About Mae Clair

Writing tales of mystery and suspense

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!

Travelling Through Time with Quantum Wanderlust

I can’t remember the first story I read that involved time travel, but I know I was enthralled from the start. It’s a concept that’s fascinated me since I was a kid. I even used it as a major plot thread in my first novel, Weathering Rock.

So, when AIW PRESS announced they were putting together an anthology of short stories themed on time travel, I knew I had to submit something. I’m pleased that my story, Family Tree, was accepted and is one of the shorts featured in Quantum Wanderlust.

This is a great group of authors, sharing highly imaginative stories. I’m reading Quantum right now and loving every moment of zinging through different eras and dimensions. The best part? Quantum Wanderlust is free. Yep, you heard that right. You can download your copy from the book vendor of your choice by clicking HERE.

Hang on a minute. Before you gallivant off, take a peek at this excerpt from Family Tree. My tale puts a spin on time-travel, fantasy, and family ties. In the short snippet below, my MC, Kevin, encounters a strange girl in the woods behind a home he has just purchased:

EXCERPT from Family Tree:

Kevin turned at the sound of a woman’s voice. Like a ghost, she emerged from the trees, a slim auburn-haired girl dressed in a white peasant blouse and a filmy skirt. Her feet were bare, her eyes large, colored like cinnamon in the thickening twilight. She couldn’t have been more than twenty years old.

“Who are you?”

Ignoring the question, she clutched his hand. Her touch was unnaturally cold. “They took my child.”

A kidnapping? He looked about quickly, jolted to think he might have stumbled onto a crime scene. But for the girl, the woods were empty. Maybe he’d misunderstood. “Who?”

“He’s just an infant.” The girl’s voice cracked. One trembling hand flew to her lips, her eyes rounding in desperation. There was something inherently wild about her—the long copper snarl of her hair, the frenetic edge of hysteria turning every movement jerky and sharp with an edge like cut glass. The air was cold enough that Kevin felt the bite beneath his long-sleeved chambray, yet the girl—in bare feet and thin clothing—gave no indication of being chilled.

Old stone draw well in the forest“You must help. Ilairen took him from me.” She pointed to the mouth of the well. “He took him down there.”

Kevin fought the urge to recoil. She was obviously crazy, probably why she was running around in the woods dressed for a summer picnic. Should he leave her and call 911, or try to coax her back to the house? Easing his hand into his pocket he felt for his cell phone, but came up empty. He’d probably left it on the kitchen table, along with his car keys. The girl certainly didn’t seem threatening. If he kept her talking, he might be able to lead her back to the house. “Who’s Ilairen?”

Her face crumpled. “My husband.”

“Husband?” She was more messed up than he thought.

Before he could utter another word, the black maw of the well mushroomed upward, leeching into a gelatinous hole. The ground rolled and buckled, slamming him with a blast of vertigo. Reeling off balance, he plunged feet first into a fish-eyed bubble of pulsing darkness and light. The sensation of plummeting catapulted his gut into his throat. He choked for air and surrendered to the hard-knuckled punch of freefall.

~ooOOoo~

Family Tree is just one of thirteen stories each from a different author. Here’s the complete lowdown on Quantum Wanderlust:

book cover for Qauntum Wanderlust an anthology of short stories about time travel

What if you had all the time in the world?

Thirteen authors answer that question with short stories about time travel. Go back in time to right a wrong, forward to see the future. No jump is too large, no method unfeasible, no lesson beyond learning.

  • Visit the past to learn a family secret.
  • See the formation of a future dictatorship.
  • Assume responsibility for weaving the fabric of time.
  • Travel back in time to WWII.
  • Use a family heirloom to solve problems.
  • Wear an inheritance to visit ancestors.
  • Leave a dystopian future for the hope of something better.
  • Make history come true in an unexpected way.
  • Fight evil fairies to protect a chosen angel.
  • Live with the childhood memory of visitors until the day they arrive.
  • Seek medical help for a memory issue and get way more than bargained for.
  • Discover that with great power comes great responsibility.
  • Uncover the secrets of a pharaoh’s tomb and curse.

Do the characters observe or interact? Is the outcome better or worse than the original timeline? Read these stories to learn how far they go, how they get there, and what happens when they return.

The scope is virtually limitless, definitely timeless.

Download your free copy of Qauntum Wanderlust by clicking here.

If you haven’t already grabbed your copy, go forth and one-click! 😊

 

Book Release: Path of the Traitors #Epic Fantasy #LegendsOfWindemere

Charles Yallowitz has a new book release in his Legends of Windemere series. I’m late in sharing the fanfare due to—ahem—a certain deadline, but wanted to help spread the news. Check out Path of the Traitors. Love that cover!

On the eve of destiny, the fate of the champions are in the hands of those they once called Enemy.

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Hated and distrusted, Queen Trinity must leave the shadows and reach for redemption.

With their final battle on the horizon, the champions are faced with a long-lost piece of the prophecy. Unable to search for the crests that are rumored to be the key to survival, they must turn to a band of their former enemies for help. Sinister desires and hopes for redemption collide as Queen Trinity of the Chaos Elves leads the hunt and struggles to keep her companions on the path of heroism. Monsters, traps, mysteries, and their own pasts will rise up to stand in the way of these people who have spent their entire lives committing sins. Throughout it all, another old enemy is lurking in the shadows and determined to claim her own delicious prize.

By the end of their journey, those who survive will learn that being a hero is more than simply stepping into the light.

Dive into the adventure on Amazon for $2.99!
Find it on Goodreads!

Excerpt: The Aura Syphon

A gurgling causes the two women to pause and look into the pit where the shadows are swirling among the jagged stones. Two black tentacles lance out of the ground and wrap around Yola’s waist, the ooze-dripping projections turning silver at the taste of her magic. Attracted to the stronger energy, the aura syphon yanks the immortal into its slime-covered maw and becomes a metallic beast. With its armored skin, the camouflaged predator is now visible and resembles a sea anemone with the body of a beetle. The jagged rocks are fused to the animal’s exoskeleton and there are six jointed legs that help it scurry out of the pit. Standing over Trinity, the creature opens a faint crease on its body to reveal a bulbous eye with a star-shaped pupil. It pauses to shove a few tentacles into its mouth and hit Yola with pulses of electricity to stop her from struggling. It changes from silver to gold when she attempts to break free, her efforts being quickly drained by the monster.

“Let the crazy woman go before you get killed,” Trinity whispers to the aura syphon. She creates a fireball in the hopes of getting its mouth open, but her spell is ignored. “No reason to have a snack when you have an eternal meal in your belly. Maybe we can have a trade. Can’t believe I’m trying to bargain with this thing. Well, I gave you a chance, so I’m going to blow you up before things get worse. Hope you heard that Yola and are bracing yourself.”

The beast gurgles before releasing a blast of sticky strands that lock Trinity in place. Instead of going after the trapped chaos elf, the creature turns its attention to the helpless army. Having had its fill of magic, the aura syphon is ready to gorge on fresh meat and opens a second mouth that is filled with knife-like teeth. Heading for Sir Harbiss, it is stopped when a chunk of earth erupts beneath it and flips it back into the pit. Unsure of where the attack came from, the aura syphon leaps out and reveals several eye stalks that search for an unseen enemy. A cutting wind lops off half of the projections, but Yola’s potent energy revives them and protects the crystalline armor plates. When the spell comes back around, it bounces off the new defense and bursts against a hill. Blasts of fire strike the beast from behind, so it sprouts a fan-shaped tail of water that douses the flames.

Looking around, the aura syphon stops when it sees that Trinity is nowhere to be seen and there is a hole where she once stood. Spikes grow from the predator’s belly and it slams against the ground in the hopes of impaling the chaos elf. The hiss of escaping gas is heard an instant before an explosion sends the shrieking animal into the sky. Careening towards a solitary cloud that is very low to the ground, the beast catches the scent of an aura that revives the one currently in its gut. Passing through the cloud, it finds its legs caught in a net that runs down to where Trinity is hiding behind a hill. With enhanced strength, the channeler slams the aura syphon into the ground and delivers a leaping stomp to its soft upper body. Instead of ejecting Yola, the creature opens its skin to swallow the chaos elf’s leg up the knee.

“Fine. Backup plan it is,” Trinity mutters, synching her aura to that of the imprisoned immortal.

Releasing as much magic as she can without killing herself, the channeler creates a power surge within the aura syphon. Unable to absorb or redirect so much energy at once, the predator tries to reject the grinning chaos elf. Plunging her fingers into its flesh, Trinity refuses to be thrown off and continues her assault. Blisters appear on the hard exoskeleton and the metallic color flakes off to reveal the natural black of the tentacles. Without warning, the gold returns and the animal explodes with enough force to collapse the ground. Before she can escape, the channeler falls into the pit and is buried beneath the icy dirt.

Need to catch Legends of Windemere from the beginning? Then click on the picture below! First book, ‘Beginning of a Hero’ is free!

Ready for the newest adventure in Windemere? Find out if Queen Trinity earns redemption or will return to the Baron’s side!

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Connect with Charles at the following haunts:

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

Surviving a Deadline

I am so happy to be back in the blogging world!

Most of my regular followers know I’ve been burning the midnight oil on my latest manuscript to meet a publisher’s deadline. I’m happy—make that ecstatic—to say I finished on time and my editor graciously gave me another week for clean-up. I also have to send a huge shout-out to my excellent critique partner, Staci Troilo, who went above and beyond in turning sections around quickly—and expertly—so I could meet my deadline. Staci, my friend, you rock!!

I’ve been up against deadlines before, but this one was the toughest by far. Part of my problem was I languished on the beginning, and by the end of July only had 19K of the 80K I needed. I ended up writing 61K in 6 weeks—while working full-time! It’s amazing what you can produce under pressure, but it’s not something I EVER want to duplicate again. I can do without the anxiety attacks at 3:00 A.M.

Fortunately, my deadline for book 2 has more of a buffer. This one was tight because my publisher didn’t want to go over a year between releases from A Desolate Hour. I fully respect that decision. It’s all about keeping your name forefront in the mind of readers—not easy to do even when you have multiple releases close together.

I’ve already got my revamped blurb from Kensington. Earlier, I submitted my suggestion. Their gurus work from that and send an updated version. I liked theirs better, but did ask for a few minor tweaks. No cover yet, but I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

The book delves into the old Spiritualist practices of the late 1890s—think mediums and séances—but also has a full storyline set in the present. I’ve got two mysteries going on in this book, along with a haunted house, and an urban legend about a Spring Heeled Jack-like creature. The research was riveting!

This is a Ouija board with lit candle on the antique setting.

One thing my publisher wants to change is the title—The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill. We’ve already decided this will be book one of the Hode’s Hill Mystery Series, but Kensington’s marketing team isn’t in love with my title. I can understand why. When it comes to marketing, it’s a mouthful. So we’re currently debating other titles. I’ll definitely be spreading the word when we’ve settled on one.

I’m expecting first round edits from my editor tomorrow and hope to have changes back to her by Monday. I’m heading out of town the end of October and she’s already agreed to work with my schedule. I’m sure we’ll finish things up before I leave. In the meantime, I’m steadily getting back to visiting everyone again and will be sharing blog posts of my own. Thanks for sticking with me while I worked through my deadline hurdle.

It’s great to be back among friends! 🙂

Apologies…

white keyboard with a red panic button and red delete button

Hey, everyone, this is just a quick update to let you know I haven’t disappeared. I know I’ve missed commenting on a lot of blog posts lately, and I’m hoping you’ll excuse my absence. I’m working under an extremely tight publisher’s deadline.

I promise to resurface and get back to my regular blog visits after September 15 (deadline date). This is just a head’s up that you probably won’t see me online much until then.

I miss you guys and promise I will be back. I’ve never had to disappear like this before, but I’ve got to concentrate and wrap this manuscript. Hope you understand!