Murder They Wrote #FreeEbook #ShortStories #Anthology #Mysteries #WritingCommunity

Book banner ad for Murder They Wrote shows ebook lying on sweater, old watch nearby

Murder They Wrote is FREE through Saturday, 2/26

I’m pleased to have my short story, Winter Reckoning, among the tales in this anthology. A straight mystery set in Medieval England (no supernatural elements or the cryptids I favor), the story takes place at a holiday gathering in a snow-bound castle. Did I mention there’s a body, scheming nobles, plenty of suspects, and a killer to identify?

I hope you’ll join in the sleuthing! 🙂

BLURB:
Murder comes in 7 different genres. By 7 different authors.

Are you a fan of courtroom drama? In the anthology’s first story, Abraham Lincoln defends a friend’s son against a charge of murder. 

For lovers of speculative fiction, Jason Fogg dissolves into mist to sneak through open windows and snoop for clues. 

Book cover shows two figures in black silhouette in an empty room with large windows and curtains behind, gunman shooting victim in back

How about a cozy? Jazzi, Jerod, and Ansel discover a dead body while renovating a kitchen, dining room, and half bath. 

Have a craving for a Regency? Lord Peregrine and his wife, Elizabeth, use their sharp minds and quick wit to solve a murder at a garden party. 

Need a bit of literary fiction? A young, lonely widow must deal with the theft of a valuable butterfly collection. 

And what about a little psychological horror? Twin sisters discover that their attic is haunted by not one, but two ghosts. 

Last, but never least, the anthology concludes with a historical mystery. A young, newly married knight is accused of murdering his obnoxious host at a holiday gathering in his castle.


Murder They Wrote offers a variety of clever tales in which there are clues to be found, red herrings to avoid, and villains to unmask. And because each short story is a complete mystery, you can engage your detective skills a little at a time, or all at once as your mood dictates.

I’ve closed comments on this post, but hope you’ll. . .

GRAB A COPY FROM AMAZON

New Release: Mountain Laurel Christmas by Jan Sikes @JanSikes3 #Christmas #countrymusic #christmasgifts

Welcome, friends! I’m back after my November break, and delighted to welcome friend and Story Empire colleague, Jan Sikes, to my blog today. Jan has a brand new Christmas release out ready to warm your heart. Be sure to look for my review at the end of this post. Jan is also doing a giveaway which you won’t want to miss. Take it away, Jan!

Giveaway Christmas banner with pine cones, Christmas bulbs and Christmas lights. Giveaway for $20 gift card

What’s in a name? 

Anytime we create a story, readers can often visualize a character simply from their name. 

My character in Mountain Laurel Christmas has three names, and each one affects his personality differently. 

First, his given name, Norbert Angus Roberts, paints a picture of a character unsure of himself and subjected to lots of teasing in his growing-up years.

Excerpt: 

No kid should have to go through life as Norbert Angus. If I lived to be a hundred years old, I’d never understand what possessed Mama and Papa. At least, Papa had shortened it to Bert, but that wasn’t much better in my way of thinking. I took a lot of teasing from the other mountain kids.

Then when he arrives in Nashville, chasing a dream, he introduces himself as Andy Roberts. 

But that name is short-lived.

Excerpt:

 As soon as she hired me, Corinna decided to change my name.

“You’ve got hair as black as coal, and your eyes are as dark as night. I think your stage name should be Cole Knight.”

So, my character became Cole Knight. 

If you are familiar with the music business, you’ll find many artists taking on fake stage names. 

In the country music world, some of the most notable are:

Conway Twitty – Harold Lloyd Jenkins 

Johnny Paycheck – Donald Eugene Lytle

Johnny Bush – John B. Shin

Tim McGraw – Samuel Timothy Smith

Patsy Cline – Virginia Patterson Hensley

Can you think of others? If you created a pen name for yourself, what would it be? 

Teaser ad for Mountain Laurel Christmas by Jan Sikes so ebook on snowy background with Christmas candles and gold star in front

MOUNTAIN LAUREL CHRISTMAS BLURB:

Orphaned, his family torn apart by tragedy, Cole Knight has come a long way from a ramshackle miner’s cabin on the side of the Cumberland Mountain. 

Daring to follow an impossible dream, he’s made it big in the music business. Now, he’s a country music sensation with a huge house, fancy cars, plenty of willing women, money, and adoring fans. He should be on top of the world. Instead, he’s drowning in a swirling pool of self-contempt and relentless guilt.

It’s easier to lose himself in a bottle than face the hard truth…he hasn’t delivered on a promise he made to his father.

It’s almost Christmas, and the sting of failure drives him back to that tiny cabin in the mountains. But has he waited too late to put the shattered pieces back together—to find himself and restore a lost family?  

PURCHASE MOUNTAIN LAUREL CHRISTMAS

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Bio box for author Jan Sikes

REVIEW OF MOUNTAIN LAUREL CHRISTMAS BY MAE CLAIR:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you want a feel-good Christmas story, look no further. Cole Knight is a music superstar with the world at his feet. He has everything he could possibly ever want or need but his heart is hollow. With Christmas around the corner, he finds himself thinking back to his poverty-stricken childhood when times were hard but love of family made life worth living. In the decades since, he’s lost touch with his sister and has no idea what’s become of his younger brother. Circumstances conspire in such a way to give him a second chance and help him rediscover the connections he’s lost.

Told with heart, this is a story that shines a light on what matters most in life. It’s rife with emotion, memories, and the idea of recapturing lost chances. I love how the author brought her characters to life while painting a picture that spans from backwoods squalor to the glitz of the celebrity spotlight. A quick read, this enchanting novella is polished, heartwarming, and all-around entertaining. A beautiful holiday gem!


Thanks for visiting to cheer on Jan with her new release. Don’t forgot to leave a comment below to enter her giveaway and wish her well with Mountain Laurel Christmas! If you enjoy heartwarming holiday reads, this short tale is just ONE CLICK away!

Book Tour Day 11: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

book, Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair on wooden steps with carved pumpkin, flowers and dried autumn leaves

Welcome to the last week of October. I’m winding down my tour for Things Old and Forgotten.

Today, I’m with my friend Judi Lynn who writes several cozy mystery series and the Muddy River urban fantasy mystery series. I particularly love her Jazzi Zanders cozies and her Muddy River (Raven and Hester) urban fantasy mysteries. Her newest release, Posed in Death is a mystery/thriller which pubbed the end of September. You can’t go wrong with anything Judi writes. Hope over to her Amazon Author Page to browse her large collection of titles and series.

Strangely, for my next to last tour stop, I’m going to be sharing a post on the origin of the title, Things Old and Forgotten. It probably would have made better sense to share that at the start, but I like to color outside the lines. 🙂

I hope to see you at Judi’s place. Thanks again for all the support this month. I am so thankful for each of you!



Book Tour Day 9: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

Book Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair on white boards surrounded by dried autumn leaves and pinecones

I am on the road again! Today’s tour stop for Things Old and Forgotten, is a 2-Fer!

First up is Jacqui Murray who writes amazing and meticulously researched prehistoric fiction. Her most recent release Laws of Nature is part of her Dawn of Humanity Series. Jacqui also writes the Rowe-Delamagente Series of technothrillers. The first book To Hunt a Sub held me spellbound, and the second is waiting on my kindle for reading consumption. You can view Jacquie’s many books on her Amazon Author Page.

While visiting Jacqui today, I’ll be sharing an excerpt from my short story, The Festival of Magic and Blood which is my tip-of-the-hat to Ray Bradbury. Curious what it’s all about? Check it out HERE.


I’m also honored to be a guest on the blog of Jill Weatherholt. I’ve recently connected with Jill through the wonderful and heartwarming books in her Love Inspired Series. Small town settings, engaging characters, and sweet romantic tales laced with Christian values make these stories a delight from cover to cover. There are hardships to overcome in each tale, but I know I can count on an HEA at the end, and I love that! Be sure to check out Jill’s books on her Amazon Author Page.

I’m going to be sharing an excerpt from my short story, Miss Lily Makes a Wish, while visiting with Jill. The tale is a lighthearted look at genies and granting wishes. I hope you have a moment to hop over and say HELLO.



Book Tour Day 8: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

Book, Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair in front of backdrop of old brick wall at night, bluish tint to ground and wall

Wow! Where did October go? I can’t believe it’s the twentieth of the month already! For day eight of my blog tour for Things Old and Forgotten, I’m visiting with one of my oldest blogging friends, C. S. Boyack. Craig is an original founding member of Story Empire and an all around good guy with an extremely vivid imagination. His work as an author covers speculative fiction, cyberpunk, science-fiction, fantasy and all things odd.

He is the author of the highly popular Hat Series and Lanternfish saga (root monsters!), but my favorite work of his is Grinders, a vividly imagined tale set in the not so distant future. I recommend you check out them all. Craig has a huge collection of work which you can find on his Amazon Author Page.

While visiting Craig today, I’ll be sharing an excerpt from my short story, The Chaos Stone, a straight up fantasy tale of sorcery and good vs. evil. If you have a moment, I hope you’ll VISIT!



Book Tour Day 7: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

ebook Things Old and Forgotten by author Mae Clair laying on top of open hardback book with large dried maple leaf to left

Happy Tuesday! It’s week three of my blog tour for Things Old and Forgotten. Hopefully, you’re not sick of me, LOL!

Today I am with friend and Story Empire colleague, Harmony Kent. Harmony is the sole Brit among all the American yanks of SE, and it’s always fun to get her take on things. She has a wonderful sense of humor and is a multi-genre author writing everything from supernatural horror and psychological fiction to erotic romance, dystopian, writing craft books and poetry. I highly recommend her most recent release, The Vanished Boy, which kept me flipping pages well into the night. I’ve read numerous releases by Harmony, all of which you can find on her Amazon Author Page. She has quite the varied collection for browsing!

While visiting Harmony today, I’m going to be sharing an excerpt from my short story, Guardian, which is probably the most Halloweenish tale in the book. The plot involves a witch and her familiar, plus two brothers and a strange storm. To discover more, drop by Harmony’s corner of the blogosphere. I’ll see you there!



Book Tour Day 6: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

Book Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair set on large cool of rope on wooden floor with bottle of wine and small jars

Happy Thursday! Today is the end of the second week of my blog tour for Things Old and Forgotten. Today, I’m with good friend and Story Empire colleague, Joan Hall.

Joan and I both share a passion for old legends and folklore. If you’re not already familiar with her blog, I encourage you to hop over and click the follow button. She shares excellent book reviews, moon folklore and superstitions, Mystery Mondays and more. As an author, she tells tales of mystery and romantic suspense. I highly recommend her Driscoll Lake Series and her newest release, Cold Dark Night, book one of her new Legends of Madeira Series. You can find all of Joan’s titles on her Amazon Author Page.

While visiting with Joan today, I’ll be sharing an excerpt from my short story, A Once and Future Life, a tale of magical realism that plays off the legend of King Arthur. If you have a moment while roaming around the blogosphere, pop over and SAY HELLO!




Book Tour Day 4: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

book Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair on leaf covered brick walk, blurred image of autumn trees in background

A new week, and a new round of visits for Things Old and Forgotten. Today, I’m visiting Story two wonderful friends. Story Empire colleague, Gwen Plano, and my “PenderPal,” Marcia Meara.

Gwen is one of the kindest people you’ll meet online, an all around generous and giving person who is also a talented author of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. I first encountered Gwen’s optimism and resilience through reading her memoir Letting Go Into Perfect Love. She has an amazing life story.

Her versatility as an author really comes through in her Contract series. I found the most recent release The Culmination particularly strong, but highly recommend them all. The entire series can be found on her Amazon Author Page.

While visiting Gwen, I’ll be sharing an excerpt from my short story, Resurrecting Merlin. If you have a moment, hop over and JOIN US. 🙂



Marcia Meara is a sweetheart with the best sense of humor I know! She is highly supportive of other authors, and has regular features to promote them on her blog The Write Stuff. We both share love of the fictional character Aloysius X. L. Pendergast (hence PenderPals) and Harry Dresden (which makes us Dresdenphiles).

I’ve devoured everything Marcia has written. Her Riverbend Series is highly engrossing, and her Wake-Robin Ridge Series features a character named Rabbit who is guaranteed to steal your heart. You can find both series as well as novellas and more on her Amazon Author Page.

Because Marcia has such a fun sense of humor, I’m sharing an excerpt from my short story Miss Lily Makes A Wish (the singular comedic tale in the collection) while visiting her today. HOP OVER to see what it’s all about!


And an update:
The wonderful and uber-supportive Sally Cronin is featuring Things Old and Forgotten along with an early 5-star review of the book on the Smorgasboard Cafe and Bookstore. If you’re not familiar with Sally, you’re missing out connecting with one of the sweetest, friendliest, kindest, and as I said—uber-supportive—bloggers you’ll find online. Sally is also a talented writer with a vast collection of books you can find HERE. I wish you happy reading!



Book Tour Day 2: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

cell phone featuring cover of Things Old and Forgotten by author Mae Clair, resting on top of pine boards surrounded by dried leaves, fairy lights and cinnamonsticks

Happy Tuesday! It’s Day two of my bog tour for Things Old and Forgotten. Today, I am visiting Jan Sikes, a great friend and also a Story Empire colleague.

Jan is a super friendly and supportive blogger who is not only a talented author, but also a musician. You can read all about her amazing life with renown musician Rick Sikes in her Flowers and Stone series (I’m waiting for the Lifetime movie).

Her latest release, Ghostly Interference has been receiving amazing accolades and praise. You can discover all of Jan’s books on her Amazon Author Page. Be sure to check out her work, then hop over to visit us on her blog, where I’ll be sharing an excerpt from my short story, Kin-Slayer.

I hope you’ll JOIN US!



Book Tour Day 1: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

Kindle featuring cover of Things Old and Forgotten by author Mae Clair on top of open paperback book surrounded by dried red roses

Hi, friends! Welcome to the kick-off of my book tour for Things Old and Forgotten. Today, I am visiting Staci Troilo, one of my oldest and dearest blogging friends. Staci is also a colleague at Story Empire, and one of its founding members.

She is a fabulous writer and highly supportive of other authors. I devour her books immediately whenever she has a release. I especially love her Medici Protectorate Series and Cathedral Lake Series. The first involves a secret brotherhood, alchemy, and an ancient bloodline, while the second offers a compelling family saga.

Staci always delivers quality stories with compelling characters and polished writing. If you haven’t already discovered her work, you’re missing out on something special. Check out her Amazon Author Page for all her titles.

I’m going to be sharing an excerpt from the short story Father’s Day, while visiting with Staci. I hope you have a chance to hop over, say hello, and check out the excerpt. See you there!