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?

Change, Idiots, and Mr. Evening by Mae Clair

It’s official. I’m an idiot.

I had a cool blog post lined up for yesterday’s Mythical Monday and then realized it was Labor Day. Since I’m rarely online over a holiday, I decided to save it for later, but then discovered …wait for it…I HADN’T SAVED THE BLOODY THING! *smacks palm to forehead*

What’s really frustrating is that I had tied the post (about a chameleon) into the changing look for my blog. Clever of me, don’t you think? Or, at least it would have been if I’d saved it. Hopefully, I can make it through this post without hitting “close” or “delete.” Pffff!

In any event, I couldn’t wait any longer to unveil my new blog look. So, what do you think? I’ve never been a huge fan of red, but I think the color works well with the suspense angle. And I love the mystery elements inherent in the photo of the house I chose for my header. Spooky and moody.

My home page has been tweaked, my bio redone, and my sidebar cleaned up. I even added a snazzy new graphic for my newsletter sign-up link (subscribers welcomed and eagerly encouraged). :)

So…the shop has been set up and I’m settling into my spiffy new digs. Of course there are always “creatures” milling about and whispers of who-knows-what rattling the window frames, and making bumps-in-the-night. I don’t’ get too upset with the distractions since they’re good for inspiration.  I expect the Mothman and Mr. Evening to arrive soon and then I can get down to the business of writing.

What’s that you say?

Young man in dark, wearing suit and looking into cameraI neglected to introduce you to Mr. Evening? No worries. He’s promised a proper introduction in book 2 of my Point Pleasant Series. In the meantime, he’s acting as muse in my newly remodeled home.

Several of my friends routinely have their wonderful muses dropping in for visits. Donna Cummings has the divine Endora, Craig Boyack the lovely Lorelei, and Julie Holmes has a hunky guy who calls her “love.”  :D I thought it was time I summoned up my own muse, and Mr. Evening promptly answered the call…which could be a problem given his role in A COLD TOMORROW, but I’ll worry about that later.

In the meantime, I invite you to check out my new home on the web, make yourself comfy and stay a while. :)

It’s Time for a Change…I Think, by Mae Clair

Quill pen and inkwell resting on an old book with green backgrouI know I’ve been scarce lately, but I’m hoping to get back to regular blogging soon. I miss not doing regular posts. I’ve been keeping busy writing and editing, but I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking about my blog in general. The conclusion?

It’s time to do some remodeling. I designed the look of this blog to brand me as a romance author with a slant toward mystery and the supernatural. Now, as I move ahead with my writing, my stories focus less on romance and more on mystery and suspense. My brand should reflect that but the idea of change has me nervous frightened white-knuckle terrified!

Why? *gulp*

Will I find new fans and readers? What if I lose old fans and readers?  *sheer horror*

I enjoy reading across genres, but not everyone feels the same. I’ve already had a few reviews from romance blogs in the past that labeled my books too complex with too many secondary characters and multiple plot threads.

That was the mystery author in me struggling to emerge. I’ll no longer have to fight that instinct, but at the same time I feel like I’m stepping into an arena where I need to start over again.

I hope my existing readers will stay with me as I make the transition (okay, begging a bit here, LOL!). My Point Pleasant Series (a.k.a Mothman) still has a dash of romance, but the romance has shifted to the background rather than commanding the spotlight. That’s the path I see my writing heading in the future. Mythology, folklore, and the unusual will always play an integral part, so some of the branding I’ve done over the last three years still fits that particular niche.

And I still have a romantic novella releasing in November. FOOD FOR POE is a romantic read that combines folklore and the paranormal with a Christmas-time setting. One final offering before I catch the midnight train to the land of mystery and suspense.

Right now I’m rethinking everything from my email tag/signature, to my blog and web mastheads, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ mastheads. Hopefully, I’m not over analyzing. It’s not a huge leap from romantic mysteries to suspense, but it is a leap. Some social sites only need minor changes, but others require a major revamping. That’s going to be most evident on my blog and website as I work on a new look.

So…change is coming.

How soon I’m not certain. But if you happen on hop over to my spot in the blogosphere one day and it looks completely different, don’t freak! It’s just me embracing the mystery/suspense genre. I hope you’ll remain a blog follower and come along for the ride. It’s going to be a “thrilling and mysterious” journey! :D

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.


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 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. :)


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.


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.


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:


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

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. . .


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.


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:
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.”


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.


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