A New Release, Yearly Wrap, and New Plans

2020 in bold white on starry purple background with words happy new year in smaller gradient text beneathHappy New Year and Happy 2020, my friends! It’s hard to believe we are in a brand new decade. Have you seen the 20/20 commercial with Barbara Walters and other celebrities? I get a kick out of it every time it airs.

Here’s hoping everyone had a fantastic New Year’s. It’s the one holiday my husband and I spend at home. We stopped the party thing years ago and now have a nice quiet evening topped off by a lobster tail dinner, and a champagne toast at the ball drop. It’s a tradition we’ve kept up since the year 2000. Surely, you remember Y2K, LOL.

Another tradition I have involves blogging. As many of us do, I like to look back at the previous year, plus share a glimpse of what I plan moving ahead.


I started the year off by releasing End of Day,  book 2 of my Hode’s Hill Series, and I closed out the year with the release of  Eventide, book 3, on New Year’s Eve.

That’s right—Eventide is now available! Didn’t you see all that confetti drop in Times Square? Okay, so there might have been some minor thing about a ball drop, but I like to think they were all celebrating along with me 🙂 Hey, a writer can dream, right?

Joking aside, if you haven’t grabbed your copy of Eventide yet, just click the handy link I’ve shared and you can purchase it from the bookseller of your choice. Several readers have commented that this is their favorite of the series, and early reviews on BookBub, Goodreads, and Amazon are off to a great start. A huge thanks to my ARC and Net Galley readers! If you haven’t read Cusp of Night, and End of Day, no worries. Early reviewers are saying it reads fine as a standalone. I was thrilled to see that sentiment shared by so many!

Banner ad for Eventide, a mystery novel by Mae Clair, features a dilapidated old house

The darkness is coming . . .

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?

Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…

In 2019, I completed a one-hour story (more on that later) and a collection of short stories. Both will appear in 2020. I also participated in NaNoWriMo with a mystery/suspense novel entitled Belladonna Cottage, and although I did manage to “win” NaNo, that book will most probably be scrapped. I made a complete mess of it—though I do intend to salvage three of the characters and possibly the setting for use in a later tale.

I’ve been doing the Goodreads Reading Challenge since 2013, and this was the third year I  met my goal (more confetti). I had hoped to read 70 books but managed 89. Not all of them appear on Goodreads, but—wow!—what an excellent year of reading.

My shortest read was Voodoo or Destiny by Jan Sikes (25 pages) and my longest was The Betrayed Wife by Kevin O’Brien (544 pages). My first review of the year was Final Girls by Riley Sager, and my last review was The Whisper Man by Alex North. I’ve already got several books lined up that I hope to read in January, and I’ve signed up for the Goodreads Reading Challenge again. I’m pledging 70 books, but hoping for more. If you’d like to participate, you can sign up from your Goodreads profile. Any number is acceptable, and no amount is too small.

2019 was my first year sharing book reviews on my blog, and I am so thankful I started. I can’t imagine why I didn’t before. I also introduced Wednesday Weirdness as a regular feature. At Story Empire, my colleagues and I completed our third year and passed 500 posts on Christmas Day. Many thanks to all who continue to make that blog successful for all!

2020 PLANS

Quill pen and inkwell resting on an old book with green background concept for literature, writing, author and history

Remember the one-hour story, I mentioned above? I plan to release In Search of McDoogal, in time for Valentine’s Day. The story is already written, edited, and formatted for ebook, with the blurb and cover ready to go. If it weren’t for Eventide, I’d probably release it now.

McDoogal is going to be released as a standalone because it doesn’t fit the theme of my short story collection. Actually, McDoogal doesn’t fit with anything I’ve written before. When I release the blurb and cover later this month, you’ll understand why. It’s a a road trip, comedy of errors, buddy tale. Yeah—me doing humor. Shocker, I know 😉

I’ve returned to work on The Keeping Place, a straight murder-mystery novel with just a smidgen of folklore about an old shack and a derelict rail line. Not a ghoul, creepy-crawly-thing or Mothman in sight.

As stated above, I’ll be doing the GR challenge in 2020 with 70 books as my goal. I am always on the lookout for good reads and am thankful to have so many talented author friends who have plenty to choose from. Keeping writing!

I will be continuing Tuesday Book Reviews and Wednesday Weirdness as we move into 2020. Thursday are always open for guest bloggers and friends with new releases or special promo, so please reach out to me whenever you need a spot. I am always happy to help!
(If you’re a new follower of my blog, I’m offline each week from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening/Monday morning).

At Story Empire, we will continue to bring you helpful content for all things writing, bookish, and promo-related. We have a few new and exciting things to roll out as the year progress, so stayed tuned.

Whew! That was a lot to cover in one post. Thank you for staying with me to the end.

Are you ready to tackle 2020? I’m in and sending cheers to all! 🙂

65 thoughts on “A New Release, Yearly Wrap, and New Plans

  1. Wow! 😀 Mae, I’m breathless … what massive achievements in all areas of your life! To have taken part and completed NaNoWriMo is incredible and even if not a complete novel from November, so much to take away and forward into new projects. Congratulations on smashing your GR challenge and it’s terrific you’re reviewing so many books as well. Here’s to a fabulous 2020! 🎉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Annika and Happy New Year! Thanks for cheering me on. It’s weird, but until I looked back over the year, it didn’t seem like I accomplished that much. Now I think differently and am fired up to tackle 2020, LOL. Wishing you all the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like you have a wonderful and busy itinerary planned for this year! I’m looking forward to reading Even Tide! Congratulations on completing NaNoWriMo, a marathon in itself. I wish you all the best in 2020!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You’ve had a great year, all round, Mae. I saw that Eventide had arrived on my kindle yesterday. I look forward to reading it soon. I also like blogging book reviews. I now try to blog two a week, one on each of my blogs and find it strange to think that before I started blogging I had never written a book review other than for school.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robbie, I’m the same way. Until I started blogging, I had never written book reviews either. I never realized how important they were for authors. Now I enjoy writing them, sharing my thoughts, and helping others in the industry with my reviews.

      I’m thrilled you’re looking forward to Eventide and so delighted it has arrived on your Kindle. Thanks and wishing you all the best for the New Year!


  4. I made my Goodreads challenge in 2019 with 30 books. I had set it for 20. Not nearly as lofty as your goals but I’m trying for 25 this year or roughly one per week.

    Looking forward to what you have in store for 2020!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. All great stuff! I understand scrapping something! It will be used elsewhere, I’m sure (yours, I mean). I finished End of Day yesterday. Great follow-up! Really enjoyed it. I have the latest on my shelf too, but I’m holding off on reading it until after your author spotlight. I will be asking for anyone to buddy read with me, then we’ll schedule it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Jay! I just saw your 2019 wrap and 2020 goals post and would say you had an incredible read as well. Your books read made my jaw drop, LOL.

      I’m delighted to hear about End of Day (and Eventide). I have one more novel ahead of my next Braxton Campus read and then I’m ready to see what Kellan and crew are up to again 🙂

      I also haven’t forgotten that I owe you book covers. Tomorrow or this weekend at the latest. It’s amazing how far the holidays can set you behind.

      Wishing you all the best for 2020!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, wow, I am so delighted to hear that, Noelle! I think it requires a Snoopy dance on my part. I’m prone to those you know 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by and I wish you all the best in the new year!
      P.S. Raven sends kitty paw-prints to Garfield 🙂


  6. Holy Moly! I have to go lie down now. Just reading about all you did in 2019 and plan for 2020 has exhausted me. 😉 Seriously, you do all this and work a “Real Job,” too??? I’m beyond impressed, and I already knew you were pretty darn busy.

    Eventide popped up on my Kindle a day or so ago, and is next in line for me to read. I can’t wait, and I wish you MUCH success with it. I’m also intrigued by McDoogal. And everything else. Keep up the good work, my PenderPal, and I have a couple of suggestions for your upcoming book reads. An author or two we haven’t talked about yet. 😀

    Lastly, Happy New Year! May 2020 be productive and prosperous, filled with all your favorite things. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s weird how during the year I thought I was slagging, but when I put together this post I realize I had accomplished more than a few things, LOL.

      I’m thrilled Eventide is in your reading queue and also that you’re looking forward to McDoogal. That one is really different for me, but it was fun to write.

      I can’t wait to discuss books and more in the new year. I still have to read Alloy of Law. The paperback is on my nightstand!

      Wishing you all the best for health, happiness, and lots of writing mojo in 2020, dearest PenderPal!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You were busy and will continue to be–yikes! I’m intrigued by McDoogal. I’ve only read your series so this sounds wonderfully different.

    It’s so much easier to type 2020 isn’t it? This of us with hand problems are thrilled 2019 is gone!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacquie, I have hand problems too. 2020 is a dream come true for keyboarding, LOL.

      I’m excited I have you intrigued by McDoogal. Every once in a while I have to indulge in a bit of silliness, and McDoogal is definitely that.

      Happy new year and best wishes!


  8. I started reading EvenTide last night and made it to poor Doug in the alley. Not the best scene to stop reading before bed, but wow! I wasn’t expecting that, so it caught me by surprise. Knocked all of my “maybes,” trying to guess the plot right out of the water:) Now I’m rethinking who ended up in the cistern. Ugh! You advertised the book as creepy, and you’ve really nailed it.
    It’s going to be fun reading you as a humor writer. Never saw that one coming:) Love the idea of your straight mystery. Can’t wait to read that one.
    You read a lot faster than I do. 89 books in one year is awesome.
    Great luck in 2020. Hope you meet all of your goals and then some.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judi, I’m thrilled you’re reading Eventide and that I have you rethinking what’s going on in the book. That makes me so happy! I can’t wait to see what you think of the whole thing. This one definitely is a bit creepy, probably more so than the last. Maybe that’s why I’m releasing a “comedy of errors” next 🙂

      Thanks for all your support and your wonderful friendship. Wishing you the best in 2020 as well. I know you’ve got several releases coming up. If you need promo, my blog is always open!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aww, thanks so much. I’m doing a really small tour this time. I sent out a handful of posts, but I appreciate the exposure. Let me work on putting something together, and would love to have you on mine when you’re ready!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Teri. Thanks so much. I’m thrilled you’ll be reading Eventide. A lot of readers seem to like it the best of the three. It was certainly interesting to write.

      Wishing you an awesome 2020!


  9. Happy New Year, Mae! Congrats on 89 books read! I hit 75, but didn’t count my rereads and non indie authors which wasn’t many. I’m aiming for 75 again with the hopes of hitting 100 some year. I have your book waiting for me on my Kindle. I’m just getting back to reading after a break. I can’t wait. Happy to heard you have short coming out soon, too! I haven’t made any adjustments yet for the new year. I’m sering where it goes:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Denise, you had an awesome reading year! I would love to hit 100 sometime in the future too. And you should have counted your rereads–they most definitely count on GR.
      I often go back and reread favorite books. Nice to know I’m not the only one who does that, LOV.

      I’m delighted you have Eventide on Kindle and are looking forward to McDoogal. They’re definitely different, but I enjoyed writing both of them.

      Happy New Year to you and yours!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Jacquie. Many thanks for all the well wishes. I think it will be fun to start 2020 with McDoogal. It’s different for me, but it was nice to do something fluffy and light for a change.

      Here’s wishing you a happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Priscilla. Wow, you made my night with that comment. I’m so particular about word choices, so I am thrilled to know they are resonating with you. I’m delighted you’re enjoying the book thus far. Many thanks for letting me know! 🙂


  10. Mae I don’t know how you have fitted all of that in! You’ve done so much over the past year, and managed to read 89 books. You have my utmost respect. I have downloaded Macabre Sanctuary and am looking forward to reading the Lady Ghost. I am a slow reader, but Eventide sounds really interesting. I will download it too. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so delighted you stopped by to visit with me. Thank you for those very kind words. And I’m super excited you are looking forward to The Lady Ghost and also plan to download Eventide.

      I just grabbed Tales of the Boy in Winter. I have a few books lined up ahead of it, but I’m a pretty quick reader. I took a peek with Amazon’s Look Inside feature and it looks awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What a year, Mae! I had pre-ordered Eventide, so it’s sitting on my Kindle and I will read it soon! That is a large number of books read in 2019!
    Congrats on NaNo! I look forward to 2020 and am praying that I can publish more than short stories this year. 🙂 Thank you for mentioning Jewel! Here’s to 2020!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing in my plans for 2020, Jan! I’m pretty jazzed about several of the things I have planned. And I’m thrilled to hear that Eventide is in your reading queue. Here’s to a fabulous New Year. I wish you a plethora of writing accomplishments!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for picking up a copy of Eventide, Diana. I hope you enjoy the conclusion of the Hode’s Hill series 🙂

      Wishing you an awesome 2020 as well, with lots of reading, writing, wonderful health, and mega sales!


  12. Wow! Busy year for you! And yes, I think Eventide would read fine as a standalone. I have a review to write (actually, I have a few reviews to write). Loved it! And so glad Madison came to her senses (with help) at the end. Here’s me cheering you on for the upcoming year!


    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the book and I can’t wait to see your review. I’m so pleased by the number of reviewers who have commented it reads fine as a standalone. That makes me very happy 🙂
      And, yes, I have plans for 2020, just hoping I can stick with them and make them work. Cheering you on as well!


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