Mae Clair: Family and Friendship

It’s time to wing off to a new destination! Take flight with me as I flutter over to Joanne Stewart’s blog to share some thoughts about family, along with a brand new excerpt from WEATHERING ROCK.

Caleb DeCardian has a candid conversation with his descendent, Wyn, about his growing attraction for Arianna Hart. It’s up to Wyn to impart wisdom as only a man living with a Civil War ancestor can do.

In other news, I’ve updated the schedule for my blog with a list of upcoming guests, events and giveaways. You can find it here or by clicking the link for Blog Schedule in the black bar at the top. Lots of fun stuff and cool guests are on the horizon. Don’t miss them! :D

Mae Clair’s Wizards with Words: J.M. Stewart

Welcome to Wizards with Words!

Before we get started, I’d like to mention I’m doing guest blogging duties today at Venture Galleries  discussing the use of social media in obtaining TOMA. If you get a moment, please check it out!

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Joanne Stewart as my Wizards with Words featured author. Joanne writes as J.M. Stewart, is a Six Sentence Sunday friend of mine, and a busy author with two new releases – – THE PLAYBOY’S BABY and A SECOND CHANCE AT FOREVER — making huge splashes in the romance world. Please help me in welcoming Joanne to my blog haunt.

Wow, Joanne, it’s hard enough for me to stay on top of things with the release of one novel. How are you managing with two almost back-to-back?

JOANNE: Thanks for having me, Mae! You know, the release of A Second Chance at Forever kind of took me by surprise. It’s apparently a new thing the publisher has started doing, starting with titles due out next year. Right now, the kindle format is only available. It officially releases in January. But honestly? I’m having trouble keeping up. I’d planned my release for A Second Chance in January, so knowing what to do now is a bit tough.

I can certainty understand how you’d have your hands full. You’d planned for THE PLAYBOY’s BABY but the other title came with an early delivery :D  Can you tell us a bit about THE PLAYBOY’S BABY?

JOANNE: The Playboy’s Baby was my take on the wealthy hero and the secret baby theme. It’s very a sweet book. It’s set in a small fictional town in Montana. Emma Stanton has had a run of bad luck. Her sister’s died in an accident, leaving Emma guardian to her six month old niece. Emma’s come back to town to find the baby’s father–who happens to be her sister’s best friend and the one man she can’t forget.

Dillon James is a reformed playboy. When Emma shows up and announces that he has a daughter, all he wants is to be the father his daughter deserves. He’s been used for his name and his money one too many times and he has no desire to get involved again.

But neither one of them can forget the kiss they shared eight years ago. Unfortunately, Dillon and Emma grew up together. Emma still thinks of him as that playboy. Dillon yearns to prove to her that he’s not that stupid kid anymore. The more time he spends with her as she shows him how to care for his daughter, the more he’s realizing maybe it’s time he takes a chance on love. The question is…can he convince Emma to take a chance on him?

Having read the story already, I can vouch what a wonderful read it is. So sweet, heartwarming and romantic. *wistful sigh* How about A SECOND CHANCE AT FOREVER?  I’d love to hear more about that one too.

JOANNE: This one is close to my heart. I really fell for my hero, Alex, in this one. I was told by people who beta read it for me that you might need tissues. I do know that parts of this made me cry writing it.

Angela Lewis is newly divorced. She’s always been the geeky girl. Smart, unpopular. After her husband leaves her for a younger woman, Angela gets a job as a stripper on the Las Vegas Strip as a means of picking her self-esteem up off the floor. In the club, Angela gets to be the sexy vixen she always wanted to be.  This is where she runs into her childhood crush. They haven’t seen each other in years and he doesn’t recognize her. When he takes an interest in her alter ego, Candy, Angela can’t resist. She only wants one night to live in the fantasy.

Alex McKinley’s life has been shattered by tragedy. His wife and four year old daughter were killed in a car accident. He’s in Vegas with coworkers, trying to pick up the pieces of his life and move on. A no strings attached, weekend fling with Candy is exactly what he needs. Little does he know that Candy is actually his best friend’s kid sister. Little Angie’s all grown up and driving him crazy.

It’s only supposed to be a weekend fling. Until Angela discovers she’s pregnant. The more time Alex spends with her, the more he finds himself falling for the woman she’s become. She makes him want to live again. In the end, can he convince Angela to take a chance on him?

Another one for my TBR pile! You seem to really enjoy writing novels where the lead characters reconnect later in life. Both THE PLAYBOY’S BABY and A SECOND CHANCE AT FOREVER (btw, I love that title!) have that theme at their core. Coincidence or a favorite topic to explore?

JOANNE: You know, I have to laugh. Believe it or not, I don’t plan it this way. My characters come to me and tell me their stories. I just write them down. But yeah, I’ve noticed that trend as well. I have three other books with my agent and all except one have the same theme. So, I’m going to take a guess and say I think I’ve found a favorite theme. I haven’t figured out yet if that’s good or bad, though. lol But I will admit it is a topic I’m more likely to pick up in a book I want to read, too. There’s just something a bit more intimate about people who already know each other. I love me a good reunion story. Apparently I love to write them, too. lol

Lucky for those of us who enjoy reading those kind of tales. :) So tell us a bit about Joanne. How long have you been writing? 

JOANNE: All in all, I think around eleven years now. I took a six year hiatus from writing, though. Some personal stuff that cropped up and took over. I finally picked it back up about two and a half, three years ago now.

What is the biggest hurdle you’ve encountered on your path to becoming an author and how did you overcome it?

JOANNE: The biggest hurdle is one I’m still tackling. Self promotion. I’m a horribly shy person. It’s almost a phobia for me. I literally freeze up. It’s a bit easier online, because I can take the time to think about what I want to say. But I’m  having to force myself to step out of my shell. I’m still working on this one. Baby steps. :) 

I can SO relate to that! Most people would never realize it but I’m an extreme introvert in real life. I’m right there with you, pushing myself out of my shell. So much easier to do when behind a keyboard, LOL. 

Which do you find the most difficult to write – – beginning, middle or end?

JOANNE: Beginning, hands down. Everything is so new at that point. My characters are a blank slate. I’m just getting to know them. I get to know them as I write. I can’t do character charts or things like that. It never works for me. Characters reveal themselves in bits and pieces. So it usually takes me until about chapter five or so to really figure the story out and where I’m going. After that, it kind of takes on a life of its own.

When you’re not writing (or reading) what do enjoy doing?

JOANNE: You know, I really am a boring person. lol I’m a homebody. I love to play with my dogs. We have two one year olds, we adopted them as puppies. I also like to watch movies and play computer games. Anything to occupy my mind. I’m a bit ADD. My mind goes in a million different directions all the time, so anything that allows me to completely immerse myself and “shut down” for a while.

I can appreciate that. I’m a homebody too. What are you reading right now, and tell me five books you couldn’t be without.

JOANNE: Not reading anything at the moment. I’m trying to decide what’s next, but yours is on my TBR pile. Now that I’m reminded of it (and the wonderful snippets I’ve read on SSS), I think it just moved to the top of the list! ;)

Five books I couldn’t live without. I don’t have five. I only have three. Being a writer makes me an inherently picky reader. So I’ve read a lot of really good books, but only three so far have made it to my “can’t live without” list.

–Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander.  –I adore historical romances. They’re my first love. I read them long before I started writing. In this one, the author completely enthralls me in this character’s life. And every character and the world around them comes to life for me. The hero, Jamie Fraser? I think he’s the perfect hero. Flawed, he makes mistakes, he’s human, but still worthy of being called a hero, because deep down, he has a good heart. I’ve re-read this at least a dozen times. I never get tired of it.

–I may get a groan on this, but E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker (if you ask me, the two need to be read together). And just because I know the hype this book gets, I’m going to expand on why. It was the hero that hooked me. Let’s just say he really touched me. Having come from an abusive childhood myself, I understood him in a very personal way. I AM him to a certain extent, so I cried through most of these books. It was painful for me to read his story, and yet…therapeutic at the same time. It honestly wasn’t about the sex for me. I tolerated the sex to get to the bits of him.

It also spurred me to put more of myself in my writing. To allow those painful bits onto the page. In the last book I wrote, Love’s Healing Touch (currently with my agent), I got a bit dark. Both the hero and heroine have dark pasts, and I didn’t shy away from putting the painful stuff onto the page. We’ll see how I did on that front if and when it ever publishes.

How about some quick glimpse questions and answers?

Favorite movie: I don’t have just one. The Green Mile and The Color Purple top the list, though.

Favorite snack item: Sweet stuff. cookies, brownies, pudding. You know, the bad stuff. lol

Favorite holiday: Halloween. It makes me feel like a kid again.

Favorite color: lavender.

Favorite rainy day activity: This makes me laugh. I live in Seattle, WA. It rains nine months out of the year here. And we’ve just entered the rainy season. So, this is almost every day for me. lol But honestly? Reading. It’s kind of predictable to say that, but it’s true. I’ve been a reader since I discovered those Ramona Quimby books in sixth grade. To get lost in someone else’s world for a while is bliss to me.

LOL. For many years I corresponded with a writer who lived in Seattle. She used to tell me August was the one good month of the year without rain! Joanne, thanks so much for being my guest today. Before we close, do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share?

Joanne: Thanks for having me, Mae! Final thoughts…hmm. This probably sounds like a shameless plug, but I’d love to put out a plea to any readers. If you’ve read my books, I’d be grateful for a review. Good, bad or ugly (and I mean that). I don’t write what’s popular these days. I seem to write a bit off the beaten path and I like knowing how people are receiving my books. Like most writers I suppose. lol

Author Bio:
J.M. writes what she likes to call sweet and spicy contemporary romance. She’s a stay-at-home mom who lives in Seattle Washington, with her husband, two boys and their two very spoiled puppies. She’s been devouring romances for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her passion.

Look for Joanne at the following haunts:
Website: http://www.authorjmstewart.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/JMStewartWriter
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-JM-Stewart/129990420383155
Blog: http://jm-stewart.blogspot.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3159044.J_M_Stewart

Buy THE PLAYBOY’S BABY at:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Playboys-Baby-ebook/dp/B008RPKBMM
All Romance ebooks: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-theplayboy039sbaby-905734-149.html
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-playboys-baby-jm-stewart/1112343120?ean=2940014920773
Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Playboys-Baby/book-soDTJuxisku0s8ff2ehUbw/page1.html?s=jptisVziP0SRQe_T-etngw&r=2
Sony: http://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/j-m-stewart/the-playboy-s-baby/_/R-400000000000000771117

Buy A SECOND CHANCE AT FOREVER on Amazon Kindle at: http://www.amazon.com/Second-Chance-Forever-ebook/dp/B009KET1SE/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1349187804&sr=8-5&keywords=a+second+chance+at+forever
(It will be avaialble in all formats on 1/9/13).

Mae Clair: I’m MIA

It’s Six Sentence Sunday and I’m off gallivanting at the beach for the day, but I have some exciting news to share: I just signed a contract with my publisher, Lyrical Press for my latest novel, TWELFTH SUN.

SQUEEE! I’ll definitely be doing a blog post about it next week, LOL!.

And I will be back in the SSS swing of things next Sunday. In the meantime, may I suggest these writers who always do a fantastic job in making me eager to check their Six snippets each week:

Angela Quarles
Carrie Crain
Christine Warner
Donna Cummings
JM Stewart
Karen Michelle Nutt
Kate Meader
Kate Warren
L.J. Kentowski
Loni Flowers
M. L. Falconer
Maryellen Brady
Susan Koenig
Stephanie Ingram
Veronica Scott

Enjoy all the great reads!

I invite you back tomorrow for a Mythical Monday post. Keeping in the spirit of the beach, it’s flavored with a distinctive hint of salt-water. :-)

Mae Clair: The Lovely Blogger Award

The wonderfully prolific Kitt Crescendo recently nominated me for the One Lovely Blogger award. If you’re not familiar with Kitt’s blog theinnerwildkat you need to hop over and start reading pronto. She’s brilliantly creative and always delivers a thought-provoking post. Thanks for the nomination, Kitt!

So how does this particular award work? Well, to start I’m supposed to share seven random tidbits about moi. Yes I realize the anticipation is tantamount to a lunar shuttle launch, but try to restrain yourself while I collect my thoughts. ;-)

Ready?  Here goes:

  1. I’ve always been a romantically idealistic dreamer. You never expected that, right? In high school I was known as “the Starchild.”
  2. I am addicted to most anything related to Sherlock Holmes, especially the BBC series SHERLOCK, and Robert Downey Jr.’s brilliant portrayal of my favorite detective. I’m currently suffering from Benedict Cumberbatch withdrawal.
  3. I love disaster movies and plague movies. They’re a guilty pleasure. The strange part is I tend to think they fall flat once the disaster happens. I love the spine-tingling string of circumstances and discoveries that lead to the ‘event,’ but not so much the aftermath.
  4. I was collecting anime and manga before most people knew what it was, and have a pristine collection.  Hmmm…must throw some of that stuff on eBay.
  5. I am in love with Aloysius Pendergast. My world will come to a screeching grinding halt on December 11, 2012, when Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child release the next book in their series. Time must/will stand still until I can devour it. 
  6. I love warm windy days and stormy skies, especially together.
  7. As a teen, I volunteered for the Red Cross and held multiple medical certifications.

Now for the Rules of Participation:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
    Thanks, again, Kitt!
  2. List seven random things about yourself.
    Done! Riveting facts above.
  3. Nominate fifteen other awesome bloggers.
    Wow, fifteen is a lot, but here are my nominees for those of who’d like to participate: 

Alicia Coleman
Angela Quarles
Calisa Rhose
Christine Warner
Donna Cummings
Jessi Gage
JM Stewart
Karen Michelle Nutt
Kate Meader
Kate Warren
Maryellen Brady
Renita Pizzitola
Stanalei Fletcher
Susan Koenig
Veronica Scott

Okay, ladies ~ spill the beans on your blogs. What would you like to share about yourself? :D

Mae Clair: The Sunshine Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Beachy Six Sentence Sunday

Hello, fellow sixers!  I’m going to miss doing the usual rounds today. I’m driving home from the beach early and plan on unwinding and unpacking when I hit the homestead. I’ll be back at SSS again next week. In the meantime, hope you have a great round of Sunday reads without me. May I suggest some of my fave sixer friends at the following haunts:

Angela Quarles
Donna Cummings
JM Stewart
L.J. Kentowski
Loni Flowers
Lorraine Paton
M.L. Falconer
Susan Koenig
Stephanie Ingram

The Next Best Thing Challenge

Cool things are happening! I’ve been tagged by the wonderfully talented L.J. Kentowski, author of GUARDIAN OF FATE to participate in the Next Best Thing Challenge.  And hey, as an extra bonus, in case you didn’t know – – you still have a chance to win a free ebook copy of GUARDIAN OF FATE on LJ’s blog, LJ Writes. Her contest ends tomorrow, so check it out while there’s still time. It’s a great read!

Now let me tell you about the challenge.  Here’s the breakdown:

Answer the 10 NBTC questions below
Spread the fun and tag 5 awesome people to participate!

So . . . ready, set, go!

What is the title of your book/WIP?
Weathering Rock

Where did the idea of this book come from?
A photograph and a passion for civil war history.

What genre would your book fall under?
Paranormal romantic suspense with time travel.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
The hero is a no-brainer.  Remember that photograph I mentioned?  I’ve always had a passion for Civil War history and, one day while surfing online, I happened on a photo of David Soul from a part he had in Manions of America. It was enough to make me start spinning story ideas of my own. Toss is a name I had tucked away (Weathering Rock) that I intended to use for an old home, and it was enough to spur my muse into action. Here’s my “cast” list:

Caleb DeCardian
David Soul

Arianna Hart
Felicity Jones

Wyn DeCardian
Jim Caviezel

Rick Rothrock
Chris Hemsworth

Lauren Talbot
Scarlett Johansson

Lucas Drake
Tim Daly

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Former Civil War colonel, Caleb DeCardian, is thrust forward in time to the present where he meets fetching Arianna Hart while searching for the former friend who cursed him to live as a werewolf.

Is your book published or represented?
WEATHERING ROCK will be published on October 8, 2012 by Lyrical Press.

How long did it take you to write it?
Eight months. Then I set it aside for several years, dug it out, dusted it off, and did three rounds of edits in seven months, whittling 27k from the original word count. A friend of mine encouraged me to submit it to a publisher, and I decided to give it a shot, thinking ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’

What other books in your genre would you compare it too?
Hmm…that’s a toughie. I’m not sure there really is anything I could compare it with apples-to-apples. Certainly any author doing time-travel or writing about werewolves. In my case, Caleb is not part of a pack, and there is a fair amount of references to the Civil War woven throughout and underlying elements of mystery.

Which authors inspired you to write this book?
I can’t honestly say I was inspired by another author. WEATHERING ROCK was the result of taking varied elements I’m passionate about (history, werewolf folklore, old homes, romance, mystery) and weaving a tapestry from them in the form of a story. There are certainly authors I admire, but I’ve been writing since grade school, so my inspiration really comes from being driven to create.

Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in your book.
I’ve been sharing  elements of the novel for sometime on my blog, but there is something that occurs in the book I’ve purposefully avoided mentioning. I hope it will come as a huge surprise to my readers when they stumble across it. All I’ll say is that there’s more to the time travel element than just Caleb being thrust forward into the present *sly grin*

I’m also planning on making WEATHERING ROCK into a three-book series called The DeCardian Family Chronicles. Wyn DeCardian will be featured as the hero in book number two.

WOW! This has been fun.  Thanks for the tag, L.J!

And now, the five gifted authors I’d like to tag for the next round:

Donna Cummings
Stephanie Ingram
Coleen Kwan
JM Stewart
Calisa Rhose