Mae Clair’s Purrrfectly Giftastic G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y

Purrfectly GiftasticWelcome to the Purrrfectly Giftastic Christmas blog hop which runs December 14 through December 17 at midnight. Many thanks to Drea Beacraft for organizing such a great hop. You can find a list of all participating authors here.

Given the cute kitty mascot and the name of the hop, I thought I’d share a few memories of cats at Christmas.

Shortly after my husband I married, one of his co-workers offered us a kitten from a litter of farm cats. I’d grown up with two cats, two dogs and wanted a pet again. I named the kitten Arafel after the Lady of Trees in C.J. Cherryh’s fantasy novel THE TREE OF SWORDS AND JEWELS.

Arafel and McDoogal

Arafel and McDoogal

A year later, my brother needed to find a home for a beautiful two-year old gray and we took him on a ‘trial basis,’ worried how he would get along with Arafel. It was two weeks before they were able to tolerate one another, but they eventually grew as close as litter mates. Both cats loved climbing our Christmas tree and batting at dangling ornaments. If you saw Cadence Blue’s Pet Safety post on my blog earlier this week, you know these activities can be potentially dangerous to kitties. I remember coming downstairs one morning and finding both cats tucked among the branches of my Christmas tree. I think McDoogal went exploring and Arafel followed.She was the dominate one, but he was insatiably curious.

Onyx, Christmas 2002

Onyx, Christmas 2002

For Onyx, the last feline in my life (he died of cancer shortly after New Year’s 2012 when he was thirteen), the allure was artificial greens. It didn’t matter what kind — garland, faux trees, wreathes, etc. And the obsession didn’t stop with Christmas but continued throughout the year, encompassing dried plants, grasses and broom bristles. For the most part I couldn’t keep dried arrangements in the house, and constantly had to make sure my brooms were stored upside down with the bristles pointed skyward.

About five years ago my husband and I began using an artificial tree for Christmas and that presented a momentous temptation for Onyx – a feast of dried bristles. The odd thing was he didn’t look twice at real plants. I even bought him several varieties of cat grasses from a pet store and he wouldn’t touch them.

Wrapping paper was another favorite for all of my cats, good for attacking, rolling in, and using to slide across the carpet. Cats and wrapping paper go together like cats and writers. I always had a cat in my office, on the desk, my lap, or curled up on the floor beside me when I was writing. Onyx was there for the creation of WEATHERING ROCK my paranormal / time travel romance about a Civil War colonel who is transported to the present where he falls for a woman who teaches American history.

For my part in the Purrrfectly Giftastic Christmas blog hop I’m awarding a $10 gift card to Amazon. If you’re interested in winning, I invite you to hop over and “Like” my Amazon page for WEATHERING ROCK. Then leave a comment below letting me know you have.

I’d also love to hear any holiday memory you might have related to cats or pets in general. Don’t forget to include your email address if you’d like to be entered in my random.org drawing. I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday December 18, so be sure to check back to see if you’ve won. Comment moderation is on so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t appear immediately. I promise it won’t get lost. :D

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

WR Cover for webWEATHERING ROCK BLURB
Drawn together across centuries, will their love be strong enough to defeat an ancient curse?

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

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

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

Available for Purchase at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
Lyrical Press
iBooks

View Book Trailer for WEATHERING ROCK

Mae Clair: I Have a Winner!

I’m pleased to announce the winner of my $10 gift card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble: Veronika

Congrats, Veronika! Consider yourself showered with confetti. I will be contacting you by email to see which you prefer (Amazon or B&N).

The overall winners for the hop are:
Kindle Fire Winner:
Angela Heart
$75 Amazon Gift Card:
Emma D.
Swag Pack:
Kim Brooks

Thanks to everyone who dropped by and made the hop such a success and special thanks to Carrie Ann Ryan for organizing it. I also truly appreciate the new “likes” and follows given my Facebook page and blog. You guys rock! :D What an amazingly fun hop!

~ooOOoo~

I don’t usually blog on the weekend, but I’ve got to share what happened yesterday, given the whole concept of the hop was to share thoughts about Black Friday shopping.

Yesterday (THE day of retail chaos) I ended up with some time to kill, so I decided to venture into the melee. It was around 1PM when I suffered this appalling lack of sanity. I reasoned the bulk of the crowds would be gone given most shoppers were up before sunrise. WRONG! Oh, how pathetically, dreadfully wrong! I shudder even now thinking about it.

But in my moment of bravery lunacy, I hit the local Kohl’s. The parking lot was packed (warning flag #1), but I managed to find a spot at the end. I told myself I’d driven that far, so why not go inside?  It was crowded – – okay, bustling (warning flag #2) – – but I thought “I can do this.”

Oblivious to the throngs around me, I picked up several items, then headed to the register. That’s when reality kicked in (“Danger, danger, Will Robinson!”).

I couldn’t see the end of the line. It was like one of those diminishing winding snake-things you see in a cartoon, wrapping from the front of the store to the back. On, and on, and on. I never did see where it ended. And the people waiting had CARTLOADS of merchandise. That’s when “I can do this” became “forget it.” I put everything back and left.

The good news is that I returned at 6:30 AM this morning and got everything I wanted for the same Black Friday prices. Best of all, there were only a handful of people in the store. Much more my speed.

Added bonus: I was able to drag my husband with me given he wanted to go out for breakfast (bribery works! :)) . So we hit Kohl’s, had breakfast, then hit Boscov’s. I can’t tell you the deals I came home with. Turns out I’m still a Black Friday shopper, after all – as long as it’s on Saturday!

I hope however you spent your Black Friday, you had fun!

DISCO FEVER: WELCOME TO THE 1970s

I am excited to welcome author Carrie Crain as she celebrates the release of her delightfully charming tween novel THE ADVENTURES OF AUSTIN GIRL AND THE LEGEND OF DIABLO.

Austin Girl is adorable, smart and feisty. She is thirteen going on twenty and she is thrown into a dystopian world where disco rules and the air reeks of polyester. Let’s talk about the songs in the novel and the songs Carrie listened to while writing this zany book.

Carrie’s Music Playlist

Carrie compiled her official list of songs that she actually listened to while writing her debut children’s novel, THE ADVENTURES OF AUSTIN GIRL AND THE LEGEND OF DIABLO. If I had thought about it, I would have asked her to include the food she ate. LOL. LOL.

Chapter 1: The Kidnapping
El Paso by Marty Robbins
Drifter by Slyvia
Should’ve Been a Cowboy by Toby Keith
Lucky One by Raul Malo

Chapter 2: Austin Girl
Theme from the Mary Tyler Moore Show by Sonny Curtis
Love in the First Degree by Alabama
Ready for the Storm by Kathy Mattea
Jackson by Johnny Cash and June Carter
Crying by Roy Orbison

Chapter 3: Diablo
Boogie Nights by Heat Wave
Stayin’ Alive by The Bee Gees
Makin’ It by Starlite Singers
Escape by Rupert Holmes

Chapter 4: Lucky’s Antiques
Sad Eyes by Robert John
Fly Robin Fly by Silver Convention

Chapter 5: The Samurai Sword
Theme from Halloween by Orlando Pops Orchestra & Aleksander Santi
Gimme Some Lovin’ by Spencer Davis Group
Cowboys and Angels by George Michael
Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough by Michael Jackson

Chapter 6: Mystery Trunk Person
Who Are You by The Who
I Can Feel Your Heartbeat by The Partridge Family
Flying High Again by Ozzy Osbourne
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly
Disco Duck by The Hit Crew
Hotline by The Sylvers

Chapters 7 & 8: The Geisha and Madame Ursa
Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves by Cher
Dark Lady by Cher
I’d Wait a Million Years by The Grass Roots

Chapter 9: Contacting All Diablos
Wishing On a Star by Rose Royce
No Way Out by Jefferson Starship
Under the Milky Way by The Church

Chapter 10: Hot Rod Custom Style
Dance, Dance, Dance by Countdown
I Only Have Eyes for You by The Flamingos

Chapter 11: Star and Harold
Space Age Love Song by A Flock of Seagulls
Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra
Wild Flower by The Cult

Chapter 12: Demon in Disguise
I Love the Nightlife by Alicia Bridges

Chapter 13: The Game Room
Light My Fire by The Doors
She’s Not There by The Zombies

Chapter 14: The Hovels
Loves Plus One by Haircut 100
More, More, More by Andrea True
No Time by The Guess Who

Chapter 15: Steal Diablo’s Bling
Paranoid by Black Sabbath

Chapter 16: Diablo Woman
Devil Woman by Cliff Richards
(You’re The) Devil in Disguise by Elvis Presley

Chapter 17: Bob
Turning Japanese by The Vapors

Music Playlist
Stranglehold by Ted Nugent from the Dazed and Confused Soundtrack

Writing This
Blinded by the Light by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

THE ADVENTURES OF AUSTIN GIRL AND THE LEGEND OF DIABLO

EXCERPT:
Chapter One
The Kidnapping

The sound of a backfire rattled store windows on the downtown street as Lucky Stevens parked his piece of hippy junk on the East side of Lucky’s Antiques located at 13 Concho Avenue. He drove a flower power Volkswagen bus. The bus was one of those rare 23 windowed jobs with curtains—a residence on wheels. Straightening his suspenders, he stepped out into the dusty landscape, newspaper in hand. He moseyed past a 1960 black Chevy Pie Wagon parked up ahead, admiring the car. The hot rod was decked out custom style with red and orange flames painted horizontally across the sides and hood. He tipped his beaver Stetson hat to the female driver and grinned handsomely. The pink-haired woman was preoccupied with talking to a Magic 8 Ball and didn’t notice the fifty-year-old cowboy.

Scratching his chin, he leisurely strolled up to a period oak and stained glass door. He reached in his Wrangler jeans front pocket and extracted a set of keys. He put the key in the lock and opened the door to a familiar sight. His antique store was housed in a red brick building in Checkered Past, Texas. He could sniff out valuable antiques just by employing his sixth sense. Lucky adjusted his string tie that matched his belt that matched his ostrich quill boots. He was in love with ‘vintage everything’ including his clothes and gentleman accouterments. Ambling through the door, he removed his Panama Jack sunglasses. His gait was deliberate, like a sore racehorse. Bells jingled like rowels on a spur letting out the sounds of commerce. Lucky may have been a little deaf, but he wasn’t so deaf that he couldn’t hear money jingle in the pockets of those who entered into his world. Lucky flipped on the lights and made a silly face at the store’s security camera.

Lucky laid his morning Austin American-Statesman newspaper down on the cracked countertop beside the turn of the century cash register, and looked at the time on his 40 year-old Rolex he’d won in a bidding war at an estate sale of one of Lyndon Johnson’s cousins so many years ago. It was still early for shoppers, just a little half past seven a.m. on Friday.

A set of white pine plank stairs off to the side began to creak. They led to the attic. Lucky housed antiques there that were part of his private collection, including one secret item in particular that oddly wasn’t for sale. He ditched his attention to the paper and walked over to the bottom of the stairs, looking up into the darkness. “Skinny, you up there?” Lucky hollered sharply. His young stock boy didn’t answer. Shrugging, he turned around to walk off. A thump on his noggin sent Lucky crashing to the hardwood floor. His Stetson flew off of his gray haired head and skidded across the floor like ice on marble. Staggering to his feet, he rubbed the back of his head. “What the—?”

Meet Carrie Crain!
Carrie Crain is an author of quirky comedies, adventurous romance and erotic horror including her Nov 2012 tween novel debut, THE ADVENTURES OF AUSTIN GIRL AND THE LEGEND OF DIABLO, and her 2013 erotic horror release, THE CONTRACT. Carrie received her bachelor of arts in Sociology from the University of Oklahoma and studied graduate-level screenwriting and creative writing in fiction at UCLA. When she is not writing, she is either painting, picking up dog poo, playing golf or writing lame jokes while drinking red wine.


Contact Info:

Website
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CarrieCrainBooks and www.facebook.com/LegendofDiablo
Twitter: @CarrieCrain and @LegendofDiablo
Goodreads

Want to purchase Carrie’s novel, The Adventures of Austin Girl and the Legend of Diablo? Buy it here:

Amazon (paperback)
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

Contest Time!
Make sure you stick around and comment. Follow @CarrieCrain and @LegendofDiablo for double the chances. We’ll be giving away a copy of THE ADVENTURES OF AUSTIN GIRL AND THE LEGEND OF DIABLO either in paperback or e-book (winner’s choice) and a mousepad depicting the novel’s cover. How fun is that?!


What weapon is Austin Girl holding on the novel cover?
What animal is on the book cover?

Answer both correctly and double your chances. Tweet the answers + comment, doubles your chances!!!

Comment those answers & Tweet your answers using hashtag #TeamAustinGirl or #TeamDiablo (doesn’t matter which hashtag).

The contest ends at sunrise tomorrow. So, get going!!

Mae Clair: Winners and Travel!

I’m pleased to announce the winners from my Howloween Hop giveaway. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did, and that you’re all safe and dry now that the worst of Superstorm Sandy seems to be behind us. I know many areas are still without power, battling cleanup or buried under snow. Talk about a Halloween Trick!  Wow! At least I can offer some treats:

The winner of my $15.00 gift card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble is:
Shadow

The winner of my novel WEATHERING ROCK for Kindle or Nook is:
throuthehaze

Winners, please be on the lookout for an email from me telling you how to claim your prizes.

At this point, I’d also like to invite you to ride along with me as I hop over to Trish Jackson’s blog haunt, Romance Ramble, where I’ll be blabbing about WEATHERING ROCK, Caleb and Arianna again.

We’ll catch a ride with the hunky, courtly colonel on his horse, Ranger. Who could resist that?  ;-)

For a complete list of all my tour stops visit my WEATHERING ROCK Tour Schedule page. Caleb, Arianna and I have a lot of sharing to do!

Mae Clair’s Mythical Monday with G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y: A Ghost Story

It’s a Mythical Monday, and also the last day for Howloween Hop. For a list of all participating authors, visit the Blog Hop Howloween event page. There are lots of treats to be had!

I will be giving away two prizes:

A $15.00 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice)

A copy of my paranormal / time travel release, WEATHERING ROCK in Kindle or Nook format (winner’s choice)

Read through to discover how you can win. I hope you’ll also take a moment to sit back as I share a ghost story in honor of Mythical Monday. Normally, I would delve into legend or a bit of folklore that intrigues me for an MM post, but today I’m going to share something personal.

My father. Burma, India. WWII

Those of you who follow my blog regularly have probably seen one or two posts related to my father. He died of cancer when I was 13. I’m the youngest of four siblings and came as a late-in-life-baby to my parents. My mother was 39 when I was born, my father 40.  There aren’t many people my age who can say their father was a veteran of WWII, but I have several friends who are able to say that about their grandparents.

Growing up, I never really considered how much older my parents were, probably because they supported me in everything I did. When it came to writing, they were my biggest fans.I inherited my gift for words from my dad. He used to dabble with writing when he was young, but his real passion was art.

When WWII ended he left the service and enrolled in art college. His preferred medium was oil paints but, occasionally, he worked with charcoal, pastels and even water colors. After art college, he returned to the service where he stayed for the Korean War. That’s how he met my mom – – teaching at a war barracks. According to my mother, he walked into the restaurant her parents owned, ordered a ham and cheese sandwich, and her mother asked her to take it to his table. The rest, as they say, is history. :)

So what’s with the ghost story?

When my father was in art school, he lived with his older brother, and his brother’s family. My Uncle Ross and Aunt Judy had several young children at the time, who found my father extremely engaging. To indulge his nieces and nephew, he painted a whimsical representation of a flibbertigibbet for them. Sort of a scatterbrained, mischievous imp. Keep in mind he painted this years before he married my mother. No one in my family knew the painting existed (although we do have several others he did after he and my mother married).

Fast-forward to about a year ago when two of my cousins and I hooked up through email. We’ve never met, and they live in a different state. I can’t even remember how we found one another, but we did. Talk about exciting! Then I learned my father had painted something for them when they were kids, and they promised to ship it to me.

There were obstacles along the way, so it took some time, but it finally arrived last week. When I saw the box, I asked my husband to help me open it, saying “I want to see my Dad’s painting.” At that precise moment, there was a crash.

I had no clue what it was, but I remember jumping and asking “What was that?” My husband was coming from the other room and hadn’t heard it. Not seeing anything out of the ordinary, and excited about the painting, I quickly forgot about it.

The next morning as I was coming down the steps, I noticed two of the framed pictures on the drum table in my formal living room were lying face down. I asked my husband about them, and he said “That must have been the crash you heard last night.”

Onyx, the drum table, and the bow window. One of his favorite perches.

I put them back in place and joked, saying it must have been our cat, Onyx, wanting to get in the bow window (we had to put Onyx to sleep last January because of cancer). It wasn’t until I was on my way to work that morning that I mulled it over some more, remembering when the crash occurred – – precisely when I wanted to open the painiting.

When I got home that night, I examined the pictures – – two ordinary family photos – – one of me with my sisters and one with my husband.

Are you familiar with the folding leg behind a frame that holds a picture upright? Fold it in, and the picture falls backward. Gravity will not allow it to fall forward unless it’s pushed or something propels it.

Hmm.

When my cousin shipped the painting to me, she sent an email that said, “Somehow I feel as though I’ve sent it home to where it should be.”

The flibbertigibbet painting, over 60 years old.

Had my father made his presence felt, welcoming home something he’d painted over sixty-odd years in the past? Or was it perhaps my mother (who died this summer), excited to see a work she’d never known about? There is no rational explanation to explain how those photos fell forward, not backward. I usually don’t buy into things like that but, in this case, I can’t chalk it up to coincidence.

Yeah, Dad. I know you were there.

So, for today’s Mythical Monday, and to be entered into the last day of my Howloween Hop gift drawing, leave a comment with your email. Do you have a favorite ghostly story, real or fictional? What gives you shivers?

I’ll be announcing the winner tomorrow on my blog, so check back to see if you’ve won. I also hope you’ll give WEATHERING ROCK a look-see. If you like werewolves, hunky heroes and romance, I think you’ll enjoy what’s in store.

And, finally, although I’m not making it mandatory, I would really LOVE if you’d sign up to follow my blog, and/or give my Facebook Author Page a “Like.” Really, guys, you can’t lose! I talk about some interesting stuff! :D

Happy Howloween!

Mae Clair: Congrats to My Blog Hop Winner!

The Fourth of July has come and gone with picnics, swimming pools and fireworks. I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday.  Yesterday at midnight also marked the end of the Celebrating Independence Blog Hop. I’m pleased to announce quayz91 as the winner of my $20 gift card to Amazon.com.

Quayz, I’ve sent you an email. Please be on the lookout for it. 

Thank you to everyone who participated and signed up to follow my blog. I had a lot of fun (it was my first hop) and I definitely plan on doing it again! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my future posts and the ramblings I’ll be sharing on everything from writing, reading, my journey toward publication and some craziness in general.

I do have exciting news I am anxious to share:  we’re very close to a cover for Weathering Rock. I’ve seen the initial drafts and it’s gorgeous!!! My cover artist at Lyrical Press has done an amazing job.  I can’t wait to unveil it for all of you. Hopefully, next week.

Stay tuned. Good things await! :)

Celebrating Independence Blog Hop: Happy 4th!

Happy Independence Day, everyone! Today is the final day of the Celebrating Independence Blog Hop, and the last chance to gobble up goodies and giveaways from participating authors. I can’t believe how quickly the days flew by! Thanks again to Drea Becraft for putting together such an awesome hop and to everyone who’s visited my blog.

If this is your first time here during the hop, I’m awarding an $20 gift card to Amazon.

For your chance to win, simply subscribe to my blog via email in the upper right sidebar and leave a comment that you’ve signed up. I’ll be announcing the lucky winner tomorrow.

Also, while you’re here, I hope you’ll take a moment to read the blurb on my debut novel, WEATHERING ROCK, which will be released by Lyrical Press on October 8, 2012. It involves a hunky werewolf, a feisty heronie, time travel, plus lots of mystery and romantic suspense.

Blurb for Weathering Rock:

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

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

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

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

Have a safe and happy Fourth!