Better Late Than Never

Can I still write a look back/look ahead post in the middle of January? I hope so, because that’s what this is.

Hand writing a letter with a goose featherLOOKING BACK ON WRITING
2018 was a rough year for me. I only released one novel—Cusp of Night—book one of Hode’s Hill. For the first time since publishing, I went over six months without a release. I’m still feeling the ripple effect.

And despite the EXTENSIVE effort I put into its launch, Cusp of Night did not perform as hoped. Besides two paid blog tours and 21 individual guest posts—each on a different topic—it floundered shortly out of the gate. There were bursts of life here and there, but the book didn’t really take off until the fall when it got a push on BookBub. It’s been doing well ever since—which makes me value the power of BB. And autumn.

BookBub became a primary focus in 2018 as I worked to build my following. If you’re interested, you can find me here. I’ve yet to load old reviews, but you’ll find me sharing plenty of new ones as we move ahead. I love reading almost as much as writing!

A woman sitting on the beach reading a book. Her back is to the camera, with ocean in front. Done in a wash of faded colorsLOOKING BACK ON READING
And speaking of books, I participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge every year. It’s one of the things I enjoy about the site. My goal for 2018 was 65 books. I’m pleased to say I exceeded that and reached 79. About a dozen of those were novellas, with the shortest weighing in at 15 pages.

The longest book I read, The Obsidian Chamber, clocked in at 560 pages. I started my reading year with Joan Hall’s, Unknown Reasons, and finished with I Know You Know by Gilly MacMillian. My most productive reading month was August with 10 books (only one novella) and my worst April. During the rainy season, I managed a staggering total of 1.

I upped my books read for the 2019 Goodreads Challenge, increasing my goal to 70. Even though I passed that in 2018, I’m not cocky enough to think I can do it again.

I’ve shied away from posting reviews on my blog in the past, but am considering starting this year. I may try doing a post each month with the books read the previous month. Stay tuned.

Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weedsLOOKING AHEAD ON WRITING
End of Day, book two of Hode’s Hill releases tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow. Ask me how many guest posts I’ve written and you’ll get a goose egg. Pathetic, yes?

Eventide was scheduled to release in August of this year, but the date has been delayed until December. My fault for missing a deadline.

First. Time. Ever.

Because I don’t want to go with such a long stretch between books, I hope to indie publish a collection of short stories sometime in the spring. I currently have enough for one fat volume, or two smaller ones. Time will tell which.

I may also try something different moving ahead, writing a true psychological thriller. My muse has been championing first person POV.

Which brings me to…

old world type map with script writing laid over top and words Story Empire set off as a bold headerSTORY EMPIRE
You can find me there today with a post entitled Are You a POV Snob? When you read it, you’ll understand how hilarious a certain someone would find me considering first person.

I love SE! Shortly after I ventured online, I dreamed of becoming part of a group blog. Make no mistake, Story Empire is a huge time commitment, but I couldn’t ask for a better home or better group of co-authors. We are so appreciative of our readers and plan to continue providing you with valuable content in the New Year.

Finally, I purchased a web hosting plan, but haven’t had the time (or energy) to devote to building a site. This blog will remain, but I hope to have a shiny new website to complement From the Pen of Mae Clair sometime in the future. I’ll be sure to give a shout when it’s ready to go.

cat with closed eyes snuggles with a paper red heart In closing, please know how much I treasure my online friendships. We may never meet in person—in all likelihood, we won’t—but I am thankful for our connection. A very dear blogging friend of mine passed away last month after a year-long battle with cancer. Her passing crushed me for days. I am so grateful her life crossed mine. Like the “certain someone” from my Snob POV post, she will always hold a special place in my heart.

Rest in peace, Carmen. May the angels sing you to Heaven.

85 thoughts on “Better Late Than Never

  1. I’ve done the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 3 years counting this year. I go up about 10 books per year. I’m up to 50 books this year. So far, I’ve passed my goal each year. I try to mix in novellas along with novels. I haven’t read a whole book yet this year, so I’ve got to get busy. I’m about halfway through one by Phyllis A. Whitney. I’ve got you beat, I went a year without writing any books but I’m back in the saddle. I just finished a book I’ve been trying to finish since the late 90s. Well I started it about 1998 while I was waiting to hear from a publisher on my first finished book. Then I put it aside. I picked it up again November 2017 during Nanowrimo and got stuck when the characters did something unexpected that threw me for a loop. My main suspect got herself killed. Can you believe they did that to me? It took me a while to figure out a fix, but I picked it up again the end of November 2018 and finished the first draft December 31st at 11:30 p.m. before the New Year bell rang. Yay!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Kim, you had me laughing over the behavior of your main suspect! Imagine her doing a pesky thing like that, LOL! Bravo to you for finishing that book. I love that you closed our the year with it. I have a trunk novel for the 80s I keep playing with. Certain threads have spiraled into other books, but I keep thinking one day I’ll tackle it again. Well, maybe.

      Congrats too on the Goodreads challenge. I love doing it. In 2016 I exceeded my count and read 80-some books (I can’t remember the number). So for 2017 I set a goal of 75 and failed. Since then, I’ve been cautious on how much I up that number. I hope I can make it in 2019.

      Congrats again on having a WIP under your belt and a release on the way for the New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Mae. The book is dear to me because it’s sort of a tribute to my brother who died way too young. I have more sitting like that and one is the second book I ever started writing. It’s set in another time period and will take more research but I still hope to get it done within the next couple of years. We’ll see.

        I’ve never had a Bookbub feature. I was turned down for one and my Lana books are too short to meet their guidelines. And they’re expensive but I hear they’re worth every penny.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have heard BB is very pricey.

        I can understand why the book would be dear to you. What a wonderful tribute to your brother. And I always find other time periods interesting when reading. I don’t think there are any I don’t like!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy release:) I’m excited to read it. I have to get back to bookbub. I know its helpful. I would love to read a first person POV psychological thriller from you! Sorry about your writing year, but I was a big fan of Cusp of Night! I slacked off end of year too and lost a couple of writing months with no ideas. Lucikly 2019 has given me a lot of new stories that should keep me busy. Congrats on 79 books read. I was going for 50 last year for Goodreads challenge and ended at 77. Some were shorts, too. I would love to hit 100 one year but keeping it at 70. Sorry about the loss of your friend Mae. I’m sure the angels are singing to her.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Wow, good for you on the GR Challenge. You kicked butt! 🙂

      It seems that the people who read Cusp really enjoyed it. Thanks for being a fan 🙂
      I just couldn’t seem to get it in front of an audience for a reason. It was a summer release, so that might have been part of it, but I’ve done them before and never had one behave like Cusp.

      Glad to hear you have plenty in the works for 2019, Denise. I look forward to your new releases. And thank you for the kind thoughts about Carmen. She was a treasured friend.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Jen! I can answer that. If you pull up the book, on the right are three buttons and the last one is “Review” which I just recognized today. Another way is to click “Recommendations” at the top and over to the right is a green button that says “Recommend a Book” then you have to do a search for the book, usually type in the title or the author works. When you get the recommend/review screen just click the stars and click a few things about it if you want, like “easy to read” , “romantic”, “page turner”, etc. and at the bottom there’s a place to write a review.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for running with that answer, Kim. I’m fairly new to BB but I love the recommending and reviewing experience. I also found it helps to build your following, then when you have a new release or recommend a book, your followers get notice of it (well, assuming they have those selections checked under notifications). As a reader, I faithfully check my newsletter selections each day. I found a lot of great books that way!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Looks like Kim has a great answer below. I’d also recommend concentrating on building your followers and then interacting with them through likes and posting reviews. My understanding is you have to have 1000 followers to be approved for a BB ad. I’m still shy of that number and the ads are very expensive. I was fortunate that my publisher pushed Cusp onto a newsletter list. Clueless how they did it but the book rose to #2 in the supernatural thriller category and ended somewhere around #115 in mystery. Since then, it’s performing better than when it was released,

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m stunned that Cusp of Night didn’t set the world on fire. Thankfully BB helped. (I’m jealous; I’ll never get a book on there.) I know End of Day will be a smashing success. I’ve had mine preordered forever.

    What a lovely shout-out to Carmen. She was a special person, and she will be missed.

    Wishing you a fabulous 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Staci, I think that 6 months without a release really hurt me with Cusp. That might mean producing novellas during books to keep my name “out there”. Which I wouldn’t mind doing as it would give me a chance to experiment with some of the story ideas I have that will never make it to a novel.

      I know you were close to Carmen too. She really appreciated her online friends. As you said, she will be missed. I’m just thankful I had the opportunity to know her.

      Thanks for the pre-order on End of Day 🙂 You know I lvoe hearing that, LOL.

      Wishing you a fabulous 2019 as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So excited for End of Day tomorrow! I remember seeing Cusp of Night on Bookbub – glad it gave you the push your book deserves. So sorry for the loss of your friend, Mae. Just because you never meet someone in person, the loss stings just as much.

    Enjoy your release day tomorrow – I’ll be tweeting about it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you’re excited about End of Day, Teri. It seems like it’s been a long time getting here, when it really hasn’t. Strange. It will be a far longer stretch to Eventide to close out the series 😦

      Thanks in advance for your tweets and support. And that BB push really help Cusp surface. Hopefully, End of Day will do well.

      Thanks, too, for the thoughts about Carmen. She was indeed a special friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad the BB ad helped. Rumor is they always help. I’m sure my stories will never make it there, but one can dream. So sad about Carmen. She was a nice person and we communicated a lot before she got ill. Looking forward to the release tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know Carmen valued your friendship, Craig. She will definitely be missed.

      As for BookBub, I have no idea what my publisher did to get the announcement in the daily newsletter of selections, but wow did that help. There has to be a way for indie authors to do that too. I wish I understood more about the site so I’d know how they managed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so sorry for your loss, Mae. {{{hugs}}} 2018 was a slow year for numerous writers, including me. Don’t feel guilty (easier to say those words, a lot harder to live by them). May 2019 be a fabulous year for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hugs gratefully accepted, Sue 🙂

      I’m hoping 2019 will treat all of us better. Sometimes, we are far too hard on ourselves. Here’s to prolific writing and good sales in the coming year, but mostly to health and happiness! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations on the End of Day release, Mae. Like everyone one else, I loved Cusp of Night and I’m excited to read the second book. Your year in review and your experience with BookBub are appreciated shares. It’s good to see others hit plateaus and successfully move beyond them. I’m sorry for the passing of your friend, Carmen and I think I can understand how you feel. There are so many of you who have reached out and supported my writing that if we met, we could just pick up the threads of some previous conversation. That’s how well we’ve come to know each other through our books, blogs, etc. Best to you in 2019. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely, Linda. We’d be able to sit down over coffee and just dive right in. What fun that would be!

      I tell myself that I will meet Carmen in heaven. She just got there first 🙂

      Thank you for your support of Cusp and also End of Day. That is so fabulous to hear . I need to learn more about BookBub. I feel like that’s the platform to use….I just have to figure out how. Right now, I’m just having a ton of fun with it, reviewing and recommending books. At some point i need to sit down, find old reviews I’ve written and share them on BB. There seems to be a lot of friendliness there 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I saw your book on BookBub and got excited and happy for you. BookBub makes a big difference. It reaches so many readers. I think some of the things that used to work to reach readers just aren’t working anymore. Not sure exactly what does besides BB. My third mystery doesn’t come out until the end of September, so I’ve been playing with other books that aren’t part of that series, too, and plan to self-publish them. I can’t go too long without writing, so need something to play with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judi, I think you’re smart having other books to indie pub between releases. I really felt the hit when I didn’t have a release the first half of 2018. I’ll be looking forward to seeing your indie pubs, but you will have two releases close together (at least for my pace of writing, LOL). April and September. That’s great exposure.

      Like you, I’m not sure what works other than BB. I’ve tried so many things with mixed results. I’m now considering doing snail mail postcards to homes in my local area.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I still haven’t tried a newsletter. I figure people follow me on my author sites and BookBub, and I run out of things to say, but everyone seems to be pushing those. I’m posting the supernatural mystery on my webpage, and when I finish it, I plan to put that up as self-published. Ilona Andrews does that on her blog and it works for her. Of course, she’s famous, so readers buy almost everything she does. But this way, I’m trying to keep my name in front of people and then have something to publish.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like a smart plan, Judi. I’ve thought about sharing a story on my blog, but just haven’t gotten around to it. Maybe one of these days. And I still don’t use my newsletter the way I should. It’s very small mailing list. I have it pared back to just the people who specifically signed up for information and not those who came from giveaways. Which reminds me—I need to put something together for End of Day’s release tomorrow!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Enjoyed the post. Looking back often helps us forge ahead. I have no lofty goals for this year. My main goal is to be more active with my fellow authors and to post more on my own. I have nothing scheduled for release this year, although, I am working on a few things.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Losing a friend is always difficult, and it does interrupt our lives. Following you this year, I’ve noticed your strength and humor returning. Good signs! Sorry to hear Cusp of Night is doing poorly. I still struggle with my last one also. I’ll look into BookBub, perhaps it a worthwhile avenue for me. Keep moving forward, and I look forward to the next book. HUGS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Chuck. Thanks for that lovely message. 🙂

      I fretted all summer over Cusp watching it sink. A horrible feeling. BookBub breathed new life into it. I highly recommend creating an author profile there. Even if you don’t place ads, you can build name recognition through reviews and recommendations to your followers. They also see your own releases and are notified any time you put something new out.

      And you get to see reviews and recs from people you follow. In addition to discovering some great new reads and authors, I’ve found it a lot of fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I love Bookbub! The platform is easier to use than GoodReads, IMO, and they freely share your recommends (reviews) via daily emails, which is a nice boost. The thousand you mentioned, Mae, is to send out a pre-order notice, if you’re so inclined. The cost is minimal; something like .30 per follower? But, it only goes out to those who follow you and reside in the US. Not sure why the rest of the world doesn’t count, lol.
    Sorry about Carmen, she was a wonderful lady and will be greatly missed.
    And finally, congrats on your new release!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacquie, thanks so much for the info about BookBub. Valuable insight! I never realized that about the 1000 count. Finally, clarification, LOL!

      I’m glad you got to know Carmen too. She will definitely be missed. I was devastated when I heard. We had just exchanged emails the beginning of December.

      And thanks for the congrats. I have another book about to launch!!!!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow, Mae! That’s a lot of books you read in 2018! I pre-ordered “Day’s End” so I’m excited about reading it. I have a few in front of it, but it will move up the list quickly. Don’t be discouraged. Some years are better than others. The beautiful part is that we are still here to keep trying. Sending light and love to your friend, Carmen. We never know when our time will be up. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jan, thank you so much for pre-ordering End of Day. When it does surface on your TBR, I hope you enjoy the continuing saga of Hode’s Hill.

      You’re absolutely right that some years are better than others. I think I was spoiled by the last few and not having a release the first half of this one just really hit home. But I will continue onward 🙂

      Thanks for the light and love for Carmen {{HUGS}}

      Liked by 1 person

  13. 😊I’m so excited about your release day for “End Of Day” tomorrow, Mae! I can’t wait to post my review. You know just how much I’ve loved both book 1 and 2. I’m so sorry for your loss, my friend. I know just how close we can grow to our online friends. I have two new Psychological Thrillers I hope to release this year. Typing is a touch difficult with all my fingers crossed. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Soooz, you always make me laugh 😀

      I look forward to those new psychological thrillers. I just love that genre.

      And I’m excited that you’re excited about End of Day, LOL.

      Carmen was a treasured friend all the way across the globe It’s wonderful how the internet brings people together across countries and distance….like someone from the U.S. and Australia 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Of course, you’re allowed to post late. I’ve yet to write a post about goals and looking back. Maybe this week, who knows.

    Thanks for the shoutout for Unknown Reasons. I did a terrible job with promotion, even though it has (so far) been my favorite book to write.

    Sweet tribute to Carmen. I had gotten to know her a couple of years back and even though we never met in person, considered her a friend. She will be missed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re not too late to do a looking back/forward post, Joan. Heck, even in February 🙂

      I thought it was cool your book kicked off my reading in 2018. I look forward to your new release this year!

      I know Carmen considered you a friend, too. We often emailed after she was no longer making rounds on the blogs and she’d ask about everyone 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh boy, I see what you achieved in a ‘rough’ year and I have to hang my head in shame. “I only got one book written this year” – hmm, I think I got one chapter written! Methinks you’re being faaaar too hard on yourself hon! I’d say it was a great year, especially after the success of BB with Cusp… even if you reach half a dozen people (which I know you reach heaps more), it’s still someone who’s day’s been brightened by your book!

    Lovely tribute to your blogging friend; it’s a hard thing when someone passes, though at least she’s not suffering anymore. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I simply don’t know how you do all that you do, Mae. You are officially ranked as my Idol, now. (That means I want to be YOU when I grow up.) Seriously, I’m kinda tired just from reading about all the goals you’ve set yourself and how many of them you’ve accomplished. Rock on, Girl! But don’t forget to take some time for yourself, too. And sincere condolences on the loss of your friend. The connection was there, whether you ever met face to face or not, and I know you’ll miss her. Treasure those memories forever. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your idol? You are too funny, Marcia! I feel more like a limp ragdoll, LOL. I’m definitely gong to try to embrace more time for relaxation while maintaining my writing goals. I need to learn how to use time more efficiently. Well….one of these days.

      Thanks for the thoughts about Carmen, too. I miss her, but am so thankful we connected! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sorry for your loss, Noelle. My faith tells me I will see Carmen again but it is still hard saying goodbye. I’m sure you feel the same. Wishing you peace, plus plenty of health, happiness, and lots of book fun in 2019!


  17. Wow. I’m so far behind I think I’m first… I’ve thought about doing the GR challenge, but I’m really, really trying to work on getting Book 2 redrafted. Again. I do read, but I don’t think I can commit to any number. Although I have started End of Day 😀 And I’m trying to work through at least one book by every author in our local Sisters in Crime chapter. And there are a lot of writers in our chapter. And that pesky marketing stuff! I’m working on a website now, and I think the biggest thing right now is deciding what it should look like. Decisions, decisions!

    Looks like you have another busy year lined up. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Julie, you’re juggling a lot and I fully understand being pulled in al those different directions. My first year as a published author was overwhelming. Come to think of it, it’s still overwhelming, LOL.

      If you do decide to do the GR challenge, you can set any number of books. I’ve seen readers on there who will do 10 or less for a year. It’s just fun to track your progress and keep track of what you’ve read. I’m so excited that End of day is your current read. I hope you enjoy it. I can’t wait to sink into the pages of Murder in Plane Sight come March 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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