Finally! A Triple Crown Winner, American Pharoah, by Mae Clair

OMG! Am I the only one who was super-sonic ecstatic earlier tonight when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown? For those of you who don’t follow horse racing (and I only do from May through June each year), let me put it in perspective: There hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner since 1978 when Affirmed swept the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont—the three “jewels” in the Triple Crown.

A lot of people look forward to the Triple Crown each year, but for me it holds an extra special meaning. I don’t remember Affirmed winning in 1978, nor do I remember Seattle Slew winning in 1977, but I vividly remember watching all three races of the series in 1973 and seeing Secretariat claim the ultimate trophy (including his World Record Victory at the Belmont). Why were those races and that Triple Crown victory so special?

Because I watched all three races with my parents. In 1973, my father was alive and healthy. In September of 1975, he passed away from colon cancer when I was just thirteen years old. For some reason, seeing a horse take the Triple Crown now creates a connection to that long-ago race, and the whimsy of childhood when everything was right in the world.Year after year, I have watched, hoping to recapture that magical feeling, seeing that victory.

Today, I watched the race with my husband (who never met my father). I feel like I celebrated something that connected him with the other most important man in my life. I am so thoroughly jazzed to have seen TWO Triple Crown winners in my lifetime!

To American Pharoah (and yes, the misspelling is intentional, the result of an error by the Jockey Club), only the twelfth horse (hey, twelve is my favorite number!) to win the Triple Crown—to jockey, Victor Espinoza, trainer Bob Baffert, and owner, Ahmed Zayat—CONGRATULATIONS! You have accomplished something long overdue in the annals of horse racing.

I feel privileged to have witnessed such an amazing feat today! I’m on Cloud Nine. I can only imagine what they must be feeling. :)

Would You Review a Dragon? By Mae Clair

For authors, reviews are the equivalent of gold nuggets. We hope those who read our novels will take the time to post an online review in a public forum…preferably something like Amazon or B&N, along with Goodreads.

For my last two indie releases, I realize I should have included a standard call in the back of the book. Something along the lines of If you enjoyed this novel, please tell your friends, and consider leaving a review on Amazon. A call to action would have been so simple.

Then I wouldn’t have to squirrel out the request. I tend to be terminally shy when it comes to asking for reviews. Occasionally, I’ll work up the nerve to shoot a request to another author, especially if they’ve told me they enjoyed the book. We’re all in the same boat, so authors understand the importance. But non-authors?

When I released ECLIPSE LAKE in print, I bought a bunch of author copies and sold all but a few. A good bulk of those people contacted me later to tell me how much they enjoyed the book, even taking the time to explain specific scenes. Did I ask any of them to leave a review on Amazon? No.

I’m such a coward.

Even though I know gaining reviews will help me as an author to reach a larger audience, I feel awkward asking. Like I’m infringing. Or begging. Ack! Am I the only one who has a problem with this?

On the flip side, I write reviews for over 90% of the novels I read (I won’t leave a bad review, and every now and then if the author is well-established with a gazillion reviews already, I opt for laziness).

So what does any of this have to do with dragons?

One of the things most people don’t know about me is that I’m besotted with the How to Train Your Dragon movies. I positively, absolutely, utterly adore Toothless (and his bond to Hiccup). Not only do I own both movies, but I have the entire cartoon series on DVD. Yeah. And I’ve watched them more than once. :)

After falling in love with the huggable Night Fury in the first How to Train Your Dragon movie, I went on a search for a plush Toothless, but there were none to be found. Anywhere. At least none that had an acceptable cute-factor. Trust me, I looked.

Then last year, I discovered the guy below on Amazon. Isn’t he adorable? He has his own special spot in my den and cheers me on when I’m writing.

A plush Toothless, from the How to Train Your Dragon MoviesSo you know how Amazon asks you to review your purchases? I do that for novels, but I buy a slew of other stuff from the ‘Zon, too, and I’ve never stopped to review any of the products.

Until I got a request to review Toothless.

Hmm. Don’t vendors count on reviews from their customers the same way I count on reviews from readers? There was simply no way I was going to let Toothless go without a review, especially after I’d looked so long and hard to find him. There could be other Toothless-obsessed zealots out there, wondering if this was the right dragon for them.

I gave him five stars and wrote a nice review.

So now I’m thinking—I should probably review all the other stuff I purchase from Amazon. Coffee mugs, rope lights, electric heaters, music, Jello molds, money clips, handkerchiefs, NFL helmets, cell phone accessories—yikes! The list is daunting. But I feel if I want readers to review my books, I should extend the same courtesy to other vendors and their products.

A plush toothless from the How to Train Your Dragon MoviesWhat do you think? Am I taking this too critically, off on a dragon flight somewhere, or are those vendor reviews important? What do you do?

Oh—and if you’ve read any of my books, it goes without saying I’d happily welcome an honest review. :D

Fridays and Good Friday Memories by Mae Clair

What do you love best about Fridays? For me it’s the adrenalin rush of knowing the week is coming to a close, that the weekend is right around the corner. Friday is the equivalent of the day before you leave on a vacation. A perpetual high.

Good Friday is a bit different, somber. When my mother was living, we often attended services together for Stations of the Cross. It’s one of my wonderful memories of her, just the two of us together on Good Friday afternoons.

To kick off this particular Friday, I’m visiting with Sarah Ballance on her blog. Naturally, I’m talking about creatures and cryptozoology in honor of my novella, SOLSTICE ISLAND.  If you’re out wandering around the blogosphere and have a moment to spare, drop over and say hello.

Whatever your plans may be on this Good Friday—whether a moment to attend church and share in the stations of the cross, or simply to rejoice over the coming weekend and the Easter Holiday—I hope your Friday is all that you desire it to be!

Author Mae Clair with her mother

Me and my mom, several years ago during a beach vacation.

I’m Back in Business with Kensington Books by Mae Clair

It’s been a long wait, but I’m pleased to announce that both of my books, previously released through Lyrical Press are now available through Kensington Publishing. YAY! I’ve really floundered not having them on the market the last two months, but everything (or most everything) has now fallen into place.

As a refresher, Lyrical Press was purchased by Kensington Publishing as a digital ebook imprint in early 2014. As a result my titles with Lyrical had to be pulled from retailers temporarily until new contracts were signed with Kensington.

I am now officially a Kensington Publishing author and TWELFTH SUN and WEATHERING ROCK are once again online at retailers. Both are available at Amazon and Kobo, with TWELFTH SUN available at Barnes and Noble as well. WEATHERING ROCK should be available on B&N within two weeks. In the meantime, I’m anxious to spread the news!

twelfthsuncoverThe 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.

TWELFTH SUN IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE FROM:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
Coming to iTunes

~ooOOoo~

WR Kensington CoverDrawn together across centuries, will their love be strong enough to defeat an ancient curse?

Colonel Caleb DeCardian was fighting America’s Civil War on the side of the Union when a freak shower of ball lightning transported him to the present, along with rival and former friend, Seth Reilly. Adapting to the 21st century is hard enough for the colonel, but he also has to find Seth, who cursed him to life as a werewolf. The last thing on Caleb’s mind is romance. Then fetching Arianna Hart nearly runs him down with her car. He can’t deny his attraction to the outspoken schoolteacher, but knows he should forget her.  

Arianna finds Caleb bewildering, yet intriguing: courtly manners, smoldering sensuality and eyes that glow silver at night? When she sees Civil War photographs featuring a Union officer who looks exactly like Caleb, she begins to understand the man she is falling in love with harbors multiple secrets–some of which threaten the possibility of their happiness.

 Finding a decent guy who’ll commit is hard enough. How can she expect Caleb to forsake his own century to be with her?

Weathering Rock is Available for Purchase from the following:
Amazon 

Barnes and Noble 
Kobo
Coming to iTunes

~ooOOoo~

Both of these titles will also be available in POD format within 30-60 days. And now that I’m “Back in Business” again, I’m anxious to publish my short novella, SOLSTICE ISLAND.

I hope you’ll stop back later in the week when I’ll be doing a cover reveal. I’m pretty excited about it as I designed the cover myself. If all goes according to plan, SOLSTICE ISLAND will be releasing through Amazon before the month is out. My first indie title. As a result, you’re bound to hear me screaming about it. :D

Guest Blogger Emma Meade on The Importance of Sky Gazing

Today I’m happy to turn my blog over to friend and author Emma Meade  as she gives us a wonderful guest post about sky gazing (which just happens to be a hobby of mine). It fits perfectly with her latest release, BENEATH MANHATTAN SKIES, a novella I recently reviewed on Amazon with 5-stars. Fun, adventure and supernatural, brewed with a tinge of romance.

Take it away, Emma!

~ooOOoo~

Thanks for having me today, Mae.

The Importance of Sky Gazing

I always enjoy reading Mae’s Mythical Monday posts, so when it came to thinking about writing a guest blog, I wanted to do something along those lines. I scoured several Mythical Monday topics and paused when I came to two in particular. “When the Sky Had a Tail” immediately drew my interest. As an avid X-Files fan, I read Mae’s encounter with a UFO with fascination. I can’t say I’ve ever come across a UFO or alien spaceship myself, but fingers crossed, I’ll catch a glimpse someday.

Beneath Manhattan Skies front cover

I love the cover of this book! Just so gorgeous!!

Next to catch my interest was “Bewitched by Aquarius”. I’ve loved learning about space, stars and planets for as long as I can remember. As a little girl, my father’s interest in such things rubbed off on me. One of my most read books was a children’s booklet on space. I remember collecting all the tokens from cereal boxes and sending away for it. Like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, the fact that Pluto is no longer classified as a planet makes me sad and a little miffed. My older sister, Lucy, and I watched the movie SpaceCamp almost every weekend when we were kids. The opening scene of a young girl sitting in her yard and staring up in wonder at the star filled sky still remains one of my brightest movie memories from childhood.

For me, looking up at the night sky has often filled me with awe and wonder over the years. What is it about the sky above us, the stars and planets that have made so many of us think, dream and ask big questions? For me at least, I find inspiration up there. Rather than feeling small and insignificant, I feel part of something bigger, something that is almost mystical. If the sight of a starry sky can’t inspire us to write or dream, then what can?

Erin Harris, my protagonist in Beneath Manhattan Skies, is a sky gazer. She escapes the noise and bustle of New York by going to the roof of her apartment building and looking up. Though the stars are often hidden from her view in the East Village, she knows they are there, constant and steadfast, something to hold on to and focus on when life gets to be too much. “November in New York was cold and full of possibility. Erin Harris looked up at the black sky from the roof of her apartment building. She missed the stars. Back home in Copperfield, Arizona, she’d taken them for granted.”

How do you feel when you look up at the night sky? 

~ooOOoo~

Teaser: Erin and Tommy are on their first date.

“What are you thinking about?” Tommy asked, refilling her cup.

“The stars.”

He followed her gaze to the sky above the race track. “You know people don’t spend enough time thinking about stars.”

“Are you mocking me?”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.”

“Liar.”

BLURB for BENEATH MANHATTAN SKIES:

November in New York is cold but full of possibility for college freshman Erin Harris. When her twin brother, Nick, shows up on her doorstep for a surprise visit, Erin is delighted. Unfortunately, Nick’s arrival coincides with the discovery of a body outside her apartment building, a body drained of blood. Right away, Nick assumes vampires are involved. He’s not exactly their biggest fan since Erin dated one in high school.

*
Juggling nosy roommates, a first date with a gorgeous guy from college and a brother on a Van Helsing kick is enough to keep any nineteen year old girl busy – And then Erin’s old flame walks back into her life.
*
Is Erin destined to be caught up in supernatural shenanigans, or will she choose a different path?
 
(A 45,000 word novella)
Purchase BENEATH MANHATTAN SKIES from Amazon

emma-meadeAuthor Bio
Emma Meade lives in rainy Ireland. She loves vampires, slayers, witches, ghosts, aliens & shadow men (or at least the youngest of the Shadow Men), and regular people who live extraordinary lives (think Slayerettes and you’re on the right track). Books, DVDS & TV show boxsets take up lots of space in her home, and she collects all the Point Horror books she can get her hands on. Writing supernatural stories and watching marathon re-runs of Buffy are some of her favourite ways of escaping reality.

Connect with Emma on:

Twitter     Facebook     Blog      Goodreads      Amazon Author Page   Website

Weekend Mix-Up by Mae Clair

Well, I had my days mixed up. Turns out I’m live today on Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews blog TODAY (although I think I said Saturday in two previous posts). Doh!

What can I say? This is the first commitment-free weekend (at home) I’ve had since mid July and I must have been overly excited by the prospect, LOL. Yesterday turned out to be a very productive writing day, and I’m hoping to build on that today. In the meantime, I’m sharing my Top Ten Favorite Likes with Laurie.

Do drop by and share some of yours if you can!