Ghoulish Reads by Mae Clair

What books make your spine tingle? WR Cover for web

Today, I’m visiting Christina McKnight, sharing the book that started it all for me, along with my favorite Stephen King read. And since it’s October, I’m also talking about my werewolfy paranormal time travel novel, WEATHERING ROCK.

Drop by Christina’s blog to share your own favorite paranormal reads! I’d love to see you there!

Mae Clair: 2012 Blog of the Year Award

Blog of the Year Award 2 star jpegI’ve been fortunate enough to have been nominated twice for the 2012 Blog of the Year Award. Once by Kitt Crescendo and once by Sheri de Grom. Both of these ladies became wonderful blogging friends in the last year.

Kitt is an extremely prolific blogger, sometimes putting out multiple posts a day. If you like your topics eclectic with cutting-edge observations, humor and warmth, then you need to visit Ms. Crescendo’s blog. May I recommend a recent post she did on sexy older men? Kitt will charm you with her wit and friendliness.

Sheri de Grom is a blogging buddy from my earliest days of timidly venturing into the author realm. She’s remained a wonderful friend and has been an inspiration through the personal stories she shares on her blog, as well as her support of our troops and military. In addition, she’s an insightful reviewer of women’s fiction who always gives the books she reviews respectful and honest consideration. You can find Sheri here. Hang out under her bridge for a while.

I’m honored and pleased to have received this blogging award from my two friends and only regret I couldn’t acknowledge it sooner with a proper post. So . . . how does it work?

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once, tthis award is different. When you begin, you will receive the ‘1’ star award. Every time you are given this award by another blog, you can add another star!

There are a total of ‘6’ stars to collect. Which means that you can check out your favorite blogs—and even if they have already been given the award by someone else—you can still make your opinion count and pass it on to them again and help them reach the maximum of ‘6’ stars.

The rules of this award are simple:

  1. Select the blogs you think deserve the 2012 Blog of the Year Award.
  2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with this award.
  3. Please include a link back to this page, Blog of the Year 2012 Award. http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/and include these ‘rules’ in your post. (Please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
  4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
  5. You can now also join our Facebook page – click the link here ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award (https://www.facebook.com/groups/BlogoftheYear/) and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.

And now I’m pleased to pay this honor forward by giving the award to the following bloggers:

L.J. Kentowski, who I originally ‘met’ through Triberr and who has become one of my favorite friends and authors. If you want to get lost in worlds of urban fantasy, hang out at L.J.’s blog which has only recently been minted over to a WordPress platform. Find out about Seekers, Guardians and — something new and interesting in the works — Descendants!

Donna Cummings, who never fails to astound me with how effortlessly she blends humor, happily-ever-after, and romance. Whether I’m reading one of her delightful novels or hanging out at her blog and experiencing slices of every-day-writer-life, Donna never fails to charm with her delivery and leave me chuckling.  She’s a fab friend who loves Twitter and coffee in equal doses, and I’m happy to support her all the way! Er, although I probably can’t keep up with the coffee, LOL.

Calisa Rhose, whose ‘ranch’ is a stellar and freakishly fun hangout – - and I mean that in a good way, LOL. I never know what I’m going to find at the ranch – - book covers, guest bloggers, book trailers, reviews – - but I always know I’ve got a standing invitation and a warm welcome. I’m so thankful to have met Calisa, who is also one of my sister authors at Lyrical Press. Mosey over to Calisa’s Ranch for a gander at what you’ve been missing.

Joanne Wadsworth, another Lyrical Press sister is a superb blogger who shares informative writer advice and whose debut novel PROTECTOR is releasing on January 9th. This busy New Zealander has a second book already under contract and a third close to submission. Joanne and I came in as ‘newbies’ together about the same time with Lyrical Press and I’m so thankful to have met her. She’s been positively delightful!

Christina McKnight who does an outstanding job on her blog of promoting other authors, upcoming/new releases and available books. If you’re looking for a good read, you’re bound to find it among the many Christina spotlights. She also writes urban fantasy/paranormal romance and is the author of the Oneiroi Series with book one, ONLY IN HER DREAMS available now and book two, ONLY IN HER NIGHTMARES coming in August 2013.

Thanks again to Kitt and Sheri for nominating me for the 2012 Blog of the Year Award. As this is my first year of blogging, it’s definitely a lovely recognition to receive. To all of my many blogging friends who have made 2012 so special, you’re all award winners to me! :D

Mae Clair: The Next Big Thing

I’m jazzed today because it’s my turn to participate in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop. I was tagged by the very talented L.J. Kentowski who writes steamy kick-butt urban fantasy. Her new novel, SEEKER OF FATE, (book two in the FATE SERIES) will be releasing next month. In the meantime, you can familiarize yourself with her characters and cool world mythology by reading book one, GUARDIAN OF FATE. It rocks!

As for the NBT hop, writers answer a series of questions related to their current WIP, then tag several other authors to join the hop. Fun, huh? First, I want to send a high-five out to L.J. for tagging me (thanks L.J.!), and next I’ll roll out the questions. All set? Goodie. Here goes:

What is the working title of your book?
ECLIPSE LAKE

Where did the idea of the book come from?
My sister and her husband have a lake house at a resort area in the mountains. The setting is beautiful . . . rolling hillsides dotted with farms, a sprawling lake with several public docks, marina, restaurant, beach area, picnic areas. Most of the homes are built on the mountain with the lake below. There’s also a small blip-of-a-town at the base. Think highly rural with turkey-eat-alls at the firehall, fishing cabins, and resort homes. High up on the mountain a handful of mansions peek through the trees, sprawling structures of glass and wood. When you turn the lights out at night, it’s so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face, but the tree frogs chatting outside sing you to sleep.

The first time I was there, I fell in love with the setting. It seemed like a great place for a mystery so I immediately started crafting a story. It took a while, but I eventually had the first draft of ECLIPSE LAKE. I’m now working on draft two.

What genre does your book fall under?
That’s the loaded question I’m currently struggling with. I originally saw it as an inspirational romance. I have since cut the inspirational element and am pumping up the mystery. So . . . I’m going to say it’s mystery/romance although, romance readers may feel it has too much mystery, and mystery readers may feel it has too much romance. I like blending those two in equal amounts and, hopefully, many readers will feel the same way.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in movie renditions?
As strange as it seems, I can’t pinpoint any. I know that sounds odd. After having written a complete first draft, I know these characters well, and can see them clearly in my head, but I can’t match up any actors.

Dane Carlisle is tall and lean with brown-blond hair. His love interest, Ellie Sullivan has black hair, is petite but athletic. Dane has an older brother, Jonah, who is shorter but muscular, and a seventeen-year-old son, Jesse. Those are my four main characters. The only person I can think of for Dane is Chris Hemsworth (with longer hair). The others, I have no clue.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Ex-con, Dane Carlisle, now a successful businessman, returns to his hometown in hopes of reconciling with his estranged brother, and falls for a photojournalist who becomes involved in a decades old murder.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I plan to submit to my current publisher in hopes it will find a home there. If not, I’ll forward it to several other e-publishing houses before going the Indie route. I do, however, feel strongly enough about this novel that I will self-publish. I just dread the learning curve, and will therefore be hounding my indie author friends for advice!

How long did it take you to finish the first draft of your project?
I wrote the first draft many years ago (this is one of those books I had tucked away in a drawer) so I don’t remember exactly, but I’m going to guess roughly six to eight months. That’s my normal pace since I work full-time.

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
I can’t think of a specific title, but anything that blends mystery and romance.  Family relationships also figure prominently in the novel and are key to the plot.

Who or what inspired you to write this story?
I’ve always been drawn to flawed characters, family relationships, and second chances. I wanted to tell a story showing the power of forgiveness, and the ability to start over again. Dane and Jonah have a bitter and tumultuous history between them. That rift is at the heart of the story, but I wanted Dane to find happiness through romance too (because I’m an HEA girl :) ) and that’s where Ellie comes in.

What else about your book may pique readers’ interest?
Um . . . some kids find a skeleton that unleashes a deluge of trouble, there’s a strange light phenomena over the lake that no one but Ellie sees; I’ve got a closet-full of buried family secrets, a sheriff with a score to settle, a teenaged son who doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut, and a widower trying to find the peace of heart to love again.  Intrigued? :D I hope so!

That’s it for me and ECLIPSE LAKE. Thanks for taking a peek with me and thanks to L.J. Kentowski for the tag. And now, I’d like to nominate the following awesome author/bloggers to continue the NBT hop.

It’s your turn, ladies!

Christina McKnight
Stanalei Fletcher
Lorraine Paton
Christy Olesen
Alicia Coleman

Cover Reveal: Only in Her Nightmares by Christina McKnight

Title: Only In Her Nightmares, The Oneiroi Book 2
Author: Christina McKnight
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Mythology
Publisher: La Loma Elite Publishing
Release Date: August 2013

Tagline: Can he defy his destiny to claim the woman who rules his nightmares?

EXCERPT:

Darius watched the girl enter her home. It seemed to fit her, tan with dark green shutters and a well-manicured lawn. An aged, quaint bungalow in a well-maintained neighborhood. Two neighbors had waved to him as he drove down the street, for fuck’s sake. He wasn’t out for a Sunday cruise. What would the neighbors do if they knew his true intentions for invading their peaceful slice of suburbia?

His source had finally proved useful. I may have to spare his life when the time comes.

The sight of it–the house, the neighborhood, the families–all made him sick. This could’ve been me, should be me. Instead, he was stuck on this godforsaken Earth, most of his powers stripped, forbidden to return to his rightful place in Erebos. And his only option was the girl. This weak female held his fate in her hands.

And she hadn’t a clue.

He moved across the street and slipped into her backyard with only a glance over his shoulder to make sure no one watched. Her yard surprised and repulsed him just as much as the front of the house. The front was straight from a promotional brochure, while the back yard gave the appearance of a Better Homes and Gardening showpiece. There were flowers, shrubs, and trees covering every square inch. The serenity of it reminded him of all he despised.

This was almost me! Good thing I dodged that bullet. Peace, tranquility and harmony are way overrated. One word: boring. Thankfully, she had rejected him. After that embarrassing episode he’d shelved his heart–there was no room for feelings left.

It was time to shake things up and restore order. His order.

“Master, she has retired to her bed chamber,” Alexander said.

Darius turned to see his man standing beside him. Alexander’s ability to move without alerting others to his presence was what drew Darius to him. After he was banished from Erebos, he convinced Alexander to join him in his crusade to right the wrongs of his father and support his new Lord’s cause.

“Enter and report back to me. Find the connection to my brother,” he said.

With a nod, Alexander vanished as silently as he’d appeared.

~ooOOoo~

THIS WEEKED FREE ON AMAZON!
NOVEMBER 10 and 11
Get caught up in Book 1 of this extraordinary series, ONLY IN HER DREAMS  

AMAZON LINKS FOR BOOK 1
BUY LINK FOR US
BUY LINK FOR UK

About the Author:
Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since.

In college, Christina took many courses to help develop and enhance her writing skills. She completed a seventy-page dissertation on the need for community policing in American society. Now, she focuses on Historical Romance, Urban Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance.

Christina lives in Northern California with her husband, daughter, two boxers, two cats, and a Beta fish named Marmaduke. If she’s not behind a computer screen or book, she’s busy leading her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. She is very active in several writing groups and a local book group.

Connect with Christina McKnight at:
Website
Twitter
Goodreads
Facebook

 

Mae Clair: A Change of Address

It’s Tuesday and I’m putting in a change of address for today.  You can find me at Christina McKnight’s blog, Writing from Corsets to Bustiers…Romance So Good, It’s Hard to Breathe.

We’re discussing WEATHERING ROCK, American history and several of my characters. Wander over and sit for a spell.

As always, for a complete list of all my tour stops, visit my WEATHERING ROCK Tour Schedule page. The clock is ticking and Caleb, Arianna and I have a lot of sharing to do ;-)

Mae Clair’s Wizards with Words: Christina Mcknight

Yes, I know it’s supposed to be a Mythical Monday, but so much is happening among my many writer friends, MM is going to take a brief backseat. 

Today Caleb DeCardian and Arianna Hart, hero and heroine of WEATHERING ROCK are chatting on Jennifer Lowery’s blog. They’ve never been interviewed before, so I hope you get a moment to pop over and see how they do. Caleb isn’t exactly a chatterbox so it took some coercion on Arianna’s part to get him to agree!

~ooOOoo~

For now, sit back and enjoy an engaging interview with Word Wizard, Christina McKnight,who has just published her debut release, ONLY IN HER DREAMS, the Oneiroi Book 1.  I originally met Christina when she invited me to join her tribe on Triberr. Since then, we’ve formed an online friendship that has been a delight! I’ve come to realize that not only is she a talented blogger (who does an awesome job of showcasing other authors), but she’s got a wicked sense of humor, and is a kick-butt writer of urban fantasy. Please help me welcome Christina!

Christina, I’m so pleased to have you here today, especially with ONLY IN HER DREAMS hot off the presses. Can you tell us a bit about the book and what readers can expect?

CHRISTINA: Thanks for having me, Mae. Only in Her Dreams is a modern spin on a Greek legend–the new direction of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, moving from angels, demons, vampires, and witches and toward the realm of demigods.

Only in Her Dreams actually came to me in a dream. Ironic, I know. Several times I dreamt of a man watching me. He never approached, moved, or spoke, but stayed silently in the background. I starting thinking: Who is this guy? What does he want?

A fellow writer -and self-proclaimed dream expert- said the man may be someone I’ve come into contact with recently. My next question: What if this mystery man from my dream showed up in real life?

Only In Her Dreams, The Oneiroi Book 1 took off from there.

Wow, that’s definitely a unique background! We see such variety in the urban fantasy and paranormal romance genres today – - vampires, shifters, ghosts, various blends of folklore and legend.  What attracted you to using Greek mythology?

CHRISTINA: I originally wrote Only In Her Dreams with angels in mind. When I started my 1st round of edits I was also beta reading another novel based around angels. I realized that I needed to think of something else…something unique and not over done. I’ve always loved mythology and I started there. I settled on the Oneiroi because no one has any preconceived notion about them…there is no, ‘you can’t do that!’ or ‘the Oneiroi wouldn’t do that!’

As authors we all get asked this question, and I’m not going to let you off the hook — When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

CHRISTINA: Growing up I was the student who wrote ten pages for a two page book report. In college my dissertation was twice the required page count. My mom hounded me from a very young age to write. We frequently read the same books and I’d guess the ending half way through…to both our surprise I was right most of the time. If I wasn’t right, my mom declared my endings were better. It’s only been in the last eight years that I’ve really applied myself to developing a complete story. I think I’ve always been a writer even though my novels were only in my imagination and not on paper.

Any new projects in the work you’d like to share?

CHRISTINA: OMG! I’d love to…

A few months ago I read Wallflower by Catherine Gayle and she wrote a scene that involved a duel. The heroine wanted to take the place of her beta male counterpart. She was scared to lose him. Talk about true love!

I started thinking…what if a young girl of the ton was responsible for the death of a man because of a duel she egged on? The next logical question was…what if BOTH men died? Then I took it one step further…what if the men were brothers? Shunned No More, The Forsaken Lady Series (Book 1) progressed from there.

I have a heroine that the reader should despise during the prologue but hopefully I can redeem her by the end of the book.

Oh, and of course I’m working on Only In Her Nightmares, The Oneiroi Book 2, but you’ll have to wait a bit longer for deets on this project.

Both sound wonderful1 I knew you had a historical in the works and was hungry for the details *grin* What are you currently reading on your Kindle, Nook or in print?

CHRISTINA: Funny you should ask this! I’m currently reading Weathering Rock…you may be familiar with this title J on my Kindle.

LOL!  Yes, that one does sound vaguely familiar.  Here’s a toughie: of all the experiences you’ve had with writing resources (groups, critique partners, forums, conferences, social media, networking, etc.) which would you say had the most impact on your growth as a writer?  

CHRISTINA: My online writing and critique group! I joined Critique Circle in 2004 and mostly used it for informational purposes (they have great forums) and to critique other writers work. I learned a lot about passive v. active writing, POV, and character development. In December 2011 I started submitting Only In Her Dreams for beta reading. My punctuation and grammar has improved 10 fold in the last year. I’ve also made many friends from this site and now meet locally with several of them.

Okay, here’s hoping you’re game for some rapid-fire questions. :)  What are your:

Favorite Book: The Twilight Series!
Favorite Movie: Now and Then
Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Breakfast Cereal (because I’m weird): Honey Bunches of Oats w/Almonds
Favorite Holiday: The month long period between Thanksgiving and Christmas! I love the festive mood during the holiday season :)
Favorite Halloween Candy: Anything with chocolate and peanut butter

Awesome! That was fun, Christina. And by the way Honey Bunches of Oats wi/Almonds is my favorite breakfast cereal too!

Now before we close, do you have any parting thoughts you’d like to share for the writer who is hovering on the brink, and hasn’t quite worked up the nerve to take the plunge toward publication?

CHRISTINA: Yes, don’t be afraid to send your stories out there for the world to enjoy! Life is short and unpredictable! Live in the here and now.

Thanks again for visiting my blog, Christiania. I wish you much success with ONLY IN HER DREAMS and all your writing endeavors!  

ONLY IN HER DREAMS is available in both print and ebook. You can find it here:

Ebook
Print

BLURB:
When Lucessa Sarcona awakes from a recurring dream, she has no idea her life is about to be turned upside down. A stranger, familiar to her dreams, shows up in the flesh, and Lucessa knows she’s either crazy or experiencing something not of this world.

A war ensues between three demigod brothers. One, trained to rule Erebos, is violently replaced. One forced to return to his homeland and lead the dream-gods of the Oneiroi. And one is charged with the impossible task of protecting Lucessa. How is she linked to the Oneiroi? Why do two brothers seek to keep her hidden and protected? And how does another plan to use her against the two demigods who love her?

Will Lucessa’s dream man have the courage to claim her as his own or will he bow to the command of another, forsaking the one he loves?

Only in Her Dreams is a modern spin on a Greek legend–the new direction of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, moving from angels, demons, vampires, and witches and toward the realm of demigods.

AUTHOR BIO: 
Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since. 

In college, Christina took many courses to help develop and enhance her writing skills. She completed a seventy-page dissertation on the need for community policing in American society. Now, she focuses on Historical Romance, Urban Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance.

Christina lives in Northern California with her husband, daughter, two boxers, two cats, and a Beta fish named Marmaduke.  If she’s not behind a computer screen or book, she’s busy leading her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. She is very active in several writing groups and a local book group.

YOU CAN FIND CHRISTINA AT THE FOLLOWING HAUNTS:

Follow Christina on Twitter!
Blog
Facebook
Goodreads
Email Christina at christinamcknight.author@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Mae Clair: Soar with Me!

Got your wings?  Faerie dust works well too, as do magical portals or even a standard internet connection.

There’s a lot on the schedule today! The lovely and talented Christina McKnight is showcasing Weathering Rock on her blog, Life – Love, Family and Passion, and I’m being interviewed by the awesome Sarah Ballance. I’ll be awarding an ebook copy of WEATHERING ROCK to one commenter at Sarah’s blog.

Grab a flight or a magic door and stop by to see what I’m yacking about. You don’t want me feeling lonely, do you? :D

And, as always, for a complete list of all my tour stops over the next two months, visit my WEATHERING ROCK Tour Schedule page. Caleb, Arianna and I have a lot of sharing to do ;-)

Mae Clair: Spotlight on Only in Her Dreams by Christina McKnight

Today I’m pleased to spotlight ONLY IN HER DREAMS, The Oneiroi Book 1 by Christina McKnight.

Blurb:
When Lucessa Sarcona awakes from a recurring dream, she has no idea her life is about to be turned upside down. A stranger, familiar to her dreams, shows up in the flesh, and Lucessa knows she’s either crazy or experiencing something not of this world.

A war ensues between three demigod brothers. One, trained to rule Erebos, is violently replaced. One forced to return to his homeland and lead the dream-gods of the Oneiroi. And one is charged with the impossible task of protecting Lucessa. How is she linked to the Oneiroi? Why do two brothers seek to keep her hidden and protected? And how does another plan to use her against the two demigods who love her?

Will Lucessa’s dream man have the courage to claim her as his own or will he bow to the command of another, forsaking the one he loves?

Only in Her Dreams is a modern spin on a Greek legend–the new direction of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, moving from angels, demons, vampires, and witches and toward the realm of demigods.

~ooOOoo~

Excerpt Chapter One:
Lucessa stared at her bed. It was time to sleep again, but it was getting harder to succumb to it. She started to think the day would never come when she could abandon herself to sleep without the feeling of being watched. He was always there–haunting her dreams. Her dreams hadn’t been her own in such a long time.

He was always there. Never talking but always watching. Intently. As if he knew her. Security, even in sleep, eluded her.

She’d lost her father and her husband. Her mother was slipping away, battling a memory loss that was progressing daily. Her dreams were the only place she could remember a family, someone who cared. But he insisted on intruding. Every happy memory and every nightmare included his presence. Why did he always show up? How could she get rid of him?

Lucessa tried for the millionth time to find a solution as she climbed under the covers. Who am I kidding? There was nothing she could do. He was a dream! A figment of her imagination. She sighed and resigned herself to another restless night.

Lucessa was a child again. The cold, pine-scented wind tangled her hair as she descended the mountain path in front of her parents. Her family’s annual summer camping trip to Yosemite National Park was in its third day, and that meant they’d conquered Half Dome for the third year straight. Ever since her parents deemed her old and skilled enough for the challenge, they hiked it together. As a family.

She looked back at her smiling parents as they held hands and strolled down the path after her. Her mother, Marie, looked casual in her jeans and the blue “Keep Lake Tahoe Blue” shirt that hugged her frame. Her father wore a San Francisco Giants baseball cap, a wisp of salt and pepper hair showing through. They looked like a couple out of the travel magazine that Lucessa had seen in her father’s study weeks ago.

“Dear, watch where you’re going!”

Lucessa turned back to the trail, nearly colliding with a man lounging against a tree just off the path. Dressed in a thigh-hugging pair of dark pants and a billowy tunic that had to be from at least a century ago, he pushed off the tree trunk and tipped his hat. His blue eyes sparkled with mischief in the evening twilight, letting off a faint glow. The man looked eerily recognizable.

She looked back to reassure her mother that she was okay. Lucessa scanned the woods behind her.

But they were gone. Only the familiar stranger remained.

Author Bio:
Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since.

In college, Christina took many courses to help develop and enhance her writing skills. She completed a seventy-page dissertation on the need for community policing in American society. Now, she focuses on Historical Romance, Urban Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance.

Christina lives in Northern California with her husband, daughter, two boxers, two cats, and a Beta fish named Marmaduke.  If she’s not behind a computer screen or book, she’s busy leading her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. She is very active in several writing groups and a local book group.

You can find Christina at the following haunts:

Follow Christina on Twitter!
Blog
Facebook
Goodreads
Amazon Buy Link for ONLY IN HER DREAMS
Email Christina at christinamcknight.author@yahoo.com

Mae Clair: The Booker Award ~ Five Fab Reads

I’ve been nominated by the talented Kate Meader to participate in the Booker Award.  Kate is one of my Six Sentence Sunday buddies whose excerpts always amaze me. Be sure to check out her blog for lively and engaging writing!

So exactly how does the Booker Award work? It targets literary and book-centered blogs.
The rules are simple:

Post your five favorite books of all time
Post the booker award icon
Nominate other bloggers to do the same

Here are mine:

CHECKMATE by Dorothy Dunnett
This is the last novel in THE LYMOND CHRONICLES a six book series detailing the life of Sir Francis Crawford of Lymond from 1547 through 1558. Lymond is undoubtedly the most aggravating yet mesmerizing character I’ve encountered in literature. I was never certain if I wanted to hit the man, applaud him or marry him!

The historical detail of the series is amazing. I’m singling out CHECKMATE because it’s the culmination of a massive read. I also love THE RINGED CASTLE, (second to last book) which takes place in the court of Russian Tsar, Ivan the Terrible. The only book I didn’t particularly care for was the second in the series, QUEEN’S PLAY, and that’s because I was so incredibly ticked by Lymond’s actions. Despite the gargantuan size of the series (each book is in the 600-700 page range) I’ve read it several times and am gearing up to read it again.

How to put this in highbrow literary prose? IT ROCKS! :D

THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING
by T.H. White
I’ve been in love with King Arthur since I was a teen, completely enamored of Camelot’s king. I first read THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING in junior high and have gone back several times since. Not only was it a compelling and lyrical read, but it left me with an amazing impression of chivalry, justice and ‘might vs. right.’ Although I’ve never been a Lancelot fan it was an adjustment getting used to him in this adaption as he is portrayed as ugly, even hideous. I can still vividly recall sitting in the library in eighth grade and giggling over the Questing Beast.  Hmm…there might be a Mythical Monday post in that! :D

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING by J.R.R. Tolkien
My tenth grade English teacher introduced me to Frodo, Gandalf and the group. Up until that point I was reading mainly science-fiction. I had no idea the world of fantasy existed. Unlike most readers who started with THE HOBBIT and went on to read THE LORD OF THE RINGS, I read them in reverse. That’s probably why the FELLOWSHIP resonates so strongly with me. It was my first exposure to the fantasy genre and it was pure magic.  I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read it.

A TALE OF TWO CITIES by Charles Dickens
This was a book I was assigned to read in junior high. Ugh!  Remember those? Despite the fact I’ve always been an avid reader, most of the have-to-read-books I was assigned in school made my eyes glaze over. That included a lot of classics (although I loved anything by Jack London and Mark Twain). Keep in mind, my reading of choice revolved around space creatures, monsters and anything ‘weird.’ Shockingly, I fell in love with this novel. Maybe it was the budding romantic in me. From the first page, I was sucked into the story and still love it today–not only for the emotional element but the historical detail as well.

THE ALIENIST by Caleb Carr
I loved the setting of this novel (1896 New York) and its blend of history, psychology and Sherlock Holmes-like detective work. It’s an historical crime novel but richly layered on multiple levels. There’s also an amazing sequel, THE ANGEL OF DARKNESS, which is every bit as compelling. I’m only sorry the author didn’t write a third with the same set of characters, particularly Dr. Laszlo Kreizler.

Another book I have to mention is THE TERROR by Dan Simmons. If you’re a frequent visitor to my blog, you’ve probably heard me talk about it before. The only reason it’s not at the top of my list is that I’m not sure it qualifies as a ‘literary’ read. The book is a richly detailed fictional account of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition to find the Northwest Passage in 1845. It combines elements of history, myth, horror and the supernatural and is by turns beautiful, lyrical, brutal and terrifying. The HMS Terror was one of two ships Franklin led into the artic, the other, the HMS Erebus.  The ships became trapped in the ice and the crews were never seen again. Simmons novel is a fictional accounting of what may have happened to the men after their vessels became trapped. If I had to name a single book as my favorite read of all time, it’s unquestionably this one.

And now, I’m pleased to nominate the following bloggers:

Sheri de Grom
Stephanie Ingram
L.J. Kentowski
Loni Flowers
Christina McKnight

What are your five faves?

Mae Clair: The Sunshine Award

Hey, everyone and happy Thursday! I’m skipping my maybe-might-become-weekly-haven’t-decided-yet Thursday Thirteen because I’m excited to say Kathleen Doyle nominated me for the Sunshine Award. Wow! If you haven’t figured it out by now, I tend to get jazzed about these things. :D Kathleen, thanks so much for thinking of me and my humble blogging haunt.

So how does the Sunshine Award work? ‘Tis fairly simple:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you *waving to Kathleen again*
  2. Post the award icon (see above. Nice, huh?)
  3. Answer the questions below
  4. Nominate ten other bloggers.

Fun, right? And you knoooow you won’t be able to sleep until you find out what my favorite color is. Make yourself comfy and I promise not to keep you in suspense. ;-)

  1. What is your favorite Christmas/festive movie?
    A Christmas Carol. I can’t tell you how many different versions I’ve seen. I never tire of seeing this tale retold. Definitely my favorite Christmas movie, but I also have an extreme fondness for Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Will Farrel’s Elf.
  2. What is your favorite flower?
    I’m a traditional romantic. I’ve always loved red roses best.
  3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic beverage?
    As boring as it sounds, water. I drink it constantly. I don’t like sodas, or any type of sweet drink. I do love my Keurig coffee maker but I can only drink so much coffee before my stomach protests.
  4. What is your passion?
    My hubby. Isn’t that romantic? :-)
    Okay, the love of my life aside, writing is definitely numero uno, but I also love reading, history, folktales and cats.
  5. What is your favorite time of year?
    Spring. Because everything is so new and green and lush, with the promise of summer hovering around the corner. After the cold and stark desolation of winter, I love the rebirth spring ushers in.
  6. What is your favorite time of day?
    Twilight, when the fading light is laced with threads of pewter and silver. It’s positively magical.
  7. What is your favorite physical activity?
    I love to dance! And I play a wicked game of ping-pong (stop laughing).
  8. What is your favorite vacation?
    Favorite vacation spot: I love the beach, coastal towns and seaports. The eastern seaboard is like a second home but I still love visiting it several times a year. Favorite vacation memory: Sedona, Arizona. Red rock, blue skies, artisans everywhere, and Native American hoop dancing that was just amazing. Oh, and I ate rattlesnake!

Now I’m supposed to nominate ten other people for this award. Here they are, blogging buddies and writers who create fantastic worlds:

L. J. Kentowski
Loni Flowers
Stephanie Ingram
Donna Cummings
Christina McKnight
Renita Pizzitola
Alicia Coleman
JM Stewart
Maryellen Brady
Susan Koenig

I hope you enjoy these blogs as much as I do. I’m a subscriber to each and every one, and always look forward to the diverse blogging posts they bring!

Oh . . . I seem to have overlooked that color thing. How dreadfully remiss of me. Actually, it’s a toss-up between blue and green. Still comfy?  Good. When I figure it out, I’ll let you know. Stay tuned. :D