Endora is Back! Bad Ex Karma by Donna Cummings

Wow, do I feel important! Donna Cummings’ supremely esteemed muse, Endora, has agreed to pop in for a quick visit, and this time she’s come bearing gifts. Remember that giveaway from last week? If you haven’t already read her fabulous interview, you can find it here. Then be sure to check the follow-up below on how to collect your prize.

~ooOOoo~

Hello lovelies – Endora here! Donna’s busy writing right now. Hah! I couldn’t even say that with a straight face. Which reminds me. I need to schedule another Botox appointment. . .

But, while I have your attention, I wanted to say a huge thank you for lavishing so much attention on me during my interview the other day. You were all so darling and devoted and I had so much fun I had to come by for one more visit.

I also wanted to give you your free copy of Bad Ex Karma, a book I collaborated on with Donna. I hope you’ll enjoy it and find it amusing. If not, well, I was probably gone when Donna worked on it.

All you need to do is email me at EndoraMuse@outlook.com. Isn’t that droll? I have my own email account! Not that I have time to answer it myself. I’ve given Donna the requisite permission, so she can do all the heavy lifting for me. I’ll be watching over her shoulder, though, to make sure she isn’t up to any mischief.

Anyway, if you’re a Kindle person, make sure you let me know which email you use so I can have the book sent there. If you’re a B&N person, let me know your email for that. If you’re neither, we’ll manage to work some other sort of magic.

Thank you again for being so wonderful. I’d love to stay but my day is filled with a multitude of important activities. There’s my daily massage, and a mani/pedi, and I’ve been dying to try out this new restaurant before I start interviewing personal assistants. Oh, and yes, I’ve got to schedule in some time to torment assist Donna. The poor dear is working on TWO stories at once. I suppose I should help her out. . .

Until next time! *disappears in a puff of smoke*

~~~~~

BEK_medBlurb of Bad Ex Karma:

The dating gods must be crazy.

I’d thought my five-year anniversary would include a fancy dinner, some great sex, and maybe fending off a marriage proposal. Instead, it was the worst sex ever, and at the restaurant, my boyfriend broke up with me.

It’s like I’ve been cursed with Bad Ex Karma. Whenever I try to date a new guy, he ends up with a concussion or a trip to the ER.

My internal “disaster consultants”, the What Ifs, completely missed the clues leading to the breakup, so now they’re working overtime to protect me from another potential heartbreak. My two best friends set me up on dates while assuring me it won’t put men on the endangered species list.

There’s one man who seems completely immune to the curse: a sexy chef named Jonathan. He keeps popping up in my life, and he stirs up the most delicious feelings. Maybe Bad Ex Karma isn’t such a bad thing after all. . .

Guest Blogger, Donna Cummings: An Interview with My Muse, Endora

I’m turning my blog over to my good friend Donna Cummings today, and her very witty, spectacular, beyond-fabulous guest (you’ll understand all of those lovely adjectives in a minute). This post had me grinning in delight, so sit back and enjoy. Oh—and Donna has an awesome treat for you, too, at the end. :)

~ooOOoo~

An Interview with My Muse Endora
by Donna Cummings

After I read the great post here from C. S. Boyack about the raven Doubt, I received an unexpected visit from my muse Endora. She was quite inspired by Doubt’s work, and wanted to renovate the writing cave to include room for an entire flock of ravens. She argued that it would help with our “job share” arrangement—the one where she takes all the credit and I get all the blame.

I know the best way to distract Endora from such a crazy notion is to interview her. So I’ve set things up here to look like a stage, because she’s quite the diva, and is more likely to “cooperate” if we make a big fuss.

Let me just do a quick check to see if everything’s arranged the way she likes. There’s an extra comfy chaise longue for her to lay on while she waves her hand disdainfully. Wall-to-wall mirrors so she can admire herself while ensuring I can see that she’s ignoring me. An applause machine on the “Never Quit” setting.

Yep. I think we’re good.

Ladies and gentlemen, Endora really needs no introduction, but she would twist my arm into a pretzel if I didn’t talk about her in the most glowing terms. She’s the one who inspires me to keep writing. (Usually by leaving me with all the work.) She’s the one who makes me try harder. (By sniffing at all the work I do produce.) But most importantly, she’s the one who keeps me laughing. (Because I’d spend all my time crying otherwise.)

Please welcome the lovely and talented Endora!

Me: *waves hand and coughs* That appearing in a puff of smoke thing never fails to impress. Are you sure you aren’t using more smoke lately?

Endora: *reclines on the chaise longue and arranges her flowing skirts* I have no idea what you’re talking about. I never do.

Me: Oh. Well. Uh, thanks for stopping by. I know you’ve got a busy schedule. *rolls eyes and speaks to the audience* I actually have NO idea how she spends her time.

Endora: It’s a full-time occupation just to maintain this level of fabulous. *fluffs hair* If I wasn’t so busy, I might be able to help you out more.

Me: Yeah, I bet it takes centuries to achieve that particular shade of orange—Ouch! I can’t believe you kicked me.

Endora: I was just stretching my leg out. Your chair is closer than I realized.

Me: *grumbles* Well, let’s get started. I’ve got a few questions that were submitted beforehand by audience members. Oh, this is a really good one: “Why are you always so mean to Donna?”

Endora: *sniffs* Pick one that you didn’t write.

Me: How do you know I wrote it?

Endora: Honestly. I’m your muse. I know what you sound like.

Me: I don’t know how. You’re never around. *shuffles cards* Okay, how about this one? “How did you and Donna meet?”

Endora: *speaks directly to the audience in a sugary voice* She was a fledgling writer, and I decided to take the poor darling under my wing—

Me: It was more like a chokehold. Our arrangement actually started when I was struggling with some early writing, and there was this derisive voice in my head that kept comparing my efforts to all kinds of garbage-y trash-like things.

Endora: It’s exhausting coming up with new variations for those terms. I know I make it look easy–

Me: *glares* Okay, next question. “What’s your favorite of all the books Donna has written?”

Endora: She writes books? *yawns* How droll.

Me: “What’s Donna’s best quality as a writer?”

Endora: Oh, that’s easy. The way she keeps giving so much time and attention to me.

Me: This isn’t going quite the way I planned.

Endora: That’s because you’re a pantser. You don’t plot anything out ahead of time.

Me: *grits teeth* Except your demise. I’m always plotting THAT.

Endora: Are we about done? I’ve got a million things to do today. . .

Me: Oh! So that means you’ve looked at the latest WIP? I could use your help with Chapter 5 actually.

Endora: *exhales heavily* Well, apparently I’ve got a million and one things to do now. But I’ve got to work on the important things first. Like figuring out my new theme song. I’ll catch up with you later.

Me: That line is going to be on my tombstone, thanks to you.

Endora: See? I’m always inspiring you. It’s no wonder I’m worn to a complete frazzle. I need to schedule another 52 weeks of vacation just to rest up.

Me: And I’ve got to schedule an optometrist appointment for all the eye-rolling you make me do. Anyway, thanks for showing up today. It was such a surprise. I mean, it was a real thrill—

Endora: *disappears in a huge cloud of smoke*

Me: You can’t even wait until I finish my sentence?! What a witch.

Endora: *disembodied voice* Thank you.

Me: That wasn’t—oh, never mind.

~ooOOoo~

BEK_medAs your reward for enduring Endora, I will be gifting a copy of my latest release, Bad Ex Karma, to each commenter today (up to a maximum of 20). Just let me know what inspires YOU.

~ooOOoo~


Author Bio
:
I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.

I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton.

I can usually be found on Twitter, talking about writing and coffee, and on Facebook, talking about coffee and writing.

Look for Donna at these haunts:
Website: http://www.AllAboutTheWriting.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/LRgT5
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BookEmDonna
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5349107.Donna_Cummings
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Donna.Cummings.Author
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/bookemdonna/

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You can purchase all of Donna’s books, including her ROGUES GALLERY of three wonderful novels at:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo

Guest Blogger C. S. Boyack and a Special Guest

I’ve got a treat for your today. Actually a double one. Craig Boyack of Entertaining Stories and I are doing a blog swap. Craig and a “special guest” I asked him to bring along are taking over my blog, while I’m hanging out at his. I’m talking about my experience offering a book for free on Amazon. Was it worth it? You’ll have to check my post on Entertaining Stories to find out. :)

Meanwhile, I’ll leave Craig and his companion to keep you entertained. The special guest he brought along is only one of the many colorful characters from Craig’s imagination that haunt his blog. I just happen to be partial to this particular character. Maybe because I can relate to how it feels when he drops in for a visit. You’ll see what I mean in a minute, so sit back and enjoy Craig’s post. . .

~ooOOoo~

I walked up to the shop and checked the map on my iPhone. A huge raven whooshed over my head and landed in a tree. This looked like the right coffee shop, and I took a seat outside. Mae asked me to come here and write about my editing process and the blessing/curse that follows me around.

The truth is, I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to editing. I’ve learned a trick or two and made notes in my living document. I looked around the parking lot, but there was no sign of Mae. I took a table outside so I could watch for her.

I started writing this blog post; any available minutes can be precious. The raven swooped down and landed on my table. See, he’s a gift from my Muse, and tries to keep me looking professional. The bird’s name is Doubt.

I’ve learned to search out my personal sin words, like “that, very, was, and the various forms of its and there.”

These days I’m trying to eliminate what I call stage directions. These are usually things like “said, heard, saw, smelled, felt.” If we’re in a character’s point of view, it’s better to describe someone walking across the parking lot, than to write, “she saw someone walking across the parking lot.” This is a new one for me, but I believe my writing is better for it. I learned that from Doubt.

Doubt pecked at my hand. Krik krik blork.

Ravens make hundreds of noises, more than common crows. I really don’t know what they all mean. This one even manages to mimic a few human words. I’m guessing he doesn’t like me using contractions in a blog post. It’s a blog post, it’s supposed to be a bit more familiar to readers. Now I have doubts. That’s how he works.

Raven sitting on a thin stump of wood, head bent to claws

I have to put him away when I draft my novels. If I listen to him during the draft phase, I never get anything done. My Muse says he helps me, but I have my doubts.

I love my stories, all of them. I even love the trunk novels that no one will ever see. Doubt gets into my head, and keeps me from the most egregious mistakes. The run of the mill mistakes are mine, and sometimes they get in. I’ve learned not to listen to him in every case.

I thought he was going to peck my hands bloody, when I edited Will O’ the Wisp. This is the first thing I ever wrote in first person point of view. He didn’t like the over use of “I and my.” I changed what I thought I could, but some of that has to happen in first person point of view.

The trick is to listen to Doubt, but to also override him when needed. I’m still not sure who’s right in some cases, but I’m learning. Doubt would have all my fiction looking like a lawyer wrote it, and he would take all the character out of it. Fiction needs character, and sometimes it’s the best part of the story.

Too much input from Doubt leads to perfectionism. Perfectionism is the bane of many writers. It prevents us from putting out acceptable work for fear it might have a mistake. I personally believe we learn more from drafting new material. Not everyone feels this way.

Kaw! Doubt pecked at my iPhone.

“We’re at the right address.” I checked again anyway. “I wonder if I wrote it down right in the first place.” See how he works. A little Doubt goes a long ways. “Why don’t you fly around and see if you can spot Mae Clair. Maybe she’s at a different coffee shop.”

Doubt slit off the table and took to the sky. I kind of hoped to give him to Mae for a month or so. I get a lot accomplished when I don’t have Doubt getting in my way.

~ooOOoo~

Craig’s newest book is WILL O’ THE WHISP, a highly entertaining  novel which combines elements of magical realism, mystery, and fantasy, as well as an appealing coming of age theme.

Book cover for Will O' the Wisp by C. S. Boyack depicting a ghostly floating light over a stream with treesBLURB:
There is something evil up Bergamot Holler, and it’s been targeting the Hall family for generations.

Patty Hall is fifteen years old. She loves stargazing, science fiction, and all things related to space exploration. This leaves her perfectly prepared for the wrong problem.

Patty is afraid her mother will send her to a care facility if she tells her what she’s seen. If she doesn’t figure things out soon, she’s going to join her father in the Hall family cemetery plot.

Patty has to come to grips with her own physical handicap, face the wilderness, and an ancient evil all alone if she’s going to survive.

Will O’ the Wisp is suitable for young adults. It involves elements of suspense, and is set in the mid 1970s.

Purchase From:
Northern American Continent 
Rest of the world 

Author C. S. BoyackYou Can Follow Craig at the Following Haunts:
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Find all of Craig’s novels here  

 

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

When Stories Evolve by Mae Clair

If you’re a writer, at one point or another, you probably had a story evolve beyond anything you anticipated. That’s pretty much how my new romantic suspense/mystery novel, MYTH AND MAGIC, became…MYTH AND MAGIC.

Many years ago—actually decades—I wrote a short story called RESURRECTING MERLIN. At the time, I was writing full-length manuscripts and had joined a local critique group for short story writers. Writing something under 10K was a challenge for me. RESURRECTING MERLIN was my first attempt.

I wrote a lot of short stories after that, but RM was always my favorite. A magical realism piece with a dark thread, the nucleus revolved around two young brothers, Tristan and Merlin, who played games of myth and magic. They spent many afternoons imagining themselves wizards who battled savage trolls and fierce beasts. That idyllic setting was shattered by a tragedy that forever altered Tristan’s life, causing an insurmountable gulf between him and his parents.

I won’t go into the entire plot, but it always rattled around in the back of mind. I didn’t want to leave it languishing in a short that I’d probably never use. So, years later, I took the core idea—an innocent childhood of mythical games fractured by an horrific event—and made that the heart of MYTH AND MAGIC. I changed the circumstances of the event, and now, instead of only two brothers, there were four friends—one a young girl who fancied herself every bit as adept with her imaginary sword as the three boys.

Most of you know MYTH AND MAGIC is a Halloween tale about weird happenings at a secluded corporate lodge. But that’s only half of the story. The time line in the present. You’ll also find several scenes where I turn the clock back to childhood, in order for my reader to understand the motivations of my characters. Particularly my hero and heroine.

Today, my Pump Up Your Book blog tour stop is with A Little Bit of R & R. Please pop over and say hello if you can. And I’d love to hear if you’ve ever had a story evolve from something small into the nucleus of a much larger work.

Book Cover for MYTH AND MAGIC by Mae Clair depicting a brooding old home at nightAmazon 
Barnes and Noble 
Kobo 
iTunes 
Google
Kensington Publishing  

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly by Mae Clair

I’ve been meaning to do a number of blog posts for weeks now some time eons, but those fickle hours just keep slipping away. So here I am, determined to share my latest news with you. Welcome to “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” a new monthly feature on my blog.

THE GOOD

Close up of woman screaming in excitmentI started a newsletter :)
It’s only been on my to-do list for eight months. Okay, so the actual newsletter hasn’t happened yet, but the sign-up has.

See that little box on the right side beneath the header “Want the Scoop”? You can click there to sign up, or just follow this link. I only plan on doing four newsletters a year, so I promise not to bombard your inbox. And in celebration of finally reaching this *ahem* milestone, I’ll be giving away a $10 gift card to Amazon to one randomly drawn winner. I’m planning early July, so hop over and sign up. To quote another Eastwood movie: “Go ahead, make my day.”

Two of my back titles are now available in print :)
Woo-hoo! You can snatch WEATHERING ROCK from Amazon or Books-A-Million. The same is true of TWELTH SUN. Find it on Amazon or Books-A-Million. Naturally, I had to grab copies of each. I’m really pleased with the way Kensington Publishing made my name stand out on the printed copy of WEATHERING ROCK. It’s a little lost on the Kindle version.

My publisher started a new sub-imprint :)
Actually two. The Lyrical Press imprint of Kensington Publishing now has Lyrical Shine (contemporary romance) and Lyrical Underground (thriller, suspense, horror) imprints. I’m pretty jazzed about the latter, because I think it’s a good fit for my Point Pleasant series. *fingers crossed*

I’m researching and plotting :)
I generally wing my books, but now that I’ve made a firm commitment to write a mystery/suspense series (The Point Pleasant series), I find that plotting is more essential. I’ve got a notebook filled with scribblings and scene outlines for A COLD TOMORROW, book two in the series. It’s a learning experience, figuring all these details out in advance, but I’m enjoying it. And it gives me an excuse to read more about the Mothman, UFOs, and Men-in-Black (as if I needed a reason)!

THE BAD

Close up of woman looking wide-eyed and dazedI’m not writing as much as I should :(
I took a break from my regular Sunday routine and spent the day researching and outlining instead of writing. Ok, so I made notes poolside, then did my plotting floating around on a raft or bobbing on those noodle thingies. I’m trying to convince myself it still counts as author stuff.

Still no word on A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS :(
Book one in my Point Pleasant series, a.k.a. “the Mothman story,” is still with my publisher for consideration. I think it would be a good fit for the new Lyrical Unground sub-imprint, but it’s an odd story set in the 1980s so who knows if it will fly. One editor has given me the green light on it, but I’m still waiting on the second, senior editor, to reply. Hopefully, I’ll have news by the end of the month or early July. It’s the waiting, you know?

THE UGLY

Very angry woman screaming with hair flying in the airFacebook :( :( :(
This is SOOOO ugly I’m not even going to include any other uggies. My failure to be part of the Facebook crowd has been hanging over my head like a guillotine for months now. I am *thisclose* to killing my account.

The problem is I don’t like Facebook. I never have. But back when Lyrical Press was a small stand-alone publisher, authors were expected to have an FB page. So I created one, and I do occasionally look at it. I worry that it does me more harm than good since I don’t update it regularly.  I worry that if I kill the account all that work I did to get 496 likes (okay, it’s not Pluto, but it’s something), will have been in vain. I worry that I should keep it active and pay to promote posts to get word of my new releases out. Even if I’m not on Facebook, all of my friends are (and most of the social-media-consuming-world). Maybe if my newsletter takes off I’ll be able to ditch it and stop worrying about it. Right now it’s the King of Uglies!

So there you have my monthly wrap up of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ll wait until early July to see what June brings.

Any good, bad, or uglies you’d like to share? We’re all in this writer’s world together, you know. Spill what’s new with you! :)

Mythical Monday: Of Fey Folk and Faerie Dogs by Mae Clair

Whenever spring and summer roll around, I think of mushroom rings, twilight evenings perfumed by honeysuckle, and faeries. Tucked away in a drawer, I have of those Frankenstory WIPs that has been hanging around for decades. Every year I think “this is the year I’m going to pull it out and finish it.” And every year it never happens. :(

The story has been through multiple title changes (it’s presently without one), length modifications, character changes, plot thread rewrites, and just about everything in between. I should abandon the wretched thing, but I can’t seem to walk away from the Fey Folk.  Yes, faeries factor prominently into the plot. It’s part urban fantasy, part horror, and part magical realism. The last one is what draws me in, refusing to let me abandon it. Who knows….maybe the Fey have placed a glamour on it and that’s why it’s still wiggling around in the back of my mind.

One of these days…one of these days I will finish it. Given how odd the story is, I’m sure I’ll have to indie pub it, but that’s okay. It’s one of those books you want to see “out there” just because it resonates with you. Kind of like faeries do.

At least for me.

But did you know there are also tales of a Faerie Dog? This ghostly animal appears mostly as a herald to announce the imminent presence of the Fey. Perhaps the ancient faerie races were too lofty to soil themselves by interacting with humans, but they weren’t above using human tools for their purpose.

A spinning wheel in an old cottageAs an example, there is a brief account I found in The Vanishing People, Fairy Lore and Legends, a book by Katherine Briggs. It speaks of a family who were visited by a Faerie Dog. According to the tale, the family would gather on winter nights in the main room, the mother and daughters working at their spinning wheels. From nowhere, a white dog would appear in the room, a sign the family was about to be visited by the Fey Folk.

Bustling about, the humans ensured a fire burned brightly in the hearth, put out fresh water for their guests, then hurried to bed. Below, in their living quarters, they could hear the faeries moving about, but never saw them. Only the white dog was visible.

The same book tells of another family who neglected to leave water out for the faeries when they arrived to do baking. Since they had no water for their dough, the Fey Folk drew blood from the toe of a servant girl and used it to bake their cakes. The next day the servant girl fell ill and only recovered when she was given a bit of cake left under the thatch.

The faeries in my Frankenstory would probably follow either path. They’re focused on their own pleasures, even at the expense of mortals, but aren’t above helping humans if it suits their fancy.

When I was a kid, I thought of faeries as small, tiny creatures, frivolous and harmless. As I grew older and became familiar with the ancient legends, that opinion changed to reflect a race of majestic beings, sometimes heroic, sometimes selfish, living forever on the cusp of right and wrong.

In Cornwall, the faeries are called the Pagan Dead…not bad enough for Hell, but not good enough for Heaven. What’s your take on these magical beings?