About Mae Clair

Writing tales of myth, mystery, and contemporary romantic suspense

Welcome A.M. Manay with She Marches Through Fire #Vampires #NewRelease #RRBC

I’m delighted to welcome A.m. Manay, sister author with RRBC to my blog today. She’s here to share some background on her newest November Snow novel. I’ve already read the first two books in this series and have pre-ordered book 3, She Marches Through Fire, which releases in just a few days. The amount of world-building Anne Margaret has put into this series is phenomenal. Highly recommended by moi. 🙂

In the meantime, please say hello as Anne Margaret shares some background about a unique setting in her books…

~ooOOoo~

“Sanctuary Setting” 
by A.M. Manay

In both She Lights Up the Dark and the forthcoming She Marches Through Fire, November hides in the basement of an historic church in Oakland, California.  Churches have a long history as places of sanctuary for those hiding from persecution or arrest, so I found it thematically appropriate to make a church November’s place of refuge.  The church is based on the one I actually attend, which continues to be a beacon for social justice even as its membership has dwindled since its heyday following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  I wonder if the internet sleuths among you could identify it based on the details in She Lights Up the Dark . . .

The sanctuary building of my church was constructed in 1913, and the heating system is thus based on century-old technology.  The basement chamber where November and company hide is part of that system.  A furnace heats steam, which is sent into coils that form blocks of copper tubing several feet deep.  An enormous fan the size of a bedroom blows air past those heated coils.  The hot air fills a half-height chamber, then it rises through vents into the sanctuary above.  This photo is of that short chamber, where November and company hide.

dark basement room of old church

As you can see from the photo, the accommodations for November and her companions are not exactly lavish.  It’s dark and damp down there.  The ceiling is criss-crossed with old pipes and sharp bits ready to scratch the unwary and to test the efficacy of tetanus shots.  The space is littered with old, rusting equipment.

And yet, unsightly as this basement room is, it keeps us warm every Sunday in real the real world, and it protects my characters in the pretend one.

It’s a testament to my characters’ desperation that no one complains much about their hiding place’s physical condition.  Otherwise, it would be hard to imagine Luka, in particular, choosing to rest somewhere so beneath his station in life.

In She Marches Through Fire, November and Luka wind up spending the day beneath the church having just survived an enormous vampire brawl, a car chase, and a multi-vehicle collision at high speeds, after weeks of the enemy constantly nipping at their heels.  That’s probably about what it would take to get me to sleep down there.  How about you?

To find out just how much November needed sanctuary, pre-order your copy of She Marches Through Fire, arriving March 28th.

Book cover for She Marches Through Fire by A. M. ManayTitle: She Marches Through Fire (November Snow Book 3)
Series: November Snow
Author: A.M. Manay
Cover design: A.M. Manay
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Genre: Supernatural fantasy

Mini-blurb:
Psychic vampire November Snow must battle grief, injury, and her own family as she fights evil on all sides. She seeks a cure for the poison sapping her strength and a fairy weapon as powerful as it is dangerous to wield. When it is time to save the innocent and gain justice for her maker, will she find the strength to march through the fire?

EXCERPT:
Luka woke, and his body jerked as he registered the presence of the silver bindings holding him helpless on the floor.  He looked up at his companions: Pine, Hector, Raina, and Gul.

“Oh, dear,” he commented bleakly.

“Tide has turned a bit, you worthless bastard,” Hector said, unable to resist the urge to needle the man he despised.

“Indeed, it has,” Luka admitted.  “The wheel of fortune does turn.  One day at the top, and the next . . .  Well, here we are.  Are you going to torture me, Hector?  Make me beg for death?” he mocked, widening his eyes in fake fear.

“He wouldn’t stoop to your level,” Pine replied tensely.

Luka looked from Pine to Hector and back again before a grin spread over his face without reaching his eyes.  “My, my.  How deliciously perverse.  Whatever will your Grandma Hazel say?  Did you know she used to keep a werewolf head mounted on the wall of her bedroom?  You have to do some kind of special magic on it so it doesn’t turn back into a human one when the creature dies.  I’m not really familiar with the details.  At any rate, it was quite the conversation piece.  Do you suppose she still has it stashed somewhere?  In some ratty storage facility in suburban Nevada or something?  Can you imagine?  That would make a very special episode of Storage Wars, don’t you think?”

“Shut up, murderer,” Hector said, his hands balling involuntarily into fists.  His knuckles glowed white against his brown skin.

“And speaking of murderers, dear Pine, has Hector told you how old his father was when I so cruelly had him slain?”  A cloud crossed Pine’s face.  “He hasn’t?  Well, that should make for an interesting tale, indeed, but I don’t think you’ll much enjoy it.  Might give you bad dreams.  You know, if fairies slept.”

“I know how old Carlos was when you murdered his family and stole his childhood,” Pine managed to reply, in a voice that shook more than he’d intended.  “You’re vile.”

“Tell me, Hector, do you mutts still leave your defective children to the elements?  Poor little cripples who’ll never turn—  freezing to death in the snow, or burning up with thirst?  Mauled by vermin?  Pecked at by razor-beaked birds before they even expire?”  Luka had dropped his pretense of jocularity, his fangs now peeking out of his snarl.

“Enough,” Raina declared.  “I need to see to November, and I may need Luka’s help.  Savita may need him as well, if Greg will allow it.  Nobody is torturing or killing anybody today.”

“What’s wrong with November?” Luka asked, the hostility suddenly gone from his voice, replaced by concern bordering on fear.

“I told you, William shot her,” Raina said impatiently.

“So, you pull the bullet out, and she heals.  What’s the problem?” Luka asked, increasingly agitated.  “Even a baby can take a bullet or three.”

Gul and Raina exchanged a look.  “William poisoned the bullet, which shattered in her leg,” Gul finally explained.  “Some exceptionally strong werewolf toxin.  I believe you’re familiar with it, since he got it from one of yours,” he added pointedly.  “It would be quite helpful if you could give us the antidote.”

Luka looked stricken.  “I had plenty of it.  In the house.  Before it burned to the ground.”

“That is highly unfortunate,” came Gul’s understated reply.  “For both of you.”

 

SHE MARCHES THROUGH FIRE is available for pre-order at most booksellers

Connect with A.M. Manay at the following haunts:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter

The End in Mind

How clear is your ending at the beginning?

Wondering what I mean by that? Then you need to hop over to Story Empire where SEer Harmony Kent takes an in depth look at writing with “The End in Mind”

Story Empire

Hello SEers! It’s great to see you here today 🙂

When we write, we create things twice—first, in the mind, and then in the real world. To make the best reality, we have to begin with the end in mind. If we want to tell a story, to sit and write a novel, then we need to know the end (or have a good idea of what we intend).

Even though things may change as we invent, we still need to begin with at least a rough outline of the beginning, the middle, and the end. We need to have an awareness of the point to the tale. Both our characters and plot need to show some development and change by the time it’s all finished and done with.

If you envisage the end clearly enough, you will find less trouble in writing your way there. I have no doubt…

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The Monday Buzz from Story Empire 3-20-17

old world type map with script writing laid over top and words Story Empire set off as a bold headerNot only is it Monday and the start of a new work week, but it’s the first day of spring. Although it doesn’t look or feel spring-like in my corner of the world, I’m hoping mild temperatures return soon, bringing the flora and fauna that go with them.

In the meantime there is always the Monday Buzz from Story Empire to distract me.

And speaking of distractions, SEer Joan Hall has a great post today about blocking them when you’re trying to write. This one was an eye-opener for me. Hop over and check it out!

Welcome Carmen Stefanescu with Dracula’s Mistress #Historical #Gothic #Paranormal

Happy Saint Paddy’s Day! On this delightful wearin’ o’ the green day, I’m excited to welcome my dear friend, Carmen Stefanescu, with her brand new release, Dracula’s Mistress. Carmen is wonderful supporter of other authors. If you haven’t already connected, check out her blog, Shadows of the Past, or find her at any of the contact links below.

As a lifelong native of Romania, Carmen is ideally suited to write Dracula’s Mistress, a tale that combines history, horror and light romance in a look at the man who spawned the Dracula legend. Let’s make Carmen feel welcome on her book’s birthday!

Dracula’s Mistress

Book Cover for Dracula's Mistress by Carmen Stefanescu

Purchase Dracula’s Mistress from Amazon • Just .99 cents!!

Blurb:
From the day that the powerful, brave and merciless Vlad III Basarab, a descendant of the Draculesti family—better known to most people as the infamous vampire Dracula—ascends the throne, he knows only battles, betrayal and intrigue.

Evil grips the town of Targoviste, capital residence of Walachia. The secrets behind the stone walls of the palace are as dark and violent as a winter’s night, as terrifying as the prince’s deeds. Dead bodies, drained of blood and missing their little finger keep appearing in the streets at night.

Lovely, smart, determined, Angela Oltenescu ignores all the aggressive rumors and her mother’s warning regarding Vlad. Will she suffer the consequences of falling in love with a man nicknamed Dracula by his enemies—an infamous creature of the night?

Rich, sly, treacherous,  Marin Craioveanu, a powerful landlord, craves the same woman loved by Vlad. Marin’s hatred toward the prince will make him an ally to Handsome Radu, Vlad’s brother and Sultan’s friend, ready to sell the country to the Ottomans to get rid of his rival.

Dracula’s Mistress will awe legions of fans of Gothic literature, paranormal and historical fiction.

 

Purchase Dracula’s Mistress from Amazon • Just .99 cents!!

Excerpt:
Angela smiled with fond indulgence and looked at her father. “Prepare for mother’s. . .” She stopped as the words passed her lips, looked over her father’s shoulder, and started violently. The image behind her father made her words freeze on her lips. A sickening sense of horror overpowered her.

The pale light of the moon fell on a man’s face. A man dressed in torn clothes. Some ragged ends of silken thread were still attached to his arms, stretched towards them in begging.

His face, all covered in blood. His eyes were closed. His bluish lips mumbled something Angela couldn’t clearly understand. Slurred words reached her. She thought she heard, “Candle. . . candle. . . pleaaaase. . .” A sickening odor reached Angela’s nostrils. Slowly, the closed eyelids opened revealing two empty sockets instead of eyes.

A low moan of horror escaped her.

“What? What’s wrong?” Grigore asked.

But before he turned his head to see what triggered Angela’s reaction the apparition melted into the darkness.

Angela staggered a little, and then found her balance.

“Nothing,” she answered in a shaken voice. “I thought . . . Nothing, Father.” She pushed the horrible apparition from her mind. Perhaps all the stories about the souls of the young noblemen killed so cruelly here were not just stories.

Grigore shook his head and shrugged. Then reaching out his hand, he helped her climb into the carriage. She was barely able to move as she trembled from head to foot. She shrank back on the bear skin spread inside.

Grigore sat facing her, but looked absorbed by the things that had happened that night.

The neighing of the horses sounded strange to her ears. The sound of a tree branch scraping the roof of the carriage sent Angela’s heart into her mouth.

She leaned forward until her nose was touching the glass of the carriage window. Outside, on the side of the road, she glimpsed again the silhouette of the horrible man, dressed in tattered clothes. She peered into the darkness to see better. There was no doubt.

Author Bio:
Carmen Stefanescu resides in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula  where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble – the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

High-school teacher of English and German in her native country, and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression  by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books. Reading was, is and will always be her greatest hobby.

She has dreamed since childhood to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989, and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.

Several of her poems were successfully published in a collection of Contemporary English Poems, Muse Whispers vol.1 and Muse Whispers vol.2 by Midnight Edition Publication, in 2001 and 2002.

She likes to blend genres and thus she writes paranormal stories with a smidgen of mystery, history and romance. The reader will find suspense, dark themes, adventure, danger as well as sweet revenge. She calls her stories  “gothic” romance. Her writing focuses on rebirth, past life regression, karmic retribution.

Her first novel, Shadows of the Past, was released in 2012 by Wild Child Publishing, USA, folowed by Till Life Do Us Part released by Solstice Publishing, USA.

Carmen joined the volunteer staff at Marketing For Romance Writers Author blog and is the coordinator of #Thursday13 posts.

Connect with Carmen at the following haunts:
Blog | Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook | Goodreads | Google+ | Amazon | 
Cold Coffee Cafe  

Branding

Remember when I goofed up my Monday Buzz post for Story Empire? I had the wrong topic listed and the wrong blogger. Well, as promised, C. S. Boyack, has the helm of the Empire today and he’s got a great article about branding. It’s informative and quirky all at the same time. Hop over and see what Craig has to say…

Story Empire

Craig here again. It’s a challenge to write these tips and tricks every time, because so many of the items are debatable. I hate to take a hard line stance, but I do for the sake of the comments that trickle in during the week. The topic today is branding.

Not that kind of branding. The kind where authors promote products. As you appear across cyberspace, what kind of recognizable materials do you use so the masses will recognize you? Chances are, you’ll have a blog, the popular social media accounts, and possibly a newsletter. What kind of branding do you use to tell people this is some of your work?

You will also make guest appearances on blogs, maybe blog talk radio, the occasional video of some kind. While these post are all different, your branding is what sews them all together as you – the author.

My first…

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The Monday Buzz from Story Empire 3-13-17

old world type map with script writing laid over top and words Story Empire set off as a bold headerAnother week and another Monday. What’s the weather like in your part of the world? Two weeks ago we hit 75 degrees, an oddity for March, but a pleasant one. Tomorrow, a snow storm is poised to strike, Originally, the forecast was for six inches or more, but it’s since been upgraded to 10-18 inches.

Seriously? I have daffodils budding, and I saw my first robin yesterday. That all seems meaningless with the great white winter bearing down.

In other news, I’ve started working on a book proposal/draft that has me jazzed. It’s my second go round. The first proposal didn’t have pizzazz, but this one has me hooked. It’s progressing slowly, but progressing, and that’s reason to celebrate.

Another reason to celebrate is broadening our scope as authors. Today, on Story Empire, P. H. Solomon gives an introduction to Scrivener. This is a program I’ve had on my computer for a while but haven’t taken the time to learn. I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to see what insights P. H. has to share. While you’re roaming about the blogosphere, hop over and have a looksee.

P.S…to my early readers who may have seen the link about branding, I apologize, I had my dates mixed up. Didn’t I tell you it was a Monday! 😀

I need your help!!!

Okay, so you’ve probably noticed I rarely reblog, but I had to share this. If you are an author who has print copies of your books, please read this post and consider donating a book or two. Cancer claims many lives. It’s impacted my own family with many losses. As an author, Marlena Smith has come up with a great way to fight back, and spread the love of reading and books at the same time. Check out her post about “fighting cancer one story at a time!”

Life As I Know It

Hello, bloggers!

As many of you know, I am very passionate about Relay For Life and the fight against cancer. Cancer has affected my family multiple times. Not only have I lost loved ones, but I know many people that have also suffered the pain of this horrible disease. Cancer is a scary thing and, let’s just be honest, it sucks.

For this reason, I created my own Relay For Life Team – FINDING HOPE. My hometown’s event is scheduled for May, so the planning has already began. The theme this year is “Once upon a cure.” Each Relay Team has to create their own theme from the main one.

Perhaps it’s the writer in me or the awesome book club I’m in, but the first thing I thought about when I heard this was reading. So, from the main theme, I came up with this:

“Fighting cancer, one story at…

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A Friday Visit

It’s Friday and that’s always a cause for celebration for me when the work week winds down to a close. Not that I don’t love my career in the working world, just that the weekend means I have more time to devote to my other enterprise—building my brand as an author. With that in mind, I’m excited to be the featured guest at Teri Polen’s blog, Books and Such, for Indie Author Friday.

Teri invited me over to answer a handful of questions about my writing habits. Granted, I’m not sharing the secrets of rocket science, but it’s all good fun. Hop over and say hello if you get a spare moment while you’re roaming the blogosphere. And while you’re there, poke around Teri’s blog and consider giving her a follow. Not only is she an author, but she reads a ton of books, too. There’s no better combo in my mind! 🙂

An Amazonian-Sized Problem

Hey, gang, I’m very late in sharing today, but if you get a chance, hop over and check out Staci Troilo’s post on Story Empire. She’s talking Amazon and Reviews, and there is some great discussion going on. Weigh in with your own thoughts. We’d love to hear them!

Story Empire

Hi, SEers! Happy Wednesday.

reviewsI wrote a post on my own blog recently about Amazon and reviews. If you’d like to read it, you can find it here.  That post was the inspiration for this one.

There are nine categories on the Amazon Community Guidelines page that dictate the rules for reviewing books (or anything else, I suppose). Some are just common sense. Others pose some problems.

For example, one of the categories is Eligibility. You must have spent $50 on Amazon before you are allowed to review a product.

  • What about people who don’t have an account or have just opened one? (And before you laugh at the absurdity of that statement, you should know I know people who have family members buy things for them on Amazon because they don’t want to enter credit card information online.)
  • What about teenagers who read the YA books their…

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Did He Really Say That?

Happy Wednesday! The idea for today’s post came about from watching an old TV show. It made me realize that even when some things are wrong, they’re right.

Let’s talk dialogue and social attitudes. When I wrote my Point Pleasant series (set in 1982 and 1983) I had to stop and remind myself of words and expression that weren’t in use at the time. Even the morals and attitudes of the era were different.

Edward Mulhare and Hope Lange

Edward Mulhare and Hope Lange by NBC Television (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lately, I’ve been DVRing a few old TV shows. When I was kid, I was hooked on The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.  The idea behind the series came from a 1947 movie by the same name, but I didn’t know that at the time. Although the TV series was short-lived—two seasons—it was enough for me to fall madly in love with Edward Mulhare in the role of Captain Gregg. He was the “ghost” in the series title, a dashing sea captain who finds his home invaded by a young widow, her two small children, their maid, and a dog. Although the original movie was drama, the TV series played for comedy with romantic sparks flying between the stalwart Captain Gregg, and Mrs. Muir, the lovely widow. Watching it now, it’s horribly dated, but still makes me smile. Hubby, on the other hand can’t see the attraction.

Johnny Crawford and Chuck Connors of The Rifleman TV western

Johnny Crawford and Chuck Conners of The Rifleman by ABC Television (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

We do, however, enjoy another old series, produced before I was born. The Rifleman is a western about Lucas McCain, a widower and Civil War veteran who is raising his young son, Mark, on his own. Although Chuck Conners in the title role gets to do a lot of fancy shooting with his specially modified rifle, the heart of the series is about the relationship between father and son. I’m a sucker for that stuff.

I was completely unfamiliar with The Rifleman until my husband found it on an obscure channel and got me hooked. The other night we watched an episode that aired in 1962. Mark and Lucas are cleaning up dinner dishes. Thoroughly enjoying the episode, I made the comment to hubby that “I’m gone on this series.”

This is the dialogue exchange between Mark and Lucas that immediately followed my comment:

Mark: (standing at sink and looking at a dirty dish) This isn’t clean, Pa.

Lucas: I guess that just goes to show the best dish washer is still a woman.

*Hysterical laughter from my husband*
*Yelling at the TV from me*

Husband: Are you gone on it now?

When I got done yelling (and he wiped his eyes from laughing so hard), I reminded myself the episode aired in 1962. Not only that, it reflected a time frame not long after the Civil War. Even if the episode was remade today, the mentality would be correct for the time period in which the show was set. Hard as that dialogue exchange is to swallow, there is nothing wrong with it when placed in perspective.

I remember writing a short story set in the 70s and cringing when I had to use the term stewardess instead of flight attendant. But I grew up hearing that term and it was correct for the time.

We all try to be authentic in our writing, but are there phrases you’ve had to use (based upon an era or time period) that made you cringe? Can you think of any example like mine from The Rifleman that made you roll your eyes or laugh? Heck, maybe you just want to tell me what silly old TV show you still remember fondly, despite the fact it would send PC monitors shrieking into the wild.

Let’s have some fun in the comments!