Pool Time and Reading

cocktail with pool water in the background
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Hi, friends. I just wanted to drop a quick note to say I will be scarce this week. I am enjoying a staycation at my pool. I’ve got several days lined up with friends, a few lunches out, a visit to a winery, shopping, and plenty of books to keep me occupied. As a result, you probably won’t see me online very much.

I’m at Story Empire today but will likely be offline the rest of the week. I will catch up with everyone in August. Happy last week of July!

Enjoy Romance and Mystery? Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair is Now Available!

I’m high-jacking Mythical Monday today so I can announce the publication of my latest release, ECLIPSE LAKE. I’m excited to kick off summer with a romantic mystery set at a sleepy lake resort in late June. The timing couldn’t be better!

That’s one of the benefits of indie-pubbing—being able to pick when you’ll release your novel. ECLIPSE LAKE is equal parts mystery and romance, a strong 50/50 mix of each. If you’ve visited my blog before, you’ve heard me babble about this title, but I’ll give you a run-down again anyway. 🙂

Book cover for Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair depicting a summer lake with rushes at sunset

Here’s the blurb:

Small towns hold the darkest secrets. 

Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.

But memories in small towns are bitter and long.

Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.

Sound tempting?  ECLIPSE LAKE is a story about family relationships, forgiveness and redemption played against a backdrop of mystery and romance. You can snatch a Kindle copy from Amazon now. I hope to eventually release this title in print and will be uploading it to Smashwords as soon as I venture a bit further with my learning curve.

Look for a blog tour with fun giveaways down the road. In the meantime, I invite you to hop over to Amazon and discover the mystery and romance of ECLIPSE LAKE. I’d also love if you would add it to your Goodreads list, upping its exposure. This one is PG-13 but does contain some language. Dane Carlisle is a bit of a different type of hero for me . . . and he still made me swoon 😀

Welcome Summer by Mae Clair

Today feels a bit like a holiday. It’s Friday, the end of the work week, gorgeous outside, and it’s the first day of summer!

beautiful girl enjoying the summer sun

As a kid, summer started for most of us the moment the afternoon bell rang on the last day of school. Remember the giddy exhilaration you felt as you burst through the doors and raced from the building with your friends? A glorious world awaited, full of trips to the beach, ballgames, swimming and exploring.

I’m old enough to remember when the pinnacle of summer fun included splashing through creeks, riding bikes, chasing butterflies and dancing with the wind. At night, my friends and I played hide-and-seek, told ghost stories and slept out beneath the stars.

Summer was also a time when the local Fireman’s Association sponsored a carnival in my small town setting up food tents, prize booths and an assortment of rides in the community ballpark. My friends and I couldn’t wait to clamber into the brightly-colored seats of the Ferris wheel, hoping to get stuck at the top for a bird’s eye view of everyone milling below (the adult in me shudders to remember that).

We gobbled up hot dogs, pizza, cotton candy and snow cones; spent the money our parents gave us on silly games like the dime-pitch, ring-toss, and duck pond. I remember trotting home with a goldfish in a plastic bag, a baseball-sized glass bowl, and some fish food. I’m sure my parents didn’t expect “Lucky” to last seven years, but he more than lived up to his name.

Years later, I still cherish the magic of summer, although I look at the calendar differently than I did when I was ten. Now the season starts for me with the summer equinox, the longest day of the year. In 2013, that occurs today (or did at 1:04 AM for those on the east coast of the U.S.).

When four o’clock rolls around, it won’t simply single the start of my weekend – it will also mark the beginning of a season of enchantment. Just thinking about it resurrects the same giddy sense of exhilaration I felt as a kid.

What about you? How do you plan to mark the day or celebrate your summer? Do you have any fond memories from childhood that still resonate with summertime magic?

Mae Clair’s Summer Serenade

Although summer hasn’t officially rolled up and called it a season (that will happen later this month), once the calendar inches past Labor Day, I consider it over. Maybe it goes back to childhood when returning to school ended afternoons of roaming sun-soaked fields and playing hide-and-seek well past dark. Who can forget the whimsical magic of a summer night with friends?

When I was in school, we didn’t start the new year until the day after Labor Day. To the child in me, that was the official end of summer. Game over, welcome to a reality check.

The first day of school was always one of excitement…getting to see friends I hadn’t since early June, discovering new classes, classmates and teachers. But after the initial gloss wore off, I was more than ready to return to the frolicking routine of summer’s carefree lifestyle.  

Now I see the passage of the season differently, but still mark its demise with a sense of sadness. Don’t get me wrong—I love autumn. I’m constantly telling my husband I couldn’t live anywhere that didn’t include all four seasons. I’d miss the change from one to the next (although I could do with a shorter winter). He, on the other hand, would gleefully sign up for a zip code that offered tropical temperatures 365 days a year.

As summer fades, I note how the air smells differently, underscored by the brewing musk of autumn;  how the evenings grow shorter with the smoky kiss of September, and how even a slight breeze will send a kite-tail of leaves fluttering to the ground. The flower beds and decorative pots that once cried for water have sprouted into ungainly bushes, creating vibrant bursts of color in my yard. I have to turn lights on earlier than I used to in the evening, and my Green Mountain coffee selection has morphed from Island Coconut to Pumpkin Spice.

Seasonal change. It’s here.

I’m generally a productive writer, but admit summer puts a bite into my output. There are more events to distract me–picnics, parties and outdoor gatherings. In that respect, I’m looking forward to an autumn where I can snuggle inside and let my fingertips dance across the keyboard, creating characters and stories that involve all four seasons. Yes, I love summer, but autumn brings a new and different sense of exhilaration.

What about you? Do you have a favorite time of year that coaxes you to write more often than others?

Ambush Attack!

It happens when you least expect it. In my case, it was a beautiful sunny day with a sliver of breeze and low humidity, perfect for lazily floating on a raft in the pool. Blissfully unaware that danger lurked, I reached for the gate when it happened – – zap! I still don’t know what stung me (I never saw the nasty little insectoid) but it left a marked impression as I danced around like a cartoon character, holding my hand and cursing. Ouch, ouch, ouch! My husband had the foresight to tell me to get ice on it immediately (I was too busy hissing and spitting about how badly it hurt, doing a phenomenal impersonation, I’m sure, of Tom from Tom and Jerry after he’s wailed his thumb with a sledgehammer).

The ice helped. No, I didn’t have any Benadryl on hand, so I relied on icing the thing all night, thinking that would do the trick. Stupid assumption. I woke the next morning with a thumb ballooned to twice its size and tenacious dragon-tails of heat and pain unspooling into my wrist, palm and fingers. *sigh*

I ended up calling off work and going to the doctor as I could barely bend my thumb and the whole left side of my hand was shiny and reddish-purple. The doctor told me I’d had a severe allergic reaction (um, I pretty much figured that out on my own) and that Benadryl wouldn’t have helped. Oh?

So I got a prescription for steroids with instructions to continue the icing. Came home, unwound with a movie (The Woman in Black . . . gee wasn’t I supposed to be at the office?) then slept like Rip Van Winkle. My husband found me conked out when he got home from work (the wonderful dear had checked in with me twice during the day to make sure I was okay) then let me sleep until I woke on my own about forty minutes later.

Typing this isn’t the easy, but I’m not going to let a stupid bug bite slow me down. *grumble, grumble* My thumb and the ball of my palm still look unnatural but the pain has subsided. Hopefully, the itching will soon too. That’s enough to launch me into the stratosphere if I dwell on it.

I wish I knew what ambushed me. I don’t think it was a bee as I never saw anything fly off after ‘the incident’ and I never heard any buzzing. Also, I’ve had multiple stings at one time (lovely experience trimming hedges) and, although it hurt like the dickens, I never had swelling like this.

Yes, I was ambushed. My unseen assailant probably flew off in search of fresh prey, intent on sending someone else to the doctor. Summer is a wonderful time to be outdoors but, as I’ve learned, it helps to be aware of your surroundings. The next time I reach for the gate to our pool, I’ll look twice. One ambush is enough.

Have you ever had an insectoid ambush and how did you handle it? I know I can’t be alone in this! (And no, it wasn’t a black widow spider, thank God, although it could have been a pesky arachnid).