A New Release, Yearly Wrap, and New Plans

2020 in bold white on starry purple background with words happy new year in smaller gradient text beneathHappy New Year and Happy 2020, my friends! It’s hard to believe we are in a brand new decade. Have you seen the 20/20 commercial with Barbara Walters and other celebrities? I get a kick out of it every time it airs.

Here’s hoping everyone had a fantastic New Year’s. It’s the one holiday my husband and I spend at home. We stopped the party thing years ago and now have a nice quiet evening topped off by a lobster tail dinner, and a champagne toast at the ball drop. It’s a tradition we’ve kept up since the year 2000. Surely, you remember Y2K, LOL.

Another tradition I have involves blogging. As many of us do, I like to look back at the previous year, plus share a glimpse of what I plan moving ahead.

2019 REVIEW

BOOK RELEASES
I started the year off by releasing End of Day,  book 2 of my Hode’s Hill Series, and I closed out the year with the release of  Eventide, book 3, on New Year’s Eve.

That’s right—Eventide is now available! Didn’t you see all that confetti drop in Times Square? Okay, so there might have been some minor thing about a ball drop, but I like to think they were all celebrating along with me 🙂 Hey, a writer can dream, right?

Joking aside, if you haven’t grabbed your copy of Eventide yet, just click the handy link I’ve shared and you can purchase it from the bookseller of your choice. Several readers have commented that this is their favorite of the series, and early reviews on BookBub, Goodreads, and Amazon are off to a great start. A huge thanks to my ARC and Net Galley readers! If you haven’t read Cusp of Night, and End of Day, no worries. Early reviewers are saying it reads fine as a standalone. I was thrilled to see that sentiment shared by so many!


Banner ad for Eventide, a mystery novel by Mae Clair, features a dilapidated old house

BlURB:
The darkness is coming . . .

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?

Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…


WRITING
In 2019, I completed a one-hour story (more on that later) and a collection of short stories. Both will appear in 2020. I also participated in NaNoWriMo with a mystery/suspense novel entitled Belladonna Cottage, and although I did manage to “win” NaNo, that book will most probably be scrapped. I made a complete mess of it—though I do intend to salvage three of the characters and possibly the setting for use in a later tale.

READING
I’ve been doing the Goodreads Reading Challenge since 2013, and this was the third year I  met my goal (more confetti). I had hoped to read 70 books but managed 89. Not all of them appear on Goodreads, but—wow!—what an excellent year of reading.

My shortest read was Voodoo or Destiny by Jan Sikes (25 pages) and my longest was The Betrayed Wife by Kevin O’Brien (544 pages). My first review of the year was Final Girls by Riley Sager, and my last review was The Whisper Man by Alex North. I’ve already got several books lined up that I hope to read in January, and I’ve signed up for the Goodreads Reading Challenge again. I’m pledging 70 books, but hoping for more. If you’d like to participate, you can sign up from your Goodreads profile. Any number is acceptable, and no amount is too small.

BLOGGING
2019 was my first year sharing book reviews on my blog, and I am so thankful I started. I can’t imagine why I didn’t before. I also introduced Wednesday Weirdness as a regular feature. At Story Empire, my colleagues and I completed our third year and passed 500 posts on Christmas Day. Many thanks to all who continue to make that blog successful for all!

2020 PLANS

Quill pen and inkwell resting on an old book with green background concept for literature, writing, author and history

BOOK RELEASES
Remember the one-hour story, I mentioned above? I plan to release In Search of McDoogal, in time for Valentine’s Day. The story is already written, edited, and formatted for ebook, with the blurb and cover ready to go. If it weren’t for Eventide, I’d probably release it now.

McDoogal is going to be released as a standalone because it doesn’t fit the theme of my short story collection. Actually, McDoogal doesn’t fit with anything I’ve written before. When I release the blurb and cover later this month, you’ll understand why. It’s a a road trip, comedy of errors, buddy tale. Yeah—me doing humor. Shocker, I know 😉

WRITING
I’ve returned to work on The Keeping Place, a straight murder-mystery novel with just a smidgen of folklore about an old shack and a derelict rail line. Not a ghoul, creepy-crawly-thing or Mothman in sight.

READING
As stated above, I’ll be doing the GR challenge in 2020 with 70 books as my goal. I am always on the lookout for good reads and am thankful to have so many talented author friends who have plenty to choose from. Keeping writing!

BLOGGING
I will be continuing Tuesday Book Reviews and Wednesday Weirdness as we move into 2020. Thursday are always open for guest bloggers and friends with new releases or special promo, so please reach out to me whenever you need a spot. I am always happy to help!
(If you’re a new follower of my blog, I’m offline each week from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening/Monday morning).

At Story Empire, we will continue to bring you helpful content for all things writing, bookish, and promo-related. We have a few new and exciting things to roll out as the year progress, so stayed tuned.

Whew! That was a lot to cover in one post. Thank you for staying with me to the end.

Are you ready to tackle 2020? I’m in and sending cheers to all! 🙂

Fallout by @harmony_kent #postapocalyptic #dystopian #preorder

Today, it’s my pleasure to welcome Harmony Kent. Aside from being a skilled and diverse writer, Harmony is also an editor and one of my co-authors at Story Empire. If you’re not already following her blog, I encourage you to check out her spot in the blogosphere and hop aboard. Today, she’s dropped by to share news of her upcoming release, FALLOUT, which I was lucky enough to catch as an ARC. Please say hello and make Harmony feel welcome—and don’t miss my review at the end of this post. I guarantee, you’ll want to click the pre-order button for FALLOUT. I was mesmerized!

Book cover for Fallout by Harmony KentHi, everyone. Harmony here. Many thanks to Mae for hosting me today. I have a new book on pre-order called FALLOUT, which is a post-apocalyptic dystopia. This novel started out life by playing a little game. I sat and closed my eyes and imagined an empty room … in that room, a vial appeared. A dull orange plastic thing covered in scratches. It sloshed when I shook it. From that tiny beginning, the world of Exxon 1 and its deadly virus was born.

Why isn’t the army dealing with the deadly raptors now threatening the cities?

Why is no one handing out a cure?

Does president Terror want them all dead?


BLURB:

WHEN EVERYTHING FALLS APART, WHAT CAN YOU DO?

The year is 3040.

The location is Exxon 1, part of a six-planet system in settled space.

Determined to avoid the mistakes of old Earth, the surviving humans avoided democracy and opted, instead, for a non-elective totalitarian system.

The new way worked well, until now.

A crazy, despotic president releases a nano-virus on the population.

No one was ready for the fallout. It came anyway.

In this post-apocalyptic world, can you stay safe? 

Banner ad for Fallout, a novel by Harmony Kent shows gleaming gold eyes on black background

EXCERPT:

‘Run,’ he yelled to Priya.

Mercifully, she set off at a sprint without offering any argument. Kaleb took a ready stance, feet and legs braced, and planted the stock at his shoulder. The raptor burst onto the neomac surface, an evil red-green in the moons’ glow.

Its oval eyes, a vivid yellow in daylight, looked muddy and brown but no less malevolent. More ominously still, it stopped growling. In complete silence, it stood and watched Kaleb. Studied him. The beast exuded a terrible intelligence.

Around the stock of his weapon, his hands sweated but didn’t tremble. The army had trained him for this. And for things much worse. Kaleb closed one eye and lined up the raptor in his sights, aiming for the centre of its skull. The magnifier grew its eyes to the size of saucers. Though his heart thumped, his mind quieted, giving him the space he needed.

Then, without warning, the raptor glanced left and leapt in that direction.


Author, Harmony KentAuthor Bio
After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.

Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours.

Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors. 

Connect with Harmony at the following haunts:
Website | Story Empire (co-authored) |  | Twitter  | LinkedIn 
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Author Page


FALLOUT sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Post-apocalyptic, creatures, a president named “Terror?” I was intrigued from the get-go and this novel did not disappoint. I’m happy to share my review:

Fallout by Harmony Kent is a dark, gritty, twisted apocalyptic story guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. Exxon 1 has been devastated by a virus, the planet an inhospitable environment where no one can be trusted, especially the planet’s president who is responsible for the outbreak. While people succumb to the virus and others struggle to resist, a vial containing a potential cure becomes the focus of ruthless individuals.

Pryia, a young woman who finds out just how savage her devastated planet can be, becomes entangled in getting the vial into the right hands. But who can be trusted? In the world Kent has created, her multi-layered characters are far from black and white. No one is who they seem, each driven by dark histories and darker goals, each a study in duplicity. There are crosses and double crosses, noble characters who sink to corruption and corrupt characters who discover a sliver of conscience when the clock is ticking to zero hour.

The world building is exceptional, the plot complex but fast paced. This isn’t simply a book about rebuilding a decimated planet, but a story that takes a raw look at human nature. Finally, I loved the full circle arc of the opening scenes gelling so perfectly with the close. A wholly satisfying and riveting read. Highly recommended!

Clink the link below to pre-order your copy now. You’re in for a treat!

FALLOUT Pre-order Link