About Mae Clair

Writing tales of mystery and suspense

Christmas . . . and #Cats

cute black cat poking out of plastic bag on bedThis is our second year with Raven, my beautiful rescue cat. Look at that face. Pretty hard to be miffed at anything that cute, right?

Last December she was seven months old and filled with curiosity. That led her to camp out in the smaller of my two Christmas trees, sprawling on the branches, and stealing at least a dozen Christmas ornaments. Every morning I’d find sparkly blue and silver balls on the floor or tucked away under the couch. Clever little thing did most of her “hunting” at night.

Because the smaller tree goes in our bow window—one of her favorite hangouts—we decided to forego it this year and just use our larger tree in the family room. She didn’t bother the larger tree last year, so we figured we were in the clear.

Uh…not.

A cat never outgrows curiosity.

The tree wasn’t trimmed more than ten minutes when I found her lying in the branches. Now that it’s been up for over a week, the branch-lounging novelty has worn off, but decorations on the bottom are still fair game. Fortunately, we’ve only had one shattered bulb and I was able to scoop her up before her little paws picked up any glass. The glass bulbs are now clustered mostly at the top.

Progress.

I’ve had cats before—three since I’ve been married, Raven being the fourth—and they were all spoiled. But this one has me wrapped. Worse, she knows it. I keep reminding myself that in human years, she’s about 18-20 years old. What’s the saying—Girls just want to have fun?

She’s definitely doing that!

If you have a cat—or even if you don’t—you might enjoy my paranormal Christmas novella, Food for Poe. It features a clever black feline, a holiday romance, and a creature from myth all wrapped up in a Yuletide tale. You can pick it up on Amazon for just .99 cents.

Book cover for FOOD FOR POE by Mae Clair shows attractive young couple in a winter setting with a black cat and silver Christmas ornaments belowBlurb
When a blizzard strands Quinn Easterly at a handsome stranger’s house on Christmas Eve, she doesn’t realize her newly adopted cat, Poe, is the catalyst responsible for bringing them together.

Breck Lansing gave up on relationships after his wife, unable to cope with their daughter’s illness, left him. But the pretty blonde he rescues from a snowstorm has him rethinking his stance—especially when Quinn’s arrival coincides with a dramatic change in Sophie’s health.

Unfortunately, that change also attracts something only whispered about in folklore. Together, Quinn and Breck must defeat a sinister creature intent on claiming the ultimate payment.

Warning: A clever black cat, Christmas magic and paranormal trouble

One reviewer’s take:
“This has become my new favourite Christmas story! I’m going to read it again next Christmas. Poe, a beautiful pure black cat (Not at all unlike my own darling, Rico… Wink.) is the hero of this most magical and thoroughly captivating tale.

It is a tale of love, hope, compassion, faith, superstition, and suspense with a touch of horror… I was hooked from the start. If it was up to me, I’d make it into a Christmas movie and watch it every year.” ~ Kevin Cooper

You can purchase Food for Poe for .99c from Amazon 

Raven and I thank you for your consideration, and send you wishes for a purrfectly Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

A Writer’s Life: Euphoria and Frustration

Happy Last Day of November. Whew! In a little over a month, we’ll be looking at the start of a brand-new year.

Fresh starts are always great. We set out to achieve new goals and break old habits. When it comes to writing, a fresh start—i.e, a new manuscript—falls somewhere between euphoria and frustration for me.

I love beginning a new book.
There are character names to decide, backgrounds to construct, settings to create, and plot bunnies to round up.

I hate beginning a new book.
There are character names to decide, backgrounds to construct, settings to create, and plot bunnies to round up.

Getting the picture? Euphoria and frustration.

I’m currently constructing book two of my Hode’s Hill series. The original plan for this novel was to tie in the life of a carnival sideshow performer of the late 1800s (think freakshow). What can I say—I like odd. I even spent a good deal of time on research.

It was only after I finished book one of the series, Cusp of Night, that I saw too much similarity in theme. Since I didn’t want End of Day to appear repetitious, I scratched the idea and came up with a new one that utilizes old legends of Church Grims and Folk Memories.

Great, right? I was jazzed about the change until I wrote the opening. I read it through once and thought it was crap. Not the power passage I was looking for to start a new book. It left me feeling like this…

woman with glasses has head down, hands clasped in hair, looking exhausted. Open laptop and blank notebook on desk in front of her

Sulking, I avoided the file for three days before I opened it again. Guess what? Everyone says wait and read with fresh eyes. My beginning needed a few tweaks to spruce it up, but they were minor when I put everything in perspective. Frustration gave way to euphoria.

Close up of woman screaming in excitment

It’s made me realize that as much as I love dreaming up a new project, sitting down and writing the first few scenes is the hardest part of the novel. At least, for me. I second guess everything—and I do mean everything. From the strength of the opening scene to the way my characters behave—to the segues between scenes and chapters, I drive myself batty. I don’t think I truly get comfortable until I’m at least halfway through the manuscript.

As an example, I wrote half of Cusp of Night feeling disconnected from my main character, Hannah Norfolk. It took me that long to realize she needed a stronger background, and the name “Hannah” didn’t fit her. Once she became Maya Sinclair and I beefed up her history, she started to write herself. Of course, those changes—especially her personal background—meant altering earlier chapters and a major plot thread. It’s a good thing I have an understanding and adaptable critique partner (thank you, Staci!).

For now, I’m in euphoria-mode again. I like my beginning, I have direction, and things are going well. I know it’s only a matter of time until frustration rears its ugly head, but I’ll ride this wave for as long as I can.

How about you? What aspects of working on a new project do you find the most maddening? What inspires moments of sheer bliss? Am I the only one who waffles between euphoria and frustration, or is it simply the norm for a writer’s life?

When Your Novel Is Retitled

Sometime ago, I ran a blog post about needing a title for the first book in my new Hode’s Hill series of novels. I submitted the manuscript to my publisher with the title of The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill.

I liked it, but it is long, and probably not the best for marketing. No surprise that the publisher asked for a new title. Many authors have their book titles changed, but this was a first for me. I’ve written six other traditionally published books all without title changes. The hardest part was, I had already written the entire book and was waiting on content edits when the request for a title change came through. My head was already wrapped around The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill. I’d even been blogging about the book using that title. Worse—and I don’t know why this was so hard for me—all of my computer files had that title attached to them.

Title Ideas message on a white background against view of an old typewriter and paper

The good news is that my editor asked me for new titles, rather than the publisher assigning one. I was asked to submit multiple title choices from which the head editor would select. Over the course of four days, I submitted nineteen choices. Titles are not easy for me, so coming up with nineteen was not a simple feat. From those, my editor sent a handful to the head editor. Naturally, the very last title was the one he chose. 😊 Now that I’ve had time to unwrap my head from Blue Lady, I’ve grown fond of it.

So, what did we end up with?

*drum roll*

Cusp of Night

I hope it inspires thoughts of mystery and something lurking in the dark.

I’ve received the official blurb and am just waiting on a cover. The release is scheduled for June 12, 2018. If you like mysteries with dual story lines (one set in the late 1800s, the other in the present), whispers of a mysterious creature from folklore, old spiritualist practices, and ghostly occurrences, I think you’ll enjoy Cusp of Night. I can’t wait to share the cover and blurb with you. Be on the lookout.

Hopefully, it won’t be long before I can unveil both!

Offering our Thanks and Asking a Favor

It’s only my second day online after returning from vacation, but I had to share this wonderful news. Thanks to Mr. John Howell, the Story Empire blog has been nominated as favorite writing blog at the Positive Writer. It’s so simple to vote, and we would love any support you may be inclined to give. You can read all about it here. Many thanks in advance and a huge thank you to John!

Story Empire

Hi, SEers. Hope you’re all having a great day. We sure are.

Best Writing BlogWe’re writing on a Thursday to express our gratitude to Mr. John Howell for nominating our humble little site as a favorite writing blog over at Positive Writer.

The award for Best Writing Blog will be announced by Positive Writer in January. Until then, it’s a matter of votes.

If you like our blog, please visit the Positive Writer post and leave our name (Story Empire) and URL (https://storyempire.com) in the comments along with a brief statement of why you like our site. You don’t have to fill out any forms or click on a series of links. There’s no poll or checklist, and you definitely don’t need to subscribe to anything. Voting is as easy as putting our name, address, and a short sentence or two in the comments. (And if you want to…

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A Book Lover’s Tag

In a few days I leave for a nice long vacation to sunny beaches and dockside restaurants with good seafood and drinks sporting tiny umbrellas. I’m taking a few books with me that I’ve had on my read list for a while. Top of the list is The Life She Was Given followed by Everything We Lost. If I make it through those, I’ve got plenty of others in the wings. Plane flights and beaches are great for disappearing into good fiction.

Which brings me to today’s post. D. Wallace Peach ( a lovely blogger who you should follow 🙂 ) tagged all her followers with the Book Lover’s Tag, and I was so intrigued, I had to play along. Who doesn’t like discussing books and reading habits? You’re already interested, right? 😊

Consider yourself tagged should you like to play. Just answer the questions on your own blog, but while you’re here I’d love to know your all-time favorite book. Yeah, I know it’s a tough question, but Diana posed the same one and I made myself chose a single title.

Before we get to your answer, take a look at my reading habits:

Soft cuddly tabby cat lying in its owner's lap enjoying and purring while the owner is reading a bookDo you have a specific place for reading?
Not specific but I do have a favorite. I’m happy to read anywhere, but my regular way of unwinding each night is to read in bed before I fall asleep. It’s the perfect way to end each day. Bonus points if my cat, Raven, decides to snuggle.

book mark for author Mae Clair with spooky house at top, eerie inside setting at bottom Bookmark or random piece of paper?
Normally a bookmark. I had my own created for swag, so I normally grab one of those when I’ve got a paperback or hardback. I’ve always been someone who likes colorful bookmarks, so even before having my own, I always had something artsy, usually bought from a bookstore. I still have a collection. Of course, these days, a lot of my reading is done on my Kindle. When I e-read I don’t use the bookmark feature.

Do you eat or drink whilst reading?
Most of my reading is done before I go to bed, so no. If I’m reading at other times (camped out on my deck or on the living room sofa), I always have something to drink and occasionally something to munch.

Music or TV whilst reading.
Occasionally, I’ll play soft instrumental background music when I read, but other than that, any sound is a distraction that must be squashed immediately!

One book at a time or several?
Only one. It’s the way I write, too—one story at a time.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?
Most of my reading is done at home but books are so easily transported, I have no objection to reading elsewhere. I never go on an appointment (doctor, dentist, hair stylist) without taking a book along.

Read out loud or silently?
Usually silently, but sometimes when I’m caught up in a story I “whisper read” without even realizing it. I’ll also do that thing where your tongue forms the words against the roof of your mouth but your lips stay closed, Weird, I know.

Do you read ahead or skip pages?
I read page by page unless a section really drags. When that happens, I’ll skim the pages that follow until the story picks up again. Not really reading ahead, just skimming. With a great book, however, I am riveted word by word right up until the close.

Break the spine or keep it like new.
If it’s a nice fat paperback, I have no qualms about folding the cover back which usually results in a creased spine and pages that waffle upright into a fan. If it’s a hardback, I’m far more careful. I’ll remove the dust jacket to preserve it, and take care not to break the spine.

Do you write in books?
Only if the book is non-fiction. I normally read those for research (or because the subject fascinates me) and then I write all over the pages, highlight passages, draw arrows and gleefully post sticky tabs for easy reference. If it’s a work of fiction, the pages stay pristine. 😊

What books are you reading now?
I’m just finishing up Keeper of His Soul by Lauralynn Elliott, a paranormal tale with a conflicted vampire—the best kind. After that I’ll be reading the books I mentioned above, The Life She Was Given and Everything We Lost. They’re going on vacation with me.

What is your childhood favorite book?
book cover of Planet of Death by Robert Silverberg
There were two books that made a huge impression on me as a child. Planet of Death by Robert Silverberg which I read in fourth grade. The vivid cover sucked me in, and decades later, I still remember it as an adult. The book was my first experience with science-fiction and I was enthralled.

The other book is The Wicked Pigeon Ladies in the Garden by Mary Chase, also read when I was in elementary school. It opened my eyes to magic, spooky houses, Victorian ladies, and a bit of time travel. Once again, I was enraptured. Those two books, coupled with my own imagination, and encouragement from my parents, really opened the door to writing.

Book cover for THE TERROR by Dan Simmons which shows an old clipper ship without sails surrounded by ice and glaciersWhat is your all-time favorite book?
This is such a hard question and my favorite has changed over time. I have a number of favorites, but if I have to chose a single title, it’s The Terror by Dan Simmons. I’ve never read anything like it—a blend of historical fact, folklore, mystery, horror, even a bit of romance. Simmons penned a fictional account of Sir John Franklin’s doomed expedition to find the Northwest Passage and did it in manner that is haunting, lyrical, gruesome and brutal. It’s a mammoth tome topping 900 pages, but well worth the journey.

That’s it! You’re all tagged. 🙂
Remember to share your favorite book in the comments with your reason why.

Guest blogger Julie Holmes: Writing by the Seasons

It’s finally starting to feel like fall in central Pennsylvania after an unseasonably warm October. That change in temps is the perfect intro for my next guest who takes an in-depth look at using the seasons to influence the plot of your story.

Julie Holmes blogs at Facets of a Muse and is an uber supportive friend and blogger. She’s got a fun and quirky sense of humor that shows in posts about her muse (who is always drafting mine for pub crawls), the writing life, gardening and cats. You can’t go wrong with cats. Just saying.

Hop over to Julie’s, check out her blog, then show her some comment luv below. She’s placed her own wonderful spin on writing for the seasons. Take it away, Julie…

~ooOOoo~

Hello! *waves* A hearty “Thank You” to Mae for once again inviting me to guest on her blog. This is a nice place, Mae. Can’t wait to hear more about your new series (hint 🙂 ).

Since Mae left me up to my own devices when it came to a subject for a guest post (insert evil laugh here 😀 ), I shuffled through my mental idea bag as an October rainstorm poured outside. Not to mention Mae’s recent post about writing by the seasons on Story Empire. Well, it seems Mother Nature is trying to get my attention.

Living in Minnesota allows me the privilege of experiencing all four seasons. Each season seems to have its own attitudes and personality. Spring is hopeful and happy—most of the time. When Spring is moody and rainy, she often makes up for it with rainbows.

beautiful rainbow over open field

Summer is brilliant and fun-loving, but sometimes likes to be the center of attention a little too much with blasting heat or angry storms.

golf course backed by lake

Autumn is quiet, the friend you call when you want a companion on a walk. Sometimes she can be a blowhard, which just ruins her dye job.

autumn bank and tree in fiery colors over dark lake

And winter, well, they don’t call it the Old Man for nothing. Winter’s attitude swings from peaceful stillness to howling bluster.

cluster of trees covered with snow

Okay, I know not everyone has all four seasons, and if they do, they may not be as distinct as they are in the upper Midwest. When you experience one or more of the seasons, using the seasons as part of your setting is almost second nature. The fun comes in when you use the season as more than just the backdrop for your story.

Say you’re writing a romance. Summer just begs to be the backdrop. Think walks along the beach or summer dresses or lounging in the sun. Eating dinner on a patio. Barbeques. Pretty typical fare, right? Well, unless it’s one of those holiday romance stories about Christmas parties and sleigh rides and cuddling by the fireplace. Still, pretty typical.

Okay, now give the season a bigger part in the story. Maybe switch it up a bit. Spring rains, thunderstorms, and wind. The heroine gets stuck in the mud, and the hunky neighbor guy stops to tow her out. If it hadn’t been spring and rainy, it wouldn’t have been muddy, and the hunky neighbor would have to have another excuse to cross paths with the heroine.

Let’s try autumn. Falling leaves, apple cider, pumpkin patches, harvest, Halloween. Our heroine is helping her grandfather get the harvest in. Her grandfather has a heart attack, and can’t finish getting the harvest in. She can’t do it alone. Along comes the hunky grandson of her grandfather’s “arch enemy”, who offers to help bring in the harvest.

Hmm. What about winter? Winter’s easy. PIck anything: furnace goes out, roads blocked by a snowstorm, the holidays. It’s a gimmee, that FREE space on the bingo card.

For example, in my upcoming book, I use winter as my season character. One of the key scenes between the main female character and main male character takes place only because of a blizzard. The blizzard forces them together, because the female protagonist can’t easily get to a safe refuge, and the male protagonist won’t let her stay alone. (You’ll have to read the book for the rest—mwahahahaha!)

In the second book, spring is my chosen season, because the snow melt of spring causes rivers to run high and fast, perfect for disposing of a body. And they’re cold, which hampers the M.E. determining time of death. On a less morbid note, the awakening of spring flowers and fresh leaves on the trees has a romantic effect on the story. Sudden spring storms can also toss wrenches into plans.

Summer offers possibilities beyond outdoor concerts and swimsuits. How about a gardener who has a family emergency and asks the neighbor to water the garden. Guess what? The neighbor either forgets and the garden dries up, or the neighbor remembers, but it rains for three days straight, and the garden drowns. What does the gardener do upon returning home? If they got along before the emergency, do they still get along? What if the gardener was growing his prize-winning dahlias? Or a special tomato hybrid he was betting on to help him win first place at the state fair?

Use the season as more than just window dressing. Use it to enhance conflict. The key is to use the season to affect the choices the protagonist or antagonist must make in the story. Those choices can take the story in one direction or another. Use it to make solving the crime more difficult, to force two opposing characters together, to make characters take alternate routes that take them to no-man’s land or paradise.

Try to utilize the season in a way that is unexpected. A sudden summer deluge can cause a mudslide that can keep the bad guys from getting to the hero, or strand the heroine with no way of contacting help. A fall bonfire can get out of control, a hay ride can be the vehicle of romance, or a leaf pile can cover a body. And there’s Halloween. Let your imagination run.

Another hearty thank you to Mae for hosting me. I’m off to check out the changing leaves and figure out how I can cast my favorite season in a story.

 

Book Release: Keeper of His Soul by Lauralynn Elliott #Paranormal #Vampires

I’m excited to have a brand new guest on my blog today. Lauralynn Elliott is a friend and sister author who enjoys exploring the paranormal in her novels. I’ve read several of them (she also does horror!) and found then engaging. Today, she’s here with a new release and has agreed to answer a few questions. I hope you’ll make her feel welcome.

Stack of old letters with ink quill and feather penLauralynn, please share a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.
I’m kind of boring, really. I’m a mother of two grown sons who have families of their own. I’m very active in the church and love my church family. I’ve always loved to write, and I remember writing my first story at about 8-9 years old, all on note cards.

On notecards? You were definitely determined to start writing, LOL.
Let’s talk plotter vs. panster. I think even plotters veer from their outline to a degree during the writing process. When you finish a novel, how closely would you say the end product resembles your original concept — 100%? 50%? Something else entirely?
I never plot except a little in my head. I’ve tried, but it seems to completely stall the creative process. The story unfolds as I’m writing. I usually know the ending, but sometimes that even changes.

We’re very similar there, although I do make notes prior to starting and as the story unfolds. It’s amazing how easily characters and circumstance can change the course of a plot thread.
I’d love to hear about your latest book.
It’s called Keeper of His Soul, which is a paranormal romance. It has vampires and witches!

Perfect for Halloween. How did you choose your title?
I chose the title because it was a sequel to Soul of a Vampire, and in this book, the main female character is literally the keeper of a soul.

I enjoyed Soul of a Vampire and already have Keeper of His Soul on my Kindle and TBR. Which character did you enjoy writing the most and why?
I enjoyed writing Jude. He’s the vampire without a soul in the book, and he’s very dark, at least at first. He was a lot of fun to write.

Not to mention he has a great name. 🙂 Okay, challenge time: share one sentence—yes, only one—of dialogue or description you love.
I don’t know why I love this so much, but this is where Jude is fighting with a warlock. He says, “If you think your heart is darker than mine, you are badly mistaken.”

A great line, and chilling too! Now for a few quickies on your personal tastes:

Favorite color: Purple
Favorite musical group or singer: The Beatles
Favorite TV show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Favorite author: Stephen King
Favorite novel: IT
Food you never grow tired of: Pizza

Excellent choices, especially with The Beatles and It. 🙂 Thanks for being my guest today, Lauralynn. It was a delighted to host you at long last.

 If you’d like to connect with Lauralynn you can find her at the following haunts:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

And don’t forget to check out Keeper of His Soul:

book cover for Keeper of His Soul by Lauralynn Elliott

BLURB:
When Jan’s boss asks her and her best friend and co-worker, Tessa, to go to Arizona to pick up an ancient, dangerous book to bring back to the museum for safe-keeping, she never dreamed how that book would change her life. She also never dreamed she would finally find the owner of the soul in the bottle that she had been fascinated with for so long. She longs to return the soul to the vampire it belongs to, but things are never that easy.

Jude has been a vampire for quite some time, and he likes his life just the way it is. No guilt, no remorse. But when a pretty witch comes to him with his soul, it changes the game. He doesn’t want to have anything to do with his soul, but the witch has other ideas.

Will Jude ever get his soul back, or will he reject it? Will the Book of Forbidden Knowledge help or hinder Jan in her quest to help Jude? And will Jan be able to control the book, or will it control her?

Purchase From:
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords

About the Author:
Lauralynn Elliott is an independently published author of paranormal and fantasy romance books, as well as some horror. She started the indie journey several years ago and has never regretted it, loving the freedom to publish what she wants when she wants. You will find everything from vampires and ghosts to elves and wizards in her novels and novellas. She enjoys putting a little bit of a different twist on some of the old ideas about our favorite fictional characters.

Lauralynn lives in the southeastern United States with her husband of many years. She has two grown sons whom she adores. Reading, playing computer games, and spending time with friends are some of her favorite activities.

Update and Book of the Month #ADesolateHour

Weekends are too short, but this one was productive. Hubby and I grabbed breakfast at Panera’s Saturday morning, then hit Home Depot followed by the grocery store. Afterward, he worked on home projects while I hit eight—yes, count ‘em EIGHT—stores for various items I needed. Two of them were furniture stores (I need new dining room furniture) where I snapped photos on my iPhone to share with hubs later. I’d planned to make a veggie pie and chicken for dinner, but the evening ran too late so we ended up ordering pizza instead.

two cats in silhouette with tails twined into a heart, sitting on branch above lake in autumn setting

I got to see the first episode of the new Once Upon a Time—my absolute favorite show on television. I wish I could say I’m gonzo about it, but it’s too early to tell. I adore Lana Parilla and her character, the Evil Queen/Regina Mills/Roni, but I’m not sure how she’s going to fare in this new setting and storyline. Time will tell.

Book cover for A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair shows a small town overlooking a river at night, full moon overhead, cover in wash of green red and black with white letteringI spent Sunday working on an author presentation I have to do later this week. I still have a lot more to do on it, but the worst is behind me. I was also gobsmacked to learn that A Desolate Hour was chosen as the Book of the Month by book reviewer Kevin Cooper of the blog Books and Music. If you’d like to take a looksee at what Kev had to say about ADH and my Point Pleasant series, you can find his post here.

I’ve got a busy and exciting week ahead, including shopping for a new iPhone. In two weeks, I leave for Florida and vacation. In the meantime, I’ve got some cool guest bloggers coming up along with a few posts from yours truly. Stay tuned!

Happy October and Happy-Almost-Halloween!

 

Book Release: Circumstances of Childhood by John W. Howell #RRBC #FamilyLife

Today, I’m happy to share the news that John Howell has a brand new release out. I pre-ordered mine and already have my copy downloaded to my Kindle. There’s still time for you to grab Circumstances of Childhood at the introductory price of just .99c.

Go forth and One-Click! 🙂

Circumstances of Childhood

By John W. Howell

Click for Amazon Kindle

Priced at $0.99 for the introduction

This is a different story for John. It is in the Family Life genre and tells the story of brotherly love, riches to rags, redemption and a little paranormal thrown in. Normally John writes thrillers but this time he has stepped into a different place. This book was written with love for the story and the hope it will be an enjoyable read.

Blurb:
When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?

Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of inspiration, riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.

Here is an excerpt.

I look down at my drink and wonder what will happen tomorrow. My daughter Constance wants to come and visit. She lives in New York, and before all hell broke loose, we didn’t see each other often. I missed her so much, and it seemed as if I had to beg her even to talk on the phone. Now, it’s like she wants to be here every weekend. It’s only an hour’s flight by the shuttle or three by train, so she can come when she wants. I just can’t figure out why she got so clingy. I have my troubles, but it doesn’t have anything to do with her. No use in asking her husband either. Though a nice enough guy, I always wonder if he has someplace important to go when I visit. He never sits still and stays busy on the phone or at the computer. He makes a good living, but it seems a person could take an hour to sit and talk. I’d looked forward to some kind of relationship when he and Constance got married. It’ll never happen with him.

When I take another pull at my drink, I notice the burn feels less. It happens every time. First sip initiation, I call it. It’s like the first puff of a cigarette, hits hard then, after, nothing. I decide to let Constance pretty much have the agenda tomorrow. She and I have not had a chance to talk about anything deep for a while. It could just be that she blames me for her mother running off with that guy with the house on the Hudson. He has a title, and the old gal couldn’t resist, but I think the daughter always felt I should have done something. Her mother’s sleeping with another guy and what the hell can I do about that?

I’ll just go with the flow. If she wants to go out, we will. If she wants to stay in, we can do that too. I better think about getting some food in the house. Of course, we can always order take out. I need to move on to my drink and let this go. Tomorrow will be what it is. I remember the day she was born. I looked down at her in my arms and promised I would do anything for her. I love her more than life itself, and I hope we can somehow get to the root of whatever’s wrong. She sounded strange on the phone this morning, and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I hope she opens up when she gets here.

For some reason, I feel tired. Perhaps I’ll go ahead and finish my drink. Maybe I’ll just go home and forget the burger. First, though, I’ll just shut my eyes for a minute. My hands feel good when I put my head down.

“Hey, Greg,” Jerry says. I barely hear him. “What’s the matter? You taking a nap? Greg?” I can feel him shake me, but I have no interest in waking up. His voice gets further away, and I think he says, “Oh, my God, Sophie, call 911, quick.” Now the room goes silent.

Author Bio:

John's Bio

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The latest Circumstances of Childhood a family life story is available as of October 1st, 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

John’s other books:

My Girl front His Revenge Our Justice

Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

Gearing up for Halloween

silhouette of black cat sitting on tree branch at night in front of a large orange moonSpooky things are afoot!

I’m always jazzed this time of year, inspired by the numerous bump-in-the-night ghostie and goblin posts that pop up in the blogosphere. For someone who loves folklore and legend, October is a month for feasting on myth!

There are a variety of events taking place in the online world. I’m excited to be participating in two that really appealed to me.

Today, I’m visiting Teri Polen during her month-long Bad Moon Rising feature. All month long, you can meet new authors, discover new reads, and have trick-or-treat fun with the Halloween questions Teri poses for her guest. I hope you’ll pop over and say hello while I’m hanging out with Teri today.

Next week, I’ll be visiting Melanie Noell Bernard who is doing a month-long paranormal event called Hallo-WE-en that features creatures. Each day you’ll get to meet a different beastie. Today, my good friend and critique partner, Staci Troilo, shares the history and folklore of gargoyles at Melanie’s haunt in the blogosphere.

So, get your ghostie on and celebrate Halloween!