Mae Clair’s Wizards with Words: Renita Pizzitola

Hello and welcome to another Wizards with Words interview.  Today, I’m welcoming Renita Pizzitola to my blog. Renita is a sister author at Lyrical Press and, like me, has a debut novel releasing on October 8th.  Everything about her young adult novel, GOSSAMER (book one of the GOSSAMER series) hooked me the moment I heard about it. From the title, to the beautiful cover and compelling plot, I knew this was going on my TBR list.  I love Celtic folklore any anything related to the Fae. But I’m getting ahead of myself. (Can you tell I’m excited?) Renita is a prolific writer with two other novels already under contract with Lyrical Press.

Renita, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what prompted you to begin writing?

Renita: I’ve always loved to write. Teachers encouraged it, my family encouraged it, but I never really went for it. I’ve always been a reader and dreamt of being an author. But that’s all it was—a dream. It seemed like such an impossibility. A normal person like me couldn’t get published, right? It took a life changing event for me to finally sit down and, not just write, but submit. I started the submission process for Gossamer in September 2011 and my life has been a whirlwind since. It’s hard to believe all the wonderful things that have happened in the last year. I’m so happy I finally took a chance and know I’ll never live with wonder or regret.

From what I’ve seen, you’re one busy lady. GOSSAMER releases on October 8th, book two of the series, GILDED is tentatively scheduled for next summer, and you also have an adult paranormal called DREAM ON, releasing from Lyrical in the spring.  You’re obviously a productive writer. Any tricks you’d like to share?

Renita: Honestly, for me, when an idea pops into my head it consumes me. When this happens, I write like a crazy person. Not even kidding. But I know not everyone can do this. My suggestion—make time to write, but don’t force something. If you aren’t feeling it, maybe that’s not the right direction for your story. Step back from it for a few days and let the story develop in your mind. When you come back to it, hopefully with fresh ideas, you’ll be more productive and eager to accomplish more. Also rough drafts are just that—rough. Don’t try to get the first draft perfect. Instead take this time to get the story on paper from start to finish, then worry about all the other details.

I’d love to hear more about GOSSAMER. Can you tell us about the plot and your
characters?

Renita: Gossamer is based on Irish legends in a modern day setting and ends with a classic fairy tale twist. Half of the story takes place in our ‘human world’ and the other half takes place in the magical faery realm known as Tír na nÓg. It was fun researching for this series and has appearances from various legendary beings, each providing their own unique spin on the story.

The story focuses on Kyla, who goes by Kylie. She’s never really considered herself to be anything special—just a normal girl coasting somewhere between ‘popular’ and ‘nobody’. But when she meets Grant things begin to change. She soon discovers she’s part of an elaborate plot to save two children, and now she’s in danger. With her life in Grant’s hands, she flees to a world she never even knew existed, but as more secrets are revealed she discovers her new life comes with a price—her freedom.

The YA genre is exploding all over the place, and I find myself reading it more often. What originally attracted you to this type of writing?

Renita: Simple answer—firsts. As a teen you experience many ‘firsts’. A big one, and my personal favorite, is the feeling of falling in love. It’s a good feeling and everyone remembers that first time. I love telling that story. I also think YA focuses on the moments that shape a person’s identity—discovering who they are and who they ultimately want to be. My characters make bad choices, take chances, and sometimes completely humiliate themselves, but in the end that’s expected. They’re growing up, have their whole lives ahead of them, and I get to tell the story of how it all began 🙂

J.K. Rowling blew the door wide open for YA and Stephanie Meyer and Suzanne Collins kept the momentum going. I’m a huge Cassandra Clare fan, and am eagerly looking forward to the final releases in her Infernal Devices and Mortal Instruments series. What about you?  Any favorite authors and/or books in the genre?

Renita: I’m a big fan of YA in general and have many authors I love to read, but if I were to pick only one it’s Richelle Mead. Her heroines are strong, independent, and funny. She has amazing worldbuilding and I love the way she incorporates myths and legends into her books. Slap her name on a book and I’ll read it, she never disappoints.

When you begin a new manuscript, which do you develop first — characters or plot?

Renita: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’d say plot and main characters coincide, and secondary characters come later. First, I get an idea about some sort of big event happening to a specific type of person, then I start hammering out the details. The other characters tend to develop as I go. In Gossamer, Kylie’s best friend, Lexie, was originally going to be minor. Every girl needs a best friend and she was that person. But as the story developed, so did Lexie’s character. I find it funny when people read Gossamer and later tell me how much they loved Lexie considering originally she wasn’t going to have a big role, but her spin on life couldn’t be ignored, which is why I think people love her (I love her too by the way). I’ve even had a request to write ‘her’ story. But not to worry, she’s in book two with all her crazy Lexie antics….possibly even crazier.

Any words of advice for a new writer looking to break into the YA field?

Renita: It’s definitely a tough market. There’s a lot of great YA out there right now and it’s hard to get noticed, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write YA if that’s what you love. Just be sure you are writing your story and not what you think young adult readers want to see. What may be flying off the shelves today, probably won’t be the same by the time your manuscript is completed. I also think the growing New Adult market is a wonderful opportunity for many writers with characters stuck in the middle of teen and adult. I’m glad to see the publishing world is beginning to recognize it as an under-served market. All those YA authors who’ve heard the “your character’s too old for young adult” are beginning to find homes for their work.

Would you like to take a moment to tell us about GILDED, book two of the GOSSAMER series and DREAM ON, your adult novel?

Renita: Absolutely!

GILDED is a continuation of Kylie’s story. She still has a lot to learn about herself and a happily-ever-after to find. In this book, new elements of Irish Legend are introduced and Kylie undergoes some big changes! She also uncovers a prophecy and quickly realizes the girl she is destined to be, isn’t the girl she wants to be.

The idea for DREAM ON came to me as I tried to keep my mind off of Gossamer’s adventure in submission land. In the end, I had so much fun writing it. It’s about Emory who is a dreamwalker which is basically someone with the ability to travel into the dream realm. She uses this ability to run a lucrative business ending nightmares, but not all nightmares are scary…some are mortifying which leads to very amusing jobs. Soon she meets Grayson, a fellow dreamwalker, and when he asks for her help in finding his body-snatcher things get crazy.

Okay, final question, just because I’m curious . . . who or what is your favorite mythical character and/or creature and why?

Renita: That’s a hard one. I don’t know if I have a specific favorite character/creature but I’m a sucker for mythology and legend. I love how these tales explain natural phenomena. If I were to pick one in relation to my Gossamer series, I think it’s safe to say I wouldn’t mind having a grant around 😉

Renita, thank you again for visiting my blog and taking the time to do an interview with me. I wish you much success with your upcoming releases and will definitely be in line to buy GOSSAMER for my Kindle Fire.

Renita: Thanks for having me, Mae. It was great visiting with you!

You can find more about Renita, GOSSAMER and her upcoming novels at the following haunts:

website/twitter/facebook/blog/goodreads

GOSSAMER on iBooks

GOSSAMER Blurb:

Shouldn’t all faerytales end with happily-ever-after?

Kyla Ashbury is nearing her eighteenth birthday when a mysterious boy appears at school. Her instant attraction to him inexplicably awakens something inside her and she discovers her true identity.

Now, armed with the knowledge of her past, she is forced to leave behind the life she has always known for a new one filled with temptation, faery charm and magic, and a future she wasn’t prepared for.

Kyla is left with a difficult decision…but no matter which path she chooses, someone will get hurt.

A Lyrical Press Young Adult Paranormal Romance

~ooOOoo~

GOSSAMER EXCERPT:

“It’s kind of ironic our rendezvous point is at the corner of Magnolia and Pansy.” I chuckled. Grant looked at me and arched an eyebrow. He was so cute when he did that. “You know Pansy.” I got nothing. “It’s a joke. You know we are making our great, big, daring escape from Pansy Lane.” He still looked confused. I shook my head. “Never mind.” He didn’t press for an explanation. I shot him a sidelong glance. “Are all grants as serious as you?”

The corner of his mouth tugged up. “I can’t say all, but most grants are guards. Serious comes with the job.”

“So, you’re a guard?” He nodded. “Hmm.”

“Hmm, what?” A smile still played at the corners of his mouth.

“I’m not surprised. You’re observant and cautious. Protective. But, I guess that comes with the job, too.”

“Protective?” His tone doubtful as he repeated my word choice. “I don’t know about that. My job is to sense danger and act upon it if necessary. Safety–I provide safety. I think protectiveness is fueled by emotions, typically, and that goes beyond my job description.”

I was taken aback by Grant’s comment. It seemed almost cold. “But, you told my parents you’d protect me?”

We finally arrived at our destination and I could see Conor already waiting. Grant stopped and looked at me.

“And I will,” he said and walked away.

I was locked into place. My brain incapable of processing his comment and walking at the same time. Was that his way of saying he cared about me? Which really didn’t mean much. I cared about my friends, too. Oh, but I really wanted him to mean something more. Don’t read too much into it. I forced my mind to clear and approached the guys.

Grant filled Conor in on Lexie’s plans to pick us up. He seemed to like the idea of not having to walk the entire way and I could have sworn he liked the idea of seeing Lexie one last time.

The three of us stood silently waiting for her. The humid night air left my skin clammy. A few minutes later a black car pulled up alongside the curb. The tinted passenger window glided down and Lexie peered out at us.

“Need a ride?” She asked with a wicked grin. I grinned back. I was going to miss her. I opened the door and decided to let the boys fight over who got the front seat. Grant stopped me and told me to sit in the front. Although I’m sure he was being a gentleman, I had a strong feeling they didn’t want to deal with the onslaught of questions she was sure to have.

They squished into the back and I climbed in. I pulled my seat up as far as possible, feeling sorry for Grant as he tried to contort into such a small space. I felt bad for Conor too, of course.

As soon as we were buckled, Lexie’s car coasted onto the quiet street.

“Okay, first where to?” She looked at me expectantly. I glanced back at the boys. Grant spoke up giving her directions. She nodded, not even caring that we were asking her to drive us practically out of town.

She laughed. “It’s pretty funny you’re making your big getaway from Pansy Lane.”

“Thank you!” I over exaggerated my words and rolled my eyes at Grant. “See. Joke. Funny.” He grinned and shook his head. I faced front again as my heart fluttered from the adorable way he looked at me.

Gossamer
Renita Pizzitola
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Paranormal
Length: 78,000 words
ePub Page Count: 218
Publication Date: October 8, 2012
Formats: pdf, epub, mobi

Author Bio:

Renita Pizzitola writes Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. An avid reader herself, she has always enjoyed stories with witty humor, romance, and fascinating characters. Renita lives in Texas with her husband and two children. When not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and playing referee to her two typically adorable children.

Visit www.renitapizzitola.com for more information

Mae Clair: I’m Traveling Today!

Got your ticket?

Come visit me at Renita Pizzitola’s blog, Think Whimsy.

Renita is a sister author at Lyrical Press and is interviewing me today! It’s only my second interview so, naturally, I’m excited. Especially since I get to chat about werewolves, a hunky Civil War colonel named Caleb, WEATHERING ROCK, writing, and my next project.

And for the first time (outside of my publisher’s website), I’ll be sharing an excerpt from WEATHERING ROCK. Surely that has you curious! 🙂

Grab a flight and hop over. I’d love to have you drop by and say hello!

Mae Clair’s Mythical Monday: The Benevolent Giant of Loch Ness

The water is dark, murky and cold,
layered with shadow along the shore,
ancient cradle to a primordial beast,
past, present, forevermore.

Do you have certain myths that resonate with you? Ones that you hope will never be disproven? The Loch Ness Monster is my magical myth. I’ve been enamored of Nessie since childhood, hoping she lives somewhere in that deep, cold lake in the Scottish Highlands.

I think it’s only natural we crave definitive proof fantastical elements exist. Admittedly, there is a part of me that would do a giddy lake-monster jig if Nessie were ‘found.’ But the greater part would be saddened by the loss of mystery and the fiasco that would certainly ensue. Can you imagine the media circus? The scientific knowledge we’d gain would be phenomenal (yes, I’m a geek), but I’d lament the loss of whimsy. In the long run that’s far more important. And I would never want any creature as ancient and celebrated as Loch Ness’s ‘monster’ subjected to captivity or even examination.

So why do reputable scientists spend time searching for a legendary creature that has been duped a hoax and wishful thinking?

Because an element of doubt exists. The seductive “what if” whisper of possibility that reminds us we don’t know everything. That, yes, magic could exist in the form of a lake monster.

And, because, (drum roll please) there is credible proof she might exist. Nessie falls into the category of cryptozoology, the study of hidden or living creatures that could/maybe/possibly exist. Given sightings, sonar readings, and photographs (yes, some proven hoaxes) there is plenty of wiggle room for speculation. Doubt can be a strong motivator.

I think the reason I’m most attracted to Nessie is because I see her as a benevolent giant. I couldn’t say the same about the Abominable Snowman or Sasquatch, but I see Nessie as being happy in her lake home, contentedly diving beneath the frigid grape-purple waters.  Did you know Loch Ness is 750 feet deep at its bottommost point and contains more water than all the lakes in Scotland, England and Wales combined? If I were a lake monster looking for a nice secluded home, Loch Ness would definitely be a place I’d consider hanging my shingle.

The legend of Loch Ness dates back to 565 A.D. when St. Columba tried to banish her. Her existence has not been proven despite repeated efforts and scientific expeditions. Just last month, Nessie made the news again when Scottish sailor George Edwards snapped a new photograph he claimed was the legendary monster. Debate continues to rage with others claiming the new image may be a submerged log or tree trunk brought to the surface by buoyant gases.

Personally, I think Nessie is camera shy, but enjoys playing with the strange humans who repeatedly intrude on her watery domain.

What’s your opinion? Do you have a ‘special’ myth that you hope will never be disproven or, perhaps, one that you’d like to see make headlines as being real? For me, it’s the benevolent lake giant of Loch Ness. For you, it might be something entirely different. On this Mythical Monday, pull up a computer screen or smartphone and do some musing. After countless centuries of speculation, the Loch Ness monster has plenty of time to spare.

Mae Clair’s SSS: By the Glow of the Porch Lights

Happy Six Sentence Sunday!  I’m delighted to welcome everyone back again for another peek of my upcoming paranormal/time travel release, WEATHERING ROCK, which will be available on October 8th. Less than a month away now!

If you’ve been following along, you know the story revolves around Caleb DeCardian, former colonel for the Union army during the Civil War, and hunky werewolf (yeah, I know it’s a mind-boggling combo :D). Caleb has been transported to the present, along with his former friend, now bitter rival, Seth Reilly. Seth is also a werewolf. You expected that, right?

To bring everyone up to speed, Caleb has convinced my heroine, Arianna Hart, to have dinner with him. The two have just finished their first date at Weathering Rock (an old home built in the 1800s). After dinner, Arianna allowed Caleb to kiss her, but when the kiss became too sensual, she  decided things were moving too fast and told him she’s leaving (she has no clue who or what he is). Just before she does, she announces she saw a ‘wolf’ the last time she was at Weathering Rock. We had a short glimpse of Caleb’s reaction last week.

To make this week’s six work, I have to skip Arianna’s explanation, but she clarifies it was a ‘wolf-like creature.’  Then:

~ooOOoo~

In the amber glow of the porch lights, Caleb’s face was drawn, damp with sweat over the cheekbones. “Did you see him–it,” he corrected with an irritated shake of his head. “The night you were here? Did you see it?”

She wasn’t certain what she’d seen, but there was no doubt his interest was genuine.

~ooOOoo~

Blip! And another six sweeps by. They go so fast! 🙂  As always, I appreciate your interest and your comments. Check out all of the writers who are sharing SSS snippets today. For a complete list visit the Six Sentence Sunday website and enjoy!

Mae Clair’s Wizards with Words: L.J. Kentowski

Hello, friends! I’m excited to have Word Wizard L.J. Kentowski on my blog today talking about her FATE SERIES. Book #1, GUARDIAN OF FATE has already been released and book #2, SEEKER OF FATE is a short time away from its debut. I had the pleasure of reading GUARDIAN OF FATE over the summer and was sucked into the tale from the opening paragraphs. L.J. has created an intriguing cast of characters and an entire world mythology that builds and spirals to greater peaks with each sequence of events. Just when you think you have things figured out . . .

Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. *makes attempt to rein in rampant enthusiasm*
Let’s meet L.J. and have her tell you all about her wonderful series:

Thanks for dropping by L.J.  I’m a fan of your FATE SERIES, but I’m also a fan of L.J. :)Can you share a bit about yourself and what prompted you to begin writing?

L.J.:  Thanks so much for having me Mae! It’s truly an honor being here, as you know I’m a huge fan of you and your writing also! Me? Gosh, I feel like I should write a bit of fiction for my bio here because I’m really just your average full-time career woman, wife, and mom. Nothing too glamorous there, unless you count having to play Buzz Lightyear here and there. My writing is done when I can squeeze the time in, like many writers. A while back I started a book review blog because of my passion for books and reading. I found that I loved writing on a regular basis, and having dabbled in a writing a bit throughout my years, I picked up my pen and paper and started creating Cassie’s story. I never knew it would go as far as a full-length novel, really.

I’m so happy it did! What attracts you most to the Urban Fantasy genre?

 L.J.:  There are so many things that attract me to Urban Fantasy, but mostly the world building it involves. With Urban Fantasy you have the ability to create a whole new world, like a parallel dimension with as many fantastical elements as you want to put in it. Not only that, but they usually have a strong, independent female lead, some hunky males, and some really cool bad guys 🙂 Put in some supernatural, and you’ve got an awesome ride ahead of you.

Love those elements! You’ve obviously put a lot of time and thought into crafting the world behind the FATE SERIES. There are Guardians, Seekers, Elders, a hierarchy of angles and demons, (including a chilling Lord of the Underworld) long-Standing rivalries, betrayals and more. Whew! When you started writing GUARDIAN, did you intend for it to be a series or did that happen as the story progressed?

 L.J.: Guardian Of Fate is definitely packed with many levels of good and evil and I had tons of fun creating their world. I don’t think thoughts of a series entered my mind until about halfway into writing GOF. When I realized that there was just too much that needed to happen and the characters started getting more complex, I knew that it would take more than one book to wrap it all up.

I have two current novels I hope to spin into separate series, but the idea is a bit intimidating. Okay, a lot intimidating! Mostly because I’m a panster. What do you find the hardest part of writing a series given the intricate plotting and carry-over you need to do?

L.J.:  I think the hardest part is writing each book as I go and knowing that if some big idea strikes me later, I won’t have the opportunity to change what’s already happened. I guess I’m stuck that way, but so far it’s been working out. I’m somewhat of a pantser myself, except I usually need to outline the next few chapters, at least in a general sense to move forward. And usually I have somewhat of an idea of what I want to end up when the book is finished. Whether my characters play along is usually yet to be determined.

Do you have any idea how many books will follow SEEKER OF FATE in the FATE SERIES?

L.J.: The current plan is to have a trilogy. That’s as far as my ideas have gone, but that is really all up to the characters and how they act in the last book. I’ve also had ideas of spin offs jumbling around the old noggin, so we’ll see.

Tell us a bit about your lead characters – – Cassandra (Cassie) Cosgrove, Hunter and Caleb. Sometimes I feel like Cassie when she’s trapped between those two, because you keep throwing your reader curve balls. You certainly know how to keep us on our toes!

L.J.: Cassie is a total mess! She’s smart, independent, strong, and a bit sassy, but her world has just taken a ride on a supertornado so she’s also kind of lost. Not only does she need to save the lives of many others, including her loved ones, but she has to find herself and deal with who she’s become. Tack on two mysterious, and sexy men that are fighting for her and her world has become complete chaos! What can I say about Hunter and Caleb? They’re both egotistical alpha males, each with their own style…and agenda, all of which include Cassie. Believe me, they’ve all kept me on my toes too!

Do you have an expected release date for SEEKER OF FATE?

L.J.: I’m shooting for December, but that depends on beta readers, editors, and cover artists. I’m nearly complete with my first round of edits, and then it’s pretty much in the hands of others until it comes back to me for revisions. I could always hope that its already perfect as it is, but that would really be an urban fantasy 🙂

So glad to hear it’s hovering around the corner! I also can’t let this interview pass without asking you about your blog LJ Writes. You have a weekly feature called “What’s Your Take Wednesday” where visitors write a short scene to match up with a photo you select and post. It’s a quick creative writing exercise that always generates a enthusiastic response. How do you choose the photos to use?

 L.J.: I’m just so glad I started WYTW. I really love reading everyone’s takes. It’s pretty awesome seeing how so many different styles and different ideas can come from the same picture. Choosing pics for it is actually very challenging for me. I know it should seem easy, but I really want to find something every week that strikes an idea, not to mention several different ideas. Usually I start with a word, phrase, or object in my head and throw that into the stock photo site I use. From there it can go anywhere, and usually does. But when I see the photo, I know it’s the one.

And now a couple of quick tidbits about L.J.  What are you currently reading on your Kindle, Nook or in print?

L.J.: City Of Glass, by Cassandra Clare. It’s book #3 in the Mortal Instruments series. I know you’ve read and loved this series, Mae. I cannot get enough of it! Each book gets better and better. I’m a junkie now.

I loved the series and it’s prequel, the INFERNAL DEVICES series. Can’t wait for the Mortal Instruements movie! Any favorite books to recommend?

L.J.: Anything by Karen Marie Moning is my top picks. Her Urban Fantasy series Fever is absolutely addicting if you like adult UF. Jeaniene Frost and Ilona Andrews are also some of my favorite writers. Oh, and if you haven’t read the Hunger Games series, go now! It’s fantastic. I know you said books, but some of these authors have so many great ones, that it’s just easier to give their names 🙂

Favorite color?

L.J.: Green

If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?

L.J.: I’ve always wanted to visit Australia, but Venice, Italy is a top choice too.

Both of those are on my list as well! L.J., thank you again for visiting my blog and taking the time to do an interview with me. You know I’m a FATE fan, and will definitely be in line to buy SEEKER OF FATE for my Kindle Fire. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share before we close?

L.J.: I know this may sound a bit preachy, but to all those people out there that think that their dreams aren’t possible, I’m here to tell you — they are. Don’t ever give up on your dreams; think about them every day and in doing so, you will inadvertently take a step in making them reality. If you’ve always wanted to write, write. If you’ve always wanted to sing, sing. Don’t worry about what others think about it in the beginning, they’ll come around once they see your dreams are coming true. And don’t be afraid to ask others for help. There are lots of great people in this world just waiting for a chance to help others.

Thank you again, Mae! I had such a blast being here, and I hope you and your readers did too. I look forward to reading your books as well!

See you around everyone!

Book blurb for GUARDIAN OF FATE

Fear of death is all too common. Visions of it chill the bones and skip heartbeats. Seeing it coming and knowing only you can rescue the soul of the victim from the fiery bowels of hell…that’s downright life-altering.

Cassandra Cosgrove’s life was altered at the age of sixteen when she found out that it was her responsibility to save the lives, and ultimately the souls, of innocent victims targeted by Hell’s demons. As impossible as it seemed at first, she was able to live a fairly normal life, while secretly fulfilling her obligation as a Guardian of Fate.

But years later Fate has its own plan when her visions begin drastically changing at the same time two mysterious men appear in her life. Cassandra suddenly finds herself caught in a battle between good and evil, with her own soul on the line. When it seems everyone in her life has a secret they’ve been hiding from her, who can she trust to be the Guardian of her Fate?

Author Bio:
L.J. Kentowski is living in disguise as the author of her debut novel, Guardian Of Fate, working diligently on the subsequent novels in the Fate series. Her true identity as Supermom and Superwife, living in the Midwest with SuperDog must never be revealed without security clearance. Every day, after tucking in her 6yr old talking prodigy, she rips off her cape and delves into the world of angels, demons, and the in-betweens.

To find out more about L.J., GUARDIAN OF FATE, SEEKER OF FATE, and the FATE SERIES, look for her at the following haunts:

Author website: http://www.LJKentowski.com

Blog: http://www.ljwrites.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LJKentowski

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurajeanwrites

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5382939.L_J_Kentowski

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/L.J.-Kentowski/e/B006MNYYAQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1345385837&sr=8-1

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/l-j–kentowski?keyword=l.j.+kentowski&store=allproducts

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/114036

Mae Clair: A Lifetime’s Journey

I recently discovered Google Alerts. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s a pretty cool system that allows you to type in a string or reference phrase. Any time those words appear in web content you receive an email alert. Because I’m anxious to learn when WEATHERING ROCK is going to appear on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and a few other sites, I set up alerts for the book title plus Mae Clair.

Yesterday I received a death notice for Ola Mae Clair. At first I had that sad creepy sensation that always overcomes me when I learn of someone’s passing. Then I started thinking about Ola’s life. She was 93 when she died. Can you imagine the sweeping changes she saw in her lifetime?

In 1919 when Ola was born, Woodrow Wilson was president, prohibition was one year away and the jazz age was just beginning. Ten years later, the Great Depression turned life on end and sent the country into a plummeting downward spiral.  By 1941, she would have had to face the horror of Pearl Harbor and the long dark hours of WWII.

By 1950, life had settled into recovery and production. In 1968, the Summer of Love, a 49 year old Ola might have looked askance at the events taking place in Haight Ashbury, California, and been grieved by the turmoil of the Civil Rights movement; the tragedy of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination.

She would have seen the introduction of the floppy disk in the 1970s, the premiere of M*A*S*H, Patty Hearst’s kidnapping , disco, pet rocks and platform shoes. By 1989, a 70 year old Ola would have witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, the passing of Lucille Ball, the birth of moonwalking and parachute pants—a far cry from the homespun clothing of 1919.

The 1990s brought the horrific standoff in Waco, Texas, the birth of the World Wide Web going public, Oprah Winfrey’s book club and Tickle-Me-Elmo dolls. In 1999 we hit the staggering turn of a century. Remember Y2K? My husband and I started a new tradition—lobster tail for New Year’s Eve dinner. It’s something we’ve kept up every year since.  I wonder what Ola did. She would have been 80 years old.

The last decade brought the tragedy of 9/11, ipods, Geocaching and speed dating. I wonder what Ola would have thought of the latter. All in all, I like to think she had an amazing life and a happy one. Certainly it was a long one. It makes me realize I have so much learning and growing yet to do…including this new venture of writing!

Be at peace, Ola. You have a new journey ahead of you and I’m sure you won’t walk it alone.

Mae Clair’s Wizards with Words: Jennifer Lowery

Hello and welcome to my first official Wizards with Words (formally Author Spotlight).  Today, I’m welcoming Jennifer Lowery to my blog. Jennifer is a sister author at Lyrical Press and, like me, has a debut novel releasing on October 8th.  If you like hot military hunks, action, and romance, you’re going to love Jennifer’s first novel, HARD CORE, book 1 of her Onyx Group Series. Let’s see if we can’t get her to share a few details . . .

Thanks for visiting my blog, Jennifer. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what prompted you to begin writing?

Jennifer: Hi Mae and my wonderful readers *waves* Thank you so much for having me today! This is only my second interview so I’m a little nervous, but very happy to be here!

I’m a wife of twenty years to a wonderful man and we have three children, two of our own, and one adopted. We’re from Michigan and love it! My kids are all teenagers; 19, 18, 13 so my writing schedule is a little more free than it was 10 years ago when I began. Although writing has been my dream for as long as I can remember. Life detoured me from my writing dream and I became a Respiratory Therapist and worked in a hospital for 13 years before I decided to pursue writing full-time. Three years later I signed my first contract for Hard Core! Squee!

Fantastic! I’d love to hear more about HARD CORE. Would you like to share a bit about the book and what readers can expect?

Jennifer: Hard Core was actually a book I never planned on finishing. Yikes! I know! If it weren’t for a ten-page critique I received at my local RWA meeting from a wonderful lady named Margo Hoornstra I don’t think I would have picked the story back up and finished it. She encouraged me to finish it as my paper bled blue ink that day, lol!

Hard Core came to me in character. As Slade. I knew him before I began writing. Although I didn’t know where the story was going or where it would end, I knew I had to write his story and I knew Alana was the woman who would break down his walls and melt his hardened heart. This story is set on a remote island off the coast of Nicaragua which was the perfect setting for the opening scenes where Slade is hunting his target and things go very wrong. Let’s just say Alana earns her stripes, lol!

From the tidbits and excerpts I’ve seen, I’m already in love with Slade. I also admire the way you portray your heroine, Alana O’Grady, and can’t wait to read the entire novel. Given Cristian Slade is a mercenary and Alana a surgeon, did you have to do a lot of research while writing HARD CORE and how did you balance that?

Jennifer: Much of the medical research was easy for me with my medical background. The scene where Alana puts in a chest tube in less than perfect conditions was fun because I have seen many put in and taken care of many in the hospital so I knew how a chest tube worked and how to make a homemade system. The French Foreign Legion  background for Cristian was a bit harder. I was fortunate enough to find a military contact who helped me with the details (thanks, Marion!) and suggested an awesome book with much of the information I needed.

I know characters get in our heads and wrap us up in their lives. Given the little I know about Cristian and Alana, I would guess these are two strong characters who left an indelible mark upon you when their tale was told. Fair statement?

Jennifer: Absolutely, yes! I didn’t want their story to end and I think that’s why I’m working on Book #2 just so I can visit Cristian and Alana again 🙂   Not that Mark (Mercer) and Natalie aren’t proving to be fun to write too!

Is there anything specific that made you choose your present genre, including your sub-genre of romance?

Jennifer: I love it! Love military heroes, love the action, adventure and romance.

What are you presently reading on your Kindle, Nook or in print?

Jennifer: Afterglow by Cherry Adair, Wild Horses by D’Ann Lindun.

Do you have any favorite authors and/or book titles you’d like to share?

Jennifer: There are so many! I love Cherry Adair, Suzanne Brockmann, Stephanie Tyler, Maya Banks, Cindy Gerard and so many more I can’t name them all, lol.

When I begin writing a new manuscript, my favorite part is naming my characters and developing their backstories. I have a good friend who says her favorite part is building a fictional town or location for them to cavort in (okay, that’s my word :)). What is your favorite part of starting a new novel/writing project?

Jennifer: I’m finding that researching a new setting is becoming one of my favorite parts, but my most favorite is writing the first meeting between hero and heroine. Oooh, I just love writing that scene!

Speaking of new novels, I believe you have another book under contract with Lyrical Press. Is it too early to ask for details?

Jennifer: *smiling* Ah, Murphy’s Law. The story of my heart. Yes, I signed a contract with Lyrical on my birthday, July 17. What a fabulous birthday that was! Murphy is my lost soul, wounded warrior, who has lost his way and can’t go home. Sara is on the run to protect her daughter from her former husband’s family, haunted by a lifetime of mistakes and bad choices. This one will be available in June, 2013 and was a 2006 Golden Heart finalist. I can’t wait to share Murphy with you 🙂

That’s wonderful news! You’re certainly an extremely busy writer, Jennifer. Any secrets on how you squeeze everything in and still manage to stay sane?

Jennifer: Chocolate! LOL! And, budget your time. Dedicate a certain amount of time every day to writing. Sprints work very well for me. Whatever you find works for you, do it. But, WRITE EVERY DAY.

Jennifer, thank you again for visiting my blog and taking the time to do an interview with me. I wish you much success with your upcoming releases and will definitely be in line to buy HARD CORE for my Kindle Fire. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share before we close:

Jennifer: I would like to thank you, Mae, for having me on your blog today! Your questions were wonderful!

And to all my readers out there, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Without you I wouldn’t be here today. My wish is to one day meet each and every one of you so I can personally thank you for your support and generosity. I truly appreciate you.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

~ooOOoo~

HARD CORE
He takes lives. She saves them.

Book Blurb:
A supposedly hassle-free job for mercenary Cristian Slade becomes a mission of mercy when he saves a life instead of taking one. Slade’s new mission might be his most dangerous yet, because the danger is to his heart.

Tragedy has sent esteemed surgeon Alana O’Grady to a remote a remote Nicaraguan island where she immerses herself in the lives of a native American tribe, using her talents for goodwill instead of wealth and prestige. But life turns upside down when her work requires she protect a rugged mercenary who commands her attention when she’s awake and dominates her dreams while she sleeps.

Doctoring Christian puts her entire tribe in danger from the man who’s hunting him. Is it her professional oath or her unprofessional attraction to him keeping her from sending him away to heal on his own? Alana’s fire warms Christian’s heart, but he’s a hardened assassin and has no business falling for someone like her. Can they fight hard enough to keep what they might have together?

Content Warning: Sexual content.

Excerpt:
Prepared to start an IV, she picked up a needle. She had it in position when his other arm shot out and he clamped her wrist in a bone-crushing grip. Startled, she met his panicked gaze.

“I said no needles.”

Her heart banged against her ribcage as she let the needle slip out of her hand. It hit the floor with a small ting. Alana opened her hands in surrender, her patient’s fingers digging into her flesh. For a man half-dead, he had amazing strength.

“Okay,” she said to placate him. “Relax, I don’t have it anymore. It’s your choice, but I recommend you let me start an IV for meds.”

“No. Just fix me.”

Alana pinned him with a no nonsense stare. “I’m not impressed with Superman heroics.”

Face pale and drawn, he said gruffly, “I’m not Superman. Learned not to trust people with needles.”

Her fingers were going numb. “If I remove the bullet without pain medication or anesthetic, you’re going to be sorry.”

He studied her. “You’re really a doctor?”

Alana bristled. “Technically, yes.”

“Technically?”

She didn’t have time to explain herself with the amount of blood seeping from his gunshot wound. “I went to med school. You can let go of my arm now. I won’t use any needles.”

He looked down and immediately released his grip. She rubbed her wrist to soothe away the ache. “Can I get to work now, or do you want to question me more about my credentials while you bleed to death? I don’t have a blood bank, so you’re screwed if you lose too much.”

Her blunt statement received a curt nod. She normally didn’t talk to her patients like that. Her patients didn’t normally countermand her either.

“Do it,” he said.

“Without anesthetics?”

“I don’t need them. Just get it over with.”

Stubborn, stupid, or both? Insane, yes, but there wasn’t time to argue with him.

“Okay. The offer stands if you change your mind.”

“I won’t.”

She doubted that, but didn’t comment. Instead, wiped her forehead with her forearm, and picked up gauze pads to clean the wound.

“Here goes,” she warned and dabbed his skin.

Her patient didn’t move or even wince as she cleaned the angry wound. Either he had a will of steel or he’d passed out again. Hopefully, the latter. Sweat rolled down her back as she finished cleansing the area around the bullet entry. Red flesh puckered with the first signs of infection. In this environment infection was guaranteed.

With a steady hand that would have made her father proud, she picked up her instruments and took a deep breath.

“You still with me?”

He murmured a response, turning his head slightly so he could see her. The stark beauty of his profile, despite the bruises, struck her again. The lines of his face were chiseled, unforgiving. The kind of man she’d glance at twice if she passed him on the street.

A man associated with a criminal.

“Still here, Doc. What are you waiting for?” Husky with pain, his deep voice brought her out of her thoughts.

She gave herself a mental shake. “Want something to bite down on?”

A small, wry smile touched his lips and his lids closed. “You won’t hear a peep out of me. Just fix me, Doc.”

“I can hit you so you’ll sleep through it,” she muttered.

That drew a low chuckle from him. She didn’t expect him to have a sense of humor. He seemed too…hard. His chuckle turned into a grunt of pain. “You probably hit like a girl.”

Alana grinned. “Yes, I do. Rest assured it won’t feel like it.”

“Appreciate the offer, but, no.” His words slurred together, his muscles tense as he fought his body’s demands.

“You got a name, Superman?”

His head rolled to the side, his chest rose and fell slowly. She thought he was out but he murmured, “Cristian.”

“Nice to meet you, Cristian.”

Then she dug into the wound for the bullet.

Author Bio:
Jennifer Lowery grew up reading romance novels in the back of her math book and on the bus to school, and never wanted to be anything but a writer.  Her summers were spent sitting at the kitchen table with her sisters spinning tales of romance and intrigue and always with a tall glass of ice tea at their side.

Today, Jennifer is living that dream and she couldn’t be happier to share her passion with her readers.  She loves everything there is about romance.  Her stories feature alpha heroes who meet their match with strong, independent heroines.  She believes that happily ever after is only the beginning of her stories. And the road to that happy ending is paved with action, adventure, and romance. As her characters find out when they face danger, overcome fears, and are forced to look deep within themselves to discover love.

Jennifer lives in Michigan with her husband and three children.  When she isn’t writing she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

To find out more about Jennifer, HARD CORE and her upcoming novels, look for her at the following haunts:

Author Website   Facebook   Twitter   Romance Recipes

 

 

Mae Clair’s Summer Serenade

Although summer hasn’t officially rolled up and called it a season (that will happen later this month), once the calendar inches past Labor Day, I consider it over. Maybe it goes back to childhood when returning to school ended afternoons of roaming sun-soaked fields and playing hide-and-seek well past dark. Who can forget the whimsical magic of a summer night with friends?

When I was in school, we didn’t start the new year until the day after Labor Day. To the child in me, that was the official end of summer. Game over, welcome to a reality check.

The first day of school was always one of excitement…getting to see friends I hadn’t since early June, discovering new classes, classmates and teachers. But after the initial gloss wore off, I was more than ready to return to the frolicking routine of summer’s carefree lifestyle.  

Now I see the passage of the season differently, but still mark its demise with a sense of sadness. Don’t get me wrong—I love autumn. I’m constantly telling my husband I couldn’t live anywhere that didn’t include all four seasons. I’d miss the change from one to the next (although I could do with a shorter winter). He, on the other hand, would gleefully sign up for a zip code that offered tropical temperatures 365 days a year.

As summer fades, I note how the air smells differently, underscored by the brewing musk of autumn;  how the evenings grow shorter with the smoky kiss of September, and how even a slight breeze will send a kite-tail of leaves fluttering to the ground. The flower beds and decorative pots that once cried for water have sprouted into ungainly bushes, creating vibrant bursts of color in my yard. I have to turn lights on earlier than I used to in the evening, and my Green Mountain coffee selection has morphed from Island Coconut to Pumpkin Spice.

Seasonal change. It’s here.

I’m generally a productive writer, but admit summer puts a bite into my output. There are more events to distract me–picnics, parties and outdoor gatherings. In that respect, I’m looking forward to an autumn where I can snuggle inside and let my fingertips dance across the keyboard, creating characters and stories that involve all four seasons. Yes, I love summer, but autumn brings a new and different sense of exhilaration.

What about you? Do you have a favorite time of year that coaxes you to write more often than others?

Mae Clair’s Mythical Monday: Gargoyles

A winged guardian frozen
in stone masquerade,
sentinel of antiquity
as centuries fade.

Happy Labor Day everyone! I hope you’re enjoying a restful day filled with relaxation and play.

My Mythical Monday question for the day: what does the word gargoyle inspire in your imagination? A hideous mythical beast, or an ornamental (albeit, usually grotesque) stone carving jutting from a cathedral rooftop?

I almost didn’t do an MM post today because of the holiday, but then decided to go with something that made me think of toil. Yeah, I know it’s a leap. Why a gargoyle? Well, they’re lumbering and, in structural use, serve a purpose relating to the drainage system in buildings. Okay, mostly gothic looking structures that have been around for eons but you have to admit they’re amazing. And yes, they are a referred to many times as ‘grotesques.’

Gargoyles were especially prominent in medieval times when they were used to adorn buildings, usually churches and cathedrals, to repel the forces of evil.  So how did the practice develop?

According to legend, a dragon named LaGarougille decided to make the town of Rouen, France his personal feeding ground during the seventh century. Naturally, the villagers took exception to this. You would too if you suddenly found yourself the ala carte menu item of the day (I’ll take the blacksmith grilled with a side of steamed farrier to go). Ugh! Actually it was virginal maidens who were most commonly offered as sacrificial fodder. Aren’t they always?

Fortunately, a priest (later known as St. Romanis) arrived around the same time to spread Christianity. He slew the dragon and the villagers gleefully set its body on fire. Imagine the celebration! When the head and neck wouldn’t burn, St. Romanis had them placed on the roof of his church as a warning to other forces of evil. Afterward, gargoyles were constructed to protect dwellings from malevolent spirits, much in the same way the head and neck of LaGarougille was a symbol of protection for the villagers of Rouen.

Other legends paint gargoyles as souls who became trapped in stone on their journey to the nether world. My first exposure to this mythical beast was a movie I saw when I was kid. I can’t remember the name, but I have vague memories of shadowy hulking beasts stalking unsuspecting travelers on a deserted roadway. I was mesmerized, finding the gargoyles terrifying but fascinating. I’m sure I had nightmares when I went to bed. Be that as it may, I was beguiled by the myth and had to learn more. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the purpose of these monstrous creatures was to protect others. Sometimes the trappings of myth are not at all what you’d expect.

To close, I wish you a happy Labor Day and am sending along gargoyle-wishes to ward off any and all circumstances that aren’t exactly as you desire.  Unlike many of us, gargoyles don’t get a break from working on this holiday.

Mae Clair’s SSS: Werewolf Friends and Rivals

Six Sentence Sunday 9-2-12

Hi, sixers! It’s Sunday again and I’m excited to be able to share another snippet from WEATHERING ROCK which will be released on October 8th.  Check out the new “coming soon” link on the website of my publisher, Lyrical Press. How cool is that? *happy dance*

If you’ve been curious about Caleb’s werewolf tendencies, there’s a nice lycanthrope excerpt to go along with it. Just scroll down a bit.

Back to today’s six: Last week, after having dinner with Caleb DeCardian (Civil War colonel and werewolf who has time traveled to the 21st century), my heroine, Arianna Hart, told him she was leaving. This is after she indulged in a nice long sensual kiss, then grew irked for succumbing to his charms.

I’m picking up immediately where I left off last week with Caleb speaking first.

~ooOOoo~

“Then let me walk you to your car.”

In control of her traitorous feelings once again, she glared up at him. “Are you going to tell me it’s not safe? That I should be afraid of something…like the wolf I saw before.”

The blood drained from his face. “What?”

~ooOOoo~

Hmm. Is it possible Arianna could have seen werewolf rival and bitter enemy, Seth Reilly, once Caleb’s closet friend? The plot thickens. 🙂

WEATHERING ROCK is now available to add to your TBR list on Goodreads. I have been known to break into spontaneous Snoopy dances whenever someone does. 😀  

Thank you to everyone who swoops by and comments each week. Sundays are a delight with friendly sixers around. To find a list of all participating authors, visit the Six Sentence Sunday website and settle back for a series of riveting reads!