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~

 

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

bluejacketcrop2

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?