Seven Random Facts by Mae Clair

Recently, the lovely Alicia Coleman honored me with the Very Inspiring Blogger award. Alicia and I originally met when we took a Savvy Authors course together, and have remained friends since. She’s hard at work on an upcoming paranormal romance release that I know you’ll love. Thank you, Alicia, for thinking of me!

very-inspiring-blogger-award

In accepting, I am required to

  • Link back to the person who nominated me for the award.
  • Display the Very Inspiring Blogger Award logo (isn’t it attractive?)
  • Reveal 7 things about myself
  • Nominate others to receive the award and continue the fun

So here goes:

  1. Fever DreamMy favorite book boyfriend is Aloysius Pendergast. I am in awe of authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child for creating such a mesmerizing character. I would love to see some of their books made into a movie (especially Fever Dream which cries out to be filmed) but am afraid no living actor could ever begin to capture Pendergast. The man has no equal (well, maybe Gerald Tarrant, my other book boyfriend). In the meantime, I can dream. 🙂
  1. I grew up in a small town and to this day dislike big cities. Probably why I have never been to—gasp!—New York City.
  1. Rarely does a day past that I don’t speak to, or think of, God.
  1. I detest any type of red meat and am “weird” about most other forms of meat, although I am not a vegetarian.
  1. I would willingly give up chocolate before chips or bread.
  1. I really enjoy talking with senior citizens, especially when they share their life experiences.
  1. DancingI am an introvert who dislikes being the center of attention, but I love to dance.  On a dance floor, I have no problem being an extrovert!

And now to pass along the award. I nominate the following bloggers to carry the torch, should they wish to participate:

Emma Meade
Flossie Benton Rogers
Donna Cummings
Lorraine Paton
Cd Brennan
Gemma Brocato
Daisy Banks

 

Three Tiers of Characters, by Mae Clair

bigstock-Book-Woman-344985There are good books, great books, and books that rank in the stratosphere. What makes them so phenomenal? Characters.

Strip away the plot, setting and pacing, and it comes down to the personalities that fill the pages.

I’ve just completed my 23rd read of 2013. WOOT! Several of those books were in the 500-600 page range and held me mesmerized for each click of the Kindle. Included was a fantasy series by C.S. Friedman called the Coldfire Trilogy.  Originally published in the 1990s, it was something I’d read before. I remembered being in love with the lead character (boy, is THAT a colossal understatement) and decided to read it again.

After drooling over anti-hero Gerald Tarrant through all three books, I started thinking about what makes me want to reread a novel. I realized I could group the characters I love into a three tier system. Take a look:

Old Friends
These are like the kids you went to school with. They had a hand in shaping who you are. You have amazingly fond memories of them and grow nostalgic whenever their names are mentioned. Years sometimes pass between visits, but you’re always thrilled when they drop by. You never tire of this group. They’re “comfortable” and easily inspire reminiscing. My group includes:

Frodo Baggins and Faramir
Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

Sir Francis Crawford of Lymond
The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett

King Arthur
The Once and Future King

Heartthrobs
This is the group that makes your heart go pitter-patter. As soon as you meet these guys, you’re smitten. For me, they tend to be down-to-earth, a mixture of alpha and beta hero. This is where most of my favorite characters fall. They require more than just an occasional visit. I’m usually inspired to hang out with them at least once a year or every other year. My list includes:

Phillip Quinn
The Chesapeake Bay series by Nora Roberts

Caleb Hawkins
The Sign of Seven Trilogy by Nora Roberts

James (Gem) Carstairs
The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare  

Jayce Wayland
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

Louis Kincaid
The Louis Kincaid Mysteries by P.J. Parrish

blacksunrising

Book one of the Coldfire Saga, Gerald Tarrant on the cover
Cover art by Michael Whelan

 Obsessions
These guys are definitely alpha heroes, no two ways about it. I can’t even say I love them, because that’s far too gentle a description. I’m thoroughly, utterly, unabashedly besotted in lust with them. Who are they?

Aloysius Pendergast
The Pendergast series of novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Gerald Tarrant
The Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman

So what attracts me to them? I discovered some amazing parallels:

Their occupations couldn’t be any dissimilar — Pendergast is a Special Agent with the FBI and Tarrant is an undead sorcerer who feeds off fear. After that, things get interesting.

FriedmanCrown

Book three of the Coldfire Saga, Gerald Tarrant on the cover
Cover art by Michael Whelan

Both are cultured and aristocratic in nature, have a precise manner of speaking, are highly fastidious about their appearance (doesn’t hurt that they’re gorgeous), exceedingly wealthy, have genius level intelligence, and are unquestionably deadly. Both are always calm and unnervingly cool, even when facing impossible odds.

Pendergast is mid-30ish, albino-pale, tall and lean with light blond/whitish hair and silver eyes.

Tarrant is over 900 years old (but looks as he did at at 29), is ghostly pale (a side effect of being undead), tall and lean with light brown hair and silver eyes.

Pendergast’s closest friend is a rough-around-the-edges, heart-of-gold, kick-butt rumpled cop.

Tarrant’s frenemy is a rough-around-the-edges, morally conflicted, kick-butt warrior priest.

Pendergast is a special agent with the FBI, but also holds a PhD and speaks multiple languages.

Tarrant is the most powerful and feared sorcerer ever to walk the planet Erna, but was once revered as the Prophet who established the church of the One God. He is also the first Neocount of Merentha.

Are you sensing a pattern? Do I have a “type?”

These guys have nothing in common with the characters from my other groups but they have a lot in common with each other. There is no question they rule in the fictional realm when it comes to claiming my heart.

How about you? Do you have a type? Please share some of the characters you love and what makes them special.  Do you have a Gerald Tarrant or a Pendergast who has left you besotted?

Mae Clair: Bewitching Book Covers of 2012

I have a confession to make. I’m one of those readers who judges a book by its
cover. As I writer, that’s not an entirely desirable trait – I’m sure there are
plenty of stellar novels out there with not so stellar covers — but I can’t
stop my attraction for glossy artwork. Covers draw me like a moth to a flame. Give me a good cover and I will definitely read the book blurb. A not so great cover and I’m likely to pass without a second glance. That may come across as shallow, but as someone whose day job revolves around marketing, I understand the need for flash. So what covers bewitched me and caught my eye in 2012?  I want to share a few of my favorites here.

Many of my writer friends have stellar covers which I’ve already showcased, but I’m reaching beyond that to share some I haven’t before. Take a look and tell me what you think.

A TISKET, A TASKET, MY LOVE LIES IN A CASKET
by Carla F. Cripps

Love, love LOVE this cover!
The cover of this book sucked me in enough to read the blurb. I fell in love with the ideal of a vampire from revolutionary times and immediately bought it for that story alone.
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BEAUTY AND THE GEEK: AQUARIAN STARS
by Nevea Lane
I read very little erotic romance but, if the story intrigues me enough, I’m happy to indulge. I fell in love with the cover of this book but resisted buying it for several weeks because of its erotic nature (sorry, just my personal taste). But I’m a sucker for a guy with long hair, have a side interest in astronomy, and enjoy a good interracial romance. Toss in a gorgeous Russian, and I caved. I’m happy I bought this book. It was an enjoyable read.

Acquarian Stars

A WOLFISH TANGLE
by Sandra Sookoo
I’m not sure where I first stumbled across this book but there were several things that attracted me. First the cover….doesn’t the guy remind you of Michael Shanks as Dr. Daniel Jackson in Stargate?. I’ve always been attracted to that combination of bookish sensuality and sizzling romance. When I read the blurb and realized the character was a werewolf AND from the Civil War era, well, need I say more? LOL! This is high on my TBR list and, of course, already on my kindle.

A Wolfish Tangle

GHOST TOUCH
by Mary Winter
Erotic romance. I’m so shallow. Notice the guy with long hair? Sense a pattern here? Yes, I bought it. Beautiful cover. I gave it three stars on Amazon and Goodreads.
Ghost Touch

A CHRISTMAS PROMISE
by Amanda McIntyre

This is one I’ve been meaning to read for a long time. Love the cover, love the blurb. I will definitely be reading it in 2013. It’s been on my kindle too long. I love the blend of soft colors, the Christmas theme, historical aspect and, heck, the guy is gorgeous. What’s not to like?

A Christmas Promise

CLOCKWORK PRINCE (INFERNAL DEVICES #2)
by Cassandra Clare

The cover that introduced me to Cassandra Clare. It was so utterly gorgeous (my vote for the best cover of 2012, period!), I couldn’t resist. The blurb sounded good and once I started reading, I was hooked. Big time. James (Gem) Carstairs has become one of my all-time favorite characters and, in turn, lead me to another favorite character, Jace Wayland of Ms. Clare’s Mortal Instruments series.  I’m a fan for life.
Clockwork-Prince-CVR

BROODS OF FENRIR
by Coral Moore

I’m still trying to figure out what it is about this book cover that works for me. It caught my attention but didn’t immediately suck me in. Then the more I looked at, the more I knew I was a goner. I think it’s a combination of those glowing blue eyes and blond hair. Then I read the blurb and knew I couldn’t pass without purchasing it. Definitely near the top of my TBR list for 2013.
Broods of Fenrir

MICHAL’S WINDOW
by Rachelle Ayala

Another that has resided on my kindle and been on TBR list for months. I’m not sure what it is about the cover that attracts me, but it feels magical. Maybe it’s my love of King David. I’ve read a number of books about him. He holds a special place in my heart, and has long been my favorite Old Testament prophet. I definitely plan on reading this one in the coming year.

Michal's Window

COLD DAYS
by Jim Butcher

I’ve been meaning to start this series forever. I’m enthralled by the character, and this cover (along with most of them) ROCKS! I hope to hook up with Harry in the coming year. If it weren’t for the cover that drew me in I might have overlooked this hot series.
Cold Days

TWO GRAVES
by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

The cover is only so-so, nothing extraordinary. So why is it on this list? Because, I can’t say enough about the lead character. I waited over a year for this book to be released, just finished it this past weekend, and am already hungry for the next one. Aloysius Pendergast is not a romantic character. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child do not write romance. They write bizarre thrillers with a twist of mystery, but they are undeniably my favorite authors, and I am completely besotted with Pendergast. I know they never intended to create a romantic lead, but I am in love with this man. If I spent the rest of my life reading new Pendergast stories each day I would be blissfully happy. For that reason and that reason alone, I have to include this book on my list. The cover doesn’t rate up there with the rest, but when it comes to a man that makes women swoon, no one does it better than Pendergast. *sigh* Do I really have to wait an entire year for ANOTHER book? I’m not sure I’ll survive!
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Okay, so I shared some of my fave covers of 2012. What are some of yours? —