Embracing 2014 by Mae Clair

The New Year has arrived and with it my plans to look ahead. I learned a lot in 2013. In many ways it was a mixed bag of blessings.

I saw the publication of my second novel, TWELFTH SUN, and also participated in my first NaNoWriMo. I’m pleased to say I came out of NaNo a winner with a 50K+ rough draft of my Mothman-based story, Negative Reach. If all goes according to schedule, I hope to publish it in 2015.

The year wasn’t without its trying moments, however. My day job branched into new and demanding avenues which made me less visible online during the last quarter. I even had to drop off a few email lists because I couldn’t keep up with the messages. Fortunately, I love what I do, even when it’s mentally exhausting. In the New Year, I hope to achieve a better balance that allows me to enjoy my writing career as well as the one that pays my bills. :)

As always, I love reading as much as writing. In 2013 I read 69 books toward my goal of 75. Maybe I can actually hit that number in 2014. I discovered some wonderful authors, many of who became new friends, and I continued friendships with all the amazing people who have been my support base for so long. A super shout-out to all the followers of my blog. You guys rock! Thanks especially for the comments on my posts. I love hearing from you. Your opinions, thoughts and ramblings are a delight on each and every post I make.

So, what’s ahead in 2014?

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Yep, patience is going to be a big one for me as I tackle the following:

First up, I hope to indie publish SOLSTICE ISLAND, a romantic adventure you’ve likely heard about before. Hey, a voting-round on this blog actually helped determine the title! I’ve never indie pubbed, so I’m highly nervous and hoping I can figure out the Kindle formatting.

Something very cool I’m proud to announce…I designed the cover for SOLSTICE ISLAND myself. More news on that soon as I hope to release the novella later this month or February at the latest. There will be a cover reveal. :)

The week of February 9th, I will be the hostess on the Sizzle and Sass Facebook page and hope you’ll join me by popping in now and again. I’ll be the first to admit I suck at Facebook. I swear if there is a mathematical equation in the universe that deciphers how to fit FB into an already jam-packed day, it’s eluded me. I am, however, constantly on the lookout for a solution. One of my goals for 2014 is to be more visible on FB. I just wish I liked it better :(

Also on the radar for 2014:

ECLIPSE LAKE
I feel like I’ve been talking about this one forever. A romantic mystery revolving around a missing person’s case, it’s on schedule for indie-publication in May/June of 2014. I’ve already received the first round of edits from my editor.

MYTH AND MAGIC
I’ll be sharing more updates on this in the months ahead. It’s another romantic mystery, set during October with an emphasis on Halloween. Naturally, I’d like to publish it in October of 2014, an ideal marriage of timing. Cross your fingers I can pull it off. It involves a couple who were childhood friends, had a horrible falling out, and are reunited at a corporate retreat when events take a strange and supernatural turn.

I’ve also got several short stories in the works that I’ll either be submitting to various publications or grooming for an anthology.

Of course, this is assuming all those carefully plotted goals and timelines cooperate. Then again, I’m known to be extremely hardheaded and stubborn when I want something, a trait inherited from my German father.

Finally, Mythical Monday will continue in full bloom. I can’t get enough of the odd trappings of folklore and eerie urban legends that lurk in the shadowed corners of history. I hope you’ll join me each Monday as I explore new tales centered around bizarre creatures, ethereal beings and peculiar beasties. I’m a cryptozoologist at heart.

So here’s to 2014 and my many wonderful friends. I’m excited and happy to share it with all of you. :D

Welcome Christy Olesen, Author of A Daddy for Luke #tenderromance #contemporary

I’m delighted to extend a Pen Pal welcome to Christy Olesen who is celebrating her latest release, A DADDY FOR LUKE. Christy and I originally connected through Savvy Authors when we took a course together, and have remained in contact ever since. Christy is also the author of HER SCOTTISH CEO, a charming contemporary romance set in Scotland. I hope you’ll help me welcome Christy back to my blog! 

 ~ooOOoo~

Hi Mae, thanks for inviting me to your blog today. I’m looking forward to answering your questions and talking a little about my new release A DADDY FOR LUKE.

Fantastic! Let’s start with a bit about you. How long have you been writing?
If you discount my feeble attempts at writing when I was younger — especially after one teacher wrote in the margin of my paper “Learn to use commas!” — I’d say I’ve been writing for nearly thirty years with the first twenty years hit and miss. I’ve been writing, and studying the craft of writing, seriously for ten years.

The dreaded comma. I’ve been tripping over those for almost the same amount of time, LOL. Plotting is also one of my downfalls, but I think even plotters veer from their outline to a degree during the writing process. When you finish a novel, how closely would you say the end product resembles your original concept — 100%? 50%? Something else entirely?
I’m a pantster (working more toward plotting). Since I usually don’t know the ending when I start I’d have to say 50%, because I have only a vague idea where it is going in the first place.  With A DADDY FOR LUKE I knew David couldn’t stay in Center City for long or he’d run into his past, but I didn’t know until the third rewrite of the ending just what his “past” was.

Very interesting. I love characters with a past! I’m working toward learning to plot better too (I’m with you on the 50%. NaNo made me realize there are benefits to plotting). My favorite part of starting a novel will, however, always remain choosing character names. What’s your favorite part and how do you go about it?
My favorite part of starting a new novel is coming up with an unusual way to start. I like to find that moment when the characters life takes a turn. They may not know it at the time, but the reader can see it. In A DADDY FOR LUKE I could have started where Sandy met David at his book signing, but I decided to make it a bit more dramatic by placing them both at a crosswalk before they’ve met. As they start to cross David notices a sports car not slowing down. He pulls Sandy from the car’s path just in time. After that they go on their separate ways until they meet again a short time later at David’s book signing event.

ADFLcover72A heart-pounding moment. Please tell us more about your new release.
A DADDY FOR LUKE is my second novel. It is the first in my loosely connected Cottonwood County Chronicles series, which takes place in an area much like where I live in northwest Nevada.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Lake Tahoe in Nevada. Beautiful area. Which character did you enjoy writing the most and why?
David, because, as a tortured hero who had buried his past, he was challenging to write. I needed to bring his emotions to the surface and he fought it.

Without giving too much away, please share a bit about your favorite scene.
My favorite scene is in the Cottonwood County Cemetery. My beta reader said, “You made me cry again, you RAT FINK!”

LOL! Share the first three sentences of your book.
David Winston stood on the corner of Main Street waiting for the signal to cross. He shrugged the tension from his shoulders and glanced furtively at the others also waiting. He hoped no one in Center City would recognize him, particularly those residents who had been responsible for his abrupt exile eight years ago.

Oooh, love that opening. Now share one sentence – - yes, only one! – - of dialogue or description you love.
A pang of tenderness swept over him when he realized the little angel marker was made of cement, not the marble he’d first thought.

I’m guessing that’s from the cemetery scene. NaNo backed up my reading list, but I can’t want to learn what that’s all about and about David’s past. I love tortured heroes. Now back to you — if you couldn’t be a writer, what else would you choose to do?
I always wanted to be a licensed illustrator, like Mary Engelbreit, Susan Branch and so many others.

Your illustrations in HER SCOTTISH CEO were beautiful. A lovely touch to the novel settings. I’m going to switch gears now and ask about pets, because pets and writers naturally go together like peas in a pod. If you have pets, tell us about them and whether or not they shadow your writing time and space.
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This is Cheetah. Need I say more?

So adorable! I’m such a cat person. And yes, they’re notorious for wanting attention when we’re working, LOL. Cheetah looks so comfortable, snuggled up with you. 

And now for a few quick questions:

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy godmother: A croft cottage on the Isle of Skye
Favorite season: Autumn
Favorite animal: Cats
Favorite ice cream flavor: Chunky Monkey
Sunset picnic or night on the town: Sunset Picnic

Thanks for a fun interview, Christy! Please share where readers can find you:

Website 
Blog 
Twitter: @christyolesen2
Facebook: ChristyOlesenWriter
Goodreads

ChristyOlesenAuthor Bio
Born and raised in L.A., romance writer Christy Olesen found a home in Northwest Nevada just over the hill from Lake Tahoe. Her travels to Scotland, England, Europe, and Canada, as well as living in the high desert of Nevada have inspired her contemporary tender romances. When not writing Christy enjoys traveling in her 1955 self-restored travel trailer. She enjoys gardening, reading and painting. She has worked for over 20 years as a graphic artist for a local community newspaper, an experience which has sparked her series of Nevada tender romances: Cottonwood County Chronicles, and Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Office.

A DADDY FOR LUKE
Blurb
David Winston’s reputation and fame come from his popular novels. Born to parents who hadn’t planned a family, David was taught to think he wouldn’t amount to anything, so becoming a popular author is a surprise to him. He wants to hang on to his success. Born in Center City, then forced to leave eight years ago, he’s back, but not for long. It’s a gamble just being in town: he risks colliding with his past, which could ruin his future. Then he meets Sandy Archer and tempts fate by staying in town a little longer.

Sandy Archer is content to care for her son Luke, work her way up in her job at the Cottonwood County Chronicle, and stay away from any more disastrous relationships. She has lived in Center City all her life and has adapted well to being legally blind. She’s touched when visiting author, David Winston offers to read his book to her. She discovers a kindred spirit. But her budding relationship is threatened when a relative cautions Sandy that David is not who he seems to be.

Purchase A DADDY FOR LUKE from Amazon
Kindle 

Or from Create Space
Print on Demand

 

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

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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:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Lyrical Press
iTunes

 

The Wonderful Team Member Readership Award, by Mae Clair

wonderful-team-memberIt’s blog award time, thanks to my wonderful friend and fellow blogger, Sheri de Grom!

Sheri recently honored me with the Wonderful Team Membership Reader Award. If you’re a regular follower of my blog, you’ve no doubt heard me mention Sheri before. We ventured into the blogosphere about the same time and quickly became  friends and supporters of each other.

Sheri blogs about women’s fiction and government and medical issues, in addition to working on what is certain to be a compelling novel, NOT THE MAN I MARRIED.  She’s super friendly and a great supporter of other bloggers so check her out corner of the world here, and linger a while under her bridge.

The Wonderful Team Membership Reader Award was one I was not previously familiar with, but it definitely deserves a round of fanfare. The title says it all. As bloggers, we rely on those who support our efforts with each post, taking their time to comment on the musings we toss into the virtual universe. I am so grateful for the friends I have made through blogging, and really do appreciate everyone who visits and comments on From the Pen of Mae Clair.

So to all my fantastic Pen Pals—I am grateful to each of you and wish to acknowledge you with this post. I am happy to nominate the following for the Wonderful Team Membership Reader Award:

L. J. Kentowski
Donna Cummings
Emma Meade
Jessi Gage
Cd Brennan
Calisa Rhose
Stanalei Fletcher
Debbie Peterson
Joanne Wadsworth
Laura Lee Nutt
Venice Kennedy
Susan Koenig

And, of course, a huge thanks to Sheri de Grom.

There are many other friends out there who support me through Twitter, Facebook, blogging and reviews, and I thank you all. This list is but a few. I am truly grateful for your friendship and support. You guys rock! :D

Blog Tour: Christine Warner and Some Like it in Handcuffs

I’m delighted to have Christine Warner on my blog today as she tours with her contemporary romance, SOME LIKE IT IN HANDCUFFS.

Christine and I originally connected back in the days of Six Sentence Sundays, and have  become blogging and social media buddies. She’s always friendly, helpful and supportive of other authors and–hey–she knows how to create a swoon-worthy hero as you’re about to find out.

So, grab a cup of your favorite beverage (I’ll make mine Green Mountain Vermont Country decaf) and enjoy the special treat Christine has prepared for us!

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Before I get started I want to thank Mae for letting me take over her awesome blog today! Thanks for making me feel so welcome :)

One of my favorite things about sitting down to enjoy some reading time with a good romance is the moment the hero and heroine meet. I love to see what they think of each other in their own words—either by their internals or if they are so bold as to comment aloud. Lol

When I wrote Some Like it in Handcuffs—my light-hearted romantic suspense with humor—I also discovered I liked the process of writing their first impressions. To me, those first impressions show so much about who they really are.

I’d like to share Sunny Kennedy’s first impression of her hero Judson Blackwolf…and I hope when you’re finished reading you have as much of a crush on him as I do :)

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ENJOY!

His large hand combed through his thick overgrown hair before he stopped in annoyance then

swung around on his heel. The mercury light on the pole behind her lit his face as he looked down at her with the most extraordinary pair of gray eyes she’d ever seen. Not solid gray as she summed up in her hasty inspection, but the type of blue-gray color that matched the sky during a spring storm.

Definitely easy on the eyes. The startling realization that this no nonsense detective was quite

a specimen of manhood surprised her. It took her what…all of five minutes to notice. The word handsome didn’t do him justice. His strong, rugged features and dark coloring made his Native American heritage obvious. His height and size made her feel feminine and—she flinched—protected.

Her gaze traveled from the top of his head to the toes of his well-made leather shoes. If she’d paid attention from the start, instead of pouting over her predicament, she’d have noticed all of this sooner. Her lips twitched at her own blatant evaluation of him.

Just the type of guy she was attracted to, too bad he worked law enforcement. All her life she’d been surrounded by men who talked cop day and night. Sunny had sworn off ever actually dating anyone in the profession.

Okay, you’ve learned what weakens my knees at the beginning of a good romance…tell me what weakens yours. :)

About Christine Warner
Christine Warner is living her dream in Michigan along with her husband, three children, one laptop and a much loved assortment of furry friends. Besides laughing and a good round of humor, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing but no arithmetic. A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities. She loves to read and write about strong heroes and determined, sometimes sassy, heroines. A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, she enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her Website.

Buy SOME LIKE IT IN HANDCUFFS at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
The Wild Rose Press

It’s Here! Cover Reveal: Twelfth Sun by Mae Clair

It’s Thursday, still dreary and bleak in my neck of the woods, but it feels like Christmas and spring rolled into one! A lot of things have come together in the last few days that I’m anxious to share!

First, I leaned my video trailer for WEATHERING ROCK has been entered into the monthly contest at You Gotta Read Reviews. I’m #6, and the vid went up yesterday. Voting will occur between March 21 and March 26. This was my first attempt at a video trailer and I’m up against some stiff competition with sleek designs, so I’m not expecting miracles but it’s nice to be included. And don’t worry—when it’s time to vote, I’ll provide a shout out reminder to anyone who would like to vote for WEATHERING ROCK. :)

Now, about the title of my blog post. :D Tuesday night, after a fun evening out with ‘the girls’ I came home to find the cover art for TWELFTH SUN waiting in my inbox. Talk about a great cap to a wonderful night! If you haven’t already heard me screaming about it, TWELFTH SUN is my new contemporary romance/mystery set to release in August.

I’m in love with the cover! The very talented Renee Rocco, publisher of Lyrical Press, Inc. did the design for me. It features my hunky young PhD, sunset colors, and the beautiful feel of a beach coastline. Check it out:

twelfthsuncover

Nice, huh?  And not only did the cover arrive, but so did my tag and blurb. I was pleased the publisher chose to use a lot of what I had suggested for the blurb, but it’s been fluffed and enhanced:

BLURB:
The hunky young PhD knows all about seduction, but what does he know about love?

Reagan Cassidy is settled in her life. She has a thriving interior design firm, an upscale condo, two cats, and a goldfish. As a favor to her uncle, she agrees to team up with his marine archeologist friend to validate and retrieve a nineteenth-century journal, reputedly that of a passenger aboard the doomed schooner Twelfth Sun. Finding a hunky twenty-five-year-old coming out of the shower in her hotel room wasn’t part of the deal, but it’s hard to complain…

Dr. Elijah Cross is cocky and he knows it. He enjoys trading barbs with the lovely Reagan. Barbs, and some innuendo. He can tell she’d rather get back home to her business than stick around for the extended treasure hunt they’ve been talked into, but he’s fine with the situation. At least, until the “clues” start getting personal.

Reagan finds Dr. Gorgeous is as skilled in matters of the heart as he is behind the lectern. Throw in a series of clues which mean more to Elijah than he’ll explain, several odd-ball competitors out to win the journal, a saboteur, and a lavish seaside mansion, and Reagan has enough trouble keeping her head straight, let alone her heart.

WARNING: Younger man, older woman, nautical riddles and romance.

Now all I have to do is wait for August to roll around! Having the cover and blurb has ratcheted up my excitement level.

Is it August yet? LOL!

I really love these characters and hope you will too. Yes, I know writers say that about all their books, but this one was a lot of fun to write!

Thanks for sharing my cover reveal with me :D

Welcoming Guest Blogger Sara Jayne Townsend

I’m rolling out the red carpet for Sara Jayne Townsend who has dropped my blog today to to share a guest post.  This is a good one *rubs hands together eagerly* and I can’t wait to hear your opinions! So kick back, enjoy and check out what she has to say!

Minority Opinion?
by Sara Jayne Townsend

Sarah Townsend (45) smallLast month was Women in Horror month. For the second year running, I participated in this by running relevant posts on my blog.  Last year, I showcased women horror writers.  This year, I looked at fictional kick-ass role models of horror (specifically Buffy, Alice from ‘Resident Evil’, Ripley from ‘Alien’ and Sarah Connor from the ‘Terminator’ films).

I think this is an important cause, because we need to raise the profile of women in horror.  Women have been writing horror since Mary Shelley penned ‘Frankenstein’.  They read horror.  There are even well-respected women directing horror films.  So why, in the 21st century, is there still a pervading general opinion that women don’t ‘do’ horror?  As a woman horror writer I think about this question a lot.

I think part of the problem is the fact that the media will always encourage majority opinion.  This is most evident when the Xmas ads get rolled out.  If you buy your gifts based on the message the commercials are giving you, you’d assume that the women in your life want make-up kits and romance films, and the men in your life want computer games and science fiction films.    Not that I want to rant about this, but anyone who doesn’t know me well enough to know I’d rather have a zombie PS3 game for Xmas than a make-up kit shouldn’t be buying me a gift at all.

I have lived my life in the minority.  I’m left-handed, and the world is geared for right-handed people.  I live in a country where the two favourite pastimes are eating curry and watching football, and I don’t like either.  I am a woman who reads and writes horror.  I play video games, and D&D.  I don’t have, and have no desire to have, children, and I have little interest in clothes and shoes and hand bags.  I am not alone in any of this.  The majority of my female friends are horror and sci fi fans, and we talk with enthusiasm about the same TV shows.  We also rant collectively about the image of women in the media, and lack of decent female role models.

Things are changing, slowly (hence my recent blog posts about positive fictional female role models in the media), but there’s still a long way to go.  And if the media continues to cater to gender preconceptions, things will never change quickly enough.

But change is always slow, if constant.  There may always be fewer women writing horror than there are men, but that doesn’t make them any less relevant.   The majority opinion isn’t necessarily right – just more popular.  And there is something to be said for being part of the elite minority.  When your voice is smaller, you just have to shout louder.  Eventually people listen.

BIO:
Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror.  Her latest book, SOUL SCREAMS is a collection of short horror stories and is available in e-book and print format from Stumar Press (http://stumarpress.webs.com/soulscreams.htm).  Learn more about Sara and her writing by visiting her website (http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com) and her blog (http://sayssara.wordpress.com).
SOULSCREAMS-2

Seasons for the Senses, by Mae Clair

How difficult do you find it to write about spring when snow is on the ground? Or the festive hustle-bustle of the Christmas holiday when you’re planning a beach party? As a writer, it’s easy to dip into our imagination and resurrect a setting on which to draw no matter the time of year. I don’t need to sit poolside with the sun on my face and the scent of chlorine in the air to write about a summer swim. Most of the time it isn’t plausible to have our fictional seasons coincide with reality. If you’re like me, you probably start writing during one season and wrap your book in another.

Creatice concept image of setting sun reflected in still lake waCase in point—I put the finishing touches on my latest WIP, THE MYSTERY OF ECLIPSE LAKE this past weekend. ELICPSE takes place in early summer, yet as I wrote sun-soaked scene after sun-soaked scene, it was to the symphony of the wind howling outside. Daytime temperatures didn’t climb above the low 30s and the sky was a bleak gray canvas.  It would have been nice to hear the crickets and tree frogs I mention in my story, or smell the unique mixture of lake water and boat fuel permeating the novel’s marina. Instead, I’ve been inundated with snow.

And sleet. And freezing rain. And more freezing rain.

Writing isn’t seasonal, but it does make me realize how often I choose a particular time of year in which to frame my stories. All writers have a cache of stored work.  In looking back over mine, I favor using late spring/early summer as the preferred cornerstone for my novels. Autumn is another favorite, particularly the month of October. Bringing up the rear? You guessed it—our chilly friend winter.

As a season, winter gets a bad rap. I realize there are plenty of people who love it and, okay, it does have some intrinsic appeal. Some. Like cuddling in front of a fireplace, the glimmer of starlight on freshly fallen snow, or bundling beneath warm blankets with someone you love. Overall, I’d just as soon skip it.

Creative concept idea of Winter landscape coming out of pages inBut here’s the shocker–as much as I don’t care to experience it or write about winter, I love reading books that use it as a setting. Anyone ever read NORTHERN LIGHTS by Nora Roberts? I was enthralled by how vividly she brought the Alaskan setting to life. And I will gladly read and reread THE RINGED CASTLE by Dorothy Dunnett simply to wrap myself in the author’s phenomenal descriptions of bitterly cold Czarist Russia. A feast for the senses. In the hands of a skilled writer winter sparkles, bewitches and even comes off as something marginally tolerable. Amazing! :)

So what do you think of seasonal settings? Do you have a favorite for writing and/or reading? Do you find it hard to write about summer while experiencing winter or vice versa?

Cover Reveal: WATERSHED by Cd Brennan

Title: WATERSHED
Author: Cd Brennan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: March 4, 2013

I’m happy to showcase this beautiful cover for WATERSHED, Book 1 of the Love Where You Roam contemporary romance series by my Lyrical Press sister, Cd Brennan. Mark your calendars and TBR lists for its March 4th release!

watershed

Blurb
She left home to find herself…and found love along the way.

Maggie isn’t looking for love on her backpacking trip through Australia. She’s got enough man troubles back in Ireland. Australia is her escape, a place of adventure where she can create memories to last a lifetime.

But some memories won’t be left behind.

Gray is ready to quit hiring backpackers to help with the work on his remote Queensland cattle station when Maggie turns up. She’s just passing through, but the connection they forge during the long nights herding cattle won’t be so easily cast aside.

CONTENT WARNING: A strong-willed Irish heroine, a stubborn Australian hero, and oceans of difference to bridge for love.

A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance

Excerpt
“In Ireland we have the Banshee.” Maggie broke Gray’s daydreaming with a start. “She is the omen of death and the messenger from the Otherworld.”

She continued in a whisper. “Often she appears an old hag. Folklore says she may also appear as a stunningly beautiful woman.” Maggie raised her brow at him, her eyes twinkling with fun.

Gray threw his head back and laughed, and she joined him. There was no shaking her. He decided he wasn’t going to best Maggie, and for the first time in a long time he was content with that.

He shifted so she had to settle against him. He heard her sigh as he wrapped his arm around her. They sat watching the fire, listening to the sounds of the bush settle for the night. It was peaceful and, Gray had to admit, romantic. He smiled, fulfilled after a long day’s hard work, some good bush tucker and a beautiful woman by his side. He had almost worked up enough courage to kiss her when she shivered, wrapping her arms around herself.

“I’m going to sleep.” Pulling off her trainers, she climbed into her swag. “Goodnight.”

Author Pic2Author Bio
Having traveled and lived all over the world, Cd Brennan now talks with a strange accent, a mix of distant terminology, a blend of culturally cute but confusing euphemisms that leaves everyone looking at her with a blank stare. Luckily, her Australian husband (who she met in Ireland) and her two Aussie/Yankee sons have no problem understanding her – well, except for the word “NO”.

Now settled back “home” in Michigan, she enjoys reliving her glory days by writing about them. She considers the last fifteen years abroad the perfect research for her Love Where You Roam series; matchmaking women and men from different cultures, even different hemispheres, helping them find their true one across oceans of difference.

As destiny plays a hand in all the stories, Cd Brennan truly believes that what is for you, won’t pass you by. She hopes to inspire others to get out there: “Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” [Mark Twain]  And of course, fall in love.

Get in touch with her at:
Website
Facebook Author Page
Twitter

Add WATERSHED to your Goodreads list here, then look for the release on March 4th!