Creature Feature

If you’re a regular follower of my blog, it’s no secret I have a love affair with creatures—a passion I developed early, thanks in part to my older brother. He had a Creepy Crawler maker when we were kids. Remember those? You poured colored goop into a metal mold, then heated it up in a toy oven. After the mold baked, you ended up with rubbery scorpions, spiders, and snakes. My parents eventually got me a Flower Power maker, and although it was fun, I was partial to the slithery things (this from someone who detests bugs).

When I was seven, I remember my mom taking me to the opening of a new mall. Something on that scale was a big deal back in those days. There were kiddie rides in the parking lot and cotton candy machines, but what I treasured most was going home with a plastic blue brontosaurus. I still remember that thing. I was so smitten with my toy creature.

Not long after that came telescopes and fanciful tales of space creatures. I fell in love with the Gothic soap opera Dark shadows, thanks to my older sisters, and learned about werewolves and ghosts. When I hit my teen years, I discovered folklore, fantasy novels, and reruns of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. There’s nothing like giant squids, lobster men, or mutant plants for creature nirvana!

silhouette of creature in the woods at night, full moon in backgroundMy love for creatures eventually found its way into my writing. To date, I’ve told tales involving a werewolf, a sea monster, a changeling, and a notorious cryptid—the Mothman. With my upcoming release, Cusp of Night, I have a new monster to foist on readers, a Spring-Heeled Jack like being known as The Fiend. If that isn’t enough, I’ve tossed in a few ghosts for good measure. 😊

Cusp of Night releases on June 12th, and I’m doing everything I can to launch this one successfully. Several friends have already volunteered to host me on their blog. I’ve pre-written posts in preparation of book touring and have more posts simmering on the back burner. I rarely if ever reblog, but this time I’m going all out. You’re likely to see multiple posts and reblogs in this space over the next several weeks as I push Cusp into the world.

If you’d like to help spread the word, I’m looking for blog hosts with availability in June and July (or heck, even later). Please email me at maeclair (at) maeclair (dot) com if you’re interested. And no worries if you can’t help out—we all have crazy juggling acts of family, writing, and jobs. I get that there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

As for Cusp of Night, the story goes something like this:

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

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 . . .

Cusp of Night is already available from all booksellers for pre-order through this link:  PURCHASE HERE

If you’re thinking of grabbing a copy, pre-ordering is a huge help for a successful book launch. I know we all have gargantuan TBRs but there’s no harm in padding them a little more, right? 😊

Thanks for considering, and thank you if you’re able to help with my book launch.

Exciting times!

I’m starting a new series *gulp*

I’ve got a new creature *gulp*

I’ve got dual timelines and dual mysteries *gulp, gulp*

Now if I could just find a plastic blue brontosaurus as a good luck charm! 😊

Cover Reveal and Pre-Order: The Alternative by Suzanne Burke

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Suzanne Burke to my blog with the cover reveal for her upcoming release, The Alternative. I had the pleasure of getting a sneak peek at this collection, and it’s a winner! Now that the book is up for pre-order, I’ve already reserved my copy. Check out the deets and cover below, then follow the links to pre-order your own copy of The Alternative.

Take it away, Soooz . . .


Hello, and welcome to the Cover Reveal of my New Thriller Anthology

“The Alternative”

The ALTERNATIVE BANNER HEADLINE FOR COVER REVEAL BEST

The Alternative 

The Alternative
by S.Burke

Available to Pre-Order NOW.
Release Date: Monday June 18th 2018
Mystery> Thriller & Suspense > Anthology.

It is such an exciting time for an author when releasing a new book! I would be remiss in not sharing my heartfelt thanks to the marvelous people who gave of their time so readily to beta read my latest book. Their valuable insights helped me enormously when crafting “The Alternative”

At long last, I’m able to share the cover and blurb for “The Alternative” my latest Thriller Anthology. “The Alternative ” is due for release on June 18th.

It is NOW available for Pre-Order

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 . . .

With much gratitude to Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khaleesi for the cover creation.

Cover Created by Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khalessi

Presenting “The Alternative” A Thriller Anthology.

“The Alternative”

THE ALTERNATIVE COVER IN HIGH RESOLUTION BEST

BLURB:

The Alternative.

There are those that cling unreservedly to the lifeboat that believing in Karma hands them so willingly.

They work, they live, and they function in a world that allows them the option of unreservedly trusting that Karma has no deadline.

Until they are handed the spark that ignites them into becoming the instrument of Karma itself.

There are others who have had all they once held to be truths, everything they once stood for and took pride in, torn apart and ripped from them by the hand of a cruel fate.

Then, of course, there are those who believed in nothing and no one, to begin with …

These are their stories.

The stories of people both good and bad, who made the choice to exact “The Alternative.”

An excerpt from Chapter 1. Picasso.

February 1990.

The tall man stretched his arms and flexed his long artistic fingers. He stood back to gain a different perspective of his latest work of art. He’d spent a great deal of time sketching his outline and was well satisfied with the outcome. Perhaps this one would be the perfection he craved above all else.

His other efforts were upstairs in the gallery, and while they were far from his lofty imaginings, they each represented another step forward toward his ultimate goal. He knew this exhibition would prompt worldwide interest, that was a given. His reputation was on the line. That at least was something he valued.

He grunted and moved the newest piece into the workroom. The more difficult application of his talent needed to begin.

***

NEW YORK JULY 2015

Meredith keyed in her code, shouldered the door open and dropped her briefcase onto the polished boards of the entry. Working on autopilot, she flicked on the light and bent to collect the mail from the floor; throwing it onto the small bureau without bothering to check the sender. She shrugged off her coat and draped it over the arm of the sofa. Too damned weary to be bothered with any external interruptions tonight, she removed the home phone from its cradle and headed to the kitchen to fix enough coffee to sustain the long evening ahead, deliberately ignoring the well-stocked bar. She was well aware that she’d need every bit of concentration she could muster. She removed the Glock from her handbag, and out of habit, she placed it on the coffee table next to the perpetually full ashtray.

Her head was already pounding and she rubbed at her tense neck muscles until her fingers ached. Relief from the unresolved tension still hovered … just out of reach. She held her breath for a moment, stilling her impatience. If all went to plan, this thing would be finally ended. If justice existed at all, it would go well. All the years she’d worked to bring what was the only course left open to herself and the others to completion was coming. ‘Soon now’, was her daily mantra. But the darker visions still danced vividly in her mind’s eye and tormented her rare sleeping hours … it had been that way for almost twenty-five years.

The memory haunted her, dark and unforgivingly brutal. It replayed in clear and explicit detail every time she was forced to reflect on it … and its aftermath.

***

THE ALTERNATIVE IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

“The Alternative” on AMAZON.COM

Suzanne Burke Amazon Author Page

On TWITTER.

On Facebook.

My Blog

Thank you so much for joining me here today. Your support is very much appreciated.

I would be delighted to hear your thoughts and comments below.

Is this what it’s come to?

angry cat hissingI’m ticked right now. See the cat on the right? That was me a few nights ago.

Let me explain.

Lately, there’s a trend for authors to band together and offer free ebooks in a mass giveaway. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve even participated in the past. Authors get to collect email addresses for newsletters—hoping to convert the reader into a fan—and readers get to discover books they may not have chosen otherwise.

Normally, when I see a group giveaway, I’ll scan through the titles and see if anything interests me. I’ve stopped downloading books simply because they’re free, and only download if I intend to read them. My Kindle is overflowing as it is, so a lot of times, I leave these giveaways without opting to download a single title.

Recently, however, a particular book caught my eye. It’s one I had been considering for a while, and since it was being offered through an Instafreebie giveaway, I thought why not? I hopped over, provided my email address, and downloaded my free book.

Great, right?

I thought so too until I reached the end of Chapter 6 and this message appeared:  If you enjoyed this preview, I hope you’ll check out the full book on Amazon!

Huh?

Nothing like being six chapters into a novel and realizing the free “book” you downloaded was only a preview.

Here’s how it’s supposed to work:
Author offers free ebook.
Reader provides email address to the author in exchange for the book.

Simple, right?

I held up my end of the deal by providing my email, but did not get the free book I was promised in return. How does that make me feel?

Cheated.

Striped kitty looking at camera and making funny face. Words "where's the rest?" above

Worse, the author lost an opportunity for a new reader. I was enjoying the story, but suddenly—no more book. At that point, it was 10 o’clock at night and I was on my Kindle Paperwhite which doesn’t allow me to make purchases. I would have had to add the book to my wish list, then hop on my iPhone or computer to finish the purchase. Not likely given how irked I felt.

I started reading something else and don’t know that I will ever get back to the original book again. The author had just released the second book in the series so it made sense to do an Instafreebie–except it wasn’t. There are several book series I faithfully follow that initially hooked me through a free ebook. In this case, I’m sure I would have finished the first book and bought the second, likely becoming a long time fan.

That’s all down the drain given the avenue this author chose to take.

Is this the new trend, or did I miss something in the fine print? As authors we value the readers who provide their email addresses and sign up for our newsletters. There is a certain level of trust that’s expected when a reader volunteers that information. I hope what happened to me was a goof and not something most authors will practice going forward. If you promise a free book, deliver a free book. It should be simple.

Right?

Mothman Memes #PointPleasantSeries #UrbanLegends

I’ve been doing a lot of playing around on Twitter lately. After blogging, it’s my favorite form of social media and I find it a great place to connect with others. I also love the variety of graphic Tweets I find there. Novelicious and Abandoned Places are two of my favorite Twitter feeds with amazing graphics. If you haven’t visited them before, you might want to give them a looksee.

With the last of my Point Pleasant novels, A Desolate Hour releasing, I decided I needed a new pinned Tweet. I change it out every now and then depending on the promo I’m doing at the time. I also decided the other two books in the series could benefit from ehanced visual representation, especially with book one, A Thousand Yesteryears, currently on sale for .99c

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

A Thousand Yesteryears (Book 1)
Banner ad for A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair features the night sky over an old farmhouse

Behind a legend lies the truth…

As a child, Eve Parrish lost her father and her best friend, Maggie Flynn, in a tragic bridge collapse. Fifteen years later, she returns to Point Pleasant to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. Though much has changed about the once thriving river community, the ghost of tragedy still weighs heavily on the town, as do rumors and sightings of the Mothman, a local legend. When Eve uncovers startling information about her aunt’s death, that legend is in danger of becoming all too real.

Caden Flynn is one of the few lucky survivors of the bridge collapse, but blames himself for coercing his younger sister out that night. He’s carried that guilt for fifteen years, unaware of darker currents haunting the town. It isn’t long before Eve’s arrival unravels an old secret—one that places her and Caden in the crosshairs of a deadly killer.

Universal Purchase Link | Currently .99c from all book retailers

~ooOOoo~

A Cold Tomorrow (Book 2)

Banner Ad for A Cold tomorrow by Mae Clair features road through a meadow near few trees and foggy in forest at night

Where secrets make their home… 

Stopping to help a motorist in trouble, Katie Lynch stumbles upon a mystery as elusive as the Mothman legend that haunts her hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Could the coded message she finds herald an extraterrestrial visitor? According to locals, it wouldn’t be the first time. And what sense should she make of her young son’s sudden spate of bizarre drawings—and his claim of a late-night visitation? Determined to uncover the truth, Katie only breaks the surface when a new threat erupts. Suddenly her long-gone ex-boyfriend is back and it’s as if he’s under someone else’s control. Not only is he half-crazed, he’s intent on murder.

As a sergeant in the sheriff’s office of the famously uncanny Point Pleasant, Officer Ryan Flynn has learned to tolerate reports of puzzling paranormal events.   But single mom Katie Lynch appears to be in very real danger—and somehow Ryan’s own brother, Caden, is caught up in the madness, too. What the skeptical lawman discovers astounds him—and sends him into action. For stopping whatever evil forces are at play may just keep Katie and Caden alive.

Universal Purchase Link

~ooOOOO~

A Desolate Hour (Book 3)

Banner ad for A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair features Man standing in a dark mysterious forest with bloody lake in foreground

Sins of the past could destroy all of their futures . . .

For generations, Quentin Marsh’s family has seen its share of tragedy, though he remains skeptical that their misfortunes are tied to a centuries-old curse. But to placate his pregnant sister, Quentin makes the pilgrimage to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, hoping to learn more about the brutal murder of a Shawnee chief in the 1700s. Did one of the Marsh ancestors have a hand in killing Chief Cornstalk—the man who cursed the town with his dying breath?

While historian Sarah Sherman doesn’t believe in curses either, she’s compelled to use her knowledge of Point Pleasant to uncover the long-buried truth. The river town has had its own share of catastrophes, many tied to the legendary Mothman, the winged creature said to haunt the woods. But Quentin’s arrival soon reveals that she may have more of a stake than she realized. It seems that she and Quentin possess eerily similar family heirlooms. And the deeper the two of them dig into the past, the more their search enrages the ancient mystical forces surrounding Point Pleasant. As chaos and destruction start to befall residents, can they beat the clock to break the curse before the Mothman takes his ultimate revenge?

Universal Purchase Link

~ooOOoo~

And there you have my Twitter memes. I’ve also added them to the book pages on my website, and would be delighted if you share them around should you stumble over them in your online roaming. I’ve been meaning to create these for a while but had to finally buckle down and set aside the time. Once I did, it was a fun and creative exercise. I’d still like to make a few for my older books, and a few more for my Point Pleasant series. As always, time is the enemy.

Do you use graphics to promote your books? If so, have you found them too be helpful? I remember the days when it was enough to make a Tweet and add a link, but Twitter has become a visual medium. Personally, I love that. Especially now that images don’t count into those 140 characters. I’ve definitely been sucked in by the beautiful graphic promos I’ve seen on Twitter, and have even bought books as a result. How about you?

And most importantly—how do you like my Mothman memes? The last one is my personal favorite. 😀