Reading, WIPs, Raven, and the Puppy Bowl

Sunday was odd. It’s normally the one day I stringently devote to writing but I finished my WIP last week and shipped it off to my editor. That amounted to a lot of Snoopy dancing Friday and Saturday night. I started reading a new book, Where the Crawdads Sing, which appears to be the “it” book of 2019 if all the buzz is true.

I’m currently 55% through, and although I’m glued to the story, I’ve yet to discover whatever it is that makes this book so haunting and unforgettable. Fingers crossed the magic will reveal itself before the end.

Sunday became a day of getting my year-end tax receipts together—not a chore I look forward to. It took several hours before I was done, and I am glad to finally have the chore behind me. Afterward, I discovered the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet and was glued for the entire two hours.

I’d heard of the PB before, and even caught glimpses here and there, but never actually watched the whole thing from start to finish. Aside from the genius behind the marketing—which I couldn’t help appreciating—the Puppy Bowl is an overload of cute. With teams Fluff and Ruff, hamsters in a blimp, cheerleading kangaroos, sloth referee, kitty half-time, and an Amazon gray parrot doing updates, you can’t go wrong. I plan to be back every year.

As I write this, I’m watching the Super Bowl, and don’t know the outcome, but I’m enjoying the commercials. Anyone else love the Bud Knight and the competitive look at corn syrup?

I’ve got a crazy work week lined up with several meetings on the day job and several after-work appointments. At least the weather is going to be in the forties and fifties, a huge jump over the single digit temps of last week. Raven was glued to my side day and night for warmth.

And speaking of my beautiful feline, how is it possible for her to be comfortable like this.

black at squished between pillows on couch

Weird, huh? For something less bizarre, you can find me on Story Empire today with a post about Writing Tight. Raven invites you to drop over and say hello. I hope to see you there!

Has it really been that long?

I took a look at my last blog entry and realized it was over a month ago. Wow! How does time past that quickly? I’ve wanted to blog more consistently this year, but once again, that goal was shoved behind the eight-ball. So, what have I been doing?

The day job has kept me busy covering two positions—occasionally three—with staff out for various reasons. Thankfully, everyone is back now, but two weeks of double and triple duty took a huge toll on my energy level. I also did a book signing the end of April, which was a bust, at least in relation to sales. The day turned out to be the first nice Saturday my area had seen in ages, and no one wanted to be inside. There were about thirty authors who participated, but no one was selling. On the plus side, I did a lot of networking, made new friends, and enjoyed myself.

End of Day was finished on time and sent to my editor. She asked for a few changes, thankfully, nothing too large. I made them and shipped them off, but still had one problematic scene that required additional tweaking. We chatted on the phone about that, and I delivered the changes the next day. Content edits are done and now I’m waiting on the copy editor.

In the meantime, I drafted the synopsis, blurb, and tag for book three, completing the information forms my publisher requires. I’m ahead of schedule and have them ready to go when requested. The last time I had nothing when asked and narrowly avoided  a panic attack and meltdown. I feel pretty good about book three—even though it doesn’t have a title yet. Once again, I’ve got past and present timelines. For the past, I’m able to play off a hodgepodge of ideas I used in an old decaying trunk novel, and my lead character in the present is one who popped up unexpectedly in book two, End of Day. Originally, I planned for other characters to carry the lead in three, but Madison Hewitt pantsed her way into the spotlight. Even better? I have a pseudo outline for this book, something I rarely have. Jazzed!

In some ways I feel like I’m juggling a three-act play. Book one, Cusp of Night is up for pre-order, releasing on June 12. I’m working on promo for Cusp, while doing the edits on book two, End of Day. My publisher has also asked for the first chapter of book three to include in the back matter of End of Day. I’ve never been able to deliver that before, but I think I might pull it off. So, despite a crazy April of covering dual jobs and being buried in edits and promo, it feels like my head is above water. For the moment. We all know how easily everything can come crashing down.

I apologize if I haven’t been as visible lately or able to make my usual blog rounds. I try to keep up with rounds as much as possible, but sometimes, it’s hard to squeeze everything in. And I think most of you who are regular followers know I disappear offline from Friday to Sunday night for me and hubby time. 😊

Anyway, it’s good to post again. In parting, I thought I’d share some snazzy postcards and Twitter ads I made for a few older novels (and one new one). What do you think?

Banner ad for cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel by author, Mae CllairBanner ad for Myth and Magic a romantic suspense/mystery novel by Mae ClairBanner ad for Eclipse Lake, a a romantic suspense/mystery novel by Mae Clair

Mae Clair Presents: Editor, Corinne DeMaagd, of Kensington Publishing with a Submission Call and Tips

Stack of typing paper tied up with red ribbon, the word Manuscript in bold across the first pageToday is a special day on The Pen of Mae Clair, as I’ve invited, Corinne DeMaagd, my wonderful editor from Kensington Publishing to drop by to share a few tips about submitting to an editor. The timing was idea, as Corinne had just released a submission call for Lyrical Press, Kensington’s main digital imprint. If you’re finishing up a WIP, or will be in a few months, you may find an ideal fit with one of her acquisition needs below.

Please welcome, Corinne!

~ooOOoo~

Part of my role with Lyrical Press, the main digital imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp, is looking out for new acquisitions.

The good news is this year Lyrical is expanding to take on more than just romance. It is still our main genre, but we are looking to include non-romance titles into our catalog, as well.

As of right now, Kensington are looking for the following for Lyrical:

  • Romantic Suspense
  • Straight Suspense
  • Historical Romance

But saying that, Kensington are open to anything that is awesome. So I’m going to stretch those wants a bit farther. I’d love to also see the following:

  • Young Adult historical romance
  • Young Adult dystopian romance
  • Non-romance Young Adult (and subgenre but no angst please)
  • New Adult – the sexier the better
  • Stories set in non-US locations – from Ireland to the Ukraine to Bangladesh (but please, only stories where the author either has intimate knowledge of these locations or has done some hefty research. I can always tell when a writer is fluffing their setting, and setting is key to good storytelling)
  • Romance with the heroines in a high-stress position such as fighter pilot, helicopter pilot, ship captain, surgeon or nontraditional, male-dominated roles, such as construction, mining, space travel, firefighter, camel trainer – you get the idea. Or maybe even if they just have a quirky position in life that others would find interesting because it’s SO different.
  • Pure fantasy romance. Not UF, but pure worldbuilding fantasy with everything from dragons to warlocks to elves. Higher heat level preferred.
  • Romance that includes current events or problems that we face in our society
  • LGBT but with a strong suspense, thriller or otherwise dynamic plot, not just a characterization plot.

*Please email query, manuscript, and synopsis to: cdemaagd@gmail.com and cc: Martin Biro – mbiro@kensingtonbooks.com

Please allow me a couple months to get back to you, depending on the response from the sub call*

*This Sub Call is good for three months from today.*

Check out the website for info on what Lyrical offers. http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/LYRICALPRESS  

Any book over 60K will be released simultaneously in digital and print!  

Since Mae is one of my roster authors with Kensington, I was happy to pop on by and post my sub call on her blog. You can also see what I am up to at www.cmdediting.com. Mae asked me to mention a few things that I love and hate when I read submissions.

  1. I love a great pace with not too much introspection to bog the story down. Much of what the characters are thinking and feeling can be seen through dialogue and action. There are times where we want a bit of it, but not too much, and never repeat anything that we’ve heard before.
  2. I personally hate action eyes and eyebrows. There’s too much in romance, and in years past, authors have relied heavily on both to relay how a character is feeling. A character has an entire body to express an opinion, and even more so when they use the environment around them. The setting or inanimate objects – anything! So get rid of the furrowed brows and the anguished eyes. Take a seat and observe two people in discussion. Note their actions and see if you can decipher by their body language what they are feeling. How often when you talk to your partner or your kids or your boss or a friend do you recognize what is going on in their eyes and eyebrows?

Happy Writing!
Corinne DeMaagd – Editor