Looking Back at 2014 by Mae Clair

It seems only natural that we glance back over the previous year as we get ready to transition to a new one. As a kid, I looked at New Year’s Eve as a so-so holiday. Sure, it was fun to stay up and watch that glittery ball drop in Times Square, but there really wasn’t much more to recommend it.

Champagne bottle resting on glittery gold stars and a clock face about to strike midnightWhen I got older, and met my husband, we enjoyed parties out with friends, ringing in in the New Year with large groups of people. But the older we grew, we gradually transitioned into New Year’s Eve being a quiet holiday at home. It has become “our holiday,” the one festive night of the year we celebrate solely alone…a late night candlelight dinner, champagne, just the two of us. As a result, I’ve grown to view what I once considered a so-so holiday as a charmed night. Not just for the romantic date-night ambiance, but also the bewitchment of one year bowing before the next. I’ve come to view that magical moment when the clock strikes twelve with a combination of whimsy, nostalgia and excitement.

I’m happy for the new writer/blogging friends I made in 2014, and the wonderful friendships I’ve maintained. I’ve discovered some great new blogs, authors and books, and am continually amazed by the peer-support in the online writing community. Guys, if I haven’t said it before—you rock!! What an amazing network!

Personally, I managed to pull off a few feats in 2014. It seems there’s always something waiting on my radar. This past year, I became a contracted author with Kensington Publishing when Lyrical Press was acquired by the New York house. I saw both of my two previous titles with Lyrical (WEATHERING ROCK and TWELFTH SUN) re-released through Kensington, with both titles going to print shortly.

Cover KindleI wrote my first novella, SOLSTICE ISLAND, and indie published it on Kindle. I also designed the cover for SOLSTICE ISLAND, which had me feeling pretty pumped up (Rah!). Strike a few more “firsts” off my list.

After that, I indie published ECLISPE LAKE to Kindle AND *gulp* print using Amazon’s CreateSpace. It took me a while to actually buckle down and make myself tackle the latter, but I’m delighted to have MY book in my hands at last. I remember how I used to dream of that moment when I was a little girl, laboriously writing stories out longhand in a loose-leaf notebook.

I submitted a romantic suspense/mystery novel, MYTH AND MAGIC, to Kensington which was accepted for publication. I just finished the galleys for that one, and if all goes according to schedule, MYTH AND MAGIC will release in June of 2015.

I am presently *thisclose* to finishing the first draft of my Mothman romantic suspense/mystery. My goal is to submit the ms to Kensington by February of 2015 then gnaw on my fingernails, er…work on something else, while I wait to see if it’s accepted.

book lying on it's spine, face-up with pages fanned openFinally, I am a voracious reader and devoured 65 books this year, the same as last year. I had hoped for more, but the learning curve with indie publishing took a toll on my time. All in all, not a bad year. I can only hope that 2015 will be as productive!

Have you already set goals for yourself for the coming year? Mine include launching a newsletter, doing my first book signing, and—of course—more writing. What about you?

Mae Clair’s Mythical Monday: New Year’s Eve Legends

It’s almost time to bid goodbye to 2012 and usher in a New Year. In the distant past, it wasn’t simply a matter of sharing memories and recalling events. The ‘old year’ had to be conducted out properly so the New Year could bloom and thrive. This was often done by carrying a straw dummy through village streets, setting the effigy on fire, then burying it or drowning it in a stream. Spirits freed by the winter solstice were driven away or destroyed by the act, allowing the New Year to arrive unimpeded.

Villagers might also turn the night into a street masquerade by donning masks and costumes in order to conceal their identity from malevolent forces. Disguised, they embarked on a night of ‘town rattling’ in which they banged on drums, pummeled the sides of houses with sticks, and raised a hullabaloo. The racket sent the ghosts of the old year, already waning and sluggish, fleeing from the commotion. Imagine a combination of Madri Gras and trick-or-treat with a lot of tricking going on.

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If you’ve been a follower of my blog for some time you might recall a post I did in June called “The Magic of Betwixt” about transitional moments. Think dawn, dusk, the stroke of midnight…ephemeral channels between elements of time. I’ve always been drawn to these periods, attracted by the enchanted yet elusive quality of their passage.  Quick-silver moments, they slip by as fleeting as a breath, hovering on the cusp of Otherworld. New Year’s Eve is perhaps the most celebrated betwixt moment of all.

When the clock strikes midnight magic will happen, conjured from the chime of laughter, the hush of a loved one’s kiss, the bewitchment of reminiscing, the exhilaration of fresh possibility. There is no need to ‘rattle away’ the ghosts of the past. We learn from phantoms as well as memories. Time moves forward regardless, but I like to think it enjoys taking us along on the ride.

Finally, I love the song Auld Lang Syne, so I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to share it. I’m not much of a vid person, but this is a hauntingly beautiful rendition performed by the Scottish folk group, The Cast.  Enjoy!