About Mae Clair

Writing tales of mystery and suspense

Friday Fiction: Dinosaur Waltz

Happy Friday! I rarely do blog posts on Friday, but it’s my turn up at bat over at Story Empire with a Friday Fiction Prompt. I could hardly ask others to play along and not take a shot at it myself. So, here goes…from the cloud below choose a single word to use as a creative writing primer. You can even use your own selection. The only rule is that the word must begin with “sub.”

a word cloud of various words beginning with "sub"If you decide to give the challenge a whirl (and I hope you do), please link back to the Story Empire post in the comments so we can see your creative genius at work. In the meantime, here’s my attempt to be creative and step away from urban legends for a change. I chose the word submarine:

Dinosaur Waltz by Mae Clair

Captain Wade Sloan studied the map on the plotting table. Running at flank was risky with such an old submarine, but the Raleigh had held together through worse. After two weeks of flirting with the boundary line of enemy waters, the crew was wound tight. They’d been on high alert from day one, but had done their part admirably, serving as a diversion for the Seeker-Class subs christened in 2112.

The last of her kind still in service for the NorthWestCoalition, the Raleigh was scheduled to be retired when they returned to port. He’d could either adapt to the NWC’s Seeker technology or retire, too.

“Skipper.” Seaman Dyer’s voice broke through his reverie. “Sir, I’m picking up the signature of another sub, closing fast.”

Nuclear submarine in a deep blue sea. Digital illustration.

“Type and distance.”

“Attack class, Sir.  Not one of ours. “Bearing zero-five-zero, six thousand yards.”

An old tub, like the Raleigh.  “Helmsman. Hard left rudder, ten degrees port.”

“Sir, she’s locked on us.” Dyer bent over the sonar station. “Flooding her tubes.”

Two dinosaurs, giving it one last whirl.

Sloan wrenched the mic from the periscope stand. “Engineering, port ahead two-thirds.  Missile room, flood torpedo tubes one and four.”  He focused on Dyer. “Range.”

“Forty-five hundred yards, Sir.  Still closing.” A pause as Dyer adjusted a dial. “Enemy torpedo in the water, locked on.”

“Helmsman, down plane, hard to starboard.” Sloan clicked the mic again. “Missile room, prepare to fire.”

A second later the reply bounced back.  “Ready to fire, Sir.”

Sloan leaned across Dyer and activated the aft camera.

“Tracking, Sir.” Dyer was intent on the sound in his headset.  “Twenty-five hundred yards to enemy torpedo.”

“Stand by,” Sloan said into the mic.

“Twelve hundred yards,” Dyer announced.

Sloan clicked the mic.  “Missile room, fire one.”

“Fire one.” The nearly insubstantial concussion of the release vibrated through the decking.

“Homing.” Dyer licked his lips, counted off seconds:  “Locked, Sir.”

Sloan raised the mic.  “All hands brace for impact.”  The Raleigh shuddered, rocked hard to the side, but held course.

“Torpedo destroyed.” Dyer’s voice rebounded above a cacophony of warning claxons. “Enemy sub altering course to zero-nine-five.  She’s turning tail, Skipper.”

Sloan called the adjustment to the planesman. “Stay with her.” Sparks danced overhead. He caught a flash-fire eruption from the corner of his eye, but O’Malley was already on it. “Missile room, stand by number four torpedo.”

“Standing by.”

“Engine room, back flank.”

“Aye, Sir.  back flank.”

The boat settled, evening out on a smoother plane. Emergency lighting kicked in, followed quickly by the main systems. Sloan caught the reek of ozone as O’Malley turned a fire extinguisher on the small outbreak of flame. “Damage control, report.”

“Minimal circuitry damage, Sir.  She’s watertight.”

“Range to target is fourteen hundred yards, Skipper.” Dyer flashed a grin. “She doesn’t have our speed.”

The hunter had become the hunted.  Sloan spoke into the microphone.  “Missile room, fire number four.”

“Firing number four.”

“All hands brace for shockwave.”

The backlash from the explosion was merciless, sending Sloan sprawling. A boat destroyed, lives loss. Could it be anything less than savage? He pulled himself upright only to be sent tumbling again by the brutal rocking of the boat. The control room plunged into darkness.

In another few moments the Raleigh reestablished trim. The lighting flickered sluggishly then surged to full power.

Sloan hauled himself to his feet. “Damage control report.”

Problems were minimal and the group in the control room relaxed. A few back-slaps were exchanged as seaman resettled at their stations. Another day and they’d be in the clear, safely back in port.

Sloan returned to the plotting table to focus on their course. After ten minutes, Dyer spoke again.

“Captain Sloan I think you should see this.”sonar screen

There was something in his voice that made several heads swivel in his direction. Sloan crossed to the sonar station and stood staring down at the screen.

“I think that sub we destroyed was a suicide, Sir.” Dyer’s face had gone pale, the color of chalk. He swallowed hard and motioned to the mass of blips on the sonar screen. “All Seeker-Class. The signatures don’t match ours.”

Sloan’s mouth was dry. “Enemy?”

“Aye, Sir. The explosion of that other sub told them exactly where to find us. I guess she was a diversion, too.”

The old dinosaur. “And a damn good one.”

From Beach to WIP

I’ve been off the radar for several days, taking some time to recuperate and unwind. My husband and I decided to celebrate his birthday by taking an extended weekend trip to the beach. The weather in March along the eastern shore is hit or miss. We’ve been visiting this particular beach since we were teenagers in high school. When we were in our twenties, his family owned a modular home there, and we became part owners in a pontoon boat. During the summer, we spent most every weekend at the beach for approximately fifteen years. It’s a four hour drive from Central PA, but for fresh seafood, crabbing, flounder fishing, and sunning on the shore, those trips were worth it.

These days, we normally head to the beach once or twice a year, shelling out for a hotel. I’ve been at the shore when it’s been 80 degrees in December, and when it was freezing cold in June. This trip, the weather was perfect—full sun and only a light breeze. We were able to be outside in sweatshirts.

As we’re much older now, we did a lot of reminiscing of those early trips when we were just kids, and how much the area has changed. We’re no longer “June bugs” but prefer the less crowded months of March, September (still hot enough to use the beach) and December for our trips.

Here’s a few shots from the hotel where we stayed.  The place is styled after an old Victorian boardwalk hotel, and is one of the two hotels we regularly use. This trip, they were hosting two weddings in the banquet rooms, but other than closing their cocktail lounge for three hours one afternoon (I vented to the front desk when leaving), the stay was one of the best we’ve had. More memories of our “home away from home.”

This is the entrance, with registration and the main lobby up on the second level. If you walk back through the hall there are elevators to the upper floors, or you can continue straight to the beach.

a hotel entrance with a split staircase

This is the main lobby. There’s a jewelry shop off to the side where I’ve purchased multiple pendants through the years. There’s also a huge covered porch that faces the beach and extends the entire length of the hotel. It’s lined with high-backed rocking chairs, perfect for enjoying the view with a drink or reading.

Hotel lobby with seating

The view from our hotel balcony.  My husband took shoots of the sun rising each morning but I was slept through it. Something about the coastal air always makes me sleep extra soundly.

view of beach and ocean

We spent an afternoon on the boardwalk. See the huge JEWELRY sign in the background? I picked up a sun pendant there, while hubs checked out M.R. Ducks, next door.

boardwalk with shops and eateries

Mae Clair on standing on balcony with beach and ocean in backround

Now that I’m rejuvenated, I’ll be concentrating on finishing my WIP, End of Day. I have an April deadline, so if I’m a little scarce over the next few weeks, it’s because I’ll be burning extra hours trying to reach “The End.” Cross your fingers I can finish it up by the middle of the month. I normally treat myself to something when I finish a manuscript, but in this case, I put the “treat” ahead of the finish. *gulp*

For all of you trying to pummel your WIPS into submission, I wish you happy writing—and a break to rejuvenate, even if it doesn’t involve a beach town!

Introducing Backstage by Harmony Kent #pre-order

Happy Tuesday, friends! Most of you know I contribute to Story Empire, a group writing blog, along with five other authors. We’re always happy to support each other when one of us trots out a new release. Harmony Kent has been on my blog several times in the past. I hope you’ll welcome her back with her hot new release, Backstage, which is available for pre-order (see links below). Here’s Harmony to tell you about it now . . .


Hello, everyone. Harmony here. First up, huge thanks to Mae for hosting me today! She’s letting me visit today so that I can tell you about my latest book, Backstage. It is an erotic romance novel and deals with some of the sexual coercion scandals that have hit the acting industry in the last year.

Here’s a bit about the book for you:

Banner for the novel, Backstage, by author Harmony Kent

SHE’S A HOPEFUL ACTRESS 

Just when Emma thinks she’s found love. Just when her big chance comes.  Just as she finds a little confidence at long last. Right then, it all goes horribly wrong.

HE’S HER MENTOR

John believed he had found ‘the one’. But the demons of his past wouldn’t allow him to break the leash, and when he gets the wrong end of the stick, it just confirms all his old prejudices and hurts.

THEN THERE’S THE BIG MAN WHO CAN MAKE OR BREAK A CAREER, AND THE DEMANDS HE MAKES

Derek Prentis is his name. Coercion is his game. He’s the man with the money. The big man who wants to keep Emma under his control and who will do anything to keep it that way.

THE PERFECT STORM OF ROMANCE, PASSION, AND GREED.

AWAY FROM THE LIMELIGHT, IT’S ALL HAPPENING BACKSTAGE.

And here is a ‘sneek peek’ …

Book cover for the novel, Backstage, by author Harmony KentEmma reached the wide glass-fronted doors of the hotel and pushed through at speed, but too late. The car that held John sped away in a cloud of powdered snow and exhaust, spitting out his anger in a visceral way that she couldn’t fail to feel. Distraught and utterly bereft, she sank to her knees in the wet snow and held her hands over her face, barely able to breathe, let alone cry or make a sound.

The hurt and grief made a vacuum that felt as though it must surely kill her. What had just happened? How had it just happened? She sucked in a great heaving breath on a sob. Her chest locked. Prevented her from exhaling. She just knelt there out in the cold, alone, and—quite uselessly—trying to suck in more air. Her head spun, and she fell forward onto all fours.

Firm, warm hands grabbed her shoulders and hauled her back to her knees. Emma’s lungs had turned her into a fish out of water. Then strong arms wrapped her from behind and pulled inward and upward, performing a Heimlich manoeuvre on her. She gasped, and then broke into a coughing spasm. Then she sucked in air greedily, sobbing and gasping alternately. 

Those same strong arms pulled her into a comforting embrace and rocked her. Ian’s voice filtered through her panic while he made soothing noises by her ear, telling her over and over again that it would all be okay. When had he turned into such a liar? How could anything ever be okay again? John had gone.


Author, Harmony KentIf you enjoyed reading about Backstage, you can pre-order it now at Amazon … US LINK and UK LINK. And it goes on live sale on March 30th. Thanks so much for sticking with me this far.

Connect with Harmony at the following haunts:

Twitter: @harmony_kent 

Harmony Kent Author Page: Amazon

Cover Reveal: The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen #YA #Sci-fi #Thriller

Hey, gang, I’ve got a fabulous cover reveal for you today. Teri Polen is here with her upcoming release The Gemini Connection. I’ve been looking forward to this one and it sounds utterly fabulous! But don’t take my word for it. Check out the snazzy cover and the blurb below!

The Gemini Connection
by Teri Polen
Paperback Release Date: May 31, 2018
E-book Release Date: June 7, 2018
Young Adult > Sci-Fi/Fantasy > Thriller

Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is.

On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares.

When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing.

A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.

The Gemini Connection paperback is available for preorder at the following locations:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
And for a discount at Black Rose Writing

You can find Teri at the following locations:

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest / Goodreads / Amazon

New Release: Gamble by Staci Troilo #Thriller #Romance #ExMilitary

Hey, everyone! I’ve got another goodie to share with you today. Staci Troilo has a new release in her high-octane Nightforce Security Series. I devoured Password, the first book, and promptly did the same with Gamble (cheating here: I got to read this one before release).  

Once again, Staci has hooked me with her characters, plot cyclone (it moves that fast) and clever mystery. Today, she’s introducing Gamble’s hero, Noah Crawford. Trust me—this is one guy you’ll want to meet.

Take a look . . .

graphic teaser for the novel Gamble by Staci Troilo


Hi, everybody. Thanks for indulging me today. I promise I won’t take up too much of your time.

I consider myself a multi-genre author. My novels are broadly categorized as romance, mystery, and mainstream. The subgenres vary considerably, and my short stories add even more options to the mix.

I started writing romance because I have a thing for the alpha male. Yes, he can be (and often is) in many genres—crime fiction, western, sci-fi, paranormal, etc.—but I initially associated that type of character with the romance genre. I liked to read about this guy. Only stood to reason that I’d enjoy writing about him.

That brings me to my new novella Gamble (part of the Nightforce Security Series), and its hero, Noah Crawford. Noah is ex-military (former SEAL, to be specific) and he works with a bunch of guys whose histories are similar to his. We don’t learn too many specifics; those missions are classified, after all. But we know there were some dark days in their pasts. And whether these men served together or not, that kind of shared experience forms a bond. These guys are tight.

I’m not related to any SEALs, but many of my family members (and my husband’s) have served. Some are still active. I wanted to write a series that paid homage to these heroes, putting them in settings we could all recognize rather than in combat theaters in countries we’ll never see. So, my heroes have retired from the military life. You know alpha males, though. They’re never far from action. The Nightforce guys are no different.

We meet Noah at their hangout—One Ugly Mug. The bar is owned by another veteran, so far only known to us as Cap. It’s a special night because a friend of theirs is in town. The drinks are flowing as liberally as the stories. Noah is comfortably buzzed and not thinking as clearly as usual.

That’s when she walks in.

Noah is interested in his one-night stand becoming so much more. But there are hurdles to jump, games to play, and gunmen to thwart. That’s right, I said gunmen. But we’re not talking about the bad guys today. We’re talking heroes.

Noah fits into this group so well not just because of his history, but because he can hold his own when the barbs start flying. These guys talk fast, act faster, and always have a sarcastic comeback. Heck, they often are the ones who start with the insults.

Noah’s no different.

If you like fast-paced stories with quick-witted, sharp-speaking, fearless, and (sorry, guys) drool-worthy heroes, I think this novella is for you. Noah might just become your next book crush. I know he became mine.

book cover for Gamble, a Nightforce Security novel by Staci TroiloBlurb for Gamble:

Sometimes stakes are too high to gamble. Other times they’re too high not to.

Noah Crawford is a consummate bachelor—until a one-night stand piques his interest in something more. The only problem is, she wouldn’t give him her name, and he has no way to find her.

A week later, resigned to forgetting her, he accompanies his friends to a casino. Floor traffic promises to be light while everyone clusters at the sportsbook for the college basketball championship game. But Noah isn’t in the mood for frivolity and sets off on his own. No one is more surprised than he is when he bumps into his mystery woman.

He’s playing a far different game than cards when armed criminals take over the poker room. Noah is separated from his friends, and somehow the room has been cut off from security. Help isn’t coming. It’s up to him to keep everyone safe while he tries to thwart the gunmen.

Noah quickly realizes he’s trying to prevent more than a simple heist. And he doesn’t know who he can trust. The stakes have never been higher, and he’s all in. But one of the thieves might have an ace up his sleeve, and that could cost Noah everything.

More Information | Universal Purchase Link

Author Staci Troilo in a candid poseAbout Staci:
Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

Web | Blog | Newsletter | Facebook Group | Twitter | Facebook | Other Social Media Links

Cover Reveal: Cusp of Night by Mae Clair

Today is uber-exciting for me! At long last, I’m able to share the cover and blurb for Cusp of Night, the first book in my upcoming Hode’s Hill series. Cusp of Night  will release on June 12th, but in the interim, it’s available to add to your TBR on Goodreads.

I have many good friends sharing this cover across the blogosphere today and tomorrow, so you’re likely to see it pop up in various places. Thank you to everyone participating in my cover reveal splash, and to everyone dropping by to share in my excitement.   Here’s my new baby . . .

book cover for Cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair

Release Date: June 12, 2018
Genre: Mystery/Suspense

BLURB:
Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house—a woman whose ghost may still linger.

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .


What do you think? I love what Kensington Publishing did with my cover art suggestions. Should you choose to read the book, you’ll discover why that corner street lamp, alley, and the brownstone buildings looming in the background are perfect—like a scene plucked from my book!

Cusp of Night is a mystery/suspense novel but it has a healthy dollop of urban legend and the paranormal.

Thanks for hanging out with me today! 🙂

Visiting on a Friday

It’s Friday! Who doesn’t love the end of the work week? It’s gray and mucky in my area, but none of that matters given there is a weekend around the corner—albeit with a few inches of impending snow. Hopefully, it’s the last we’ll see of the white stuff until next winter.

Today I’m visiting with Teri Polen at Books and Such sharing one of my favorite novels in her Friday Reading Corner. Teri is a gifted writer, voracious reader, and fabulously supportive of others. I highly recommend clicking the “follow” button on her blog while you’re there.

Hop over and check out my post if you get a chance…you might even pick up a bit of news about my upcoming release, Cusp of Night.  🙂

old books in a stack beside a cup of coffee on a lace doily

 

 

Shameless Self-Promotion: #Romance for #ValentinesDay

My good friend Staci Troilo has trotted out a list of her romance and romantic suspense releases for Valentine’s Day. Every single one of these books will make your heart pitter-patter with love and high-octane suspense. Take it from someone who’s read them. 🙂

Staci also included a list of several recommended authors in the genres. I was delighted to find myself included. Check it out!

Staci Troilo

Ciao, friends. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I want to throw my hat in the proverbial romance ring (I’ve heard somewhere that love is a battlefield) and remind everyone about my selection of titles fit for this time of year.

Romance Novels

Here are brief descriptions of my work:

View original post 97 more words

Love Letters from Heaven by Debbie Peterson #newrelease #paranormalromance #sweetromance

It’s been a while since my good friend, Debbie Peterson, has visited my blog. I am so excited to have her back today with a new release. If you’re not familiar with Debbie, she writes sweet paranormal romances with a fabulous helping of history in each.

From knights of old and sea captains, to Revolutionary War and Civil War soldiers—even a few mystical realms—her tales are filled with exceptional characters, riveting plots, and old-fashioned romance. I’ve devoured all of her books, promptly doing the same with her latest, Love Letters from Heaven, which pairs a modern-day woman with the ghost of a noble and heroic WWII army sergeant. I hope you’ll welcome Debbie with her post:

Fun and/or Interesting Facts about Love Letters from Heaven
that you may or may not want to know…

The character of Sergeant William Malloy Griffin is based on a real soldier who died from horrific wounds suffered at Normandy Beach, on June 6, 1944. (I would love to have known him in person. He sounds like he was quite a guy and would probably make any red-blooded American girl swoon…)

If you have the stomach for it, you can indeed order an “Individual Deceased Personnel File” or (IDPF) of a soldier that died during combat, through the Freedom of Information Act. These files do contain the same kind of information Katie discovers about William, including photographs and copies of letters. (Not all American wars are represented though…)

William’s life in the spiritual realm, as well as what can be seen and found therein (such as homes, horses, breathtaking vegetation, and animal life), was inspired by my vast and continually growing collection of books on Near-Death-Experiences. Fascinating stuff, the lot of them! They kind of make you wish you could have such an experience yourself. Maybe. (It would be my luck that I wouldn’t be able to come back and tell anyone about it.)

While writing, whenever I needed to recapture the hallowed, reverent feelings D-Day inspires, I would watch the YouTube video called “The Boy on Normandy Beach.” It gets to me – Every. Single. Time.

Unchained Melody as recorded by Inka Gold became Katie and William’s song without any forethought whatsoever. I wasn’t even searching. The thing just started playing in my head while I was writing.

Two days before the release of Love Letters from Heaven, I learned it was also going to be released in Audio book format! If you’re a fan of audio books as well as paranormal romance, you might want to watch for its upcoming release.

Book cover for Love Letters from Heaven a paranormal romance novel by Debbie PetersonBlurb:
After a failed, miserable marriage, Katie Adelton vowed she would never let another man into her life. All of that changed with a single visit to the Normandy American Cemetery, and an encounter with a handsome ghost from World War II. A ghost that to her utter astonishment, claimed to be her soul mate.

Sergeant William Malloy Griffin willingly gave his life for his country on the shore of Omaha Beach on D-Day. From that day forward he searched the entire earth for his lost love. Once he found her, it took everything in his power to break through the barrier that kept them apart.

Now a vengeful ghost is intent on destroying the heart of the only woman William will ever love. What if the power of love can’t conquer all?

Connect with Debbie at the following haunts:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads

Purchase Love Letters from Heaven from:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Wild Rose Press

The Siren Call of Books #amreading

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Wait—I take that back. I do know what’s wrong. I have a horrible weakness I can’t overcome. Several things in life beckon me—clothes, shoes, jewelry, sparkly things, cats, and chips (not necessarily in that order). I love the beach, a good vacation in a relaxing low-key setting, and I love…

Books.

It’s a disease. I know it is. This past weekend DH and I had some errands to run that placed us near the local brick-and-mortar bookstore. If I read a book a day for the next year I still wouldn’t be caught up with my gargantuan TBR, but the siren call reeled me in—books upon books upon books. Keep in mind, I already had my next several reads lined up in a queue on my Kindle, a few of those titles I’ve been anticipating for some time. So what did I do?

This:

books by Brendan Duffy

Did I need to buy these books? Of course not.

Darn if I didn’t get hooked by the titles and the blurbs. Suddenly, both have found their way to the top of my TBR, shuffling my already queued up reads farther back.

Why do we do this? I know I am not the only bibliophile out there. No matter how many books we have, it’s never enough. And no matter how geared up we are for the next read in our queue, it’s easy for something pop out of the blue and take its place. There are days I wish I could do nothing but read. For now, I’ll continue to juggle my reading life with my writing life.

And be sucked in by bookstores and libraries whenever I pass.

Spill your guts. You do the same thing, right? 😀