Looking Back at 2014 by Mae Clair

It seems only natural that we glance back over the previous year as we get ready to transition to a new one. As a kid, I looked at New Year’s Eve as a so-so holiday. Sure, it was fun to stay up and watch that glittery ball drop in Times Square, but there really wasn’t much more to recommend it.

Champagne bottle resting on glittery gold stars and a clock face about to strike midnightWhen I got older, and met my husband, we enjoyed parties out with friends, ringing in in the New Year with large groups of people. But the older we grew, we gradually transitioned into New Year’s Eve being a quiet holiday at home. It has become “our holiday,” the one festive night of the year we celebrate solely alone…a late night candlelight dinner, champagne, just the two of us. As a result, I’ve grown to view what I once considered a so-so holiday as a charmed night. Not just for the romantic date-night ambiance, but also the bewitchment of one year bowing before the next. I’ve come to view that magical moment when the clock strikes twelve with a combination of whimsy, nostalgia and excitement.

I’m happy for the new writer/blogging friends I made in 2014, and the wonderful friendships I’ve maintained. I’ve discovered some great new blogs, authors and books, and am continually amazed by the peer-support in the online writing community. Guys, if I haven’t said it before—you rock!! What an amazing network!

Personally, I managed to pull off a few feats in 2014. It seems there’s always something waiting on my radar. This past year, I became a contracted author with Kensington Publishing when Lyrical Press was acquired by the New York house. I saw both of my two previous titles with Lyrical (WEATHERING ROCK and TWELFTH SUN) re-released through Kensington, with both titles going to print shortly.

Cover KindleI wrote my first novella, SOLSTICE ISLAND, and indie published it on Kindle. I also designed the cover for SOLSTICE ISLAND, which had me feeling pretty pumped up (Rah!). Strike a few more “firsts” off my list.

After that, I indie published ECLISPE LAKE to Kindle AND *gulp* print using Amazon’s CreateSpace. It took me a while to actually buckle down and make myself tackle the latter, but I’m delighted to have MY book in my hands at last. I remember how I used to dream of that moment when I was a little girl, laboriously writing stories out longhand in a loose-leaf notebook.

I submitted a romantic suspense/mystery novel, MYTH AND MAGIC, to Kensington which was accepted for publication. I just finished the galleys for that one, and if all goes according to schedule, MYTH AND MAGIC will release in June of 2015.

I am presently *thisclose* to finishing the first draft of my Mothman romantic suspense/mystery. My goal is to submit the ms to Kensington by February of 2015 then gnaw on my fingernails, er…work on something else, while I wait to see if it’s accepted.

book lying on it's spine, face-up with pages fanned openFinally, I am a voracious reader and devoured 65 books this year, the same as last year. I had hoped for more, but the learning curve with indie publishing took a toll on my time. All in all, not a bad year. I can only hope that 2015 will be as productive!

Have you already set goals for yourself for the coming year? Mine include launching a newsletter, doing my first book signing, and—of course—more writing. What about you?

Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair, Now in Print

Need something for the book love on your holiday list? What about a stocking stuffer for the bibliophile in your life? I’m excited to announce that ECLIPSE LAKE is now available in print, just in time for the holidays!

Book cover for Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair depicting a summer lake with rushes at sunset

BLURB

Small towns hold the darkest secrets. 

Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.

But memories in small towns are bitter and long.

Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.

Review Snippets

Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair is powerful reading, a dark plot with shafts of hope shining through…Fast-paced, written in Mae Clair’s signature gritty elegance, she combines family, love, mystery and redemption like an artist creating a masterpiece!

—D. Bylo, Tome Tender Book Reviews  

Mae Clair does an excellent job of building emotion and intrigue, and racing you to the conclusion of the story. I love three-dimensional characters and I wasn’t disappointed.

—H. Senesac

Mae Clair has created characters, a place, and a story that masterfully over flows with all the stuff that great stories are made of… She knows how to weave a fabulous tale, and as reader you know early to let go and let her take you on an amazing ride.

—V. Kennedy 

This was a sweet, emotional, and beautifully written page turner. Mae Clair has a knack for putting me in a scene with her characters. Her lush descriptions fill my senses.

—J. Gage, Gotta Read Book Reviews 

Purchase ECLIPSE LAKE from:
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Print

Add ECLIPSE LAKE to your Goodreads List 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

A Three Blog Visit by Mae Clair

Eclipse Lake WidgetI’m packing up today and traveling with ECLIPSE LAKE. Should you be out roaming about the blogosphere you can find me at the following haunts discussing the following topics:

Tera Shanley (A look at family dynamics, romance and mystery)
Christina McKnight (Book promo post)
You Gotta Read Reviews (How settings influence what we write)

I hope you’ll have a chance to ghost around a few and say hello! :)

The Early Buzz on ECLIPSE LAKE by Mae Clair

It’s only three days since I’ve released ECLIPSE LAKE and I’m soaring. I didn’t have the luxury of sending out ARCs but I’ve already received my first review from Dii at Tome Tender Book Reviews. Here’s a snippet from her review that really resonated with me:

“Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair is powerful reading, a dark plot with shafts of hope shining through. I’m not sure there is an emotion that she didn’t rip right out of me, I was angry, felt sorrow, felt the love between a father and son, the pride between these two and the budding love between two strangers. I think I actually despised a few characters, in spite of their reasoning for being antagonistic. Did some of them redeem themselves? Yes, definitely, but MY emotional toll was high! I may have crossed the veil between fiction and reality for a while, Mae Clair is that good at creating her scenes, building her world and plunging her readers in, heart first. Populated with well-defined characters that feel real, it was easy to pick out my favorites and to hiss at the villains!

Fast-paced, written in Mae Clair’s signature gritty elegance, she combines family, love, mystery and redemption like an artist creating a masterpiece! Highly Recommended reading!”

Happy woman jumping in a field of flowersOh my! Am I happy? Beside myself is more like it!  Of the whole review (you can read the entire review here should you like to take a gander) what really jumped out at me was the words “signature gritty elegance.”  No one has ever described my style like that before, but as soon as I read the phrase I realized the reviewer connected with me on a level all authors hope to achieve. She “got” me.

Wow, oh, wow!  I’m excited about the early buzz on ECLIPSE LAKE (especially because I haven’t had the luxury of broadcasting the release the way I’d like) and had to share the news. You guys have been with me through ups and downs, including the early days when this book was just a glimmer on my WIP radar. Of all the novels I’ve written, it feels like it’s taken the longest. It’s wonderful to finally see results and to be able to share those results with my blogging friends.

Today, I’m visiting Gemma Brocato with a short excerpt from the book. Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing Fun Facts about ECLIPSE LAKE with Lorraine Paton, and the uber-friendly Kitt Crescendo will be giving ECLIPSE LAKE the spotlight treatment on her blog. I hope you can pop in for a few of the stops.

In parting, I’ll leave you with an excerpt from ECLIPSE LAKE I haven’t shared anywhere else. Although the story focuses on Dane Carlisle, his estranged brother Jonah, and Dane’s attraction for Ellie Sullivan, a photojournalist visiting Eclipse Lake, there is also an unsolved mystery at the heart of the novel. A mystery, Dane’s seventeen-year-old adopted son, Jesse becomes embroiled in.  In this scene, we get Jesse’s first impression of Onyx, Pennsylvania after being dragged across the map from California by his dad.

~ooOOoo~

Eclipse Lake WidgetIt didn’t suck. Pennsylvania wasn’t a complete bust.

Jesse slipped a pair of polarized sunglasses over his eyes to block the glare as he surveyed Eclipse Lake. A powerboat streaked past, parting the water in a perfect vee. Numbered buoys bobbed in the boat’s diminishing wake as the ripples rolled outward from the channel.

Eclipse wasn’t salt water, but it was still water, and he was almost as comfortable handling a boat as he was a bow. He’d won enough medals in tournament archery to know he was a cut above excellent. Give him a recurve bow and he could take out the competition. Give him a boat, and he’d open the throttle and let it scream. Both experiences brought the same exhilaration, which according to his father made him highly competitive and reckless.

Yeah. Just like him.

The man didn’t get to be owner of a multi–million dollar company by sitting on his duff and playing it safe. Unlike Jesse’s natural father, a dead–beat who’d taken off shortly before he was born, sticking his mom with a load of debt. The best thing that ever could have happened to them, in Jesse’s opinion. The creep was probably doing time somewhere by now and, if he wasn’t, he deserved to be.

Strolling to the end of the dock, he stuffed his hands in his pockets. The marina wasn’t large, but had trailer parking, a boat launch, bait shop and equipment rental. Flat–bottom johnboats, pontoons and modified v–bottoms were available for rent by the hour or day. He’d already checked the prices, deciding to spend tomorrow on the water unless his dad had other plans.

“Hey, how ’bout a hand?”

Startled from his thoughts, he turned as a guy near his age trundled down the bank, his arms loaded with fishing gear. Tackle, floatation device, bait bucket, even an oar tucked under one arm. A five–pound anchor slipped from his grip and clanked against the dock.

Jesse caught the attached rope before it could plop into the water.

“Thanks.” The kid flashed a grin. He had light brown hair, an earnest face and wore a navy t–shirt advertising Eclipse Lake Marina across the back. “Clyde keeps me busy getting the rental boats ready.” He jerked his head over his shoulder, indicating a separate dock area were a series of johnboats bobbed between pilings. “Oar, anchor, floatation device. We’ve got a special running right now for a four–hour minimum.” He dropped the equipment at his feet, taking a moment to catch his breath. “I haven’t seen you around. Visitor or summer resident?”

“Visitor. Here for the week.”

The kid nodded. Squatting, he popped open the tackle box and began rummaging through its contents.

“So you work here?” Jesse asked.

“Yeah.” He flashed another grin. “I’m Keith Gallery. My dad’s a deputy sheriff for Onyx.”

“Jesse Carlisle. My dad and I are staying down the road in one of the cabins. We’re from San Diego.”

Keith gave a low whistle. “That must have been a long flight.”

Jesse shrugged. His father always flew first class. He saw no reason to tell Keith he’d kicked back with a headset, bottled water and food that was almost passable. Jet lag wasn’t a problem. “It’s kind of cool here. How long have you been working at the marina?”

“This is my second summer.” Keith glanced at his watch. “I’m almost done. Another fifteen minutes and I’m meeting some friends from town. Hang around and we’ll show you the sights.”

Onyx had sights?

Before Jesse could respond, a shrill whistle drew his attention. Whipping his head around, he saw a guy and girl walking down the bank from the parking lot. The girl waved, a hand held to her eyes to block the sun.

Keith grinned. “That’s Paige and Zach.” Flipping the tackle box shut, he stood. “Once I’m done, we can scope out the lake with them. Zach’s only here for the summer, but Paige lives in Onyx year–round.”

Jesse barely heard the reference to the lanky youth with shaggy brown hair. The girl had his full attention. She was small–boned with apricot hair and a smile that lit up her face even from a distance. Jean shorts showcased shapely legs and skin the color of warm honey.

Jesse’s mouth went dry. “They together?”

“Just friends. We all are.”

“Good. I’d scope out anything with her.”

Keith laughed. “Then you should have been with her last night up at Ridge Pointe. Come on.” He shoved the tackle box into Jesse’s arms, then bent to pick up the rest of the gear. “Help me pack this stuff in a boat, and I’ll call it a day. Paige can tell you about the skull she and Zach found.”

Jesse blinked. “Skull?”

“Yeah. Turned out to be a whole freaking skeleton when forensics got there.” Keith lobbed a glance over his shoulder. “Hey, you didn’t think it was going to be boring here, did you?”

~ooOOoo~

Thanks for visiting with me today. You can purchase ECLIPSE LAKE at Amazon and add it to your TBR list on Goodreads. Mystery, romance, family drama and redemption—I like a multi-layered plot! :D

Enjoy Romance and Mystery? Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair is Now Available!

I’m high-jacking Mythical Monday today so I can announce the publication of my latest release, ECLIPSE LAKE. I’m excited to kick off summer with a romantic mystery set at a sleepy lake resort in late June. The timing couldn’t be better!

That’s one of the benefits of indie-pubbing—being able to pick when you’ll release your novel. ECLIPSE LAKE is equal parts mystery and romance, a strong 50/50 mix of each. If you’ve visited my blog before, you’ve heard me babble about this title, but I’ll give you a run-down again anyway. :)

Book cover for Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair depicting a summer lake with rushes at sunset

Here’s the blurb:

Small towns hold the darkest secrets. 

Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.

But memories in small towns are bitter and long.

Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.

Sound tempting?  ECLIPSE LAKE is a story about family relationships, forgiveness and redemption played against a backdrop of mystery and romance. You can snatch a Kindle copy from Amazon now. I hope to eventually release this title in print and will be uploading it to Smashwords as soon as I venture a bit further with my learning curve.

Look for a blog tour with fun giveaways down the road. In the meantime, I invite you to hop over to Amazon and discover the mystery and romance of ECLIPSE LAKE. I’d also love if you would add it to your Goodreads list, upping its exposure. This one is PG-13 but does contain some language. Dane Carlisle is a bit of a different type of hero for me . . . and he still made me swoon :D

Mythical Monday:  Something’s Mything by Mae Clair

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

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

Tour Banner Twelfth Sun

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

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

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

May 15
Musings of a Writing Reader – Promo with excerpt

May 20
Mythical Books – Review

May 21
Have Novel, Will Edit – Promo with excerpt

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

May 26
My Devotional Thoughts – Promo with excerpt

May 28
Literary Nook – Promo with excerpt

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

June 2
Crystal’s Many Reviewers – Review

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

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

~ooOOoo~

ECLIPSE LAKE

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

I still hope to publish this title in June.

~ooOOoo~

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

~ooOOoo~

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

~ooOOoo~

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

Cover Reveal: ECLIPSE LAKE by Mae Clair

I love having cover reveals, especially when I get to do one of my own. :D If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’ve been working on ECLIPSE LAKE for some time.

My romantic mystery is centered on a fifteen-year-old missing person’s case. I chose
May 1st for the reveal because it’s my mother’s birthday. Although she is no longer living, it’s my special day for remembering her. Tonight, my siblings and I will visit her grave, sing Happy Birthday to her, then get together for dinner, and toast her memory. She was a huge fan of my writing, so I thought today would be an ideal time to share ECLIPSE LAKE.

ECLIPSE LAKE
Genre: Romantic Mystery
Length: 84,000 Words
Releasing: June 2014
Cover Artist:  Laura Gordon

Shot of a lake at summer twilight

BLURB: 

Small towns hold the darkest secrets.

Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown, a successful businessman. Careful to have kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son, he soon discovers memories in small towns are bitter and long.

Ellie Sullivan is a nature photographer for a national magazine. Her latest assignment takes her to Onyx, a rural community tucked in northwestern Pennsylvania on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Within a matter of days, she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, long buried secrets threaten her growing attraction for Dane.

EXCERPT:

Ellie should have called it a night but the warm cloak of twilight kept her outside with Dane. High in the branches of clustering oaks, tree frogs struck up a chorus singing to one another in chattering voices. Water lapped against the shoreline, rolling over smooth pebbles and weedy clumps of grass.

“So I guess you’re a celebrity.” Dane’s lips curled in a crooked smile. He sent her a sideways glance, his blue-green eyes luminous in the darkness. “You can’t get much better than Coast to Coast when it comes to journalistic prestige. Aren’t you a little young to be…”

“Successful?”

He was distressingly attractive, no two ways about it. Walking side by side with layers of twilight wrapped about them made her realize how potentially distracting he could be. Lethal to her stay in Onyx, if she allowed herself to become enamored. They’d had a nice dinner, but she had a job to do. That would be the end of it. She wasn’t looking for a romantic interlude no matter how magnetic she found him. So why did her heart flip-flop like a fish on dry land?

“I’m twenty-seven,” she told him. “Not that it matters, but I’ve worked hard to get where I am.”

“You look younger.”

“And you must be older than you seem. Your son has to be at least sixteen.”

“Seventeen. Jesse’s adopted. My late wife’s child from a previous relationship.”

“Oh.” She clamped her mouth shut. Discussing careers was one thing, past entanglements another. The thought of Dane as a widower made her uncomfortable. He’d told her his wife had died, but she hadn’t wrapped her head around the heart-breaking anguish of losing a spouse. “I…um…” Suddenly she couldn’t find anything to say. He’d adopted a child. Was sympathetic, generous, cordial. And good-looking. Did they really make men like him? No wonder she felt flighty, like a schoolgirl on her first date.

“Jesse was six when I adopted him,” Dane continued, unaware of her discomfort. “I’ve never thought of him in any way but as my own kid. Most of the time we get along.
Tonight—” His smile returned, thinner than before, and he shook his head. “He’s at the point where he’s constantly testing me. Almost a man. He’s angry because I haven’t told him why I’m here.”

She stopped walking and turned to face him. “Why are you?”

He picked up a flat stone. With a flick of his wrist he sent it skimming across the lake. It danced effortlessly across the surface as if he’d done the same thing a thousand times before. “You know that skeleton they found?”

She nodded.

“I’ve got more skeletons than a graveyard. I can’t pick up and go to another place…to the next photo shoot.” He turned to face her. “Half of my life is here and half’s on the west coast. I have to make them fit together.”

The revelation reminded her of the family she’d left behind in Idaho, reawakening a familiar tug of homesickness. How had a nice dinner morphed into such a somber discussion? In an effort to find more comfortable ground, she changed topics. “You told me you’re from San Diego. I did a photo op there four years ago. What do you do for a living?”

“I get by.” He took her hand and started walking again.

She sent a speculative glance in his direction, recognizing evasiveness when she heard it. He was wearing a Rolex, and though dressed casually, clearly had expensive taste. Yet he’d booked an ordinary cabin rather than one of the exclusive chalets higher up the mountain.

She liked the feel of his fingers around hers, warm and firm. The contact sent a pleasant tingle up her arm. What was wrong with her, getting caught up in his touch as if it were magic? As if she’d waited her whole life for that sensation. He had skeletons in his past, a brother who couldn’t stand the sight of him and a sheriff who wanted to run him out of town.

Eccentric or just plain trouble?

~ooOOoo~