Looking Back at 2017

Here we are with only a few days of 2017 still remaining.  Like most, I look back and think the months blasted past in the wink of an eye. Another year already? It seems impossible, yet 2018 will soon be ushered in with champagne toasts and confetti. As I normally do at this time of year, I like to reflect on the good tidings the year has brought with a quick breakdown.

WRITING
As a writer, I signed a new three-book contract with Kensington Publishing’s Lyrical Underground imprint. After finishing my Point Pleasant Series, I thought I was done with deadlines, but I couldn’t say no when the publisher asked me to submit something new. Thinking about that still has me on a cloud, and I can’t wait to introduce everyone to Cusp of Night, the first title in my Hode’s Hill Series, which will release in June.

June 2017 saw the release of A Desolate Hour, the last book in my Point Pleasant Series. I was sad to say goodbye to those characters, but gained a sense of accomplishment for finishing my first series. A bit of a rush. 🙂

Book sales were up for the third year in a row (YAY!) but I’m  worried about the first two quarters of next year. I don’t have anything releasing until the summer of 2018, which is certain to impact what I earn. I guess it’s a good thing I work a full-time job. I have a feeling it will be years (if ever) before I earn a steady income from writing. Still, it’s nice to see a return from doing something I love and connect with new readers in the process.

Banner ad for A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair features Man standing in a dark mysterious forest with bloody lake in foreground

My short story, Family Tree, was accepted for publication in the time-travel anthology, Quantum Wanderlust. If you haven’t already picked up a copy, treat yourself to an early New Year’s gift as Quantum Wanderlust is free and contains an eclectic mix of stories from various authors.

Banner ad for short story time travel anthology, Quantum Wanderlust

READING
It’s no secret I love to read. Each year I participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. Last year I surpassed the number of books I set for myself, but this year I fell short—probably due to the aforementioned writing deadlines. That said, I managed to read 60 books. My goal was 75. I guess I need to dial that back for 2018.

Goodreads gave me some other cool stats about my reading. The shortest book I read was Belle’s Christmas Carol, a 33 page novella. The longest? That would be Paul McCartney: The Life at 864 pages. Quite a difference. The average length of the books I read was 209 pages according to GR.

AUTHOR PRESENTATIONS
I gave my first author presentation in October, themed on folklore and urban legends. Afterwards, I sold books and made a number of connections. I considered the evening a huge success and can’t wait to do a presentation again. Who knew it would be such fun!

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
I met the membership requirements to join two professional writer’s organizations—The Mystery Writers of America and The International Thriller Writers.  I am so honored to be a member of these groups and hope to better utilize those memberships in 2018. Yet another step in my ongoing journey as an author.

STORY EMPIRE
The authors of Story Empire are such a blessing to me! I am thrilled to be part of a group blog devoted to writing and helping other authors succeed. This year, Story Empire was nominated for Favorite Writing Blog at Positive Writer. I just found out that winners will be announced in January, so we have our collective fingers crossed. Thank you to everyone who voted for us.

I know I speak for all of the SE authors when I say we are grateful to our readers for their support and the time taken to visit our small corner of the blogosphere. We have some new features planned for 2018 and I hope you’ll stick with us as we explore and share those together.

PERSONAL STUFF
I don’t share a lot about my family on my blog, but I am so grateful for each and every one of them, especially my wonderful husband, who I met in high school. All these years later, he’s still my soulmate and my one-and-only!

We had some fun this year with a trip to Cancun in the spring, and one to Florida in the fall. No, that’s not hubs below, but the pic is from our first night out in Cape Coral—at an open air bar/restaurant called the Yacht Club. We liked it so much we went back twice. The Captain was there to greet visitors.

With a large statue of Captain Morgan outside of the Yacht Club restaurant in Cape Coral, Florida

We also did some major renovations on our house, installing zoned heat and air conditioning and completely gutting our kitchen and dining room—removing a wall and creating one large room. Someday I’m going to get around to sharing the story of remodeling….with a cat 🙂

Cute black cat looks into camera from unfinished cabinet section

Which brings me to Raven. She joined us late in 2016, and makes every day entertaining. Pets bring such joy, and I’m thankful we found her and she found us—even when she’s climbing into things she shouldn’t be!

Finally, a heartfelt thanks to my readers and wonderful circle of blogging friends. I value each and every one of you. Over the last five years, I’ve learned that writing is not for the faint of heart. I couldn’t do this without you guys. Who else would understand the triumphs and hurdles of a writer’s life? 🙂

I wish all of you a Happy New Year with good health and good cheer. Here’s to a fabulous 2018 for all of us!

New years eve celebration background with champagne and confetti. Wishes for a magical 2018 from author Mae Clair

Travelling Through Time with Quantum Wanderlust

I can’t remember the first story I read that involved time travel, but I know I was enthralled from the start. It’s a concept that’s fascinated me since I was a kid. I even used it as a major plot thread in my first novel, Weathering Rock.

So, when AIW PRESS announced they were putting together an anthology of short stories themed on time travel, I knew I had to submit something. I’m pleased that my story, Family Tree, was accepted and is one of the shorts featured in Quantum Wanderlust.

This is a great group of authors, sharing highly imaginative stories. I’m reading Quantum right now and loving every moment of zinging through different eras and dimensions. The best part? Quantum Wanderlust is free. Yep, you heard that right. You can download your copy from the book vendor of your choice by clicking HERE.

Hang on a minute. Before you gallivant off, take a peek at this excerpt from Family Tree. My tale puts a spin on time-travel, fantasy, and family ties. In the short snippet below, my MC, Kevin, encounters a strange girl in the woods behind a home he has just purchased:

EXCERPT from Family Tree:

Kevin turned at the sound of a woman’s voice. Like a ghost, she emerged from the trees, a slim auburn-haired girl dressed in a white peasant blouse and a filmy skirt. Her feet were bare, her eyes large, colored like cinnamon in the thickening twilight. She couldn’t have been more than twenty years old.

“Who are you?”

Ignoring the question, she clutched his hand. Her touch was unnaturally cold. “They took my child.”

A kidnapping? He looked about quickly, jolted to think he might have stumbled onto a crime scene. But for the girl, the woods were empty. Maybe he’d misunderstood. “Who?”

“He’s just an infant.” The girl’s voice cracked. One trembling hand flew to her lips, her eyes rounding in desperation. There was something inherently wild about her—the long copper snarl of her hair, the frenetic edge of hysteria turning every movement jerky and sharp with an edge like cut glass. The air was cold enough that Kevin felt the bite beneath his long-sleeved chambray, yet the girl—in bare feet and thin clothing—gave no indication of being chilled.

Old stone draw well in the forest“You must help. Ilairen took him from me.” She pointed to the mouth of the well. “He took him down there.”

Kevin fought the urge to recoil. She was obviously crazy, probably why she was running around in the woods dressed for a summer picnic. Should he leave her and call 911, or try to coax her back to the house? Easing his hand into his pocket he felt for his cell phone, but came up empty. He’d probably left it on the kitchen table, along with his car keys. The girl certainly didn’t seem threatening. If he kept her talking, he might be able to lead her back to the house. “Who’s Ilairen?”

Her face crumpled. “My husband.”

“Husband?” She was more messed up than he thought.

Before he could utter another word, the black maw of the well mushroomed upward, leeching into a gelatinous hole. The ground rolled and buckled, slamming him with a blast of vertigo. Reeling off balance, he plunged feet first into a fish-eyed bubble of pulsing darkness and light. The sensation of plummeting catapulted his gut into his throat. He choked for air and surrendered to the hard-knuckled punch of freefall.

~ooOOoo~

Family Tree is just one of thirteen stories each from a different author. Here’s the complete lowdown on Quantum Wanderlust:

book cover for Qauntum Wanderlust an anthology of short stories about time travel

What if you had all the time in the world?

Thirteen authors answer that question with short stories about time travel. Go back in time to right a wrong, forward to see the future. No jump is too large, no method unfeasible, no lesson beyond learning.

  • Visit the past to learn a family secret.
  • See the formation of a future dictatorship.
  • Assume responsibility for weaving the fabric of time.
  • Travel back in time to WWII.
  • Use a family heirloom to solve problems.
  • Wear an inheritance to visit ancestors.
  • Leave a dystopian future for the hope of something better.
  • Make history come true in an unexpected way.
  • Fight evil fairies to protect a chosen angel.
  • Live with the childhood memory of visitors until the day they arrive.
  • Seek medical help for a memory issue and get way more than bargained for.
  • Discover that with great power comes great responsibility.
  • Uncover the secrets of a pharaoh’s tomb and curse.

Do the characters observe or interact? Is the outcome better or worse than the original timeline? Read these stories to learn how far they go, how they get there, and what happens when they return.

The scope is virtually limitless, definitely timeless.

Download your free copy of Qauntum Wanderlust by clicking here.

If you haven’t already grabbed your copy, go forth and one-click! 😊