Mae Clair’s The Mystery of Eclipse Lake–7 Writer Challenge

I’ve recently been tagged in the Seven Writer Challenge by three wonderful author friends—Debbie Peterson, L.J. Kentowski, and Lorraine Paton. Thanks to all three of these ladies for sending the challenge my way. This is always a fun one!

According to the rules, I must go to either page 7 or page 77 of one of my works and, starting on line 7, post the next seven lines. After that, I get to challenge seven other authors to do the same.  I told you it was fun! :D

Lucky7Meme

My selection is taken from page 77 of THE MYSTERY OF ECLIPSE LAKE, my current WIP, a mystery/romance with plenty of family drama. This is from the POV of Jonah Carlisle who suddenly has an unexpected house guest on his hands—his seventeen-year-old nephew, Jesse, who up until a few days ago, he never knew existed.

~ooOOoo~

“This way,” Jesse said, clearly enjoying the role of tour guide.  He led April and Paige toward the kitchen.  Even Koya abandoned Jonah, trailing happily on Jesse’s heels, her tail wagging from side to side.

He (Jonah) closed the door and counted to ten.  The kid had a habit of getting under his skin, and it was growing worse the more time they spent together.  In the kitchen he found his nephew and Paige unloading bags at the oversized center island he used for food preparation.  April busily stacked covered bowls and dishes in his near-empty refrigerator.

~ooOOoo~

And now I’d like to pass the challenge to these fabulous authors:

Donna Cummings
Jessi Gage
Laura Lee Nutt
Calisa Rhose
Stanalei Fletcher
Zee Monodee
Kyra Jacobs

Roll out your 7’s, ladies!

Mae Clair: The Next Big Thing

I’m jazzed today because it’s my turn to participate in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop. I was tagged by the very talented L.J. Kentowski who writes steamy kick-butt urban fantasy. Her new novel, SEEKER OF FATE, (book two in the FATE SERIES) will be releasing next month. In the meantime, you can familiarize yourself with her characters and cool world mythology by reading book one, GUARDIAN OF FATE. It rocks!

As for the NBT hop, writers answer a series of questions related to their current WIP, then tag several other authors to join the hop. Fun, huh? First, I want to send a high-five out to L.J. for tagging me (thanks L.J.!), and next I’ll roll out the questions. All set? Goodie. Here goes:

What is the working title of your book?
ECLIPSE LAKE

Where did the idea of the book come from?
My sister and her husband have a lake house at a resort area in the mountains. The setting is beautiful . . . rolling hillsides dotted with farms, a sprawling lake with several public docks, marina, restaurant, beach area, picnic areas. Most of the homes are built on the mountain with the lake below. There’s also a small blip-of-a-town at the base. Think highly rural with turkey-eat-alls at the firehall, fishing cabins, and resort homes. High up on the mountain a handful of mansions peek through the trees, sprawling structures of glass and wood. When you turn the lights out at night, it’s so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face, but the tree frogs chatting outside sing you to sleep.

The first time I was there, I fell in love with the setting. It seemed like a great place for a mystery so I immediately started crafting a story. It took a while, but I eventually had the first draft of ECLIPSE LAKE. I’m now working on draft two.

What genre does your book fall under?
That’s the loaded question I’m currently struggling with. I originally saw it as an inspirational romance. I have since cut the inspirational element and am pumping up the mystery. So . . . I’m going to say it’s mystery/romance although, romance readers may feel it has too much mystery, and mystery readers may feel it has too much romance. I like blending those two in equal amounts and, hopefully, many readers will feel the same way.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in movie renditions?
As strange as it seems, I can’t pinpoint any. I know that sounds odd. After having written a complete first draft, I know these characters well, and can see them clearly in my head, but I can’t match up any actors.

Dane Carlisle is tall and lean with brown-blond hair. His love interest, Ellie Sullivan has black hair, is petite but athletic. Dane has an older brother, Jonah, who is shorter but muscular, and a seventeen-year-old son, Jesse. Those are my four main characters. The only person I can think of for Dane is Chris Hemsworth (with longer hair). The others, I have no clue.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Ex-con, Dane Carlisle, now a successful businessman, returns to his hometown in hopes of reconciling with his estranged brother, and falls for a photojournalist who becomes involved in a decades old murder.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I plan to submit to my current publisher in hopes it will find a home there. If not, I’ll forward it to several other e-publishing houses before going the Indie route. I do, however, feel strongly enough about this novel that I will self-publish. I just dread the learning curve, and will therefore be hounding my indie author friends for advice!

How long did it take you to finish the first draft of your project?
I wrote the first draft many years ago (this is one of those books I had tucked away in a drawer) so I don’t remember exactly, but I’m going to guess roughly six to eight months. That’s my normal pace since I work full-time.

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
I can’t think of a specific title, but anything that blends mystery and romance.  Family relationships also figure prominently in the novel and are key to the plot.

Who or what inspired you to write this story?
I’ve always been drawn to flawed characters, family relationships, and second chances. I wanted to tell a story showing the power of forgiveness, and the ability to start over again. Dane and Jonah have a bitter and tumultuous history between them. That rift is at the heart of the story, but I wanted Dane to find happiness through romance too (because I’m an HEA girl :) ) and that’s where Ellie comes in.

What else about your book may pique readers’ interest?
Um . . . some kids find a skeleton that unleashes a deluge of trouble, there’s a strange light phenomena over the lake that no one but Ellie sees; I’ve got a closet-full of buried family secrets, a sheriff with a score to settle, a teenaged son who doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut, and a widower trying to find the peace of heart to love again.  Intrigued? :D I hope so!

That’s it for me and ECLIPSE LAKE. Thanks for taking a peek with me and thanks to L.J. Kentowski for the tag. And now, I’d like to nominate the following awesome author/bloggers to continue the NBT hop.

It’s your turn, ladies!

Christina McKnight
Stanalei Fletcher
Lorraine Paton
Christy Olesen
Alicia Coleman

Mae Clair: A Zigzagging I Go!

Are you ready for some zigzagging?  I was tagged by the amazing Mackenzie Crowne in a zigzag challenge to search for the word ‘look’ in my current WIP. If you don’t know Mac, you definitely need to become acquainted. I encourage you to visit her blog, Mac’s Mad Mania where there’s always something wonderful to be found, including inspiring information on breast cancer survival.  While you’re there, be sure to give Mac’s stellar zigzag snippet a look-see. She even posted some visual eye candy to go with it, bless her romantic soul! :)

My task as a willing victim participant is to find the first use of “look” in my WIP and post the surrounding paragraphs. The MS I’m presently working on is a contemporary mystery/romance called ECLIPSE LAKE. In this scene my hero, Dane Carlisle, has just told his adopted son, Jesse, he wants Jesse to accompany him on a trip across the country to his home town. Not only isn’t Jesse thrilled by the idea, but he didn’t realize his father had family.

~ooOOoo~

“Seriously, Dad?”

Jesse slouched in his chair. “Why can’t I stay here? Summer’s just starting and I don’t want to spend it in the mountains. I’m seventeen, not a kid.”

“I know that.” He’d argued it in his head for over a week, but couldn’t go back to Onyx alone.  Maybe it was Alicia, doing her part to keep them together from beyond the grave. Sometimes the sparse fifteen year age gap separating him from his son made Dane feel more like a tyrannical big brother than a father.

Time to drop the bombshell. “You’ve never been east, and…I grew up in Pennsylvania. I have family there.”

Jesse’s expression ran the gamut from annoyed to intrigued. “Family?” He leaned forward, shoving his dinner plate away. “You told me your parents were dead.”

“Sometimes people say things because it’s easier than explaining the truth.”

Dane gripped his water glass, swirling a few ice chips against the sides. He wondered how Jonah would react when he received the letter relaying his intention to visit. I know we had our problems growing up, but I need to see you. I’m sorry I wasn’t there when Mom died.

“Don’t talk to me like I’m a kid,” Jesse said sharply. His expression was tight, offsetting the deep green of his eyes and the stark ebony fall of his wavy hair. He looked so much like Alicia, Dane felt his throat constrict.

“You’re right.” Damn, but it was hard remembering Jesse was practically a grown man. “I didn’t think I’d ever go back to Onyx, so it was easier to avoid talking about my family. My father died when I was a kid and my mother nine years ago. She had liver cancer.”

An alcoholic who was screwed up in the head.

He’d keep that knowledge to himself, along with the crushing reminder he hadn’t been with her at the end.

~ooOOoo~

Thanks again for nominating me, Mac. That was fun :D

And now for the five authors I admire who I’d like to tag. Start zigzagging, ladies. Can’t wait to see your posts!

Jessi Gage
Laura Lee Nutt
L. J. Kentowski
Loni Flowers
Calisa Rhose

~ooOOoo

I invite you to LOOK ahead, and hop back to my blog on Black Friday 11/23 for your chance to win an Amazon or B&N Gift Card during the BLACK FRIDAY BLOG HOP. There are plenty of other prizes and goodies to be had too, so be sure to zigzag back and join in the fun!

Mae Clair: The Booker Award ~ Five Fab Reads

I’ve been nominated by the talented Kate Meader to participate in the Booker Award.  Kate is one of my Six Sentence Sunday buddies whose excerpts always amaze me. Be sure to check out her blog for lively and engaging writing!

So exactly how does the Booker Award work? It targets literary and book-centered blogs.
The rules are simple:

Post your five favorite books of all time
Post the booker award icon
Nominate other bloggers to do the same

Here are mine:

CHECKMATE by Dorothy Dunnett
This is the last novel in THE LYMOND CHRONICLES a six book series detailing the life of Sir Francis Crawford of Lymond from 1547 through 1558. Lymond is undoubtedly the most aggravating yet mesmerizing character I’ve encountered in literature. I was never certain if I wanted to hit the man, applaud him or marry him!

The historical detail of the series is amazing. I’m singling out CHECKMATE because it’s the culmination of a massive read. I also love THE RINGED CASTLE, (second to last book) which takes place in the court of Russian Tsar, Ivan the Terrible. The only book I didn’t particularly care for was the second in the series, QUEEN’S PLAY, and that’s because I was so incredibly ticked by Lymond’s actions. Despite the gargantuan size of the series (each book is in the 600-700 page range) I’ve read it several times and am gearing up to read it again.

How to put this in highbrow literary prose? IT ROCKS! :D

THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING
by T.H. White
I’ve been in love with King Arthur since I was a teen, completely enamored of Camelot’s king. I first read THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING in junior high and have gone back several times since. Not only was it a compelling and lyrical read, but it left me with an amazing impression of chivalry, justice and ‘might vs. right.’ Although I’ve never been a Lancelot fan it was an adjustment getting used to him in this adaption as he is portrayed as ugly, even hideous. I can still vividly recall sitting in the library in eighth grade and giggling over the Questing Beast.  Hmm…there might be a Mythical Monday post in that! :D

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING by J.R.R. Tolkien
My tenth grade English teacher introduced me to Frodo, Gandalf and the group. Up until that point I was reading mainly science-fiction. I had no idea the world of fantasy existed. Unlike most readers who started with THE HOBBIT and went on to read THE LORD OF THE RINGS, I read them in reverse. That’s probably why the FELLOWSHIP resonates so strongly with me. It was my first exposure to the fantasy genre and it was pure magic.  I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read it.

A TALE OF TWO CITIES by Charles Dickens
This was a book I was assigned to read in junior high. Ugh!  Remember those? Despite the fact I’ve always been an avid reader, most of the have-to-read-books I was assigned in school made my eyes glaze over. That included a lot of classics (although I loved anything by Jack London and Mark Twain). Keep in mind, my reading of choice revolved around space creatures, monsters and anything ‘weird.’ Shockingly, I fell in love with this novel. Maybe it was the budding romantic in me. From the first page, I was sucked into the story and still love it today–not only for the emotional element but the historical detail as well.

THE ALIENIST by Caleb Carr
I loved the setting of this novel (1896 New York) and its blend of history, psychology and Sherlock Holmes-like detective work. It’s an historical crime novel but richly layered on multiple levels. There’s also an amazing sequel, THE ANGEL OF DARKNESS, which is every bit as compelling. I’m only sorry the author didn’t write a third with the same set of characters, particularly Dr. Laszlo Kreizler.

Another book I have to mention is THE TERROR by Dan Simmons. If you’re a frequent visitor to my blog, you’ve probably heard me talk about it before. The only reason it’s not at the top of my list is that I’m not sure it qualifies as a ‘literary’ read. The book is a richly detailed fictional account of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition to find the Northwest Passage in 1845. It combines elements of history, myth, horror and the supernatural and is by turns beautiful, lyrical, brutal and terrifying. The HMS Terror was one of two ships Franklin led into the artic, the other, the HMS Erebus.  The ships became trapped in the ice and the crews were never seen again. Simmons novel is a fictional accounting of what may have happened to the men after their vessels became trapped. If I had to name a single book as my favorite read of all time, it’s unquestionably this one.

And now, I’m pleased to nominate the following bloggers:

Sheri de Grom
Stephanie Ingram
L.J. Kentowski
Loni Flowers
Christina McKnight

What are your five faves?

Mae Clair’s Liking the ‘Look’

The wonderfully talented L.J. Kentowski has tagged me to take part in the “LOOK” challenge. L.J. is the author of GUARDIAN OF FATE, an urban fantasy that I had the pleasure of reading over the summer. Check it out, if you haven’t already. Book #2, SEEKER OF FATE is scheduled for release in December.

So how does the LOOK challenge work? ‘Tis fairly simple and a lot of fun!

  1. Find the first usage of the word ‘look’ in your WIP and paste the surrounding paragraph into your blog.
  2. Tag as many people as you want to take part in the challenge with you.

My current WIP is called TWELFTH SUN and involves a brilliant, but quirky, marine archaeologist and *gasp* a woman who is ten years older. They get caught up in a treasure hunt for a marine artifact, along with a cast of characters who’ve gathered at a seaside mansion.

My first use of the word look appears halfway down page two. The paragraph is from the POV of my heroine, Reagan Cassidy:

~ooOOoo~

“Get out of my room before I call the police.” Her voice quavered and she was certain she looked absurd, her long red hair dripping wet, the ridiculous lamp with its shiny spoked wheel clutched threateningly in front of her. Too late she remembered her unbuttoned blouse.

~ooOOoo~

Hmm. Now aren’t you curious what that’s all about?

I’ve just submitted the MS for TWELFTH SUN to my publisher for consideration. I’ll be on pins and needles until I hear back from them. Please keep your fingers crossed all goes well and it get picks up for publication.  And now I’d like to tag:

Jessi Gage
Karen Michelle Nutt
Kate Meader
Jane Wakely
Christy Olsen
Kathleen Doyle
theinnerwildkat

I hope you enjoy ‘looking’ into all these wonderful blogs. It’s always a treat for me! :)