Christmas . . . and #Cats

cute black cat poking out of plastic bag on bedThis is our second year with Raven, my beautiful rescue cat. Look at that face. Pretty hard to be miffed at anything that cute, right?

Last December she was seven months old and filled with curiosity. That led her to camp out in the smaller of my two Christmas trees, sprawling on the branches, and stealing at least a dozen Christmas ornaments. Every morning I’d find sparkly blue and silver balls on the floor or tucked away under the couch. Clever little thing did most of her “hunting” at night.

Because the smaller tree goes in our bow window—one of her favorite hangouts—we decided to forego it this year and just use our larger tree in the family room. She didn’t bother the larger tree last year, so we figured we were in the clear.

Uh…not.

A cat never outgrows curiosity.

The tree wasn’t trimmed more than ten minutes when I found her lying in the branches. Now that it’s been up for over a week, the branch-lounging novelty has worn off, but decorations on the bottom are still fair game. Fortunately, we’ve only had one shattered bulb and I was able to scoop her up before her little paws picked up any glass. The glass bulbs are now clustered mostly at the top.

Progress.

I’ve had cats before—three since I’ve been married, Raven being the fourth—and they were all spoiled. But this one has me wrapped. Worse, she knows it. I keep reminding myself that in human years, she’s about 18-20 years old. What’s the saying—Girls just want to have fun?

She’s definitely doing that!

If you have a cat—or even if you don’t—you might enjoy my paranormal Christmas novella, Food for Poe. It features a clever black feline, a holiday romance, and a creature from myth all wrapped up in a Yuletide tale. You can pick it up on Amazon for just .99 cents.

Book cover for FOOD FOR POE by Mae Clair shows attractive young couple in a winter setting with a black cat and silver Christmas ornaments belowBlurb
When a blizzard strands Quinn Easterly at a handsome stranger’s house on Christmas Eve, she doesn’t realize her newly adopted cat, Poe, is the catalyst responsible for bringing them together.

Breck Lansing gave up on relationships after his wife, unable to cope with their daughter’s illness, left him. But the pretty blonde he rescues from a snowstorm has him rethinking his stance—especially when Quinn’s arrival coincides with a dramatic change in Sophie’s health.

Unfortunately, that change also attracts something only whispered about in folklore. Together, Quinn and Breck must defeat a sinister creature intent on claiming the ultimate payment.

Warning: A clever black cat, Christmas magic and paranormal trouble

One reviewer’s take:
“This has become my new favourite Christmas story! I’m going to read it again next Christmas. Poe, a beautiful pure black cat (Not at all unlike my own darling, Rico… Wink.) is the hero of this most magical and thoroughly captivating tale.

It is a tale of love, hope, compassion, faith, superstition, and suspense with a touch of horror… I was hooked from the start. If it was up to me, I’d make it into a Christmas movie and watch it every year.” ~ Kevin Cooper

You can purchase Food for Poe for .99c from Amazon 

Raven and I thank you for your consideration, and send you wishes for a purrfectly Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

You’re inviting WHO for dinner?

Staying on top of things is far easier said than done. Today kicks off a new week and I’m left looking at the calendar watching the days roll by, wondering why my to-do list refuses to shrink. Ack!

My looming deadline for A DESOLATE HOUR, book 3 of my Point Pleasant series is still hanging over my head. and the clock is ticking down to the ultimate reckoning day of November 30th. Just thinking about how much work I still have to do on the manuscript sends me into a panic. ‘Nuff said.

Book cover for FOOD FOR POE by Mae Clair shows attractive young couple in a winter setting with a black cat and silver Christmas ornaments belowI promised myself I was going to promote FOOD FOR POE this November and December. A holiday novella, Poe is a mash-up of Hallmark romance and urban legend, with a rescue cat at the center. This is one of my indie releases. I created the book cover for Poe and think it does a good job of mimicking the light, but quirky, mood of the story.

Poe is a short read, and only .99 cents, so grab a copy from Amazon for some early holiday cheer!

Speaking of cats, you can find me at Story Empire today sharing (writing) lessons I learned from my cat (can you tell cats have a strong influence on me?). If that sounds like a weird combination, hop over to see what I’m talking about. You can find the post here.

And, finally, A COLD TOMORROW, book 2 of my Point Pleasant series releases on December 20th..

Book cover for A COLD TOMORROW by author, Mae Clair shows a deserted country lane at night beneath a sky of green cloudsThey say the middle child usually gets the least amount of attention, but in my opinion, A COLD TOMORROW is the jewel of the series. Maybe it’s because I love the subject matter. The Mothman is still front and center, but the focus also includes UFOs and the arrival of mysterious Men in Black.

I’m guessing most are familiar with MIBs from the movies starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. But did you know the term “Men in Black” was coined by the late author John Keel, who wrote The Mothman Prophecies? It was his idea to use it to describe the strangers who suddenly descended on Point Pleasant, West Virginia in 1966-67. That’s right—Men in Black originated in Point Pleasant during the height of the town’s UFO “flap.”

Curious about flaps? I’ll save more on them for a later post. In the meantime, why not invite the Mothman home for Christmas dinner? I promise he’ll behave—at least until after gifts are opened. You might want to pick up a trinket for him, so he doesn’t feel left out. Ideally, he’d love you to pre-order a copy of A COLD TOMORROW, since he has a starring role. Ask him to autograph it. He’s not shy 🙂

You can find pre-order purchase links for all booksellers here.

In closing, Kensington Publishing has put together a great promotion package for me which includes a few memes. I need to wait until they splash them on social media, but I got the go ahead  to start using the Facebook banner they created for me immediately. I wanted to share it here first before uploading to Facebook.

I FREAKING LOVE IT!  What do you think?

eerie farm road late at night below a green sky

New Release: Food for Poe by Mae Clair #Christmas #Cats #SweetRomance

In the U.S., it’s soon time for Thanksgiving, aka, “Turkey Day.” Personally, I’m partial to the stuffing, though I enjoy the main course and all the other trimmings, too. November always feels like a short month to me with Christmas looming around the corner.

No complaints though because Christmas is my favorite holiday. Not only do I enjoy December 25th and Christmas Eve, but I love the entire month of December. It’s like one long holiday with all the merriment, festivities, and spirit of goodwill that leads up to that very special day. I’m a Christmas sap.

So it stands to reason I’d eventually get around to writing a Christmas story.

Those who know me also know there are two things (other than writing) I’m passionate about: folklore and cats. When it came time to dream up a Christmas story, I decided to weave both elements into the tale. The result is FOOD FOR POE, a short Christmas novella that is also a tale of sweet romance, twined with the paranormal, and even a wee smidgen of horror (just a smidge, I promise!).

Take a look:

Cover of FOOD FOR POE with cute young couple and a black cat.

 

BLURB:
When a blizzard strands Quinn Easterly at a handsome stranger’s house on Christmas Eve, she doesn’t realize her newly adopted cat, Poe, is the catalyst responsible for bringing them together.

Breck Lansing gave up on relationships after his wife, unable to cope with their daughter’s illness, left him. But the pretty blonde he rescues from a snowstorm has him rethinking his stance—especially when Quinn’s arrival coincides with a dramatic change in Sophie’s health.

Unfortunately, that change also attracts something only whispered about in folklore. Together, Quinn and Breck must defeat a sinister creature intent on claiming the ultimate payment.

Warning: A clever black cat, Christmas magic and paranormal trouble

~ooOOoo~

I’m happy to announce that FOOD FOR POE has just released. In celebration of the holidays, you can grab a copy for $.99 at Amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download a FREE Kindle Reading App for your PC, MAC, iPad, iPhone, Android or tablet here.

Merry Pre-Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Mae Clair Bio
Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back.  Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars.

Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with mystery and romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.

Discover more about Mae on her website and blog at MaeClair.net
Sign up for Mae’s newsletter here

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:
Twitter (@MaeClair1)
Google+ 
Facebook Author Page 
Amazon Author Page 
Kensington Books Author Page 
Goodreads  
Pinterest

Purchase FOOD FOR POE from Amazon

Cover Reveal: Food for Poe by Mae Clair #Paranormal #Christmas #Romance

It’s October and I should be thinking about pumpkins, restless spirits, and things-that-go-bump in the night. I’ve got a Halloween mystery out right now with MYTH AND MAGIC, so that counts, right?

But as much as I enjoy Halloween, I adore Christmas far more. Without question, it’s my favorite holiday. That’s why I’m excited to be releasing a holiday novella in November. If you’ve visited my blog before, you’ve heard me talk about FOOD FOR POE, a Christmas romance with a paranormal twist and smidgen of horror.

And a cat. Did I mention it has a black cat? 🙂

Because this is an indie release, and because I’m quasi-versed in graphic design, I put the cover together. After scouring stock photography sites, I found models who were a good match for my characters, Breck Lansing and Quinn Easterly–and, of course, I had to find a charming black cat for Poe.

What do you think?

Cover of FOOD FOR POE with cute young couple and a black cat.

Blurb:

When a blizzard strands Quinn Easterly at a handsome stranger’s house on Christmas Eve, she doesn’t realize her newly adopted cat, Poe, is the catalyst responsible for bringing them together.

Breck Lansing gave up on relationships after his wife, unable to cope with their daughter’s illness, left him. But the pretty blonde he rescues from a snowstorm has him rethinking his stance—especially when Quinn’s arrival coincides with a dramatic change in Sophie’s health.

Unfortunately, that change also attracts something only whispered about in folklore. Together, Quinn and Breck must defeat a sinister creature intent on claiming the ultimate payment.

Warning: A clever black cat, Christmas magic and paranormal trouble

~ooOOoo~

Poe’s release should fall somewhere in mid November. DH and I are taking a vacation to the tropics the beginning of the month (you’ll notice me missing) and I plan to publish the story when we return. After a week of tropical waters, sandy beaches, sun, and fun, I’ll be ready to focus on writing and publishing.

Now I just have to start planning promo. 🙂

In the meantime, I’m happy to say you can add FOOD FOR POE to your Goodreads list by clicking here.

I am such a sap when it comes to animals, especially cats. If there was any doubt, take a look at the closet door and entrance door to my office/den. There’s another/different guy outside, too 🙂

IMG_0671

How many tasks can a writer juggle? by Mae Clair

I’ve decided that among the obvious word talent that writers possess, we’re also expert jugglers. Writing, editing, promotion, social media, giveaways…you get the idea.

Stressed woman with pink note surrounded by colorful post-it remindersLately, I’ve been doing a lot of juggling. Post-it note reminders have mutated are taking over my office. Here’s a glimpse of what I currently have going on:

I finished the content edits on A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, book 1 of my Point Pleasant Series. My editor was pretty tough this go-round and pointed out a few things I hadn’t picked up on in the initial draft (like my fondness for the word “surely.” Note to self: add to my list of words to avoid). Next up, copy edits, which I imagine will arrive any day.

I put together a book cover for FOOD FOR POE, my paranormal/Christmas novella, and hope to reveal it once all of the Halloween/October excitement quiets down. October is going to be a busy month for me. MYTH AND MAGIC is currently on sale for $.99 and I’ve got several posts, a short blog tour, and a blog hop lined up to promote it. Like I said—juggling.

I started formatting FOOD FOR POE (an indie release) and am pleased at how smoothly that’s progressing so far. *fingers crossed*

ECLIPSE LAKE, my full-length mystery indie release has been doing extremely well. A local book club even picked it up as their read of the month. That prompted me to enter it into a contest Shelf Unbound magazine runs for indie releases. I can’t imagine actually winning, but it would be nice to get an honorable mention and expose the story to a new audience. The freebie promo I ran on Amazon has really paid off, so I’m planning another after the first of the year.

I’ll be sending out my first newsletter tomorrow. A new venture that I’m super excited about.  If you haven’t signed up and would like to, please click here to ensure you receive my debut edition. Wait until you see my Halloween header. I just love it! 🙂

I’m still trying to arrange a book signing with two other local authors. I tried to set something up with BAM, but it didn’t work out. Even though our books are available in POD format through BAM’s online store, titles have to be available through Ingram and returnable. No such luck, so we’re attempting to arrange something with an independent bookstore. Still hoping for the month of October to take advantage of MYTH AND MAGIC’s Halloween theme. *fingers crossed again*

Craig Boyack’s wonderful THE EXPERIMENTAL NOTEBOOK OF C.S. BOYACK has me enamored of short stories and micro fic all over again (if you haven’t picked up his book, grab a copy. It’s only $.99 and contains a treasure-trove of short reads). I’ve got a bunch of shorts sitting around begging attention and currently behaving like guppies at the top of a water line—Feed me! Feed me! To top it off, I got hit with several ideas for new stories the other night. *more balls in the air* It’s crazy to even consider, but I’m thinking about trying to squeeze an indie release of shorts in next fall. In the meantime, I’m working on A COLD TOMORROW, book 2 of my Point Pleasant series. Like I said—writers are expert jugglers.

I’m often reminded of Bilbo Baggins in the LORD OF THE RINGS when he says “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.

Yep. Been having a lot of days like that lately. Tell me about yours. What tasks are you juggling?

The 777 Writer’s Challenge by Mae Clair

The 777 Writer’s Challenge is making the rounds again. Love this one, as it’s a lot of fun and gets us refocused on our WIPs.

I was tagged by the lovely Susan Nicholls, a new friend who has a wonderful blog called My Brand of Genius. Pop over and poke around if you get a chance. It’s always great to make new friends in the world of writing and blogging and Susan has some great stuff to share!

So, per the 777 Writing Challenge:

Go to Page 7 of your work-in-progress, scroll down to line 7, and share the next 7 sentences in a blog post. Once you have done that, tag 7 other bloggers to do the same with their WIP.

I’m sharing a snippet from FOOD FOR POE, my upcoming Christmas novella (paranormal romance). In this scene my hero, Breck Lansing, is talking with his fourteen-year-old daughter, Sophie, who suffers from a debilitating illness:

A storybook picture. A storybook family. 

He shoved the memory aside.  “I’ll make s’mores tonight. We can sit in front of the Christmas tree and drink hot cocoa.”

“Okay.”

The lack of enthusiasm in her voice struck hard. Rolling onto her side, she scrunched beneath the blankets. All the Christmas gifts he’d bought wouldn’t make a difference tomorrow morning. She’d be gracious and happy, but he couldn’t give her what she wanted most.

~ooOOoo~

And now I’d like to challenge the following 7 writer/bloggers. Participate if you can, but no worries if you can’t!

Carmen Stefanescau 
Flossie Benton Rogers 
Stanalei Fletcher 
Daisy Banks 
C. S. Boyack 
J. M. Goebel 
Donna Cummings

Black Cats Aren’t Just for Halloween by Mae Clair

Back in March, I was tagged by C. S. Boyack to share some info on my current WIP. First—thank you, Craig!—this is a fun tag and I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to respond. Unfortunately, April blitzed by in fast-forward and I never got a chance to play. I’m going to remedy that now.

Before I start, for those of you who don’t know Craig Boyack, hop over to Entertaining Stories when you get a chance. I highly recommend signing up to follow his blog as his posts are always a blast to read! A recent favorite of mine is Of Manuscripts and Mayflies. Read it and you may never look at writing and publishing the same way again.

Okay, onto the goods! The rules say I’m supposed to talk about the first three chapters of my current WIP, and then share a short excerpt. Craig broke the rules and talked about his characters instead. That sets a precedent, so I’m going to break the rules and share my blurb instead (creative people never learned to color between the lines).

FOOD FOR POE is a paranormal romance that takes place over Christmas. And yes, it involves a black cat…because black cats aren’t just for Halloween. As someone who was blessed by a black feline for thirteen cat-happy years, I can vouch they are mysterious and mischievous every day of the year. That’s Onyx in the pic below. He passed away a few years back, but I’ve got great memories of our time together. (Notice how he mangled his “scratchy post” which is to the right of the chair. I was fortunate he didn’t unleash all of that energy on my furniture!).

Black cat looking sleepy  in a comfortable chair

My handsome boy, Onyx

FOOD FOR POE is novella length, and should finish out around 20-22K. I still have to write the closing scene, but plan on publishing the end of November, just in time for the holidays.

Here’s the blurb:
When a blizzard strands Quinn Easterly at a handsome stranger’s house on Christmas Eve, she doesn’t realize her newly adopted cat, Poe, is the catalyst responsible for bringing them together.

Breck Lansing gave up on relationships after his wife left him, unable to cope with their daughter’s illness. But the pretty blonde he rescues from a snowstorm has him rethinking his stance—especially when Quinn’s arrival coincides with a dramatic change in Sophie’s health.

Should he believe an old wives’ tale about black cats, healing, and Christmas magic, or do miracles come with a price?

Together, Breck and Quinn must defeat a sinister creature intent on claiming the ultimate payment.

Warning: A clever black cat, Christmas magic, and paranormal trouble

So there you have it. That’s what all of my writerly attention has been focused on lately. What do you think? Intriguing?

Now that I’ve rattled on for a while, what is your current project?  I know several of you are juggling new releases, so I’m going to resist “officially” tagging anyone, but please consider yourself tagged if you’d like to do a similar post. At the very least, take a moment to tell me about your WIP in the comments. As writers, I imagine each one of us always has at one story on the drawing writing board. What’s yours?

The Where and Why of Vanishing by Mae Clair

Life has been a bit cagey for me lately.  Temporary upheaval on the day job spun a few things around, and I found myself covering a different department until a replacement could be found. I work in real estate and spring is when the housing market explodes. As a result, it’s been chaotic. I normally write my blog posts in the evenings and on weekends, but lately I couldn’t summon the energy to look at a computer after ping-ponging between my job and the temporary one. Fortunately, we now have someone new in that position, and life is spiraling back to a normal axis.

Two of my weekends also got sucked up in a bathroom remodeling project with my husband, and a plethora of yard work. Sadly, this is the first thing I’ve written since March 30th.

Am I whining? Yes!  I’ve missed blogging, I’ve missed visiting characters I’d left languishing in unfinished stories and notes, and I’ve missed making my regular blogosphere rounds. So if I’ve been low-key or completely AWOL from your blog recently, all of that is about to change. My mojo has returned. Huzzah!

And I do have some good things to report from those long weeks of languishing without my muse:

I am two scenes away from finishing a paranormal romance, Christmas novella (how’s that for a genre and a mouthful?) called FOOD FOR POE. Poe was my WIP when March 30th hit and my writing world went whacky. I’m hoping to wrap the story and indie pub it in time for Christmas. It’s a weird combination of Hallmark and folklore with a smidgen of horror tossed in. Not your normal Christmas read. 🙂

I joined a local critique group and have met some fabulous writers. It’s been years decades since I’ve been part of a local writing group, and I’m enjoying interacting with my peers. Only other writers truly “get” writers. Just to have that connection again is fantastic. The group has also been great in providing feedback on my submissions. Coupled with my two online critique partners, I feel like I’ve got a strong foundation to keep me grounded and on target with my goals.

Statue of my favorite cryptid, the Mothman, in downtown Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Statue of my favorite cryptid, the Mothman, in downtown Point Pleasant, West Virginia

I heard back from my editor regarding A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, my Mothman mystery/suspense novel. She asked me to tighten up one of my plot threads (which I did) then she gave it her approval. YAY! Step one, down.

The manuscript is now on its way to a senior editor in the house. Because I’m venturing into a new/different genre (very little romance with more emphasis on mystery and suspense) it has to be approved by that editor as well. It will probably be 2-3 months until I get a response, but in the meantime I plan on finishing FOOD FOR POE, then starting on the sequel to Yesteryears—A COLD TOMORROW. I’ve put a ton of work and research into my Point Pleasant Series, and I strongly believe Yesteryears is my best effort to date. Hopefully, Kensington Publishing will feel the same. Wish me luck on that one!

Mythical Monday should be back on track beginning this coming Monday. I’ve got new beastie folklore I’m anxious to share, so look for more creature features from my pen.

I was tagged in a blog post by C. S. Boyack on WIPs and hope to have something up soon. It looks like a fun one, so I’m eager to sit down and draft up something about my projects. Hopefully, Craig won’t’ mind I’ve taken so long to get my act in gear.

Finally, here’s hoping everyone has had an enjoyable and productive three weeks while I’ve been on sabbatical. Missed you guys, and am looking forward to diving back into the blogosphere! 🙂