A Personal Look Back at 2015 by Mae Clair

I normally wax poetic when the New Year rolls around, but I’m feeling too punchy for that this time. I dug into my photo files for this post (something I don’t usually do) and got a kick out of these. I hope you do, too. Don’t forget to check out the captions.

As years go, 2015 gave me some great achievements, providing a few giddy highs, but it tossed in a few low balls, too. I suppose that’s to be expected with the mix.

Of the high notes, MYTH AND MAGIC released in June, then enjoyed a brief best-seller run on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble in October. I was giddy.

Author, Mae Clair holding a copy of her novel, Eclipse Lake

Holding the first copy of the first book I ever had in print, Eclipse Lake!

ECLIPSE LAKE hit new high notes thanks to a freebie promo I ran in June that exposed me to a host of new readers. Best of all, the book stayed strong with sales months after the promo ended. I’ve run some other freebies, but none have enjoyed the success Eclipse did. I wish I could bottle and repeat whatever I did to make that one work so well.

FOOD FOR POE released in November, and despite only minimal promo from me, made a nice splash. Using my newsletter to reach readers was probably instrumental in what it did achieve. I wish I would have done better promoting Poe, but December proved to be a challenging month with commitments that kept me mostly offline.

Overall, my backlist titles (Twelfth Sun, Solstice Island, and Weathering Rock) also performed well in 2015. I think I’m finally starting to see the result of what happens when you have multiple titles available for purchase and gain loyal readers. I’m still nowhere near where I want to be as a writer, but I’ve noticed a definite uptick in sales over the previous two years. A HUGE “thank you” to everyone who made that possible. You guys rock! 🙂

Looking back at my end of year post for 2014, I set specific goals for myself to accomplish in 2015. I thought I’d share how I did:

Submit my manuscript for A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS to Kensington Publishing

Author, Mae Clair

Point Pleasant, WV 2013. My first venture Mothman hunting. How do you like the hat? It says “Mothman Search Team.”

Done, and I’m delighted to say, the book releases on April 26, 2016. Not only that, but Kensington gave me a three book contract *CARTWHEELS*

Look for a cover reveal on A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS in the next few weeks. The first in my Point Pleasant Series, Yesteryears is also my first release with Kensington’s Lyrical Underground line, an imprint devoted to the mystery/suspense genre. I’ll be bringing you the Mothman, murder, and mystery. I hope you’ll like it. 🙂

Launch a newsletter
Another item I can check off my list. My newsletter is up and running. I sent out two in 2015, and will likely do 3-4 in 2016. Thanks to a few promos and blog hops I participated in, I garnered a surprising amount of subscribers (thanks!). If you’re not a subscriber and would like to join the fun, click here to sign up. I promise not to bombard your inbox! 🙂

Hold my first book signing
Unfortunately, this one didn’t see the light of day, but not for lack of trying. I made the mistake of attempting to set this up with a chain bookstore. Although the bookstore was happy to work with me, the corporate powers of said store could not. No biggie though, because I’m already on the roster of authors slated for a book signing at my local library in April 2016. So, although it became a bit delayed, I’m finally going to get do a book signing. *happy dance*

Reading Goal
When I discovered Goodreads, and realized I could set a “books read” goal each year, I started participating. For both 2013 and 2014 I read 65 books. This year I read 77, two more than my goal of 75. Granted, there were several short novellas in the mix, but there were also plenty of 500+ page epics, so I think it balanced out. So many books and so little time! Especially, because of . . .

Learning Spanish
This one wasn’t a goal from last year, but after taking a trip to the Dominican Republic in November, I decided to learn to speak Spanish. Uh…not that I don’t have enough to do already between working full-time, blogging, writing, and being committed to book contracts with deadlines. *sigh* Sometimes I can’t help myself.

So, my reading has suffered a bit as I devote a portion of that time to nightly Spanish sessions. I’ve been using the app Duolingo along with some books I picked up. I’m also eying the Rosetta Stone, but since Duolingo has been getting the job done, I’m not ready to plunk down the $$$ Rosetta wants. If you’ve used Rosetta, I’d love to hear what you think.

Cool thing about Duolingo for anyone who might be interested—the app is free and it includes multiple languages, not just Spanish. I highly recommend it for a fun and easy learning experience. You can check out their website at https://www.duolingo.com

~ooOOoo~

Ok…New Goals for 2016: 

Author, Mae Clair

Do I look ready to set some writerly goals? Bring on 2016!

Hold my first book signing
That one is already in the works

Keep on track with the submission deadlines for my Point Pleasant Series
Fingers crossed. I’ve got some tight deadlines but I’m working my tail off to meet them.

Indie pub a novella
Since 2012 I’ve managed to pub two titles a year. I know that might not seem a lot to some, but it’s a challenge for me. As it stands, book 2 of my Point Pleasant Series is scheduled for publication in December 2016 which would give me two titles for the year, but I’d still like to indie pub a novella. Either a book of short stories, or a short tale. Just a vague idea at this point, but I’m listing it as a goal. 

Author, Mae Clair

When it comes to learning Spanish, I’m not sure the smiles will last. Those $@&* verb conjugations!

Learn more Spanish
¿Está impresionado puedo escribir esto en español?

Reading Goal
I’m going to cut myself some slack and go with 50 titles this year. If I top that, it’s all icing.

So…I’ve shared my accomplishments for 2015 and my goals for 2016 (plus, I’m out of hat pictures).

Want to share some of yours achievements and your plans for the coming year? Let’s celebrate together and bring in 2016 with an authorly/readerly/writerly bang!

Cheers, everyone!

Embracing 2014 by Mae Clair

The New Year has arrived and with it my plans to look ahead. I learned a lot in 2013. In many ways it was a mixed bag of blessings.

I saw the publication of my second novel, TWELFTH SUN, and also participated in my first NaNoWriMo. I’m pleased to say I came out of NaNo a winner with a 50K+ rough draft of my Mothman-based story, Negative Reach. If all goes according to schedule, I hope to publish it in 2015.

The year wasn’t without its trying moments, however. My day job branched into new and demanding avenues which made me less visible online during the last quarter. I even had to drop off a few email lists because I couldn’t keep up with the messages. Fortunately, I love what I do, even when it’s mentally exhausting. In the New Year, I hope to achieve a better balance that allows me to enjoy my writing career as well as the one that pays my bills. 🙂

As always, I love reading as much as writing. In 2013 I read 69 books toward my goal of 75. Maybe I can actually hit that number in 2014. I discovered some wonderful authors, many of who became new friends, and I continued friendships with all the amazing people who have been my support base for so long. A super shout-out to all the followers of my blog. You guys rock! Thanks especially for the comments on my posts. I love hearing from you. Your opinions, thoughts and ramblings are a delight on each and every post I make.

So, what’s ahead in 2014?

bigstock-Patience-44287369

Yep, patience is going to be a big one for me as I tackle the following:

First up, I hope to indie publish SOLSTICE ISLAND, a romantic adventure you’ve likely heard about before. Hey, a voting-round on this blog actually helped determine the title! I’ve never indie pubbed, so I’m highly nervous and hoping I can figure out the Kindle formatting.

Something very cool I’m proud to announce…I designed the cover for SOLSTICE ISLAND myself. More news on that soon as I hope to release the novella later this month or February at the latest. There will be a cover reveal. 🙂

The week of February 9th, I will be the hostess on the Sizzle and Sass Facebook page and hope you’ll join me by popping in now and again. I’ll be the first to admit I suck at Facebook. I swear if there is a mathematical equation in the universe that deciphers how to fit FB into an already jam-packed day, it’s eluded me. I am, however, constantly on the lookout for a solution. One of my goals for 2014 is to be more visible on FB. I just wish I liked it better 😦

Also on the radar for 2014:

ECLIPSE LAKE
I feel like I’ve been talking about this one forever. A romantic mystery revolving around a missing person’s case, it’s on schedule for indie-publication in May/June of 2014. I’ve already received the first round of edits from my editor.

MYTH AND MAGIC
I’ll be sharing more updates on this in the months ahead. It’s another romantic mystery, set during October with an emphasis on Halloween. Naturally, I’d like to publish it in October of 2014, an ideal marriage of timing. Cross your fingers I can pull it off. It involves a couple who were childhood friends, had a horrible falling out, and are reunited at a corporate retreat when events take a strange and supernatural turn.

I’ve also got several short stories in the works that I’ll either be submitting to various publications or grooming for an anthology.

Of course, this is assuming all those carefully plotted goals and timelines cooperate. Then again, I’m known to be extremely hardheaded and stubborn when I want something, a trait inherited from my German father.

Finally, Mythical Monday will continue in full bloom. I can’t get enough of the odd trappings of folklore and eerie urban legends that lurk in the shadowed corners of history. I hope you’ll join me each Monday as I explore new tales centered around bizarre creatures, ethereal beings and peculiar beasties. I’m a cryptozoologist at heart.

So here’s to 2014 and my many wonderful friends. I’m excited and happy to share it with all of you. 😀