Cover Reveal: The Bench by Susan Koenig

My friend, Susan Koenig, will soon be releasing a work of short fiction and poetry. I’m happy to participate in her cover reveal for THE BENCH. Wouldn’t you love to be relaxing in this gorgeous setting? Looking at the cover transports me to another place!


Using in a unique style of storytelling that sets the tone for the book, the first entry tells a bench’s 60 year history in six stanzas of 100 words each.

For the imaginative reader who loves words and appreciates variety, The Bench includes something for everyone whether you’re seeking the powerfully evocative, the unabashedly strange or simply wish to be entertained.

Take a break on a bench, a bus, or anyplace. Relax. Ignite your senses.

You never know whom you’ll meet.

A man might enthrall you with his life story or a thoroughly modern vampire might regale you with his stand up comedy routine.

Cast your eyes to the garden and explore the magical colours of love between a flower and a butterfly.

Better yet, tune into the person standing just outside your peripheral vision reciting poetry and concentrate, you may hear the lingering strands of the last dance, or a symphony in words.

Original, concisely woven storytelling, that at the end allows your mind to conjure up its own images, interpretations and conclusions.  

I wish to thank all the writers I’ve met online for fueling my addiction.

Susan Koenig started writing fiction when she retired from a boring government job in 2009.

She is an occasional poet and has been featured in a local online literary magazine. Sue is a regular contributor to a monthly Haiku site as well as a consistent participant on a writing challenge which weekly tests her creativity.

In 2012 Sue published a short story, Nineteen Hundred, the prequel to her current novel in progress, The Soul Collector’s Second Chance.

Sue’s home is Southwestern Ontario, Canada, where, when not writing, she and her camera take junkets to explore new ideas for incorporation into her writing.


Watch for upcoming release of THE BENCH on March 1, 2014! In the meantime, you can connect with Susan Koenig at her blog haunt, SassySpeaks

The Wonderful Team Member Readership Award, by Mae Clair

wonderful-team-memberIt’s blog award time, thanks to my wonderful friend and fellow blogger, Sheri de Grom!

Sheri recently honored me with the Wonderful Team Membership Reader Award. If you’re a regular follower of my blog, you’ve no doubt heard me mention Sheri before. We ventured into the blogosphere about the same time and quickly became  friends and supporters of each other.

Sheri blogs about women’s fiction and government and medical issues, in addition to working on what is certain to be a compelling novel, NOT THE MAN I MARRIED.  She’s super friendly and a great supporter of other bloggers so check her out corner of the world here, and linger a while under her bridge.

The Wonderful Team Membership Reader Award was one I was not previously familiar with, but it definitely deserves a round of fanfare. The title says it all. As bloggers, we rely on those who support our efforts with each post, taking their time to comment on the musings we toss into the virtual universe. I am so grateful for the friends I have made through blogging, and really do appreciate everyone who visits and comments on From the Pen of Mae Clair.

So to all my fantastic Pen Pals—I am grateful to each of you and wish to acknowledge you with this post. I am happy to nominate the following for the Wonderful Team Membership Reader Award:

L. J. Kentowski
Donna Cummings
Emma Meade
Jessi Gage
Cd Brennan
Calisa Rhose
Stanalei Fletcher
Debbie Peterson
Joanne Wadsworth
Laura Lee Nutt
Venice Kennedy
Susan Koenig

And, of course, a huge thanks to Sheri de Grom.

There are many other friends out there who support me through Twitter, Facebook, blogging and reviews, and I thank you all. This list is but a few. I am truly grateful for your friendship and support. You guys rock! 😀

Mae Clair: Liking the Liebster

Last week, I had the pleasure of being nominated for the Liebster Award by the wonderful Jessi Gage. Jessi has recently released a fantasy romance called WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER that I highly recommend. I’ve fallen in love with her hunky hero, Darcy, a 16th Century Scot who comes to the aid of a 21st Century pregnant museum worker when she’s transported to his era. Visit Jessi’s blog to learn more about her and her delightful novel. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

liebster-awardSo how does the Liebster Award work?  Here are the rules:
Thank the person who nominated you (thank you, Jessi!).
Post eleven random facts about yourself.
Answer eleven questions asked by the person who nominated you.
Think of a new set of eleven questions and nominate eleven others to answer them.

My eleven random facts:
1. I love gypsy-style clothing
2. My nickname in high school was “Starchild”
3. I have a bizarre fear of bears
4. I am madly in love with the character of Aloysius Pendergast, created by authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

From a party a few years ago (my hair was a lot shorter). That's my aunt with me. I can always count on her to be a dancing partner!
From a party a few years ago (my hair was a lot shorter). That’s my aunt with me. I can always count on her to be a dancing partner!

5. Someday I would like to buy a Jaguar (the car, not the animal!)
6. I prefer small gatherings to large parties
7. I can’t whistle
8. I love to be outside when it’s warm and windy
9. I’ve always loved vegetables, even as a kid
10. I am an avowed ‘cat person’
11. I love, l-o-v-e, LOVE to dance!

Jessi’s eleven questions:
1. Who was your idol growing up?
I had several…Michael Landon, Paul McCartney, David Soul, David Hedison and David Cassidy. Hmm…guess I liked a lot of Davids! 🙂

2. Who motivates you to be the best you can be?
My husband. I’m good at motivating myself most of the time, but when I hit a wall, he’s the one who helps me over it.

3. What’s your favorite morning ritual?
Coffee!  It used to be tea until hubby and I discovered Keurig.


My office. Decorated with balloons and bags of chips!

4. Fudge or salty snacks?
Salty. I’m addicted to chips. Several years ago on my birthday, my staff at work filled my office with small bags of Middleswarth chips. They were everywhere–on my desk, my file cabinet, the bookshelves, windowsills. Needless to say, my chip addiction is well known 🙂

5. Beer or wine?
Wine, but it has to be dry.

6. What’s the biggest challenge you face as a blogger?
Making time. I love to blog and rarely lack for content/ideas. It’s just squeezing the hours from a day that is usually overflowing to begin with.

7. What’s your favorite season?
It used to be spring, but I find myself leaning more toward summer these days.

8. Where do you go to get away from stress and regroup?
I don’t necessarily have a place as much as a mindset. I like to read or work on a WIP. In warm weather, I love relaxing on my back porch and deck.

9. If you’re a writer, how many books do you aim to write per year? Are you making your goal?
Two books per year. So far so good, but it’s hard with juggling a full-time job.

10. Who’s on your ereader right now?

11. If you look out the window right now, what do you see?
A large white cross. It’s on the church in a field behind my house.

My 11 questions for my nominees:
1. What was your favorite book as a child?
2. What famous person from history do you admire most?
3. If you could have a superpower, which would you choose?
4. Who is your favorite fairytale character and why?
5. When it comes to movies, what is your favorite genre?
6. Who was your teenage celebrity crush?
7. Would you describe yourself as an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between?
8. What was your favorite subject in school?
9. What is your favorite board game?
10. What is your favorite form of social media?
11. Would you rather spend a lazy day at a secluded beach soaking up the sun, or a day in a tourist town that offers numerous attractions?

From the 'Starchild' senior year of high school, LOL!

From the ‘Starchild’…my senior year of high school, LOL!

And my nominees are:
1. Donna Cummings
2. L.J. Kentowski
3. Loni Flowers
4. Sheri de Grom
5. Lorraine Paton
6. Calisa Rhose
7. Susan Koenig
8. Emma Meade
9. Mackenzie Crowne
10. Debbie Peterson
11. Renita Pizzitola

I’m looking forward to seeing your facts and answers, ladies! Thanks again to Jessi Gage for the nomination. I enjoyed participating. This was a lot of fun! 😀

Mae Clair: I’m MIA

It’s Six Sentence Sunday and I’m off gallivanting at the beach for the day, but I have some exciting news to share: I just signed a contract with my publisher, Lyrical Press for my latest novel, TWELFTH SUN.

SQUEEE! I’ll definitely be doing a blog post about it next week, LOL!.

And I will be back in the SSS swing of things next Sunday. In the meantime, may I suggest these writers who always do a fantastic job in making me eager to check their Six snippets each week:

Angela Quarles
Carrie Crain
Christine Warner
Donna Cummings
JM Stewart
Karen Michelle Nutt
Kate Meader
Kate Warren
L.J. Kentowski
Loni Flowers
M. L. Falconer
Maryellen Brady
Susan Koenig
Stephanie Ingram
Veronica Scott

Enjoy all the great reads!

I invite you back tomorrow for a Mythical Monday post. Keeping in the spirit of the beach, it’s flavored with a distinctive hint of salt-water. 🙂

Mae Clair: The Lovely Blogger Award

The wonderfully prolific Kitt Crescendo recently nominated me for the One Lovely Blogger award. If you’re not familiar with Kitt’s blog theinnerwildkat you need to hop over and start reading pronto. She’s brilliantly creative and always delivers a thought-provoking post. Thanks for the nomination, Kitt!

So how does this particular award work? Well, to start I’m supposed to share seven random tidbits about moi. Yes I realize the anticipation is tantamount to a lunar shuttle launch, but try to restrain yourself while I collect my thoughts. 😉

Ready?  Here goes:

  1. I’ve always been a romantically idealistic dreamer. You never expected that, right? In high school I was known as “the Starchild.”
  2. I am addicted to most anything related to Sherlock Holmes, especially the BBC series SHERLOCK, and Robert Downey Jr.’s brilliant portrayal of my favorite detective. I’m currently suffering from Benedict Cumberbatch withdrawal.
  3. I love disaster movies and plague movies. They’re a guilty pleasure. The strange part is I tend to think they fall flat once the disaster happens. I love the spine-tingling string of circumstances and discoveries that lead to the ‘event,’ but not so much the aftermath.
  4. I was collecting anime and manga before most people knew what it was, and have a pristine collection.  Hmmm…must throw some of that stuff on eBay.
  5. I am in love with Aloysius Pendergast. My world will come to a screeching grinding halt on December 11, 2012, when Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child release the next book in their series. Time must/will stand still until I can devour it. 
  6. I love warm windy days and stormy skies, especially together.
  7. As a teen, I volunteered for the Red Cross and held multiple medical certifications.

Now for the Rules of Participation:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
    Thanks, again, Kitt!
  2. List seven random things about yourself.
    Done! Riveting facts above.
  3. Nominate fifteen other awesome bloggers.
    Wow, fifteen is a lot, but here are my nominees for those of who’d like to participate: 

Alicia Coleman
Angela Quarles
Calisa Rhose
Christine Warner
Donna Cummings
Jessi Gage
JM Stewart
Karen Michelle Nutt
Kate Meader
Kate Warren
Maryellen Brady
Renita Pizzitola
Stanalei Fletcher
Susan Koenig
Veronica Scott

Okay, ladies ~ spill the beans on your blogs. What would you like to share about yourself? 😀

A Beachy Six Sentence Sunday

Hello, fellow sixers!  I’m going to miss doing the usual rounds today. I’m driving home from the beach early and plan on unwinding and unpacking when I hit the homestead. I’ll be back at SSS again next week. In the meantime, hope you have a great round of Sunday reads without me. May I suggest some of my fave sixer friends at the following haunts:

Angela Quarles
Donna Cummings
JM Stewart
L.J. Kentowski
Loni Flowers
Lorraine Paton
M.L. Falconer
Susan Koenig
Stephanie Ingram

Author Spotlight: Susan Koenig

Today I’m welcoming Susan Koenig to my blog. Sue has just indie-published her short novella, NINETEEN HUNDRED, a story set on the cusp of the century.  Welcome, Sue. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

Sue: Mae, thank you so much for inviting me. As a first time author, interviews are a new experience, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to talk about Kathryn and Gideon. Especially Gideon. 😀

When I retired in 2009, I became involved with groups on the ‘net, at first to learn more about photography, then to blog and, finally, to write. Somehow I gravitated to the writers and started to blog several times a week, then met more people and it snowballed.  In the fall of 2010 I signed up for writing classes with the continuing studies branch of the local university. At the time my main characters were a very emotionally disturbed husband and wife who I had great plans for. Alas, Gideon entered my life and the couple faded into distant memory.

Let’s take a look at your book blurb for NINETEEN HUNDRED:


The right love, the wrong time.

December 31, 1899. At a dinner hosted by her landlady to celebrate the new century, Kathryn St. Clair meets sophisticated and handsome Gideon Thomas. He is a new lodger at the boarding house where she has settled since arriving in the city for a teaching position. His air of mystery speaks to her romantic imagination. Later, over a game of Whist, they pay more attention to each other than to the cards on the table. Her honesty reaches out to him; her rare innocence touches his dark soul.

Together, they visit several city amusements. But when, in her naiveté, Kathyrn demands explanations for Gideon’s irrational comings-and-goings, wondering if he is a gentleman after all, his secrets forbid him from answering. He fears the truth would throw her into madness, and that her intelligence would not allow for his reality.

If they don’t conquer their conflicting natures, their new love will die, leaving Gideon to live with the bitter consequences of his misconceptions.


Your story begins on New Year’s Eve 1899. As someone who loves a glimpse into yesteryear, I’m curious why you chose the turn of the century for your backdrop. We tend to think of any new year as an opportunity for a fresh beginning and, certainly, a new century would be loaded with possibilities. Your heroine, Kathryn St. Clair, has taken steps to move forward in her life by accepting a teaching position in a city away from home. She’s led a sheltered life and, in essence, is ‘starting new.’ Did you choose the turn of the century to symbolize the fresh outlook on her life, or am I reading too much into the setting?
Sue: I didn’t deliberately choose the turn of the century. My character, Gideon, was born in 1830, died and started to work for the devil, Mr. D, in 1860. In an earlier WIP a friend asked what I referred to when she read “The last time ended badly.” He never said another word about that ever again. I never intended to explain that line but that’s what writing classes can do. Hence working backward, I arrived at 1900. You are, and you are not, reading too much into it. I didn’t know Kathryn well when I started the story and, yes it did turn out that way: a new life and the possibilities of a new century.

Kathryn is a breath of fresh air. Innocent and naïve and, in some respects, the proverbial country mouse transplanted to the city.  But she’s also very black-and-white in her belief structure of right and wrong. Did you find her a hard character to write?

Sue: Mae, you continue to amaze me with your insights. She was easy to write.  I let her speak to me in different situations and I realized she would need strong opinions regarding right and wrong. Without giving anything away, her morality is an integral facet of her character.

Let’s talk about Gideon Thomas. When I create a character, I often dream up a complicated back story for him or her that doesn’t necessarily make its way into my novel. It does, however, give me an understanding of what motivates my character’s actions.  I got the impression you did this with Gideon. Would that be a fair statement?

Sue: Gideon and I have been living together for about two years.  Yes he has a back story not referred to in NINETEEN HUNDRED.  In fact, NINETEEN HUNDRED is the back story for my new WIP, AN ORDINARY COUPLE, which continues Gideon’s story today.

Gideon is attracted by Kathryn’s innocence which is understandable for a man with a secret in his past. Your tag line for the novella is “The right love, the wrong time.” I find that extremely clever, especially given the story doesn’t end with the closing page. You obviously have more to tell. Was that your intent when you began writing NINETEEN HUNDRED?

Sue: My intent? Lord knows. I was simply explaining his comment. As I got to know Kathryn better I realized they were a good fit. But I also had to explain the comment. And, remembering the era I placed them in, it was obvious they could not be together. He made a reverse faux pas, if you will, in that he kept to the culture and mores of the times when he shouldn’t have. I was going to call the book Faux Pas but realized that is an awful title for a book *laugh*

The dialogue of the early century was courtly, even elegant. Did you find it hard to switch gears and settle into those speech patterns?

Sue: In AN ORDINARY COUPLE he retains his formal speech pattern. First of all, it’s a readily identifiable characteristic, and anyway he’s 182 years old so he speaks like he was taught as a child.

I know you did a fair amount of research while writing this book. Given your knowledge of that time, is there anything in particular you wish would not have changed and would still be the same today?

Sue: Nothing comes to mind.

We’ve learned about NINETEEN HUNDRED. Let’s learn about Sue. Plotter or pantser?

Sue: I think it’s clear I’m a pantster — I didn’t even know the term until fairly recently. I write. At some point when I know I need structure, I do a mini plot line. Lately, friends of Gideon have been visiting and, even though I created them last year, we haven’t spoken much. So I just write and they tell me their story. When I decide to incorporate them into a new WIP, I may have to plot it out.

Aside from writing and reading, what’s your favorite thing to do when you have free time on your hands?

Sue: Love the cinema, not the theatre (unlike Gideon), photography, visiting with friends and during the summer hanging out at the pool. *shows off tanned arms*

Lovely. 🙂 You’ve written a story about the past, so let’s pretend you could spin back the hands of time and drop in for a visit on any event in history. What would it be?

Sue: I don’t know about a specific event, but I have always been fascinated by the 20s. I belong to a peer learning group and my first course was Fashion in the 20s. In school I wanted to be a fashion designer. I was so disappointed when I asked an aunt what it was like during the 20s, and she said, boring! The other historical time that intrigues me is during WWII and the French Resistance

Well, thank you very much for the interview, Sue. Do you have any parting thoughts before we close?

Sue: Yes, for one thing, I know some people aren’t keen to read devil stories, but like vampires, they’re often used as a vehicle to deliver a message. Also, as my characters in AN ORDINARY COUPLE learn, it pays to take a risk. And lastly, thank you again for having me. I’ve learned so much from my writer friends. Writers are the busiest and most supportive group I‘ve ever met.

Susan’s bio:
Susan Koenig started writing fiction when she retired in 2009. It now has become almost an addiction, fueled by the amazing writers she has met online. Writing became a vehicle for meeting new and interesting people who she never would have met otherwise. Their support, encouragement and knowledge further induced her into discovering many writing avenues. As a result, her stories continue to evolve. Sue’s characters are a constant source of companionship and they all hope to make it into one of her (published) stories some day.

She is an occasional poet and regular contributor to a monthly Haiku site, as well as a consistent participant on the blog challenge, Blogophilia, which weekly tests her creativity. Her poetry has been featured in a local online literary magazine.

Her home is Southwestern Ontario, Canada, where, when not writing, she and her camera take junkets to explore new inspirations for incorporation into her writing.

Gideon’s story will continue in the near future.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Susan Koenig, you can find her at the following haunts:

Blog:  SassySpeaks

NINETEEN HUNDRED is available in e-book format through and Smashwords and can be purchased here: