Book Review: Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack #FantasyAdventure #PirateAdventure

For the new year, I’m going to be adding a variety of posts, including sharing book reviews. With the amount of books I read a year, why not? 😀

I still haven’t finalized the format. Most likely it will be something I do on a monthly basis with reviews of the books I’ve read during the month.

But to get started, I’m doing a stand alone review. I finished Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack last night and am still thinking about the highly imaginative world the author created. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this story. I’ve read a number of Craig’s books, but this one rocks the boat! Heehee. Pun intended.

Book cover for Voyage of the Lanternfish by author, C. S. Boyack, shows bow of old clipper ship with glowing lanternfish headFirst the Blurb:
An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

MY 5-STAR REVIEW:
What a rollicking, magical, high-octane, deftly plotted adventure! Remember when Dorothy steps from her black-and-white world into the Land of Oz for the first time? That explosion of color, wonder, and delight is equivalent to what the reader experiences in Voyage of the Lanternfish.

Wow, where to begin? I won’t reiterate the plot (just hop up and read the blurb), but I will say you’re in for a treat with this story of pirates, high-sea adventure, a diverse cast of characters and plenty of bizarre creatures. Where else will you encounter root monsters, an anvil bird, Fu dogs, owlcats, and a moving reef? And those are just some of the imaginative beings Boyack introduces with his latest release. I developed a special fondness for the root monsters with their unwavering loyalty, nightly story-telling sessions, rabid delight in receiving names, and atrocious mangling of language. Of special note: You can’t read this book and not appreciate the cleverness of “I I I I”

Trust me. 🙂

The cast is every bit as colorful as the creatures and extremely diverse in backgrounds. They each have such strong personalities, it’s hard to choose a favorite. Even secondary characters and third level characters get plenty of moments to shine. The battle scenes involving mortars, guns, and claiming ships are perfectly executed. I was dazzled and glued to the pages.

I have read several books by this author but this one is in a league of its own. Hop aboard and set sail. You won’t be disappointed!


Gang, go forth and ONE CLICK. This isn’t just a adventure story, but one that builds on character relationships, too. You won’t regret setting sail!

It’s Release Day! End of Day by Mae Clair #SupernaturalSuspense #Mystery #Thriller

Today is the book birthday for End of Day, book 2 of my Hode’s Hill trilogy.  If you enjoyed book 1, Cusp of Night, you’ll find this one in the same vein. Once again, I’m visiting the small Pennsylvania town of Hode’s Hill, but with a plot whose tentacles reach back to the town’s founding. As in Cusp of Night, I’ve spun two mysteries—one in the the past (taking place in the year 1799) and one in the present. You get two separate mysteries that tie together at the end.

Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weeds

The past is never truly buried…  

Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is it a Halloween prank? Or something more sinister?

As the descendants of those buried in the church yard begin to experience bizarre “accidents,” Jillian tries to uncover the cause. Deeply empathic, she does not make friends easily, or lightly. But to fend off the terror taking over her town, she must join forces with artist Dante DeLuca, whose sensitivity to the spirit world has been both a blessing and a curse. The two soon realize Jillian’s murky family history is entwined with a tragic legacy tracing back to the founding of Hode’s Hill. To set matters right, an ancient wrong must be avenged…or Jillian, Dante, and everyone in town will forever be at the mercy of a vengeful spirit.

~ooOOoo~

In Cusp of Night, I introduced the reader to the spiritualist movement of the 1800s, sham mediums, and a creature called the Fiend.

This time around, the story touches on Church Grims, Folk Memories, and a collection of monsters. Yes, monsters. I do love my creatures 🙂 The two lead characters—Jillian Cley and Dante DeLuca—had minor roles in Cusp. They take center stage, along with several new characters who bullied their way into the story. I never saw Madison, Sherre Lorquet, or the Porter Brothers coming until they appeared in their respective scenes. All added new layers which helped develop the plot. My muse knew what he was doing.

Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered. If you haven’t already grabbed a copy and would like to, you can purchase from the bookseller of your choice through this link.

Although this is the second book of a series, it can also be read as a stand alone. I would love to tell you more about grims and folk memories, but for now, I’ll let them unravel in the book. 🙂

Better Late Than Never

Can I still write a look back/look ahead post in the middle of January? I hope so, because that’s what this is.

Hand writing a letter with a goose featherLOOKING BACK ON WRITING
2018 was a rough year for me. I only released one novel—Cusp of Night—book one of Hode’s Hill. For the first time since publishing, I went over six months without a release. I’m still feeling the ripple effect.

And despite the EXTENSIVE effort I put into its launch, Cusp of Night did not perform as hoped. Besides two paid blog tours and 21 individual guest posts—each on a different topic—it floundered shortly out of the gate. There were bursts of life here and there, but the book didn’t really take off until the fall when it got a push on BookBub. It’s been doing well ever since—which makes me value the power of BB. And autumn.

BookBub became a primary focus in 2018 as I worked to build my following. If you’re interested, you can find me here. I’ve yet to load old reviews, but you’ll find me sharing plenty of new ones as we move ahead. I love reading almost as much as writing!

A woman sitting on the beach reading a book. Her back is to the camera, with ocean in front. Done in a wash of faded colorsLOOKING BACK ON READING
And speaking of books, I participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge every year. It’s one of the things I enjoy about the site. My goal for 2018 was 65 books. I’m pleased to say I exceeded that and reached 79. About a dozen of those were novellas, with the shortest weighing in at 15 pages.

The longest book I read, The Obsidian Chamber, clocked in at 560 pages. I started my reading year with Joan Hall’s, Unknown Reasons, and finished with I Know You Know by Gilly MacMillian. My most productive reading month was August with 10 books (only one novella) and my worst April. During the rainy season, I managed a staggering total of 1.

LOOKING AHEAD ON READING
I upped my books read for the 2019 Goodreads Challenge, increasing my goal to 70. Even though I passed that in 2018, I’m not cocky enough to think I can do it again.

I’ve shied away from posting reviews on my blog in the past, but am considering starting this year. I may try doing a post each month with the books read the previous month. Stay tuned.

Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weedsLOOKING AHEAD ON WRITING
End of Day, book two of Hode’s Hill releases tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow. Ask me how many guest posts I’ve written and you’ll get a goose egg. Pathetic, yes?

Eventide was scheduled to release in August of this year, but the date has been delayed until December. My fault for missing a deadline.

First. Time. Ever.

Because I don’t want to go with such a long stretch between books, I hope to indie publish a collection of short stories sometime in the spring. I currently have enough for one fat volume, or two smaller ones. Time will tell which.

I may also try something different moving ahead, writing a true psychological thriller. My muse has been championing first person POV.

Which brings me to…

old world type map with script writing laid over top and words Story Empire set off as a bold headerSTORY EMPIRE
You can find me there today with a post entitled Are You a POV Snob? When you read it, you’ll understand how hilarious a certain someone would find me considering first person.

I love SE! Shortly after I ventured online, I dreamed of becoming part of a group blog. Make no mistake, Story Empire is a huge time commitment, but I couldn’t ask for a better home or better group of co-authors. We are so appreciative of our readers and plan to continue providing you with valuable content in the New Year.

IN CLOSING
Finally, I purchased a web hosting plan, but haven’t had the time (or energy) to devote to building a site. This blog will remain, but I hope to have a shiny new website to complement From the Pen of Mae Clair sometime in the future. I’ll be sure to give a shout when it’s ready to go.

cat with closed eyes snuggles with a paper red heart In closing, please know how much I treasure my online friendships. We may never meet in person—in all likelihood, we won’t—but I am thankful for our connection. A very dear blogging friend of mine passed away last month after a year-long battle with cancer. Her passing crushed me for days. I am so grateful her life crossed mine. Like the “certain someone” from my Snob POV post, she will always hold a special place in my heart.

Rest in peace, Carmen. May the angels sing you to Heaven.

New Release: Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack #Fantasy #Pirates #RootMonsters

My first post of 2019 is going to be a treat, folks! Not only is Lisa Burton, stunning spokesmodel for author C.S. Boyack, visiting my blog, but she’s here to share Craig’s latest book, Voyage of the Lanternfish.

Book cover for Voyage of the Lanternfish by author, C. S. Boyack, shows bow of old clipper ship with glowing lanternfish head Now, I’m always excited when Mr. Boyack trots out a new novel. His stories are wildly imaginative and flavored with a bit of odd. I’m a huge fan of odd.

I’m also a huge fan of monsters, especially cryptids. There are root monsters in Craig’s new book! Seriously, how cool is that name? I can’t wait to meet these guys. Let’s see what Lisa has to say about them.


“Oh, my gosh, Mae. I’m so happy to be back here. In fact, I’m happy to be anywhere this time of year. The writing cabin gets pretty cold and lonely about now.

“Anyway, Craig has me out on tour for his newest book, Voyage of the Lanternfish. I know fantasy monsters aren’t quite cryptids, but work with me here. I thought they might appeal to your readers, because of the cryptic connection.

“Craig wants to have his say, so he made me bring some data along. We’ll share it, then we can have some fun.”


The root monsters in this story are part of the good guys. Mal, the witch doctor, grew them in a planter attached to the window of a Gypsy caravan. He plucked them from the ground, lopped off their leaves; voila, instant creature.

They started out as something that could keep watch in the middle of the night while my characters traveled through wild country. My original vision of them was based around what were called Pigmies in The Mummy Returns. The pigmies were a swarm with sharp teeth and pointy sticks.

My root monsters retained a lot of that throughout the story. They scrounged things like old fish hooks to fight with, but the sharp teeth remained. There could be a smattering of the tooth fairies from one of the Hellboy movies. (Swarms are scary.)

They started growing in number, and some of them needed singling out. These monsters got names. They developed their own pidgin English.

One of the things I really enjoyed was how their culture advanced. They became the storytellers aboard the ship, and their verbal history might be the only thing these pirates leave behind. Their stories are always a bit off kilter from the actual truth. As an example, they have no idea about numbers. There is a scene where the monster named Boss is trying to negotiate for more monsters. In typical fashion, characters would spout numbers and work toward the middle in negotiations. Boss just throws random numbers out that are nonsensical.

Their culture evolves to the point that the rest of the crew looks forward to monster story time. The giving of a name is looked upon as a badge of honor and must be earned. I even hinted that they may be developing their own shaman.

Make no mistake, while they are dangerous and ruthless, they are also comedy relief. My recipe of tooth fairies and Pigmies got a healthy dose of Minions, and a pinch of Wile E. Coyote too.

If you’d like to know more, I’ll make sure Lisa drops off a cover, blurb, and purchase link.


“Now that the boss had his say, we can do the fun part. Look, I brought you a new poster. I chose this one, because it has a couple of root monsters in it. I know the one in the red hat is Flattop. He gets dialog and everything in the story.

Lisa Burton, spokesmodel for author C.S. Boyack in sexy pirate outfit with skull-and-crossbones flag, chest of gold and root monsters

“I really enjoyed dressing up in pirate clothes for a couple of months while Sean worked on these posters. Your readers should feel free to share them on Pinterest, or even use them as computer and gadget backgrounds. That’s what they’re for.

“As the pitch-girl for Craig’s work, I’ll leave you all the important stuff to add to the post whenever you’re ready. Now, what’s fun around here before I head for my next stop?”


Hmm…Maybe I should have Lisa chat with the Mothman, the Fiend, or even the monsters that make an appearance in my next book. She could handle any of them. Then again, she’d probably find their wardrobe atrocious and I’d have to agree. She and I will have to settle for shopping.

And speaking of shopping, I highly recommend you go forth and ONE CLICK Voyage of the Lanternfish. I’m currently reading it and can vouch you’re going to love it!

Check out the blurb:

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

Purchase Link

Author, C. S. BoyackAuthor Bio:

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Connect with Craig at the following haunts:
Blog | My Novels | Twitter GoodreadsFacebookPinterest | BookBub

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Like many bloggers do this time of year, I’ll be disappearing (mostly) offline until 2019 arrives with bright, shiny expectations. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and I am now thoroughly entrenched in festivities. From listening to Christmas carols (Noel, O Holy Night, and Oh, Come All Ye Faithful rank as all-time favorites) to watching Christmas movies, wrapping presents, and even baking cookies, I’m enamored of the season.

I’m looking forward to spending time with extended family and celebrating long-standing traditions. However you celebrate your holidays, I wish you and your loved ones a magical Christmas, Happy New Year, and peace that transcends all.

Winter landscape with a single tree highlighted in snow with a white rabbit in the foreground

Leaving Facebook #socialmedia #ebookadvertising

Where does time go? I looked at my blog and realized I haven’t posted in a month. How does that happen? I’m online constantly, visiting other bloggers, but have somehow neglected my home base. With the holidays coming up, I may not have another post until January, but thought it was time to share…well, something!

For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you probably know I’m not a fan of Facebook. Never have been from the time I signed up, but I hung in there because authors are expected to have a presence on FB. I’ve been awful about posting on my profile, but I have run several ads over the last few years, all with decent results. I considered Facebook worthwhile as a good ad source, never where I connected with others. I’m better with mediums like the blogosphere, Twitter and Instagram.

Then FB did something I couldn’t ignore.

Last week, my publisher reduced Cusp of Night to .99c for a few days. As usual, I signed onto Facebook to run a promotion. I modified the same ad I’ve run twice in the past, targeting the same audience as before, but got flagged for violating FB’s new ad policy.

Huh?

I didn’t include men in my audience and didn’t target women under 25. Guys, if you read my books, I love you, but honestly I know that the bulk of my readers are women, and the majority are over 25. My guess is that Facebook considered this discriminatory (let’s not forget they let me target the exact same audience multiple times in the past), so they deactivated my ad manager and wouldn’t approve the ad.

Oops! Facebook even sent me an email saying I had violated their ad policy.

Okay, got it. I figured I could fix the problem and all would be good. I understand they need to make adjustments. But when I tried to change my target audience I couldn’t. The powers that be had shut down the ad manager for my account, no chance to change anything.

Just. Locked. Out.

That left me an option of jumping through hoops with FB support, emailing, and trying to straighten the situation out. In other words, a major headache.

Um…for a platform I’ve disliked from day one? No thanks. So, I deactivated my Facebook account. Then the good folks at FB asked me (through an online form) why I was leaving their wonderful community. I explained they’d deactivated my ad manager and why. I thought perhaps they’d send me a follow up email. You know…customer service and all that, but of course that didn’t happen. I’m a drop in the bucket, and customer service is a dinosaur of days past when people mattered.

So I’m outta there. If you’ve tagged me in the past, or might try to in the future, I wanted to share why you won’t find me. Look for me on BookBub, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Pinterest, or in our lovely blogging world, but I’m done with Facebook.

I never did get to run my ad, but thanks to a large BookBub push by my publisher and other promotions I did, Cusp of Night did well, hitting:

278 in the paid Kindle Store
#2 in Mystery Supernatural
#5 in Mystery Cozy
#7 in mystery paranormal

I would have loved to hit the top spot in one of the genres, but coming close was nice. A few of my other books picked up sales as well. And all without Facebook. I guess I didn’t need it as much as I thought.

Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weedsIn other news, I’m plugging away on the final book in my Hode’s Hill series. Book two, End of Day, releases on January 19th and is available for pre-order from all major booksellers. If you haven’t reserved your copy, now’s a good time. 🙂

As we gear up for the holidays, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I love this time of year and am in permanent happily-ever-after-Hallmark-sap mode. And let’s not forget Elf and  A Christmas Carol, my two favorite holiday classics.

Ho-Ho-Ho and sugar plums to all!

When Your Muse Skips a Date

My muse and I had a date. I planned my work/vacation time so I had a four day weekend. Perfect for writing, right? Given I’m behind on my WIP, I was jazzed to pull off such a coup. Mr. E. knew when and where he was to show up. If you’re not sure who Mr. E. is, you may want to check out book two of my Point Pleasent seriesA Cold Tomorrow.

In the meantime, let’s check out how things went wrong. 😦

Plans for day one (Thursday) of my four-day writing schedule:
Several hours of writing in the morning.
Run errands.
Immunization shot at pharmacy.
Lunch with hubby.
Writing in evening.

What went wrong:
Overslept and got a late start. Part of this is the fault of my cat, Raven, who likes to curl up in bed with me. Seriously, who could resist a cute, sleepy ball of fluff in snuggle mode? Here’s a shot of what she looks like when she’s pouring on the power-cute.

Cute black cat curled up on rug looking at camera

Errands got a late start and instead of writing, I caught up with email. After I finished with errands I headed to my local pharmacy for the second half of a two-part shingles immunization shot. Have you guys heard about this thing? It’s for anyone over fifty—an uber precaution against getting shingles. The shot comes in two parts, You get part one (shot), then somewhere between two and six months later you get the second shot.

The day I got the first shot, I had also gotten a tetanus shot and had a bad reaction (chills, muscle aches, slight fever). I thought that was from the tetanus, but NOOOOO!

Thursday afternoon I got the second shot and by the evening I was a mess. Fever, extreme chills, body aches off the scale, headache, nausea—not to mention my arm felt like I’d never be able to lift it again. I got up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water and was shaking so bad from chills, I spilled water all over the place. Not a good night. The next morning, I checked out the side effects on the handout they give you, and I had every one of them.

Joy! I know countless people (including my husband) who have gotten this series of shots without any side effects. Leave it to me. Needless to say, no writing got done.

Plans for day two (Friday) of my planned four-day writing schedule:
A few hours writing at a coffee cafe.
Meet with friend at the library regarding plans for a 2019 trip to Maine.
Get together with my niece and SIL (spur-of-the moment, planned Thursday morning).
Afternoon and evening writing,

What went wrong:
Couldn’t sleep because of a miserable night with side effects from the shingles shot.
Up early and went to the coffee cafe but spent my time catching up on email and blog visits.
Enjoyed time with my niece and SIL, but was dragging from lack of sleep. Still feeling horrible from side effects of shot.
Came home, zonked on the couch and went to bed by seven PM.
No writing.

Saturday of my planned four-day writing schedule:
Starting to feel better—not 100% but enough to feel well enough to do laundry and make a huge pot of New England Clam Chowder.
My den looks like a cyclone hit it (thanks to the recent author presentation I did for a historical society) so I decide to clean it up into order to get to my desk.
That involves cleaning out my closet—which involves sorting through boxes of family photos to give to my nephew (don’t ask).
The entire day vanishes.
Evening out with my family, something that popped up at the last minute. My brother bought one of those drive-able RVs and he and his wife drove it up for everyone to see. A bunch of us ended up going out for dinner.
No writing.

Sunday of my planned four-day writing schedule:
Now fully recovered from the shot. YAY!
Back to the den to finish the cleaning project I started yesterday.
Caught up on my author record keeping (expenses, royalties, inventory, banking).
Caught up with email and blog visits again. No writing,

Four whole days without a single hour at my day job and I didn’t manage a single minute of writing. My friend, Craig Boyack, recently experienced something similar, so I know I’m not the only one who experiences plans that go haywire. Still, as much as I enjoyed time with my niece, sister-in-law, and family, it was frustrating not to manage even a few thousand words of writing. On the plus side, I’ve got a second chance. I have the entire week of Thanksgiving off and hope to hammer out major word count. I may not be as visible that week online, so if I miss a few posts I hope you’ll forgive me. My deadline is looming and the last few days have set it back another notch thanks to a dreadful shot and an absent muse!

I’m hoping your week (and week ahead) was/is much more productive—and that if you opt for the Shingrix immunization you’re like my DH and the bulk of people who don’t experience the debilitating side effects I did!

Pre-Order The Body In The Attic by Judi Lynn #cozy #mystery

Happy first day of November! To kick off the month, I’m delighted to welcome friend and sister author, Judi Lynn. We’ve shared the same publisher for many years now. Judi has a new mystery release coming out in November that I’m super excited about and have already pre-ordered. Before I turn things over so she can tell you about it, please be sure to check out her blog. She’s wonderfully supportive of others and shares engaging posts that I know you’ll enjoy. And now….take it away Judi!


I want to thank Mae for inviting me to her blog.  We’re sister authors for Lyrical Press.  I loved her Point Pleasant series and the start of her Hode’s Hill series.  CUSP OF NIGHT has such a great mix of mystery and paranormal, I’m waiting for the second book to come out in January!  My first mystery, THE BODY IN THE ATTIC, due out Nov. 27, is a straight cozy with food and family tossed in.   I love to cook, so there are a couple of recipes at the back of the book.

Book cover for the cozy mystery novel The Body in the Attic by Judi Lynn shows an old trunk surrounded by various items in an attic

You can find it here:  http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/37036

Here’s the blurb:

Welcome to River Bluffs, Indiana, a cozy small town populated with charming homes, close-knit families, and the occasional deadly secret . . .

House-flipper Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod have found their latest project. The property, formerly owned by the late Cal Juniper, is filled with debris that must be cleared before the real renovation begins. But a trip to the attic reveals something more disturbing than forgotten garbage—a skeleton wearing a locket and rings that Jazzi recognizes . . .

Tests confirm that the bones belong to Jazzi’s aunt Lynda, who everyone assumed moved to New York years ago after breaking up with Cal. Soon enough, the whole family is involved, sifting through memories and rumors as they try to piece together what really happened to Lynda—and the baby she gave up for adoption. In between investigating and remodeling, Jazzi is falling for the old house’s charms—and for her gorgeous contractor, Ansel. But with surprises lurking in every nook and cranny, a killer might be waiting to demolish her dreams for good . . .

And here’s an excerpt:

Jerod called 911.  While Jazzi waited for the detective to arrive, she went from room to room upstairs, checking them out. She needed to keep busy to distract herself.  Her aunt was folded into a trunk, and her mom was going to relive a crappy memory.  When Lynda had accepted Cal Juniper’s engagement ring but told him that she needed to leave River Bluffs for a year to think things through, friends had lined up behind Cal, not Lynda.  And now here Lynda was, stuffed in a trunk in Cal’s attic.

Detective Richard Gaff and crime scene experts arrived before Jazzi could sort out her thoughts.  Gaff looked at the trunk, frowned at the stains halfway up it, and shook his head.  “How long did you say she’d been here?”

Jazzi watched the techs take one picture after another.  “She disappeared twenty-six years ago, a few months after she got engaged.  Why is everything stained there?”

A tech answered automatically.  “A body liquefies when it decomposes—all the fluids draining and organs breaking down.”

Jerod grimaced at the floorboards.

“A clean-up crew comes when we find a body or remains.  They can fix anything.”  Gaff looked at the diamond ring caught on the knuckle of the bony finger on her right hand.  “And who was she going to marry?”

“That ring came from Thomas Sorrell.  She broke up with him.”  Jazzi pointed to the small heap of bones that had fallen off when Jerod moved the trunk.  Another diamond glistened among them—a little smaller, but classier.  “That’s Cal’s ring.  She was going to marry him.”

He stopped writing and frowned.  “Those are both big diamonds.”

Jazzi shook her head.  “Both men were rich.”

“You said she was engaged when she disappeared.”

“To Cal Juniper, but she asked him to give her a year in New York to think things through.”

“And he was all right with that?”

“He wasn’t happy, but he agreed to it.  My mom told me that it bothered him so much, he left River Bluffs before Lynda did.  He was going to travel across Europe on business trips until Lynda was supposed to come back.”

“So he wasn’t in the house.  For a year?  That makes sense.  It would stink to high heavens for a long time.”  Gaff scratched his head, confused.  “Okay, let’s start at the beginning.  Can you tell me what you know about your aunt?”

Jerod and Jazzi exchanged glances.

“That could take a while,” Jazzi said.

Author Bio:

Judi Lynn lives in Indiana with her husband, a bossy gray cat, a noisy Chihuahua, and a parakeet.  She loves to cook and owns more cookbooks than any mortal woman would ever need.  That’s why so much food sneaks into her stories.  She also loves her flower beds, but is a haphazard gardener, at best.

You can find her at:

You can find her webpage at: http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

Her blog:  http://writingmusings.com/

Her author facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/JudiLynnwrites/

Twitter: @judypost

On BookBub at Judi Lynn with a link to Judith Post:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/judi-lynn

 

 

 

In Honor of National Cat Day: Raven! #blackcats

It was recently brought to my attention (ahem, Julie) that Raven hasn’t made an appearance on my blog in a while. It also dawned on me that today is National Cat Day. Given Raven is a black cat, it’s almost Halloween, and it’s National Cat Day, that’s a trifecta I couldn’t pass up. I’m late in getting this posted, but for all the cat lovers out there, here’s my gorgeous girl . . .

This past spring, hanging out in the bow window.
The little birds that visit in the morning provide hours of entertainment.

Beautiful black cat in bow window with rose in bloom behind glass

Peek-a-boo from her collapsible cube.
She likes to flatten it like a pancake when she’s playing.

Black cat peeking out of a large toy cube

Taking a nap on tree #1 by the bow window.
So innocent—while plotting . . .

Black cat curled up on a large cat tree

The perfect way to get a second tree is to hang out where she isn’t allowed.
Smart girl.

Black cat balancing on the back of chair

The plotting worked.
Tree #2 overlooking the rear deck arrives.
She and a resident chipmunk play tag, racing between this spot
and the patio doors in the family room. More entertainment!

Black cat on a large cat tree in front of french doors

I was an idiot to think that large spray of reeds in the corner could stay. 
Tree + cat + reeds = large cat toy.
The spray was moved in less than an hour.

Black cat sitting on a large cat tree in front of a French door

A new toy—sort of.
Stolen from my key chain.
She makes a good thief.

Black cat in sitting pose looking at camera with a puff toy in front of her

Ready for bed at the end of the day.
She has me wrapped and knows it!

Black cat under sheets in bed

Raven and I wish you a Happy National Cat Day!

The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody is Now Available on Amazon

Happy book buzz day! I have major ebook news to share as Marcia Meara rolls out her latest release, The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody. I’m positively delighted to share this new novella on my blog. I adore the characters and devoured the first Emissary novella. Needless to say, I snatched Emissary 2 up the moment it became available. Please welcome Marcia with her brand new release!


Absolutely lovely to be here on your blog today, Mae! Thanks so much for having me over to share the release of The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody with your followers. Your wonderful review of The Emissary was a big inspiration to me as I worked on the newest one. I’m really excited to have finished this latest run of adventures between Jake, Dodger, and their angelic boss, Azrael, and I hope you’ll enjoy following along once more as they come to terms with their ever-increasing powers. I also hope the blurb and short excerpt below will tempt some of your followers to do so, as well.

Both Book 1 and Book 2 of the trilogy are quick, easy reads, which are definitely not meant to be viewed as any sort of religious dogma. Rather, they are merely excursions into a bit of “what-if-ery,” with a few nuggets of universal truths scattered throughout.

When I get the third novella of this trilogy finished, I’ll be combining all three into a set I can offer in print as well as eBook format. But for now, folks looking for a bit of Urban Fantasy Lite can download Books 1 and 2 and find out for themselves exactly what’s expected from the world’s first Emissaries to the Angels.

Note: I do need to point out that The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody is the middle book of the Emissary Trilogy, and not a stand-alone novella. With that in mind, Book 1, The Emissary, can be downloaded HERE.

Corrected The Emissary 2_kindle cover_2

BLURB

They’re back!

Jake and Dodger, the first (and so far, only) Emissaries to the Angels, are on the road again.

They’re looking for mortals about to take a wrong turn. You know the ones—the kid thinking about stealing from a corner market or the man planning to lie about a coworker and destroy her career. Yeah, them. People on the brink of making a mistake that could send them down that wrong road and jeopardize their mortal souls.

Of course, there are rules by which the emissaries must play, and the archangel Azrael stands ready to enforce them. First and foremost, a person’s free will must never be compromised. Emissaries are allowed to use only the smallest of mental nudges. Thankfully, a whispered suggestion here or images of a better course of action there is usually all it takes. The potential mugger walks on by. The thief drops the wallet back into the unattended purse. But whether the results are obvious or not, Jake and Dodger are fully committed to making a positive difference, even as they struggle with issues of their own.

Will Dodger get over losing his chance to learn what true love is all about? Will Jake survive the grueling angelic equivalent of Boot Camp? Will Azrael ever finish the Official Emissarial Guidebook—including the chapter titled Do Not Even Think About It?

One thing’s for sure—Jake’s and Dodger’s strengths are growing daily, as they help more and more people make better choices. But is the price for so much power higher than they’re willing to pay?

EXCERPT

Lounging Beside a Cluster of Heat-Yellowed Palms,
Drinking Warm Bottled Water Gone Stale as Old Bread,
Watching Dodger Work His Magic on Unsuspecting Beachgoers.

TWO DAYS HAD slipped by since Dodger confessed his tale of woe to Jake, yet Jake was no closer to knowing how to handle the issue than he’d been when he first heard the boy’s story. On the one hand, they both ought to be well beyond any of the concerns they’d had in their past lives. On the other, that wasn’t actually the case for either of them, in spite of the differences in what they worried about.

They hadn’t had a visit from Azrael since departing Atlanta two weeks earlier, which in itself seemed ominous. They’d pretty much ignored the angel’s wishes by heading south together, and while he wasn’t sure how Azrael felt about that decision, the continued silence probably wasn’t a good sign. Combine that with Dodger’s unhappiness, and Jake figured it might be time to reach out to the big guy.

“Why have you not done so sooner?”

Jake jerked around so hard, he tipped his folding beach chair over and fell face first into the hot sand. Scrambling to his feet, he swore before he could catch himself. “Dammit, Azrael—I mean, geez-lou-freakin’-weeze! Why do you do that? It’s not funny, you know. And even if it had been funny the first ten times, it sure isn’t now!”

“On the contrary, my friend. Watching your various reactions to my sudden appearances is something that never seems to grow old.”

Jake righted his beach chair and offered it to Azrael. It wasn’t until the angel took a seat that he realized Azrael had once again referred to him as his friend. His anger evaporated immediately.

“Good to see you, too.” He smiled at the archangel he privately called Boss. “I really needed to talk to you.”

“Yes. I am aware of your concern about Dodger. It is a thorny problem, is it not?”

“I’m afraid so. It’s causing Dodger a whole lot of pain right now, and by extension, it’s causing me pain, too.”

“Ah. When he hurts, you hurt. This is both good and bad, as most meaningful relationships among humans seem to be.”

“I’m glad you understand.”

“Oh, I did not say I understand. I am aware of these things, yes. You cannot observe humans for centuries upon end without seeing evidence that this is the way of it. But knowledge is not the same thing as understanding. That is one of the reasons building a cadre of emissaries like you and Dodger is so important. Having been mortal beings and lived lives filled with human dreams and passions and relationships, you are both far better equipped for this job than I, or any other angel, could ever be.”

“Does that mean you’ll take me at my word when I say we need to help Dodger?”

“No. As always, it means I will listen to you and evaluate what you tell me, and then do my best to help where needed.”

Buy The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody HERE

~~~


Author Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, four big cats, and two small dachshunds. When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. At the age of five, Marcia declared she wanted to be an author, and is ecstatic that at age 69, she finally began pursuing that dream. Her belief in the redemptive power of love is a unifying factor in both of her popular series and her poetry. Today, she’s still going strong, and plans to keep on writing until she falls face down on the keyboard, which she figures would be a pretty good way to go!

Marcia has published six novels, one novella, and one book of poetry to date, all of which are available on Amazon:

Wake-Robin Ridge
A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2
Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3

Swamp Ghosts: A Riverbend Novel
Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2
That Darkest Place: Riverbend Book 3

The Emissary: A Riverbend Spinoff Novella

Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love

Marcia’s Amazon Author Page

You can reach Marcia via email at marciameara16@gmail.com or on the following social media sites:

The Write Stuff: http://marciamearawrites.com/
Twitter: @marciameara
Facebook: www.facebook.com/marcia.meara.writer
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marciameara/