Writing with Friends by Mae Clair

I was recently tagged by the lovely and super energetic Kitt Crescendo in a “Writing Process” related blog hop. Kitt writes sizzling racy novels and has already burst onto the scene with two hot releases. She’s a very active blogger, a supportive friend, and someone with a strong passion for music. You’ll find her blogging about all of her many diverse interests (usually with a twist of humor or heart-felt  passion) at The Inner Wild Kat
Just don’t mention frogs around her and you’ll be fine :)

Thanks for the tag, Kitt!

Ok, the way the blog tag works, I’m supposed to answer four questions related to my writing style then tag three other bloggers to carry on the torch. You’ll meet those enchanting ladies at the end of this post, but first the questions with my answers:

Manuscript from Author with Red Twine CloseupWhat am I working on?
A lot! :D I actually have three projects going on right now. The first, SOLSTICSE ISLAND, is a short romantic adventure involving the search for a mythical sea creature. My first venture into indie publishing, I hope to release it later this month.

I also have a full-length romantic mystery called ECLIPSE LAKE that revolves around a fifteen-year-old missing person’s case. I’m also indie-pubbing that and hope to have it available in May/June.

MYTH AND MAGIC is a Halloween-themed romantic mystery that I had originally planned to release in October. As it stands now, I’ll be offering it to my new publisher Kensington Books, when it’s ready, as they have first option. If Kensington passes, I will indie pub as I originally planned…hopefully, even meeting that October deadline. Of course, I’d love to see it with Kensington too!

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
My books, especially the more I progress, tend to straddle two genres . . . romance and mystery. I would place the ratio at about 70% mystery to 30% romance, so the mystery element is probably the stronger theme. That said, I’m a romantic at heart, so each story still has a romance (usually star-crossed) to complicate matters for my hero and heroine.

Why do I write what I do?
I’ve always been intrigued by the unknown. I enjoy crafting “what if” possibilities and dropping my hero and heroine into situations where they’re forced to unravel secrets. My favorite types of novels are those that make me think, while satisfying the romantic in me. It’s why I enjoy weaving elements of myth and mystery with romance in my stories. I like to keep my readers guessing.

I also love family dynamics, a theme that is usually front-and-center in everything I write.

How does my writing process work?
I usually always start with a single character and an obstacle. Other characters grow from there, weaving the plot as they develop. Most of that takes place in my head before I start making notes on paper. Although I am not a plotter by any means, I have a very loose concept of the story before I start writing. Most of it develops on its own as scene evolves into scene. In the future, however, I’m hoping to plot more. My panster style has worked for me to date, but doing NaNoWriMo last year made me realize the benefits of plotting.

And now I’d like to introduce you to the three ladies who will be following me:

b-w-profile-picCalisa Rhose is an Okie, born and bred, through and through, and proud of it. While growing up, when she wasn’t on the back of a horse, she could be found with pen and paper in hand. Her writing career began with poetry in her younger days. Then she discovered Rock-n-Roll and cute musicians. Poetry turned into stories of romance and dreams. These days she lives with the same man who convinced her to take a romantic journey with him almost 30 years ago. After raising three strong daughters she spends her days loving their granddaughters, hoping for a boy someday, and writing. When she’s not writing, you can find Calisa putting on her editor hat and working to help other published and aspiring writers.

She is working on more projects with her favored contemporary cowboys, first responders and firemen, as well as, the occasional ‘other’ heroes — and their sexy female counterparts, those sassy, stubborn heroines.

Find Calisa at her website/blog http://calisarhose.wordpress.com

Twitter@CalisaRhoseFacebook/Calisa RhoseGoodreads and Amazon

~ooOOoo~

Daisy Banks ColourDaisy Banks writes sensual and spicy romance in the Historical, Paranormal and Fantasy genres. An obsessive writer Daisy is passionate about her stories. Her focus is to offer the best tale she can to readers. Daisy is married, with two grown up sons. She lives with her husband in a converted chapel in Shropshire, in England. Antiques and collecting entertain Daisy when she isn’t writing. She has also occasionally been known to make a meal that doesn’t stick to the pan.

You can find Daisy at:

Blog    http://daisybanks.wordpress.com/
Website  Twitter  Facebook  Pinterest 

~ooOOoo~

Author Pic2Having traveled and lived all over the world, Cd Brennan now talks with a strange accent, a mix of distant terminology, a blend of culturally cute but confusing euphemisms that leaves everyone looking at her with a blank stare. Luckily, her Australian husband (who she met in Ireland) and her two Aussie/Yankee sons have no problem understanding her – well, except for the word NO.

Now settled back “home” in Michigan, she enjoys reliving her glory days by writing about them. She considers the last fifteen years abroad the perfect research for her Love Where You Roam series; matchmaking women and men from different cultures, even different hemispheres, helping them find their true one across oceans of difference.

As destiny plays a hand in all the stories, Cd Brennan truly believes that what is for you, won’t pass you by. She hopes to inspire others to get out there: “Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” [Mark Twain]  And of course, fall in love.

Get in touch with Cd at her at website http://www.cdbrennan.com
Facebook  Goodreads  Twitter  Pinterest

 

The Unexpected Curve Ball by Mae Clair

Dear Friends,

In the event you haven’t heard the news my publisher, Lyrical Press, has been acquired by New York house, Kensington Books. Lyrical will become the digital imprint of Kensington. While this opens new opportunities and potential for Lyrical authors, it’s also created some unavoidable issues.

For the present, until contracts can be signed between Kensington and its new roster of authors, Lyrical has pulled their books from online retailers. As I had just kicked off a blog tour for TWELFTH SUN, I’ve had to cancel that tour. I’m grateful to Literary Nook, my touring company, for their understanding of the situation. The book tour wouldn’t have made much sense without the ability for readers to purchase my titles. Even though they already had bloggers and reviews lined up, Literary Nook willingly cancelled the tour and invited me to contact them again whenever I am ready.

If you had planned to visit me during any of my stops, that tour is now in a holding pattern. It may be thirty to sixty days before my titles are available again. Hopefully, sooner than later. The good news is that if I sign with Kensington, WEATHERING ROCK and TWELFTH SUN will be available through POD as well as digital format. As soon as I know more, I’ll share the news. None of this however, changes what I had previously planned for indie pubbing SOLISTICE ISLAND and ECLIPSE LAKE.

It feels extremely odd not to have my titles available for purchase right now, almost as if a safety net is missing. When the dust settles, whatever the outcome, I believe it will be for the better. Apparently, 2014 threw me a curve ball right out of the box. An exhilarating one, but a challenge nonetheless as I work to get everything back in order. That pesky New Year, LOL!

So, although I’ve had to cancel my tour temporarily, new adventures await on the horizon!

Best to all of you,
Mae

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Embracing 2014 by Mae Clair

The New Year has arrived and with it my plans to look ahead. I learned a lot in 2013. In many ways it was a mixed bag of blessings.

I saw the publication of my second novel, TWELFTH SUN, and also participated in my first NaNoWriMo. I’m pleased to say I came out of NaNo a winner with a 50K+ rough draft of my Mothman-based story, Negative Reach. If all goes according to schedule, I hope to publish it in 2015.

The year wasn’t without its trying moments, however. My day job branched into new and demanding avenues which made me less visible online during the last quarter. I even had to drop off a few email lists because I couldn’t keep up with the messages. Fortunately, I love what I do, even when it’s mentally exhausting. In the New Year, I hope to achieve a better balance that allows me to enjoy my writing career as well as the one that pays my bills. :)

As always, I love reading as much as writing. In 2013 I read 69 books toward my goal of 75. Maybe I can actually hit that number in 2014. I discovered some wonderful authors, many of who became new friends, and I continued friendships with all the amazing people who have been my support base for so long. A super shout-out to all the followers of my blog. You guys rock! Thanks especially for the comments on my posts. I love hearing from you. Your opinions, thoughts and ramblings are a delight on each and every post I make.

So, what’s ahead in 2014?

bigstock-Patience-44287369

Yep, patience is going to be a big one for me as I tackle the following:

First up, I hope to indie publish SOLSTICE ISLAND, a romantic adventure you’ve likely heard about before. Hey, a voting-round on this blog actually helped determine the title! I’ve never indie pubbed, so I’m highly nervous and hoping I can figure out the Kindle formatting.

Something very cool I’m proud to announce…I designed the cover for SOLSTICE ISLAND myself. More news on that soon as I hope to release the novella later this month or February at the latest. There will be a cover reveal. :)

The week of February 9th, I will be the hostess on the Sizzle and Sass Facebook page and hope you’ll join me by popping in now and again. I’ll be the first to admit I suck at Facebook. I swear if there is a mathematical equation in the universe that deciphers how to fit FB into an already jam-packed day, it’s eluded me. I am, however, constantly on the lookout for a solution. One of my goals for 2014 is to be more visible on FB. I just wish I liked it better :(

Also on the radar for 2014:

ECLIPSE LAKE
I feel like I’ve been talking about this one forever. A romantic mystery revolving around a missing person’s case, it’s on schedule for indie-publication in May/June of 2014. I’ve already received the first round of edits from my editor.

MYTH AND MAGIC
I’ll be sharing more updates on this in the months ahead. It’s another romantic mystery, set during October with an emphasis on Halloween. Naturally, I’d like to publish it in October of 2014, an ideal marriage of timing. Cross your fingers I can pull it off. It involves a couple who were childhood friends, had a horrible falling out, and are reunited at a corporate retreat when events take a strange and supernatural turn.

I’ve also got several short stories in the works that I’ll either be submitting to various publications or grooming for an anthology.

Of course, this is assuming all those carefully plotted goals and timelines cooperate. Then again, I’m known to be extremely hardheaded and stubborn when I want something, a trait inherited from my German father.

Finally, Mythical Monday will continue in full bloom. I can’t get enough of the odd trappings of folklore and eerie urban legends that lurk in the shadowed corners of history. I hope you’ll join me each Monday as I explore new tales centered around bizarre creatures, ethereal beings and peculiar beasties. I’m a cryptozoologist at heart.

So here’s to 2014 and my many wonderful friends. I’m excited and happy to share it with all of you. :D

Title Imps and Envy by Mae Clair

Doesn’t it make sense that someone who plays with words on a daily basis would find it easy to dream up the title for a WIP?

If only!

Manuscript from Author with Red Twine Closeup

I confess to having title envy. For some writers the ability to whip up a name comes easily. Not so for me. Sure, there are those giddy kinetic bursts of creativity when all the powers in the universe align and I’m gifted with a title before I ponder characters or plot. But those instances are about as common as being struck by lightning. (Uh, not that I have been or am eager to experience it. Just saying it’s equally as rare).

Arriving at a title is more like wading through a sea of garbage as I discard one pitiful idea after another. I was fortunate with WEATHERING ROCK and TWELFTH SUN, in that I had both names before I began writing. The all-elusive Title Imps were generous in those days.

Not so with ECLIPSE LAKE. It went through four previous titles before being cemented in its present state. Don’t believe me? Check these out:

Jonah’s Prayer
Courting Stones
The Mystery of Eclipse Lake
The Secret of Eclipse Lake

(BTW, I hope to make an announcement about this book within the next month. I just have to get some ducks in a row before stepping out on a (very scary) limb.)

Then there’s my current novella. The title sucks. Seriously.

SOLSTICE ISLAND.

Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!

Here’s the problem. It’s already begun to root in my mind. Once I start to identify a WIP by title (rather than the characters which is my normal method), it’s difficult to change. It would be like switching the name of my cat halfway through his life.

I realize there are some writers who don’t give their book a permanent title until completion. If I ever played by that rule it was in the dark ages of manual typewriters, globs of Wite-Out, and 20 lb. bond. I have a mandatory decree that I must settle on a title by the time I reach the halfway point of a WIP. “SOLSTICE ISLAND” has just struck that mark. Sadly, thus far, the Title Imps have refused to cooperate (I’m convinced they’re off snickering as I type this).

Which leaves me wondering if I’m the only one who laments the inability to settle on a title. It’s possible SOLSTICE ISLAND may end up remaining SOLSTICE ISLAND, but for the moment I’m keeping my options open.

How do you feel about coming up with titles? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Want to put a bounty on the Title Imps? Do you most often choose titles before you start something, in the middle or at the end?

Share your imps and your envy!

Woman with lots of discarded paper

The Idea Storm, by Mae Clair

Recently, I was in my family room, comfy on the couch and plugging away on my current WIP courtesy of my laptop, when I realized something spectacular was happening outside. The weather had been unusually hot that day and, as often happens during spring and summer, pop-up thunderstorms rolled into the area. The counties to the south and west of me were under severe weather watches, but since my area wasn’t in the main thoroughfare of atmospheric upheaval, I hadn’t been paying much attention to the sky.

Until a low rumble of thunder drew my attention out the patio door.

A moment before, the sky had been blue and clear. Now, it was a canvas of brooding charcoal and dark blue. Even as I watched, a swiftly moving front swallowed what little clear sky remained, drawing a distinctive line on the horizon. I hurried upstairs for my camera and managed to snap a few shots before the rain started. The force of the storm arrived within seconds, a barrage of thunder, lightning and wind. It was too hard to concentrate on my WIP, so I powered down my laptop and conceded to the weather.

stormyskies4red

This is looking from my back porch to the right of my rear yard. Notice the line of white near the horizon. That’s clear sky. Only moments before the entire sky had been that clear!

The force and suddenness of that storm still catches me by surprise.

As writers, ideas are much the same for us. How often have you been happily immersed in your latest WIP only to be blindsided by an idea from left field? And not just any idea, but an idea storm. Like unsettled weather, these come on suddenly and are charged with pent-up energy, waiting to explode into a fresh story. The idea storm demands attention, but for all its ferocity it’s also beguiling. Flashy and spontaneous, it takes a supreme contest of wills to resist.

I love the turbulence of a creative front and the rush of inspiration it unleashes in me. Unfortunately, idea storms often burst onto the scene when I’m already committed to another writing project. Sound familiar?

Like many authors, I try to set my idea storms aside, jotting a few notes with the promise I’ll reward myself with them later. Sometimes when I return they’re not as magical as they originally seemed. The luster has faded. Other times, they prove to be just what I needed and I take off on a tangent, inspired. My recently completed mystery/romance, ECLIPSE LAKE was much like that.

For the most part I still set the tumult of an idea storm aside, returning when I complete my current project. That’s the disciplined writer in me, a trait I worked long and hard to master. But there are occasions – oh, so many — when I want to fly and soar with the storm. I’m currently fighting two of those now (as if one wasn’t enough), but so far I’ve resisted the spell they’ve woven.

What about you? How do you handle an idea storm when you’re already committed and immersed in another WIP? Do you set it aside or do you try to work on both simultaneously?

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

Mae Clair: A Zigzagging I Go!

Are you ready for some zigzagging?  I was tagged by the amazing Mackenzie Crowne in a zigzag challenge to search for the word ‘look’ in my current WIP. If you don’t know Mac, you definitely need to become acquainted. I encourage you to visit her blog, Mac’s Mad Mania where there’s always something wonderful to be found, including inspiring information on breast cancer survival.  While you’re there, be sure to give Mac’s stellar zigzag snippet a look-see. She even posted some visual eye candy to go with it, bless her romantic soul! :)

My task as a willing victim participant is to find the first use of “look” in my WIP and post the surrounding paragraphs. The MS I’m presently working on is a contemporary mystery/romance called ECLIPSE LAKE. In this scene my hero, Dane Carlisle, has just told his adopted son, Jesse, he wants Jesse to accompany him on a trip across the country to his home town. Not only isn’t Jesse thrilled by the idea, but he didn’t realize his father had family.

~ooOOoo~

“Seriously, Dad?”

Jesse slouched in his chair. “Why can’t I stay here? Summer’s just starting and I don’t want to spend it in the mountains. I’m seventeen, not a kid.”

“I know that.” He’d argued it in his head for over a week, but couldn’t go back to Onyx alone.  Maybe it was Alicia, doing her part to keep them together from beyond the grave. Sometimes the sparse fifteen year age gap separating him from his son made Dane feel more like a tyrannical big brother than a father.

Time to drop the bombshell. “You’ve never been east, and…I grew up in Pennsylvania. I have family there.”

Jesse’s expression ran the gamut from annoyed to intrigued. “Family?” He leaned forward, shoving his dinner plate away. “You told me your parents were dead.”

“Sometimes people say things because it’s easier than explaining the truth.”

Dane gripped his water glass, swirling a few ice chips against the sides. He wondered how Jonah would react when he received the letter relaying his intention to visit. I know we had our problems growing up, but I need to see you. I’m sorry I wasn’t there when Mom died.

“Don’t talk to me like I’m a kid,” Jesse said sharply. His expression was tight, offsetting the deep green of his eyes and the stark ebony fall of his wavy hair. He looked so much like Alicia, Dane felt his throat constrict.

“You’re right.” Damn, but it was hard remembering Jesse was practically a grown man. “I didn’t think I’d ever go back to Onyx, so it was easier to avoid talking about my family. My father died when I was a kid and my mother nine years ago. She had liver cancer.”

An alcoholic who was screwed up in the head.

He’d keep that knowledge to himself, along with the crushing reminder he hadn’t been with her at the end.

~ooOOoo~

Thanks again for nominating me, Mac. That was fun :D

And now for the five authors I admire who I’d like to tag. Start zigzagging, ladies. Can’t wait to see your posts!

Jessi Gage
Laura Lee Nutt
L. J. Kentowski
Loni Flowers
Calisa Rhose

~ooOOoo

I invite you to LOOK ahead, and hop back to my blog on Black Friday 11/23 for your chance to win an Amazon or B&N Gift Card during the BLACK FRIDAY BLOG HOP. There are plenty of other prizes and goodies to be had too, so be sure to zigzag back and join in the fun!