WIP Progress, Books, and Something Weird by Mae Clair

It’s the start of a new week, and I’m happy to say I had a productive weekend. Which is a good thing as I’m starting to feel the pressure of a looming deadline. I’ve got two months until the contract deadline for my current WIP, A COLD TOMORROW.

An open tablet, pen, and a pair of glassesI’ve never written on proposal before. In the past, I always had a complete manuscript which I sent to my publisher for acceptance. When I started my POINT PLEASANT SERIES, I submitted book one, A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS. Books two and three were just vague ideas at that point. When the series was accepted, I suddenly had deadlines to produce both of those books. Do you know how hard it is to write a blurb and a synopsis of a book that is only a germ of an idea in your head?

Needless to say, the whole thing has been a challenge. I’m now writing on PROPOSAL instead of a completed manuscript, and I have concrete deadlines. I’ve been way behind with book two of the series, A COLD TOMORROW, but this weekend I put my nose to the grindstone and added 8200 words. Can we say jazzed? If I can keep up a similar word count for the next few weeks, I’ll finish the novel, then have a whole month of editing before having to submit the completed manuscript.

TOMORROW is a suspense/mystery just like the first book in the series, but it’s turning out to have a strong speculative/science fiction slant, which is something new for me. I’m enjoying hitting that angle, and most especially, feeling like I’ve stepped up to the plate with building suspense throughout the story. YESTERYEARS is a strong tale, but I feel like I’ve crossed a line I’ve been flirting with for a long time through TOMORROW. It’s even more exciting because the stuff I’m writing about has a basis in fact or folklore. Cross your fingers and wish me luck on my goals.

Book cover, Ellie Jordan Ghost Trapper by J.L.BryanAside from writing, I’ve discovered a very cool new series that has cemented my reading attention. I strongly believe Stephen King’s philosophy that if you’re going to be a writer, you have to spend a great deal of time reading. I’m one of those people who devour books, one immediately after another. Currently, I’m engrossed in my ninth title of the year, the fourth book in the Ellie Jordan Ghost Trapper series. I picked the first book up as a free read several months ago (it’s still free, so go grab it), and found it interesting. I won’t say it was over-the-top-stellar (I gave it a four-star review), but the characters were intriguing and the plot was interesting enough that months later I sought out book two. Since then each has gotten progressively better, and I’m already adding other books by author, J.L. Bryan to my Kindle library. If you like mystery, detective fiction, and the paranormal blended into one, I highly recommend the series.

Finally, something weird has been happening over the last few days. As many of you know, I have a newsletter. I normally get a handful of new sign-ups a month but over the last few days I’ve gotten four to five each day. The names are all women, first names only with email addresses. Names like Loretta, Carrie and Margarita. I’d love to think they’re all legit, but when I normally only get a handful a month and suddenly I’m getting that many in one day, I’m suspicious. And what are the odds that they’d all only give me their first name?

I don’t know if some “club” has suddenly discovered me or if a bot has found my sign-up form. I’m torn on whether I should add the names to my mailing list or not. Any opinions?

In any event, here’s wishing all of you productive writing (and reading) time, Cross your fingers that I can finish A COLD TOMORROW by the end of February. I’ve made it my new goal!

Title Trauma by Mae Clair

As I post this, I’m knee deep in writing the second book of my Point Pleasant series. That means it’s time to start thinking about the third novel. I’ve got a general idea what that book is about—the legendary curse of Chief Cornstalk on the town of Point Pleasant. I even have my character backgrounds and a (highly) sketchy outline.

What I don’t have is a title.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with titles. On rare occasions, I have one before I start writing. That was the case for WEATHERING ROCK, TWELFTH SUN, and A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS. Other times, once I sit down and dwell on the key points of a story, a title magically appears. Ta-da! That’s what happened with my current WIP, A COLD TOMORROW. The title is a perfect fit.

And then there are the problem children like FOOD FOR POE, SOLSTICE ISLAND, and ECLIPSE LAKE. All of those went through title trauma before I arrived at the final product. In the case of SOLSTICE ISLAND, I even ran a poll on my blog asking readers to choose between several.  So, guess what this post is about? :)

A black cat sitting on a sidewalk, looking toward the camera

Yep, book three of the Point Pleasant series needs a title. It has to be three words, start with an “A” and relate to time I some manner.

Book 1:  A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS
Book 2: A COLD TOMORROW
Book 3: *crickets* Please help! :)

Since the title for book one references the past and book two the future, I initially wanted book three to have a title related to the present. But everything I tossed around (today, now, present) all seem clumsy in a title.  Ugh!  I’ve since moved past that concept, but if anyone has an idea, I’m open to suggestions.

What I’ve focused on now is a phrase that will play a key part toward the end of book two. I want that phrase to become the title of book three. As I haven’t written the ending yet, the phrase is still up for grabs. These are a few I’ve been kicking around:

A fractured moment (or hour)
A broken moment (or hour)
A shattered moment (or hour)

An untitled book coverWhat am I missing? Are there other elements of time I could be using? Do any of these resonate with you as a title? For the record, I think A BROKEN HOUR is kind of clumsy when it rolls off the tongue. Right now I’m leaning toward the last one…A SHATTERED MOMENT or A SHATTERED HOUR. There is, however, a novel already out there with the title A SHATTERED MOMENT, so that probably squashes the idea. I try not to duplicate titles so my books are easier to find. I mean who the heck calls a book TWELFTH SUN?

What do you think? Do you like any of the above? Do have any other ideas? Should I draw the winner out of a hat, consult a Magic 8-Ball, or flip a coin?

Ooo, I just had a thought (inspiration strike! Thank you, Mr. E!). What about A CURSED MOMENT or A CURSED HOUR? The book is about a curse, so that kind of plays into the plot. I just checked Amazon and no other authors have used it. See what writing this post has done? :D

What do you think?

How many tasks can a writer juggle? by Mae Clair

I’ve decided that among the obvious word talent that writers possess, we’re also expert jugglers. Writing, editing, promotion, social media, giveaways…you get the idea.

Stressed woman with pink note surrounded by colorful post-it remindersLately, I’ve been doing a lot of juggling. Post-it note reminders have mutated are taking over my office. Here’s a glimpse of what I currently have going on:

I finished the content edits on A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, book 1 of my Point Pleasant Series. My editor was pretty tough this go-round and pointed out a few things I hadn’t picked up on in the initial draft (like my fondness for the word “surely.” Note to self: add to my list of words to avoid). Next up, copy edits, which I imagine will arrive any day.

I put together a book cover for FOOD FOR POE, my paranormal/Christmas novella, and hope to reveal it once all of the Halloween/October excitement quiets down. October is going to be a busy month for me. MYTH AND MAGIC is currently on sale for $.99 and I’ve got several posts, a short blog tour, and a blog hop lined up to promote it. Like I said—juggling.

I started formatting FOOD FOR POE (an indie release) and am pleased at how smoothly that’s progressing so far. *fingers crossed*

ECLIPSE LAKE, my full-length mystery indie release has been doing extremely well. A local book club even picked it up as their read of the month. That prompted me to enter it into a contest Shelf Unbound magazine runs for indie releases. I can’t imagine actually winning, but it would be nice to get an honorable mention and expose the story to a new audience. The freebie promo I ran on Amazon has really paid off, so I’m planning another after the first of the year.

I’ll be sending out my first newsletter tomorrow. A new venture that I’m super excited about.  If you haven’t signed up and would like to, please click here to ensure you receive my debut edition. Wait until you see my Halloween header. I just love it! :)

I’m still trying to arrange a book signing with two other local authors. I tried to set something up with BAM, but it didn’t work out. Even though our books are available in POD format through BAM’s online store, titles have to be available through Ingram and returnable. No such luck, so we’re attempting to arrange something with an independent bookstore. Still hoping for the month of October to take advantage of MYTH AND MAGIC’s Halloween theme. *fingers crossed again*

Craig Boyack’s wonderful THE EXPERIMENTAL NOTEBOOK OF C.S. BOYACK has me enamored of short stories and micro fic all over again (if you haven’t picked up his book, grab a copy. It’s only $.99 and contains a treasure-trove of short reads). I’ve got a bunch of shorts sitting around begging attention and currently behaving like guppies at the top of a water line—Feed me! Feed me! To top it off, I got hit with several ideas for new stories the other night. *more balls in the air* It’s crazy to even consider, but I’m thinking about trying to squeeze an indie release of shorts in next fall. In the meantime, I’m working on A COLD TOMORROW, book 2 of my Point Pleasant series. Like I said—writers are expert jugglers.

I’m often reminded of Bilbo Baggins in the LORD OF THE RINGS when he says “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.

Yep. Been having a lot of days like that lately. Tell me about yours. What tasks are you juggling?

Announcing A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair

I’m hijacking Mythical Monday again this week because I’ve got news I’m anxious to share. And in many ways, it relates to my love of folklore, mythology, and urban legends. In fact, it all started with a Mythical Monday post in 2013.

Densley wooded area with an old barrier blocking an overgrown path

A shot taken within the TNT, an old WWII munitions site the Mothman was rumored to haunt

Many of you know I’ve been working on a novel that utilizes the legend of the Mothman. I submitted that book, A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, to my editor the end of March. She got back to me in good time and suggested a few changes. I took care of those and returned it to her in mid April, after which it was sent up the line to a senior editor for final approval. That’s when things got a little nerve-wracking.

Would he like it? Would he reject it? I hated the thought of having to submit elsewhere, but Kensington Publishing is a quality house, and I knew if I wanted to publish with them this was the process I needed to go through. I tried to put the whole thing out of my mind, fully aware it would be several months until I heard anything one way or the other.

Since A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS is the first novel in my Point Pleasant Series, I dove into research for book two and even took a trip to the town, which is located in West Virginia. Two days before I was scheduled to leave I received news that the manuscript had been accepted. YES!!  And not only that, but Kensington Publishing agreed to give me a 3-book contract for all the novels in the series. SQUEEEEE!!

It has been exceptionally hard sitting on that news. I wanted so badly to share it, but I’m superstitious at heart, so I decided to wait until contracts had been received and signed. That’s all been done now, and I’m over-the-top delighted to announce the Point Pleasant series. Here’s the release schedule:

Book 1, A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS will be released April of 2016

Book 2, A COLD TOMORROW will be released December of 2016

Book 3, (Untitled at this point), will be released August of 2017

In the past, my imprint with Kensington has been Lyrical Press. Moving forward with this series, the books will be released through their brand new sub imprint dedicated to suspense, mystery, romantic suspense, and thrillers—Lyrical Underground. I’m highly jazzed about that, because, although there is still a romantic suspense theme in all three novels, the mystery angle is far stronger than anything I’ve done in the past.

When I think back, this entire series started with a Mythical Monday post I wrote on February 4, 2013. At that time, I knew about the Mothman, but only that the creature was a winged humanoid with glowing red eyes. After writing that post, I really wanted to write a novel playing off the mythology of the legend. It’s interesting how even the blog comments reflect that. If you’re curious about the post that started the whole thing, you can find it here.

Now, I need to get cracking writing books two and three. Here’s a brief overview of the whole series. Note that the blurb for book 1 is not official at this point, and for books 2 and 3 I’ve only done short teasers:

THE POINT PLEASANT SERIES 

A THOUSAND YESTRYEARS, BOOK 1

Sometimes silence is the same as murder

On a cold December night in 1967, the Silver Bridge between Point Pleasant, West Virginia and Gallipolis, Ohio unexpectedly collapsed during the peak of rush hour traffic claiming forty-six lives, many perishing in the frigid waters of the Ohio River.

Just a child, Eve Parrish lost her father and her best friend, Maggie Flynn. Now, fifteen years later, she returns to Point Pleasant to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. Much has changed about the once thriving river community. The ghost of tragedy still weighs heavily on the town, as does the legend of a giant winged creature known as the Mothman, said to haunt an abandoned WWII munitions site.

Caden Flynn is one of the few lucky survivors of the bridge collapse, but blames himself for coercing his younger sister out that night. He’s carried that guilt for fifteen years, unaware there are darker emotions than grief tangled up in the Silver Bridge tragedy.

Eve’s arrival triggers the unraveling of a fifteen-year-old secret that places her and Caden in the crosshairs of danger.  A secret more terrifying than the bridge collapse and the frightful legend of the Mothman.

A murderer stalks the streets of Point Pleasant.

A COLD TOMORROW, Book 2

When Katie Lynch stops to help a disabled motorist, she unwittingly finds herself caught up in a web of intrigue involving flying saucers, mysterious men in black, animal mutilations, and the Mothman. Together with Officer Ryan Flynn, Katie attempts to decipher a coded message that points to the arrival of an extraterrestrial visitor.

Untitled, Book 3

To placate his sister who believes their family’s history of misfortune is tied to a centuries old curse, Quentin Marsh travels to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, hoping to uncover the truth about an Indian chief’s brutal murder. Did his ancestor participate in the ugly execution of Shawnee Chief Cornstalk, and how is the Mothman, a flying humanoid that has haunted the area for decades connected? Does local history buff, Sarah Sherman, hold the answer to breaking his family’s curse?

~ooOOoo~

So what do you think? Do I have you intrigued?

The 777 Writer’s Challenge by Mae Clair

The 777 Writer’s Challenge is making the rounds again. Love this one, as it’s a lot of fun and gets us refocused on our WIPs.

I was tagged by the lovely Susan Nicholls, a new friend who has a wonderful blog called My Brand of Genius. Pop over and poke around if you get a chance. It’s always great to make new friends in the world of writing and blogging and Susan has some great stuff to share!

So, per the 777 Writing Challenge:

Go to Page 7 of your work-in-progress, scroll down to line 7, and share the next 7 sentences in a blog post. Once you have done that, tag 7 other bloggers to do the same with their WIP.

I’m sharing a snippet from FOOD FOR POE, my upcoming Christmas novella (paranormal romance). In this scene my hero, Breck Lansing, is talking with his fourteen-year-old daughter, Sophie, who suffers from a debilitating illness:

A storybook picture. A storybook family. 

He shoved the memory aside.  “I’ll make s’mores tonight. We can sit in front of the Christmas tree and drink hot cocoa.”

“Okay.”

The lack of enthusiasm in her voice struck hard. Rolling onto her side, she scrunched beneath the blankets. All the Christmas gifts he’d bought wouldn’t make a difference tomorrow morning. She’d be gracious and happy, but he couldn’t give her what she wanted most.

~ooOOoo~

And now I’d like to challenge the following 7 writer/bloggers. Participate if you can, but no worries if you can’t!

Carmen Stefanescau 
Flossie Benton Rogers 
Stanalei Fletcher 
Daisy Banks 
C. S. Boyack 
J. M. Goebel 
Donna Cummings

Mythical Monday:  Something’s Mything by Mae Clair

I know it’s Mythical Monday and I should be Mything but I actually have a blog tour kicking off today for TWELFTH SUN. The tour was supposed to happen way back in January, but if you recall, Lyrical Press was acquired by Kensington Books and it took a while for the dust to settle and new Kensington titles to be issued.

Book Promotions by Literary Nook Book was happy to work with me in delaying the tour, so here we are five months later, and it’s finally under way. Something is definitely mything from my blog today, but maybe the timing worked for the best as TWELFTH SUN is a breezy summer read.  Here’s where I’ll be should you like to drop by and say hello over the next few weeks:

Tour Banner Twelfth Sun

May 12
Kristy Centeno – Promo with excerpt
KMN Books – Author Interview, promo with excerpt

May 13
JM Stewart–Contemporary Romance Author – Promo with excerpt
The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl – Promo with excerpt

May 14
Some Like It Hotter – Promo and excerpt
Triad Literary – Promo with excerpt

May 15
Musings of a Writing Reader – Promo with excerpt

May 20
Mythical Books – Review

May 21
Have Novel, Will Edit – Promo with excerpt

May 22
Deal Sharing Aunt – Author Interview, Promo with excerpt

May 26
My Devotional Thoughts – Promo with excerpt

May 28
Literary Nook – Promo with excerpt

May 30
Book Reviews by Xunaira J. – Promo with excerpt

June 2
Crystal’s Many Reviewers – Review

Solstice Island Final smallIn other news, I’m also visiting with Brooke Williams today, promoting SOLSTICE ISLAND . . . also a summery read, and a adventure involving a mythical sea creature.

And, since this is turning into a book update post, here’s where my latest WIPs stand:

~ooOOoo~

ECLIPSE LAKE

Shot of a lake at summer twilight
Romantic mystery, family drama, and an unsolved missing person’s case.

I still hope to publish this title in June.

~ooOOoo~

MYTH AND MAGIC
Romantic mystery involving ghostly happenings and sabotage at a secluded corporate retreat.
Takes place in October and over Halloween.
Should be ready for submission by the end of the month.

~ooOOoo~

A THOUSAND YESTERYEARSbigstock-Ghost-At-The-Window-tint--23502128
Urban fantasy/horror.
A haunted house, a family curse, and an evil presence that will stop at nothing to continue its legacy of darkness.
My current WIP.
I’m going back to my roots with this one. Fantasy/horror was my first genre as an author.

~ooOOoo~

Mythical Monday will return next week as usual. In the meantime, I’d love to know what you’re working on at present, or news on your latest release. Please share!

Writing with Friends by Mae Clair

I was recently tagged by the lovely and super energetic Kitt Crescendo in a “Writing Process” related blog hop. Kitt writes sizzling racy novels and has already burst onto the scene with two hot releases. She’s a very active blogger, a supportive friend, and someone with a strong passion for music. You’ll find her blogging about all of her many diverse interests (usually with a twist of humor or heart-felt  passion) at The Inner Wild Kat
Just don’t mention frogs around her and you’ll be fine :)

Thanks for the tag, Kitt!

Ok, the way the blog tag works, I’m supposed to answer four questions related to my writing style then tag three other bloggers to carry on the torch. You’ll meet those enchanting ladies at the end of this post, but first the questions with my answers:

Manuscript from Author with Red Twine CloseupWhat am I working on?
A lot! :D I actually have three projects going on right now. The first, SOLSTICSE ISLAND, is a short romantic adventure involving the search for a mythical sea creature. My first venture into indie publishing, I hope to release it later this month.

I also have a full-length romantic mystery called ECLIPSE LAKE that revolves around a fifteen-year-old missing person’s case. I’m also indie-pubbing that and hope to have it available in May/June.

MYTH AND MAGIC is a Halloween-themed romantic mystery that I had originally planned to release in October. As it stands now, I’ll be offering it to my new publisher Kensington Books, when it’s ready, as they have first option. If Kensington passes, I will indie pub as I originally planned…hopefully, even meeting that October deadline. Of course, I’d love to see it with Kensington too!

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
My books, especially the more I progress, tend to straddle two genres . . . romance and mystery. I would place the ratio at about 70% mystery to 30% romance, so the mystery element is probably the stronger theme. That said, I’m a romantic at heart, so each story still has a romance (usually star-crossed) to complicate matters for my hero and heroine.

Why do I write what I do?
I’ve always been intrigued by the unknown. I enjoy crafting “what if” possibilities and dropping my hero and heroine into situations where they’re forced to unravel secrets. My favorite types of novels are those that make me think, while satisfying the romantic in me. It’s why I enjoy weaving elements of myth and mystery with romance in my stories. I like to keep my readers guessing.

I also love family dynamics, a theme that is usually front-and-center in everything I write.

How does my writing process work?
I usually always start with a single character and an obstacle. Other characters grow from there, weaving the plot as they develop. Most of that takes place in my head before I start making notes on paper. Although I am not a plotter by any means, I have a very loose concept of the story before I start writing. Most of it develops on its own as scene evolves into scene. In the future, however, I’m hoping to plot more. My panster style has worked for me to date, but doing NaNoWriMo last year made me realize the benefits of plotting.

And now I’d like to introduce you to the three ladies who will be following me:

b-w-profile-picCalisa Rhose is an Okie, born and bred, through and through, and proud of it. While growing up, when she wasn’t on the back of a horse, she could be found with pen and paper in hand. Her writing career began with poetry in her younger days. Then she discovered Rock-n-Roll and cute musicians. Poetry turned into stories of romance and dreams. These days she lives with the same man who convinced her to take a romantic journey with him almost 30 years ago. After raising three strong daughters she spends her days loving their granddaughters, hoping for a boy someday, and writing. When she’s not writing, you can find Calisa putting on her editor hat and working to help other published and aspiring writers.

She is working on more projects with her favored contemporary cowboys, first responders and firemen, as well as, the occasional ‘other’ heroes — and their sexy female counterparts, those sassy, stubborn heroines.

Find Calisa at her website/blog http://calisarhose.wordpress.com

Twitter@CalisaRhoseFacebook/Calisa RhoseGoodreads and Amazon

~ooOOoo~

Daisy Banks ColourDaisy Banks writes sensual and spicy romance in the Historical, Paranormal and Fantasy genres. An obsessive writer Daisy is passionate about her stories. Her focus is to offer the best tale she can to readers. Daisy is married, with two grown up sons. She lives with her husband in a converted chapel in Shropshire, in England. Antiques and collecting entertain Daisy when she isn’t writing. She has also occasionally been known to make a meal that doesn’t stick to the pan.

You can find Daisy at:

Blog    http://daisybanks.wordpress.com/
Website  Twitter  Facebook  Pinterest 

~ooOOoo~

Author Pic2Having 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 Cd at her at website http://www.cdbrennan.com
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