The Enhanced League by C. S. Boyack #NewRelease #SpeculativeFiction #Baseball #RRBC

Craig Boyack is a regular visitor on my blog, but no matter how many times he drops by, he always has something new and unusual to share. That slant is par for the course with Craig’s main genre as a speculative fiction author. His latest release, The Enhanced League is truly unique and possibly my favorite of his varied works. I was a beta reader on this novel and was mesmerized by the creativity involved. You can find my 5-Star Amazon review here.

I asked Craig to write about the showmanship he incorporated into his baseball league with mascots and other splashy theatrics. (I loved the Kawaii Girls). Another favorite part for me were the vignettes with sportscasters Ricky Sunderland and Uber Velasquez. Pure gold! Trust me—you’re going to want to pick this one up!

~ooOOoo~

Thanks for the invite, Mae. It’s nice to have places to talk about our new books when they release. I know you have one dropping very soon, and you’re always welcome to borrow my blog space too.

My newest is a collection of short stories and anthems, but this time they tell an overarching story. The setting is a fictional baseball league where nobody monitors the performance enhancing drugs, and the rules are slightly different. It’s called The Enhanced League, and at 99¢, I think it’s a smokin deal.

Mae served as one of my beta readers, and she liked the pomp that went along with this league. The old rules of conduct are gone, and it’s a bit more like professional wrestling in its presentation.

The stadiums are pretty outrageous. From the Montreal Mounties’ bullpen car that’s actually a fully blown hotrod to the taiko drummers in Japan, there is a lot of flash here. The league is truly international in scope.

Mae also liked some of the behind-the-scenes characters too. Putting on a good show requires a lot of manpower. They can’t all get an individual story, but they make appearances to spice up the tales that did get written. You get to see the efforts of the grounds crew where the field has to be moved outside to get the grass to grow. There are actual stadiums that do this now, so it wasn’t much of a stretch.

There are the Kawaii Girls in Niigata, Japan. These stadium performers are a precision team of virtual anime characters that add a bit of flavor. There’s no doubt they work hard at their performance, even though they irritate the main character in that story. This story even features people wearing inflatable sumo suits running the bases during the seventh inning stretch.

You’ll never actually meet Captain Rhumm, a more traditional team mascot, but he adds a little something to the team from Puerto Rico.

The main theme is one year in the life of The Enhanced League. The peripheral stuff is fun, but the stories deal with falling stock and rising fortunes. There are tragic tales of drug abuse, and some advancements in medical technology. You’ll meet a few misfits who see this league as their only chance to play professional baseball. I even touch upon how women are treated in the workplace.

If this sounds like a fun mid-season break to you, I’d appreciate you picking up a copy.

Thanks, Mae.

Book cover for The Enhanced League by C.S. Boyack shows close up of home plate with a needed and baseball glove

Blurb:
The Enhanced league is a collection of short stories and anthems centered around a year in a fictional baseball league. It has a slight science fiction background. This league has a lot more pomp than you might be used to, and nobody seems to care if the players use performance enhancing drugs.

Stories involve existing heroes, up and comers, and falling stars. While there are the obvious stories that take place on the field of play, there are also human interest stories that take place around the baseball gyrations. These stories involve scouting, trades, ruthless business decisions, and even relationships.

I enjoyed researching and bringing you The Enhanced League, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. — CB

PURCHASE THE ENHANCED LEAGUE FROM AMAZON

Meet C. S. Boyack
Author C. S. BoyackI was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Connect with Craig at the following haunts:
Blog | My Novels | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest 

New Release: A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair #KensingtonMystery #Mothman #RRBC

I’m celebrating a book birthday today and hope you’ll join me! A Desolate Hour, the final novel in my Point Pleasant series, is finally available for purchase. I’m wrapping up all the plot threads begun in the first two novels, A Thousand Yesteryears and A Cold Tomorrow. Caden Flynn and all my regular characters are back, along with a few new ones. The Mothman, of course, is front and center.

When I set out to write the Point Pleasant series, I envisioned the mystery relating to the origins of the Mothman spanning all three books. But I also wanted each book to focus on an aspect of Point Pleasant folklore in addition to my favorite cryptid.

In book one, A Thousand Yesteryears, I shared the history of the Silver Bridge tragedy. Book two, A Cold Tomorrow, saw the introduction of UFOs and Men in Black. The final installment, A Desolate Hour, plays off the legend of Shawnee Indian Chief Cornstalk who set all the other elements in motion by cursing the town as he lay dying.

At long last, the Mothman’s story hurtles to a conclusion!

Book cover for A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair shows a small town overlooking a river at night, full moon overhead, cover in wash of green red and black with white lettering

A Desolate Hour Sins of the past could destroy all of their futures . . .

For generations, Quentin Marsh’s family has seen its share of tragedy, though he remains skeptical that their misfortunes are tied to a centuries-old curse. But to placate his pregnant sister, Quentin makes the pilgrimage to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, hoping to learn more about the brutal murder of a Shawnee chief in the 1700s. Did one of the Marsh ancestors have a hand in killing Chief Cornstalk—the man who cursed the town with his dying breath?

While historian Sarah Sherman doesn’t believe in curses either, she’s compelled to use her knowledge of Point Pleasant to uncover the long-buried truth. The river town has had its own share of catastrophes, many tied to the legendary Mothman, the winged creature said to haunt the woods. But Quentin’s arrival soon reveals that she may have more of a stake than she realized. It seems that she and Quentin possess eerily similar family heirlooms. And the deeper the two of them dig into the past, the more their search enrages the ancient mystical forces surrounding Point Pleasant. As chaos and destruction start to befall residents, can they beat the clock to break the curse before the Mothman takes his ultimate revenge? . . .

~ooOOoo~

A few snippets from advance reviews:

From Staci Troilo, Author:
“A gripping end to a remarkable series…A Desolate Hour features genuine characters and intricate plotlines, fast-paced action and eerie, palpable settings.”
Read the full review

From dandelions inspired Book Reviews:
A Desolate Hour is so incredibly action-packed I’m not sure how to review this novel without giving away spoilers . . . truly a novel that once you start reading it, there is no stopping until you’ve reached the end.”
Read the full review 

From Fundinmental Book Reviews:
A Desolate Hour has an aura of menace from the beginning . . . If you are a creature feature lover, if you crave reading about myths and legends, if you like to be scared and surprised, run and soar through the air, this is one series you don’t want to miss.”
Read the full review 

~ooOOoo~

A DESOLATE HOUR Universal Purchase Link (All Retailers):
https://books2read.com/u/bzpJEq

If you haven’t read the first two books in the series, A Desolate Hour can be read as a standalone novel. You can also purchase A Thousand Yesteryears and A Cold Tomorrow from all major booksellers. Don’t you think it’s time you met the Mothman? 😊

The Life and Times of Ichabod Brooks by Charles Yallowitz #NewRelease #Fantasy #Magic

Charles Yallowitz has a new release to share!

Spend your summer with Ichabod Brooks in this 11 story collection!  $2.99 on Amazon!

Cover Art by Circecorp

Enter the world of Windemere with 11 action adventure short stories featuring a man who is out to make an honest living.

Some heroes seek fame. Some seek fortune. Others simply want to save the world. Ichabod Brooks only wants to put food on the table for his family.

Known and respected as the man who can get any job done, Ichabod has seen his share of adventure. Most of which have been highly exaggerated by bards. Still, the man has his famous reputation for a reason. Whether it be climbing a temperamental mountain for eggs or escorting orphans to their new homes, Ichabod takes every job seriously and makes sure he is as prepared as he can be. Not that it helps since things always take a turn for the worse.

Available on Amazon!

Add it on Goodreads!

Excerpt: Preparing for Galaces

“Is this any way to greet an old friend?” a dwarf in dark gray chainmail asks before plugging his ears with his dark red beard. Wanting the bard to stop, the mountaineer marches over and puts a hand over the young woman’s mouth. “Are you supposed to use her as bait? I did hear there’s a hobgoblin pack that moved in a few months ago. You know how those drooling scavengers love elf flesh.”

“Sorry about that, Dex. She latched on at my last stop and I haven’t been able to shake her off,” Ichabod replies, shaking his guide’s hand. He rubs his own black and white beard at the sight of how his friend shows no sign of graying. “I have to give this one credit for tenacity, but this is where we part ways. Galaces Mountain is not a place to go unless you have experience, an excellent guide, and common sense. So far, I don’t see you having any of those things and I’m not going to babysit.”

“I must go. That’s the only way I can write about your newest adventure,” the bard insists, unwittingly proving Ichabod right. She crosses her arms and meets the icy stare of the dwarf, who she considers leaving out of her tale. “Being the first to speak of your climb will help my reputation. I promise not to cause any trouble and pull my own weight. Elves are graceful and agile, which makes us perfect companions for whatever it is you’re doing. Besides, Galaces Mountain doesn’t look like that bad a climb. The stories must be nothing more than colorful exaggerations.”

Ichabod puts on a pair of white-palmed gloves and slips a blue band on his finger, a charge going through his body to enhance his lungs. “I suddenly relate very well to this mountain. Take a look at the empty space between us and Galaces. You’ll see why this place has earned a reputation.”

The bard puts her lute over her shoulder and walks to the yellow rope, which sparks with a mild magic. At first, she is unsure of what she is supposed to pay attention to among the shrubs and fallen rocks. It takes the elf a few minutes to recognize weather worn bones sticking out from under a boulder. The limbs are splayed since the climber plummeted with the rough stone pressed against his back and the landing embedded him in the ground. Knowing what to look for, the bard realizes that there are at least ten old corpses hidden by the mountain’s litter. The bard spots the fresh body of a yellow-skinned creature sitting behind a shrub, the armored creature crumpled from landing butt first after its fall. She is about to ask a question when a small pain runs up her arm and she collapses into a magical slumber.

“Guess that’s more humane than knocking her on the head,” Dex mentions while Ichabod carries the young woman to the dwarf’s cart. He shields his eyes as he stares at the churning clouds that have been trapped around the peak. “Looks like the eagles captured a storm beneath their nest this year. Means the winds are going to be brutal and the tunnels are infested with horned spiders and revelers. Not going to be an easy trip. Sure, you don’t want someone else to take this contract?”

“I’d love to hand this off to someone else, but Chef Zyrk always insists that I take the job. I have no injuries, diseases, or family events, so I’m here,” Ichabod replies, sheathing his sleep-inducing shortsword. As an afterthought, he grabs a horse blanket and tosses it over the bard to hide her from view. “The Starwind Eagles lay eggs every ten years and now is the time to get to them. Wait any longer and the mountain will be crawling with hunters. A youngster wouldn’t know that or have you as a guide.”

The dwarf grins as he lifts the rope and gestures for his friend to lead the way. “They also don’t have your wife making deals that you can’t say no to. She mentioned that you’re getting three times the usual pay because this baby is going to be prepared for Duke Solomon’s wedding. Personally, I’m looking forward to your wife’s cooking after this. Surprised your gut isn’t huge considering that woman can make a pot roast even the gods would praise. Did you happen to bring some of her dishes for the road?”

“I can cook too, you know.”

“You can bake, Ichabod. Not the same as cooking in my book.”

“So you don’t want the cookies I brought.”

“Oatmeal and cranberry?”

“With a touch of cinnamon.”

*****

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com

Twitter: @cyallowitz

Facebook: Charles Yallowitz

Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

May It Be A Good One!

Sometimes Fridays can’t come soon enough. My husband and I had a great July 4th and even enjoyed spending time in our pool. The water was beautiful, but in and around the 4th we had a few road bumps.

My computer slowed to a crawl and started tossing out blue screens. To top it off, Chrome stopped working. Not the end of the world because I was able to hop over to Firefox, but the bulk of my bookmarks are on Chrome. With a trifecta of computer woes, I decided it was time to cart the all-in-one in for repair. I took my laptop too. The wifi hasn’t worked since a Windows update half a year ago. Both are still with the Geek Squad.

On the plus side, I decided to treat myself to a MAC book. My books have been making a few dollars the last two years so I decided it was time to splurge a little—especially since I’ll be using the MAC for my business. After a trip to the Apple store, I came home with one of the new retina MACs. I wanted the small size for easy portability, but honestly, all the MAC book brands I looked at are very light.

It doesn’t show well in the photo below, but I got the rose gold finish, which is gorgeous. I’m still dealing with a bit of a learning curve, but getting on fairly good. If I could just figure out how to right click or backspace nirvana would happen.

an open MAC Book setting on table

Thursday, my first day back on the day job was fraught with problems. I won’t go into details but it was not a good day. I came home that night only to find out the UV light and piping to our well pump had some kind of issue. Don’t ask me what it was. All I know is that it involved soldering, a blow torch, and hours without water while my husband repaired whatever needed to be  fixed. Thank God he’s as adept as he is and we didn’t have to call a repairman.

TGIF! I’m hoping today turns out to be better than yesterday. With any luck I may even get my computer and laptop back. If not, at least it’s Friday.

If you missed the posts on Story Empire this week, Harmony Kent shared the second part of her series on Commas and How to Use Them, and Joan Hall explained how to Read Your Way to Better Writing. Today, you can discover the latest Curated Content for Writers gathered by the SE authors.

Check back on Monday too, when yours truly will be in the Story Empire wheelhouse with a post entitled “What Would You Do?”  Until then, Happy Friday and Happy Weekend. May it be a good one for all!

Just for Fun #MusicGroups

I had so much fun last week getting to learn everyone’s favorite Beatle songs, I thought I’d trot out another “just for fun” post. I love music, although I never had the passion to pursue it. I took music lessons and played bass guitar for about two years in high school, but the drive just wasn’t there like it was with writing. My grandfather played guitar, banjo, flute, clarinet and several brass instruments. My brother has been a drummer since he was a teen. He plays by ear and has been in local groups all of his life. He’s also done studio and session work as a backing drummer for other musicians. He inherited my grandfather’s talent for music. I inherited my father’s talent for words.

When I was finishing high school, disco became trendy. I have never been a fan—in fact, I couldn’t stand disco in its heyday—but I love to dance. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate some songs strictly for their beat. I would never count them among favorites, but a few have achieved “feel good” moments on the dance floor.

There’s a song by Dawes called “All Your Favorite Bands.” This is the chorus:

I hope that life without a chaperone is what you thought it’d be
I hope your brother’s El Camino runs forever
I hope the world sees the same person that you’ve always been to me
And may all your favorite bands stay together.

Wouldn’t it be great if our favorite bands were still together today? In the spirit of Just for Fun, which groups would you pick? What are your four favorite? Maybe they are still together. My top three picks were easy, but I waffled on the fourth:

  1. The Beatles
  2. REO Speedwagon
  3. Styx
  4. The Monkees

Yes, I’m dating myself. I also considered Journey, CCR, and Klaatu (Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft anyone?), but I still love so many songs by the Monkees, I had to go with them. They were another band (like the Beatles) that I didn’t discover until long after they’d broken up.

Today is all about breaking out the beat. Do you love music? Do you play an instrument and/or do you like to dance? Finally, what are your four favorite groups?

If you’d like to catch “All Your Favorite Bands” by Dawes, here’s the vid:

Did Someone Say Friday?

Silly goose looking directly at cameraThe end of the week is a great opportunity to look back over the past several days and take measure our accomplishments. Unfortunately, mine were close to nil. :(  I did manage to eke out a single scene on my WIP, but considering the goal was a chapter, the results are pathetic.

In my defense, the week has been unusually chaotic. I’ve had a work crew at my home since Monday, installing new zoned heat and a/c units. The job is supposed to be finished today—hooray!—but the weekend I wanted to spend writing will probably be spent cleaning. You can’t have a work crew without dust. Lots of dust. Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow?

I’m not the only one running low on patience. Raven has been forced to spend eight hours each day in the basement while servicemen tramp in and out of the house (I won’t risk her sneaking outside if someone accidentally leaves a door open). We’ve tried to make her confinement as inviting as possible, arranging a “snuggle area” with one of her beds and a blanket. I elevated them on chairs so she’s not on the floor. She has water and food, and I even added a few toys and her red “cube” for lounging.

black cat in pink cube with cat toy

Raven in her pink cube. Besides this and the red cube, she also has a blue one. Can we say spoiled?

Bribes aside, she is NOT a happy camper. She can’t watch birds from the basement, sprawl in the sunlight, or stretch out in the bow window. A rough week in catdom.

The only benefit she’s enjoyed is the daily fussing we do to make up for her morning and afternoon exile. You can see why this Friday is more welcome than usual—I want my house back! So does Raven!

In the meantime, I’m at Story Empire today sharing the weekly Curated Writing Content gathered by the SE authors. While you’re celebrating Friday in the blogosphere, drop in and see what we’ve collected. And in case you missed SE’s earlier posts, Staci Troilo took a fabulous look at Fictional Fathers, and I trotted out My Problematic Word.

Happy Friday!

A Bump in the Night by Penny Lane

I have a new guest I’d like to introduce you to today. Penny is a blogger I met through Jess Bakkers. She is a free-lance writer with quite an interesting background. You can meet her and learn about her background on her blog, Penny Lane’s Thoughts.

In reaching out and making new friends, Penny is offering to do guest posts. It’s always nice to have someone new drop by my blog to meet my friends and readers. Hopefully, a few of Penny’s followers will meander over here as well. It’s how bloggers connect and expand their inner circles. I told her my regular readers were used to seeing content related to folklore, myth, or creatures (among writing topics), so she put together a short story to share.

I hope you enjoy, and will welcome Penny with your thoughts in the comments.

~ooOOoo~

BUMP IN THE NIGHT
By Penny Lane

clouds with sun behind over ocean

I looked down just as my hand was falling away from the doorbell button.  I could still hear the echo of the chime behind the door.  The door I was standing in front of was rust-red, with the number 8 at eye level.

I looked around me.  What was I doing here?  I was in an apartment complex.

Just then the door opened.  Standing there was my mother, who had been dead for more than 30 years.

Her face opened into a wide smile.  “Baby!  So good to see you!”

She stepped forward, wrapped her arms around me and gave me a big hug.  I stood board straight, my head reeling.

“Come in, come in!” she said as she placed her hand on the small of my back and pulled me into the apartment.

I took a few faltering steps forward.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.

My mother looked as young and as beautiful as I ever remembered seeing her.   Her hair, a coal black, fell in waves just past the top of her shoulders.  Her eyes, blue, sparkled and danced as her smile lit up her face.  Her face looked like it did when she was in her 30’s.  She was a beauty.

“Mom…what?  I don’t understand…”

“I know, I know honey.  Questions, questions.  Plenty of time for that later.  Right now, let’s sit and talk.  Would you like some coffee?”   She rambled as she saw me to a chair and gently pushed me down into it.  It didn’t take much; my legs were like rubber under me.

Mom scooted off into the little kitchen that was separated from the living room by a breakfast bar.  She busied herself preparing the coffee for the 2 of us as I looked around the apartment.  She was humming a little under her breath as she did so.

I was sitting in the tiny living room of the apartment my mother had occupied in Hermiston, Oregon.  How long ago was that?  30, 35 years ago?

There were a few differences to the apartment than what I remembered.  Her bedroom, instead of just a bed in the corner of a studio apartment, was now a separate room.  But for the most part, everything was the same.

Mom came back into the living room with 2 cups of coffee.  She is dressed in a pair of pink “petal pushers” and a floral top.  She has flip flops on her feet.  It’s an outfit I had seen her wear a thousand times.  I am dressed in a long sleeved sweater, jeans and boots.

Mom sets the 2 cups of coffee down on the coffee table between us and takes a seat in her favorite rocker across from me.

Mom reached forward to pick up her cup saying “drink your coffee sweetheart”.  I reached out to lift the cup, but after getting the cup only a couple of inches off the table, I was shaking too much to hold it.

I sat back in my chair and looked down at my hands.  They were shaking.

“Don’t be frightened Penny.  There is nothing to be afraid of.”  She said soothingly.

“But Mom!  You’re… you’re… dead.”  I said in a whisper.

“I know honey, I know.  But it will all make sense soon.  I promise.”  At this she reached across the coffee table to take one of my hands.  At her touch, I flinched and pulled away.

“It will all be alright Penny.  Please believe me.”  She said pleadingly.

“What’s the last thing you remember before seeing me?”  She asked.

I sat there and looking down at my cup, I blinked a couple of times, trying to remember.  At first, nothing came.  Then I remembered.

“I was driving home.  It was late and I was in a rush.”

“The roads were icy, right?”  Mom said.

“Yes” I whispered.  It was coming back to me.   In my mind’s eye, I saw the van approaching the corner.  I knew I was going too fast.  I wasn’t going to make it.  The van flipped.

At that moment the doorbell rang again.  Mom jumped up to answer it.  She pulled the door open and before I saw anything, the smell hit me.  Sulphur.

Stepping across the threshold was a man like none I’d ever seen before.  He was bare-chested and his long dark hair flowed past his shoulders.  He was so handsome, he didn’t look real.  He was the type of man women would give themselves to without question.

My mother planted her hand in the middle of his chest.  “Stop right there!  She’s not yours!”  She said.

He huffed and puffed out his chest.  “I will have the wench!”  He bellowed!

More than hearing it, I could feel the sound of his voice in my chest.   It was like a bass drum inside me and it made my whole being shake.

“You will NOT!”  Mom roared back at him.

At that point my mother’s body started to morph.   She grew taller.  The being in the doorway was a good six feet tall, but she towered over him.

Her pedal pushers and flip flops were gone.  She was surrounded by clouds of billowy fabric of a muted color I could not describe.  Sprouting from her back were wings that reached almost to the ceiling.  Her whole being shone with a light that took my breath away.

The beast cowered and backed away just as she slammed the door.

Turning to look down on me, I could no longer see my mother’s face.  I couldn’t tell what or who I did see.

This beautiful being reached out her hand.

Just as I took it, I heard my name being called.

“Penny, Penny, can you hear me?”

As my vision cleared, I looked up into the face of a female EMT that was smiling down at me.

“There you are!  It’s good to see you back with us Miss Wilson!  You had us all pretty worried there for just a minute.”

She helped me sit up.  We were on the side of the road and she had me wrapped in a blanket.  I could see my crumpled van laying on its side a couple of hundred feet away.

I had been dreaming, but about what?  I couldn’t remember.

I looked into the EMT’s face again and said “You look a lot like my mom.”   She smiled, looking back at me and helped me to stand.  “Let’s get you to the hospital Miss Wilson so we can get that bump on your head check out.”

~ooOOOoo~

About Penny:
I am a free-lance writer.  I’ve been writing for my entire life and blogging for more than 5 years.  I write poetry, short stories, fiction and true stories.  You will also see posts about my day to day life at times.

I am working on 2 novels that I hope to have finished in the near future.

My life has been quite diverse, to say the least.  My very early days were spent in the woods of the Pacific Northwest.  My father was a timber-faller.  We lived in a shack with no electricity or running water.  Later on, my mother married a migrant worker. We lived in Picker’s Cabins, tents or the back of the station wagon. We did whatever it took to follow the fruit and the all mighty dollar.

Some of what you will see on my blog is based on these life experiences.   Other posts come from other inspiration.

I currently live in Fort Worth, Texas, work full time, write, blog and enjoy spending time with my best friend, my little dog, Rocket.

You can connect with Penny at the following haunts:
Blog 
Twitter

Just for Fun

Like the title says….this post is just for fun.

On May 18, Sirius Radio launched The Beatles Channel. I’ve been glued to it ever since. I originally discovered the “four guys from Liverpool” after they broke up, but that didn’t stop me from falling in love with them like everyone else. As a teen, I purchased every album they’d released and devoured book after book about them. I’m still enthralled by their music.

Which brings me to the reason for this post.

Photo collage with head shots of The Beatles

By United Press International (UPI Telephoto) Cropping and retouching: User:Indopug and User:Misterweiss [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Beatles Channel on Sirius has a daily feature called My Fab Four, wherein a guest (sometimes a celebrity guest) shares their four favorite Beatle songs. From the moment the segment debuted, I’ve been in a quandary trying to decide which songs I would pick for my own Fab Four. A highly weighty matter that has caused much mental wrestling! There are SO MANY exceptional songs I would chose, the idea was daunting. After much debate I whittled it down to these:

Eight Days a Week
No contest on this one. It was the song that introduced me to the Beatles and the first one I fell in love with. Its bright, catchy, and inherently feel-good.

Let It Be
When I was a kid, I shared a bedroom with my two older sisters. One sister is 10 years older than me, the other is 7 years older. I was definitely the “little sister.” I remember lying in bed at night, listening to them quietly chatting back and forth while Let It Be played softly in the dark. This song always takes me back to childhood for that reason. I also love Paul’s piano playing and his wonderful vocals.

You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
I fell in love with it the first time I heard it. John’s vocals mesh perfectly with the flow. There’s something lyrical about it that never fails to touch me.

Yesterday
Paul McCartney at his best. Yesterday is the most remade Beatle song for good reason, also one of the most remade songs in music history. It’s perfect. I can’t say any more than that.

So there you have it—My Fab Four. Now it’s your turn. Just for fun, I’d love to hear your choices. Share them in the comments below. Let’s talk Beatles, music, and memories.

P.S… Sir Paul just turned 75 on June 18. A belated Happy Birthday to my favorite Beatle! 🙂

Can I Start My Weekend Now?

If there was ever any doubt, let it be known that I love Fridays. The weekend is looming around the corner, and I’m already in countdown. Now that summer has arrived, I will be spending sunny afternoons plotting and/or reading poolside. I still need to work in my normal writing schedule but I’m hoping to grab a little down time as well.

funny cat peeking over shelf at camera

I’m also hoping to get back to a more regular blogging schedule. This past week, saw an award (thank you, Jess Bakkers) and a surprise from my husband (thank you, love of my life). If you’re interested in either post, just follow the links.

Looking back:
On Story Empire, Joan Hall shared a post that cleverly combined The Beatles, Sgt. Peppers and Writing and Harmony Kent shared Part One of her series Commas and How to Use Them. Today, you can find the weekly Curated Writing Content gathered by the authors of Story Empire. I hope some of these appeal to you.

Looking ahead:
My own writing projects are moving forward. A Desolate Hour will be releasing on July 18th, and I recently submitted a short story for an anthology I was invited to participate in. You’ll be hearing more on the latter as publication time approaches.

Book cover for Ghosts by Gaslight, a book on Spiritualism by Troy TaylorCurrently, I’m knee deep in research mode for my next novel, The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill.  Although I read daily, I’ve been entrenched in non-fiction as opposed to putting a dent in my TBR.

Half of Blue Lady deals with Spiritualism in the late 1800s as related to practicing mediums and fraud. I’ve been reading a book called Ghosts by Gaslight by Troy Taylor in order to get up to snuff. It’s fascinating, but dense, especially as I’m making notes as I go. I also just picked up a massive tome on Harry Houdini, someone who has always intrigued me—more so as I delve into the late 19th century and early 20th century.

We’re spending tomorrow evening with friends so this weekend is more about fun and pool time, but I’ll work writing and research in somehow.

What about you? What project or book is calling you and are you a Friday Fanatic like I am?

A Brick in the Walk

My husband catches me by surprise sometimes. I mean really by surprise. We joke a lot because he’s not much of a reader and doesn’t understand why anyone would “waste time” reading a story. He’ll read instructional manuals and text books, but fiction? Not going to happen. The cosmic joke is that he’s married to a fiction writer.

Wait. It gets better.

After working for State Government for many long years, he was able to retire early with full benefits. That was great until a year later when he ran out of projects to do around the house, and decided he wanted to go back to work part time. So he got a job at—cosmic joke #2—a library!

It’s an easy job, something to keep him busy, but I think he enjoys it. He does meeting room set-ups and some minor maintenance around the place. The man is surrounded by books every day and by librarians who rattle on about their love of the written word. He’s come to appreciate the importance of libraries and the programs they offer, while the librarians couldn’t be happier to have someone of his work ethics. He has them completely spoiled.

The library itself is inviting, and I love going there. Among other amenities, there are plenty of comfy sitting areas both inside and out. One of the outside areas is in a section where people are able to purchase “memory bricks” for special occasions or in honor of loved ones. People place milestones there—anniversaries, awards, and names of family members. Take a seat on the bench that overlooks the area, and this is what you’ll see immediately to the left.

Brick that says Mae Clair

Yep. My husband surprised me with that. My name at our local library—a place of books, learning and imagination. I was thoroughly caught off guard. There were tears, hugs and laughter.

My books are in that library and now my name will hang around outside forever, long after I’m gone. Like I said, the man really surprises me sometimes.  🙂

multiple bricks with names