for the airlines. Her second career was in advertising, marketing and promotions. Currently a freelance editor, Marilyn lives with her husband and cat in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in southwest Washington State, where she watches horses and deer and sometimes owls from her home office window.  

Holiday HEartXHOLIDAY HEART BLURB:
Christmas. It’s that time of the year again and Brenda is alone, as usual. Everyone she knows is paired up except her. And now, she has to go to a wedding and pretend to be happy. But, even worse, her ex-boyfriend will be there. It’s been six years since they broke up and she hasn’t seen or heard from him since. How will she handle seeing him again—especially if he has another woman on his arm?

Purchase HOLIDAY HEART from Amazon
Kindle 

Paperbook 

 

HUNTER — Free 28th, 29th, 30th January 2014 on Amazon

Hunter

 HUNTER (Magio-Earth Novella)

To love and protect…across worlds.

Nineteen-year-old Lieska Alura, a Dralion warrior from the planet Magio, calls an Australian Outback station her home away from home. Hounded by her skilled hunter senses, she is on a mission to track down one man, her soul-bound mate.

Peacian protector and hunter, Cole Cyrano, is driven by his soul’s demand to find his mated one, a woman he knows is his enemy. Dralion and Peacio are at war, and he ignores his soul’s call. Except Lieska shows up during a fierce training session inside his protectors’ arena, and his soul demands he protect her.

Completely, yet impossibly matched, they decide to renounce their bond, only not all goes as planned when Lieska receives word bushfires rage across her Outback station. She leaves, and now nothing can keep Cole from the hunt. He joins Lieska in driving the station’s cattle toward the mighty river, and the chase is on…against both nature and each other. Can the mated pair find their place together in a world at war?

A Young Adult, New Adult Fantasy Romance

~ooOOoo~

HUNTER
Free 28th, 29th, 30th January 2014
(Tell all your friends to grab a copy)

Free at: Amazon Kindle

~ooOOoo~

Hi, and thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Mae.

HUNTER is a story which will take you deep into the Australian Outback and across those great plains. This is a stand-alone novella within my fast-paced YA/NA fantasy romance line, where across worlds, soul-bound mates battle against both love and land.

I brought my heroine from HUNTER with me today. Lieska’s a warrior hunter from Dralion, and is soul-bound to Cole, a protector from the enemy nation.

Joanne: Hey, Lieska. Thanks so much for taking the time to come and sit with me over here at Mae’s. So, I’ve got to ask. You and Cole? How is it being soul-mated with him?

Lieska: Since he’s a hunter like me, it’s been a blast of who can out-chase the other first. He’s super speedy, but I love every minute of our hunts. Cole’s incredibly smart, funny, caring, sexy— Oh, maybe I shouldn’t have said all that. His hunter senses will be on fire if he catches a whiff of any of this stuff. No one here at Mae’s can whisper a word of what I just said. *smiles nicely at everyone*

Joanne: Gotcha. I’m sure we can all do that. So, looking back at that first day you met Cole inside his protectors’ arena, do you have any regrets about walking in? And what about confronting him?

Lieska: I just wish I could have kicked some protector butt before I met Cole. That would have been fun. And confronting Cole? I’ll never regret that. Heck, he kisses like a—

Cole: *marches in and runs his gaze over Lieska* My ears are burning. I wondered where you’d gotten to.

Lieska: I see you hunted me down again.

Cole: I found something of yours to track you with, and I couldn’t help myself. I love the chase. *pops a kiss on her nose as he sits* So, what are we all up to?

Joanne: We’re just hanging here at Mae’s. She said we could drop by, so we have. Not sure where she’s gotten to though, probably work. You wanna track her down for us, Cole?

Cole: Hah. You just want to get rid of me so you two can keep nattering. Nope, I’m staying. *crosses his arms*

Lieska: Stubborn hunter. *tweaks Cole’s chin*

Joanne: Alrighty then, well if you’re staying, then let me ask you a question, Cole. What’s it like being soul-bound to your sworn enemy?

Cole: It’s agonizing to keep the secrets I have to. Most of my fellow protectors would slice and dice me if they ever found out I’d accepted the mated bond with Lieska, but we’ve got Hope and Silas on our side, and Faith and Davio. They’re mated enemies like us, and it helps they know exactly what we’re going through. And being soul-bound with Lieska is incredible. I can’t give her up, not now, not even with all the problems we’ve still to face.

Joanne: Those guys are great. In the next book in this series they’re right there in the mix with Silvie and Guy as they undertake their journey. Things get pretty heated, but— Um, I probably shouldn’t go on about Enchanter since the third book doesn’t release until the summer. I better zip my lips.

Lieska: Gee, you are such a tease. You’ve gotta tell us what happens.

Joanne: Nope, I’m not spilling another word. Go and hunt down Hope and Faith if you want more goss. They’re in the story. They know it all.

Lieska: Oooh, did you just dare me? We hunters love a dare. *tugs Cole to his feet* Come with me. I’ll need your extra senses to catch them.

Cole: *grinning* See, this is why I love you. Let’s hunt. *they teleport away*

Joanne: Hey, come back here you two. We’re in the middle of an interview. Unbelievable. Oh, well I guess that’s it from us. Thanks for joining in. I hope you race out and grab your FREE copy of HUNTER and track down Lieska and Cole and discover more about their story.

HUNTER is the perfect short story to get you started on the series, and likely hooked. Full-length novels, PROTECTOR and WARRIOR are available, and ENCHANTER (book three) is coming real soon.

~ooOOoo~

HUNTER
Free 28th, 29th, 30th January 2014
(Tell all your friends to grab a copy)

 Free at: Amazon Kindle

~ooOOoo~

Here’s an excerpt from Hunter to tempt you:

Chains cranked, and the solid paneled iron gates at the entrance rolled open. This was what I’d been waiting for. Finally I’d be able to see inside the three-story high open-aired arena. It was a beauty with its ancient circular architecture.

“Wow. Do you see that?” Hope whispered to me from where we hid in a bush.

I shoved the brush farther aside, and we both poked our noses in. The protectors’ arena was close in size to our fighting force’s in Dralion. Their blocked seats were layered back and up and able to hold thousands of spectators. Groups of protectors trained on the central sandy floor with swords and spears and axes, with likely more beyond. Some of the men wore red tunics with leather-flapped skirts, and they lunged and parried, as accurate with their brutally sharp weapons as any warrior would be. The women trained in their battle leathers. So close. This was the chance I’d been waiting for. It had definitely been right to bring Hope. Hopefully she’d be able to help me keep a level head.

“Let’s go.” I gripped Hope’s hand and ’ported us. Everything darkened as I made the short jump through space.

Hope wobbled as we arrived near the wall. “Lieska, what the heck are you doing?”

“You saw the gate open. It’s an invitation I can’t turn down.” I plucked the sides of my hip-hugging black leather pants. “Look at us. I’m dressed no differently to any of the protector women, and you’re completely unassuming in jeans and a t-shirt. Except for this. The Stetson has to go. It screams Earth.” I nabbed it and tossed it behind a flax bush growing beside the wall. “Now no one’s going to suspect we’re from Dralion unless we announce it. We’ll be normal people, not catching a second glance.”

“Geez, I hate how my own words come back to bite me.” She shook her head. “Just make sure you don’t announce our arrival your way. No throwing any daggers at the protectors, because that would be announcing it, in case you weren’t aware.”

“I’m aware, and I’ll try and keep them sheathed, maybe.” I couldn’t stop from rubbing my hands together. Finally I’d have a chance to sort this problem. The hunt was on. I strode in and the breeze lifted my long brown locks and swept strands across my face. Two men battled close by and one of the men’s blade’s struck flesh and bone. Blood spurted in a wide arc. My blood thrummed to join the fight. Oh yeah. I wish I’d been the one to inflict that wound. The injured man grasped his arm, holding the edges closed. His blood ceased running and his skin began to knit together. A fast-healer. Damn. What a shame.

“Ew.” Hope puffed as she caught up. “Are your senses still on fire?”

“Burning bright. So stay close in case I need to ’port us out of here quick.” I followed the safety rail around the perimeter. My senses flared. There. A man in black jeans stretched as if readying himself for training. The denim molded his butt. Mm-mmm.

He selected a two-handed sword from the rack and twirled it in a precise figure eight. Slowly he built up speed, and moved through a series of fluid training moves. He held the battle skills, and only those who had such an affinity for their weapon did.

“Is that him? The one you’re after?” Hope hauled me to a stop.

“Yes, and it appears he needs a battling partner. Wait here.”

“I’ll wait provided you agree not to kill anyone.”

“We’ll see, just don’t draw any attention to yourself.”

“Huh, I can’t believe you’re telling me not to draw attention to myself. Hello. Give yourself your own pep talk.” With a harrumph, she snuck under the railing. She plopped onto the wooden bench and grasped the edge under her knees, squishing her knuckles.

“I would take my own advice, except I don’t think I’m up for listening. That’s why I have you.” She was one of my best friends, even though she’d accepted a protector as her mate. I could deal.

Stroking the hilt of my ever-present side sword, I walked toward the one my senses had flared on.

-~ooOOoo~

Look for JOANNE WADSWORTH at the following haunts:
AUTHOR WEBSITE & BLOG
AMAZON PAGE (For books)
BARNES & NOBLE PAGE (For books)
FACEBOOK FAN PAGE
TWITTER
GOODREADS

Joanne Wadsworth (2)AUTHOR BIO:

JOANNE WADSWORTH
Where Romance Meets Fantasy and Adventure…

Reading romance books captivated Joanne Wadsworth as a teenager, particularly when she tucked herself into bed at night and continued to dream those stories as she slept. She’d visualize the direction, taking the hero and heroine on an adventure unparalleled to what she’d read. Today she is devoted to writing romance, bringing her imagination to life within the lines of young adult, contemporary, and historical Highlander.

Born in New Zealand, Joanne works both as a writer and a financial controller, all while keeping up with her four energetic children and dreamy husband.

Visit Joanne Wadsworth at http://www.joannewadsworth.com

VOODOO DREAMS by Alana Lorens is Free on #Amazon #Kindle Dec 17-21

Looking for a spooky read? Alana Lorens is here to tell us about one you can pick up for free through Amazon Kindle. Take it away, Alana!

~ooOOoo~

As part of Kindle KDP, I get five days to give my readers VOODOO DREAMS, the third book in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series FOR FREE!! The free period runs December 17-21 Get yourself a copy and also get one for any of your friends who loves to read spooky romantic suspense! Could be a great Christmas present!

Here’s the storyline:
This is the year for voodoo in New Orleans, as anyone who watches American Horror Story: Coven knows– this story is just the thing to curl up with under a blanket on a winter’s night for chills inside and out!

VoodooDreams_w7507_med

BLURB
When her big trial goes bad, corporate attorney Brianna Ward can’t wait to get out of Pittsburgh. The Big Easy seems like the perfect place to rest, relax, and forget about the legal business. Too bad an obnoxious–but handsome–lawyer from a rival firm is checking into the same bed and breakfast.

Attorney Evan Farrell has Mardi Gras vacation plans too. When he encounters fiery and attractive Brianna, however, he puts the Bourbon Street party on hold. He’d much rather devote himself to her–especially when a mysterious riddle appears in her bag, seeming to threaten danger.

Strangely compelled to follow the riddle’s clues, Brianna is pulled deeper into the twisted schemes of a voodoo priest bent on revenge. To escape his poisonous web, she must work with Evan to solve the curse. But is the growing love they feel for each other real? Or just a voodoo dream?

FREE FROM AMAZON DECEMBER 17-21

us at mctAUTHOR BIO
Alana Lorens dreamed for many years of being a spaceship captain, but settled instead for inspired excursions into fictional places with fascinating companions from her imagination that she likes to share with others. She has been a published writer for over thirty years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at a newspaper in Homestead, Florida, with a list of eclectic publications from horror to tech reporting to television reviews. She writes urban fantasy and science fiction under the name of Lyndi Alexander. The Elf Queen, her first novel, was released by Dragonfly Publishing in July 2010; the series continued with The Elf ChildThe Elf Mage and The Elf Guardian. She’s now working on the space opera Horizon Crossover series, and a YA trilogy, The Color of Fear—the first book, WINDMILLS, was published by Zumaya Publications this summer.  Writing as Alana Lorens, she produces romance and romantic suspense, including the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer series, CONVICTION OF THE HEART, SECOND CHANCES, and the latest, VOODOO DREAMS, released by The Wild Rose Press in October 2013.

She is a single mother of seven, with two special needs children at home with her in Pennsylvania, and she volunteers at her local shelter for domestic violence victims, believing in every person’s right to be safe.

Connect with Alana Lorens at: 
Website  
Facebook Fan Page  
Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series

Wizards with Words: Mary E. Merrell and Soul in Present Condition #G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y

bigstock-magic-book-9719930Welcome to another Wizards with Words interview — With a fab giveaway!

Stay tuned for the deets later in this post. For now I’d like to introduce Mary E. Merrell who will be sharing her latest release in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery series. 

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I’m a real estate girl (have been since 1988) and am pretty gone on all things strange and weird. Sounds like a good fit for this series, right? (I’ve been in a few vacant spooky houses in the course of my career).

I’m already invested in book one of Mary’s intriguing series and am looking forward to reading all three. Please say hello to Mary!

~ooOOoo~

Mary, Please share a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.  

I’ve been writing for over ten years now. I was a stay at home mom with two sons and I told myself a lot of stories while I cleaned and did mom stuff. About the time I went into real estate, we got our first computer and I attempted to put one of those stories down. It was a lot harder than I expected, but I was hooked. I took some writing classes and joined a writer’s group. I loved it! Then I went into that vacant home, and a compelling story about a newbie real estate agent and a ghost developed. When I’m not writing, I love to grow things, and my husband and I have a small business making vertical frames for succulents. I try to exercise consistently, (ha, good one) and I love reading and playing soccer. Almost time to retire from soccer…again. My team calls me Brett Favre.

You sound extremely busy! When you do find time to write, do you have a favorite place and/or time of day for flexing your creative muscles? (Sorry, couldn’t resist the exercise connection :)).

My favorite time to write is early in the morning. I love to get up, feed the animals and get a cup of coffee and write away, but if I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, the dogs and I go for a run first. I should be doing my crunches and pushups too, but lately I’ve been shirking. Just ask my pants. I write in the office. Usually surrounded by the dogs and cats.

Pets make a perfect patient audience when writing. And I can so relate to the exercise guilt. If it weren’t for my pool routine, I’d be woefully behind. Going back to your writing habits, when it comes to being a plotter vs. panster, I think even plotters veer from their outline to a degree during the process. When you finish a novel, how closely would you say the end product resembles your original concept — 100%? 50%? Something else entirely? series-lineup I just recently read this term, panster on a blog. I have to say I am definitely a panster, if it means writing by the seat of your pants. (Just figured that out as I was typing) My current release, Soul in Present Condition is completely different from the original draft. I changed the killer, had to add new chapters and delete others. As I really think about this, most of my final drafts probably resemble only 50% of the original concept.

I can most certainly relate to that, being a dyed-in-the-wool panster for many years running. Are you a draft writer or someone who invests a lot of time in editing and polishing as you write? Why does your method work best for you? 

I like to write the book all a one time. Straight through. I’ve written one book a year for the last four years for the NaNoWrimo, and this year, hopefully will be no different. Then the book sits until I can get back and revise it. This works well for me because I don’t do extensive plotting. I have a loose outline that I follow, but it could change drastically as I write. That does mean I have to go back and fill a lot of holes and flesh out the story threads and make sure everything is consistent when I revise. Sometimes, like Soul in Present Condition it hardly looks like the original book at all. front_v1

Speaking of Soul in Present Condition, please tell us a bit about it.

Soul in Present Condition is book #3 in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series. This was a fun book to write. I changed it a lot, because I had a great idea for a twist. Rosemary Fernandes is a new real estate agent and her business is building, in spite of ghosts lurking in any home she might show. She knows how to deal with the lost souls that are drawn to her, how to help them move on.

Unfortunately, her gift attracts the undead as well. Now, Rosemary is human servant to a vampire. Marcus Lyons is…difficult but gorgeous. Rosemary doesn’t understand this strange relationship with the vampire, but the more she gets to know him the more human he seems, and the more she finds herself seeing the good in him.

When Rosemary meets a young ghost, all sarcastic and gangster, she has a plan, but this ghost keeps a secret, a deadly secret. Rosemary knows his soul will go on, even in its present condition, but she must convince the vampire that her destiny is helping the spirits that call to her, no matter how dangerous.

In this book, Rosemary’s relationship with her boyfriend, Frank Perez heats up. She realizes her friends and family are in danger just being around her. She wants to tell them her secret, but first she must get permission. As the ghost, the vampire and her friends come together to solve this latest mystery, the dynamics of her life change drastically and nothing will ever be the same.

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I loved writing it.

It sounds fascinating! Without giving too much away, please share a bit about your favorite scene.

There are so many little things that I love. I know, I wrote it, but it still tickles me. But I think my favorite scene is with Rosemary and Frank, talking about what’s going to happen with their relationship. Is Frank going to stick around and work for the vampire Marcus Lyons or let the vampire wipe his memory, so he forgets everything, including Rosemary? It’s tender and heartwarming and ends with Rosemary and Frank making the most of a night alone.

I can see why it would be your favorite scene. How about sharing the first three sentences of your book?

I never take clients into a home I haven’t previewed. You never know what you’re going to stumble into. Like a ghost.

Love that! Now share one sentence – - yes, only one! – - of dialogue or description you love.

This isn’t really dialogue, well, internal dialogue then. It’s one of my favorites. “This feud they had with Marcus was going to be the death of me, because if dying of embarrassment was possible, I’d already be a corpse.”

LOL! Very nice! Poor Rosemary. And now for a bit about Mary. When  you’re not writing (or reading) what do you do to unwind?

I do a lot of gardening. Love growing things, and I run and play soccer.

I know you mentioned your pets before. Pets and writers seem to go together like peas in a pod. Tell us about yours and whether or not they shadow your writing time and space. 

I have two dogs and four…I mean five cats. A kitten got into our backyard a couple weeks ago, which is not all that easy since we have a cat fence to keep our cats in and stray cats out. He’s so little he slipped through the lattice in the cat area. I think he’s one of the gang now. In fact, he’s sleeping on the couch next to me. Having trouble naming him. My niece named him Fisher, but my husband doesn’t like it. Well, it’s better than boots. (He has white feet. So cliché.) The cats usually sleep in the office while I’m writing and usually one or another is on the desk vying for my attention. The young dog Lily is always trying to put a toy in my hand so I’ll play tug-o-war, and Charlie (The older female dog, my husband named.) barks at me to chase her. Sometimes I do…

Oh, I love pets. Especially cats! They all sound adorable. And for what it’s worth, I like the name Fisher for the little one. :) Now I have a couple quick questions about fun stuff!

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy godmother: I would like a staycation, where I can be home, but nobody knows I’m there, and I don’t have to do anything like housework, cooking, or yardwork, unless I want to. Just me and the animals. Maybe my sisters too.  So they can do the cooking. Hee, hee. I can write until I’m tired of it. Then maybe I’ll read a little too. Or watch stupid TV shows like Big Bang Theory or musicals. Whatever silly movie I’m in the mood for.

Favorite time of day:  Morning

Favorite color:  Yellow

Food you never grow tired of:  Chocolate and coffee together.

I just had a very relaxing staycation with hubby. Unfortunately, I didn’t do any writing, LOL. And you know, I think you’re the first person who’s answered yellow to the color question. It’s so cheerful and summery. That was always my mother’s favorite color and the thought of it makes me smile.

~ooOOoo~

Blurb Soul in Present Condition
Divorced. Check. Ghost Whisperer. Check. Human Servant. Check. Great. Check. Real estate agent Rosemary Fernandes never expected to inherit the ability to communicate with spirits, and she certainly didn’t expect her gift to attract the undead as well. Now Rosemary finds herself ghost whisperer to the lost souls stuck at their haunts and human servant to a gorgeous but aloof vampire Marcus Lyons. Benito Cruz died with a dangerous secret, a secret that connects the ghost to Rosemary. Can Rosemary send the spirit to his final resting place before his past catches up with them, and can she convince the vampire helping spirits like Benito is her destiny? 

Add SOUL IN PRESENT CONDITION to your Goodreads list here!

member_817010[1]Author Bio
Mary E. Merrell writes Paranormal Mysteries and Young Adult Urban Fantasy. She has worked many jobs, but always had stories in her head. It wasn’t until she went into real estate and walked into that old, vacant home that The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series came to life. Fortunately, nothing spooky happened at the furniture store, or the first book could have been, “The Haunted Sofa.”

Mary E. Merrell’s plots are smooth and slightly dark, and her characters sinfully sweet. Try a little guilty pleasure with House Haunting, the first book in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series. One reviewer called it “A good start to a new series.”

Mary E. Merrell lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, two dogs, and five cats. She has two grown sons. When she’s not writing, she’s gardening or playing soccer. Please visit her website to see what she’s working on next at www.maryemerrell.com.

You can find Mary at the following haunts:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

Available Now/Buy Links:
House Haunting
Curve Appeal 

And now for that giveaway I mentioned at the start of this post. To celebrate the release of SOUL IN PRESENT CONDITION, Mary is giving away two prizes. One lucky person who comments will win a $10 gift card to Amazon and another will win ebook copies of Mary’s first two books in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series (House Haunting and Curve Appeal). So be sure to share your thoughts, say hello, and include your email.  Mary would love to hear from you!

Winners will be announced tomorrow!

Rain and TWELFTH SUN by Mae Clair

spray from the carIt’s Thursday, a soggy Thursday. The morning arrived with a torrential downpour of rain and flooding streets all to the booming orchestration of thunder overhead. The day promises to be one of scurrying from car to buildings and buildings to car, hoping the wind won’t be vicious enough to rip an umbrella inside out.

Sporadic “strong” storms and brooding skies are forecasted throughout the day and there are rumors a tornado warning may crop up later. It seems whenever severe weather sweeps into the region, the threat of a twister is always a fringe possibility (although, thankfully, I don’t live in an area prone to them).

You may be wondering where the sun fits among this muddle of ominous skies and menacing storms.

It’s TWELFTH SUN, my contemporary romance/mystery scheduled to release on August 5th now available to add to your TBR list on Goodreads! Can I get a Snoopy dance, please? I can’t wait to introduce the world to Elijah and Reagan (and a whole group of meddlesome secondary characters).

Here’s the link if you’d like to splash it on your GR TBR. Thank you in advance should you choose to lend support! I’m so grateful for the community of authors and readers who have become such wonderful friends. It just goes to show that even a gloomy overcast day isn’t without a touch of  sunlight!

TWELFTH SUN on Goodreads

twelfthsuncover

Three Tiers of Characters, by Mae Clair

bigstock-Book-Woman-344985There are good books, great books, and books that rank in the stratosphere. What makes them so phenomenal? Characters.

Strip away the plot, setting and pacing, and it comes down to the personalities that fill the pages.

I’ve just completed my 23rd read of 2013. WOOT! Several of those books were in the 500-600 page range and held me mesmerized for each click of the Kindle. Included was a fantasy series by C.S. Friedman called the Coldfire Trilogy.  Originally published in the 1990s, it was something I’d read before. I remembered being in love with the lead character (boy, is THAT a colossal understatement) and decided to read it again.

After drooling over anti-hero Gerald Tarrant through all three books, I started thinking about what makes me want to reread a novel. I realized I could group the characters I love into a three tier system. Take a look:

Old Friends
These are like the kids you went to school with. They had a hand in shaping who you are. You have amazingly fond memories of them and grow nostalgic whenever their names are mentioned. Years sometimes pass between visits, but you’re always thrilled when they drop by. You never tire of this group. They’re “comfortable” and easily inspire reminiscing. My group includes:

Frodo Baggins and Faramir
Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

Sir Francis Crawford of Lymond
The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett

King Arthur
The Once and Future King

Heartthrobs
This is the group that makes your heart go pitter-patter. As soon as you meet these guys, you’re smitten. For me, they tend to be down-to-earth, a mixture of alpha and beta hero. This is where most of my favorite characters fall. They require more than just an occasional visit. I’m usually inspired to hang out with them at least once a year or every other year. My list includes:

Phillip Quinn
The Chesapeake Bay series by Nora Roberts

Caleb Hawkins
The Sign of Seven Trilogy by Nora Roberts

James (Gem) Carstairs
The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare  

Jayce Wayland
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

Louis Kincaid
The Louis Kincaid Mysteries by P.J. Parrish

blacksunrising

Book one of the Coldfire Saga, Gerald Tarrant on the cover
Cover art by Michael Whelan

 Obsessions
These guys are definitely alpha heroes, no two ways about it. I can’t even say I love them, because that’s far too gentle a description. I’m thoroughly, utterly, unabashedly besotted in lust with them. Who are they?

Aloysius Pendergast
The Pendergast series of novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Gerald Tarrant
The Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman

So what attracts me to them? I discovered some amazing parallels:

Their occupations couldn’t be any dissimilar — Pendergast is a Special Agent with the FBI and Tarrant is an undead sorcerer who feeds off fear. After that, things get interesting.

FriedmanCrown

Book three of the Coldfire Saga, Gerald Tarrant on the cover
Cover art by Michael Whelan

Both are cultured and aristocratic in nature, have a precise manner of speaking, are highly fastidious about their appearance (doesn’t hurt that they’re gorgeous), exceedingly wealthy, have genius level intelligence, and are unquestionably deadly. Both are always calm and unnervingly cool, even when facing impossible odds.

Pendergast is mid-30ish, albino-pale, tall and lean with light blond/whitish hair and silver eyes.

Tarrant is over 900 years old (but looks as he did at at 29), is ghostly pale (a side effect of being undead), tall and lean with light brown hair and silver eyes.

Pendergast’s closest friend is a rough-around-the-edges, heart-of-gold, kick-butt rumpled cop.

Tarrant’s frenemy is a rough-around-the-edges, morally conflicted, kick-butt warrior priest.

Pendergast is a special agent with the FBI, but also holds a PhD and speaks multiple languages.

Tarrant is the most powerful and feared sorcerer ever to walk the planet Erna, but was once revered as the Prophet who established the church of the One God. He is also the first Neocount of Merentha.

Are you sensing a pattern? Do I have a “type?”

These guys have nothing in common with the characters from my other groups but they have a lot in common with each other. There is no question they rule in the fictional realm when it comes to claiming my heart.

How about you? Do you have a type? Please share some of the characters you love and what makes them special.  Do you have a Gerald Tarrant or a Pendergast who has left you besotted?

A Pen Pal Welcome to Author, Jennifer Lowery, by Mae Clair

bigstock-Stacks-of-old-letters-on-woode-43415203Today, I’m pleased to welcome Jennifer Lowery to my blog. Jennifer is one of my sister authors at Lyrical Press and has dropped by to tell us about her latest release, MURPHY’S LAW. So, sit back, grab your beverage of choice and enjoy as Jennifer takes control of my “pen” for the day!

~ooOOoo~

Hi Mae, and all you fabulous readers out there *waves* Thank you so much for having me today! My contemporary romance, Murphy’s Law, released last month so I’m very excited to be here! Thank you so much for sharing it with me!! 

In honor of my release I am giving away a $5.00 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter so please leave me a comment with your EMAIL to be entered to win!!

When writing I think authors get into a zone. We forget everything around us when our muse is talking as our fingers fly over the keyboard and we rush to get those words out of our head. We block everything we have to do that day and week, sometimes even forget to take a bathroom break for fear of losing momentum.

This is a good thing, but can also lead to mistakes like misspelled words, grammar mishaps, things like that. Easily fixed, of course, but sometimes we writers make little blunders  that make you wonder just what you were thinking when you typed that! Was it a Freudian slip? An honest slip of your fingers on the keys?

Well, I’m here to share one of my bloopers with you during the writing of Murphy’s Law. I call it a blooper because it makes me laugh every time I read it. I hope you get a chuckle out of it too :)

Here is the correct sentence:

He had met Al, the owner, when he’d needed a winch for his SUV and knew he would use discretion.

Here is the sentence as I originally wrote it:

He had met Al, the owner, when he’d needed a wench for his SUV and knew he would use discretion.

Now, mind you, this manuscript got all the way to my editor before anyone caught the blooper! We’re talking six revisions myself! And I never saw it! And could the sentence be more perfect for this blunder, lol. Oh my gosh! What was I thinking!

So there you have it. Not sure what on earth I was thinking when I typed that or how I missed it in revisions, but there it is for you to chuckle over. I hope you enjoyed my blooper! And don’t worry, my fabulous editor at Lyrical caught it and we got quite a laugh out of it J Murphy won’t be picking up any wenches for his SUV!

Thank you for having me today, Mae !! I just want to send out a big THANK YOU to all my readers out there! Without you I wouldn’t be here. My wish is to one day meet each and every one of you so I can personally thank you for your generosity and support! 

All my best, 
Jennifer

~ooOOoo~

Murphy’s Law
Contemporary Romance 

Blurb:
Tag: Nowhere to go. No place to hide.

Home is the last place Jon Murphy can go. After being held captive in Tazbekistan, he returns to the States only to find he can’t face his mom and sisters with what he did while he was a prisoner, so he retreats to the mountains.

Widow Sara Sheldon has made a lifetime of mistakes and is now running scared from her husband’s powerful family, who are determined to take her daughter away from her. When her little girl goes missing in the Rockies, Sara enlists the only help she can find: a gruff recluse with tracking skills to admire and a body to covet.

A storm strands Sara and her daughter at Murphy’s cabin, leaving her no choice but to hope her in-laws don’t catch up while she plans where to run next. Murphy resents the invasion of his privacy, but can’t seem to keep his mind–or his hands–off Sara. How can she stand to look at him, with all his scars? He’s not nearly as honorable as she might think…only enough to make sure she’s safe, and then he’ll go back to being alone, the way he should be.

CONTENT WARNING: Sexual content
A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance

MurphysLaw coverExcerpt:
Murphy sat at the kitchen table, half in the shadows created by the soft light glowing above the stove, hair tousled from sleep. Naked to the waist. A bottle of amber liquid sat in front of him, an empty glass in his hand. Her gaze landed on his muscled shoulders and trailed across his tanned chest. So much for getting him out of her mind. Now she had the real thing to dream about. Looking at the dark hairs that veed down his chest and disappeared behind the table, she decided he’d been right. He was a dangerous man.

She tore her gaze away from temptation and looked at the granite lines of his face. Beneath the hardness of his expression, something haunting lingered. Drawn, she circled the table to the opposite end.

Murphy met her eyes with coldness that should have sent her running for the safety of her room, but she remained standing in place. He wanted to chase her away. This time she wasn’t running.

“Mind if I join you?” She grabbed a glass and from the cupboard and reached over his shoulder for the bottle.

His hand snaked out and wrapped around hers, preventing her from pouring a drink.

“I mind,” he growled.

“Well, get over it. I need a drink.”

Scowling, he let go of her hand and allowed her to pour a glass for herself. She refilled his glass next, set the bottle on the table, moved to the chair beside him and sat, lifting her glass.

“Cheers.” She brought the glass to her lips. His gaze as she drained the glass made her fight the urge to cough as the fiery liquid burned its way down her throat. Seconds later she felt the familiar warming sensation as it numbed her insides. Her eyes filled with tears. She blinked them away and reached for the bottle.

Murphy held it away from her. “What are you doing?”

“Having a drink. I’m not in the mood for warm milk tonight.”

His eyes darkened and narrowed. “You don’t strike me as the drinking type.”

She wasn’t, but tonight it sounded good. Maybe it would soothe away her problems and make her forget how screwed-up her life was. Talking about Kent earlier had brought back painful memories. She didn’t want to feel that misery anymore.

“Maybe you don’t know my type,” she said.

He studied her closely for a moment before rubbing a hand over his face. “Go back to bed, Sara. Sleep it off.”

“I don’t want to sleep it off. I’m tired of thinking about it.”

Maybe it was the whisky, or his naked chest, or the part of her that had been dormant for six years coming back to life. More than anything she wanted to discover it with Murphy, her strong, scarred hero.

She rose to her feet. He watched warily as she stepped in front of him and positioned herself between him and the table. He leaned back in his chair and sent her a thunderous look.

“You and I are alike in many ways, Murphy,” she said softly. “We’ve both lost pieces of ourselves we can’t ever get back and it has forced us into a life of loneliness and solitude. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being alone.”

He pinned her with a hard glare. “I’m not what you want. Go back to your room before I do something we’ll both regret in the morning.”

His harshly spoken words sent little electrical shocks through her body.

“I’m tired of people telling me what I want.”

Jennifer Lowery Author picAuthor Bio:
Jennifer Lowery grew up reading romance novels in the back of her math book and on the bus to school, and never wanted to be anything but a writer.  Her summers were spent sitting at the kitchen table with her sisters spinning tales of romance and intrigue and always with a tall glass of ice tea at their side. 

Today, Jennifer is living that dream and she couldn’t be happier to share her passion with her readers.  She loves everything there is about romance.  Her stories feature alpha heroes who meet their match with strong, independent heroines.  She believes that happily ever after is only the beginning of her stories. And the road to that happy ending is paved with action, adventure, and romance. As her characters find out when they face danger, overcome fears, and are forced to look deep within themselves to discover love.  

Jennifer lives in Michigan with her husband and two children.  When she isn’t writing she enjoys reading and spending time with her family. 

Find Jennifer at the following haunts:

Author Website   Facebook   Twitter   Romance Recipes

Buy Murphy’s Law:
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Lyrical Press
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