ECLIPSE LAKE by Mae Clair, Blog Tour Continues

Tour banner for Eclipse Lake, a novel by Mae Clair, depicts a serene lake settingI’m winding down to my last two blog stops for ECLIPSE LAKE in February. I have to say I’m glad to see this month end. Not because of hopping around the blogosphere, which I always enjoy, but because of the horridly cold temps in my neck of the woods. I live in the northeastern U.S. which has been hit with ongoing blasts of arctic air.

As someone dubbed a “tropical fish” by my husband, I don’t do well in cold weather. I’m hoping March will usher in something a shade warmer…like in the 20’s at least! 🙂

Anyway, grab something warm to drink and pop around to visit my two latest blog stops if you get the chance. Today, I’ll be at Jane Reads and LibriAmoriMiei. Hope to see you there…and don’t forget to enter my Giveaway for a $20.00 gift card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice). The tour will continue  with more stops through March 25th!

The Idea Storm, by Mae Clair

Recently, I was in my family room, comfy on the couch and plugging away on my current WIP courtesy of my laptop, when I realized something spectacular was happening outside. The weather had been unusually hot that day and, as often happens during spring and summer, pop-up thunderstorms rolled into the area. The counties to the south and west of me were under severe weather watches, but since my area wasn’t in the main thoroughfare of atmospheric upheaval, I hadn’t been paying much attention to the sky.

Until a low rumble of thunder drew my attention out the patio door.

A moment before, the sky had been blue and clear. Now, it was a canvas of brooding charcoal and dark blue. Even as I watched, a swiftly moving front swallowed what little clear sky remained, drawing a distinctive line on the horizon. I hurried upstairs for my camera and managed to snap a few shots before the rain started. The force of the storm arrived within seconds, a barrage of thunder, lightning and wind. It was too hard to concentrate on my WIP, so I powered down my laptop and conceded to the weather.

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This is looking from my back porch to the right of my rear yard. Notice the line of white near the horizon. That’s clear sky. Only moments before the entire sky had been that clear!

The force and suddenness of that storm still catches me by surprise.

As writers, ideas are much the same for us. How often have you been happily immersed in your latest WIP only to be blindsided by an idea from left field? And not just any idea, but an idea storm. Like unsettled weather, these come on suddenly and are charged with pent-up energy, waiting to explode into a fresh story. The idea storm demands attention, but for all its ferocity it’s also beguiling. Flashy and spontaneous, it takes a supreme contest of wills to resist.

I love the turbulence of a creative front and the rush of inspiration it unleashes in me. Unfortunately, idea storms often burst onto the scene when I’m already committed to another writing project. Sound familiar?

Like many authors, I try to set my idea storms aside, jotting a few notes with the promise I’ll reward myself with them later. Sometimes when I return they’re not as magical as they originally seemed. The luster has faded. Other times, they prove to be just what I needed and I take off on a tangent, inspired. My recently completed mystery/romance, ECLIPSE LAKE was much like that.

For the most part I still set the tumult of an idea storm aside, returning when I complete my current project. That’s the disciplined writer in me, a trait I worked long and hard to master. But there are occasions – oh, so many — when I want to fly and soar with the storm. I’m currently fighting two of those now (as if one wasn’t enough), but so far I’ve resisted the spell they’ve woven.

What about you? How do you handle an idea storm when you’re already committed and immersed in another WIP? Do you set it aside or do you try to work on both simultaneously?

The Magic of Betwixt

Enchantment lingers in transitional periods, those fleeting moments when time hangs suspended before hurtling forward into definitive change.  I’ve always been fascinated and inspired by those passages.  Not sure what I mean? Here are some of my favorites:

Twilight.
The first tentative rays of dawn.
The transition between seasons.
The arrival of a storm front.
The sliver of time between 11:59 and midnight.
New Year’s Eve at midnight.
The awe-inspiring cusp of a century. Remember how you felt on New Year’s Eve 1999?

As far back as childhood, betwixt moments have conjured a sense of wonder in me.  

For the most part, I’m a disciplined writer. Over the years I’ve trained myself to sit down and begin story-crafting with minimal effort. Let a transitional element wash over me, however, and the need for discipline vanishes. Creativity unfurls in its rawest form and my muse, bless her fanciful little soul, starts spinning out ideas like shooting stars. I feel connected, acutely aware of the ephemeral passage of time.  Creatively awake.

Perhaps that’s why transitional periods resonate so strongly. They transport me back to those days when technique had little to do with writing. When it was all about snagging the tail of a comet and hitching a ride to a brooding mansion, a magical forest, an underwater labyrinth, or a forgotten graveyard. To this day I feel that familiar rush at twilight, or when the weather turns warm and windy, the sky black with storm clouds. The thought of New Year’s Eve is sheer magic, and the sound of a clock striking midnight, every bit as enchanting as a fairy-tale spell.

What about you? What are the moments that inspire your creativity to blaze out of the ordinary?  I’d love to hear about them!

Weather ‘Tis Better

I’m a geeky girl about a lot of things, and weather is one of them. We’re a month away from summer which is prime thunderstorm season.  I love the change in the atmosphere right before a storm when the sky grows black, the wind blows through like an angry zephyr, and the leaves bend belly-up to the heavens.  

A few weeks ago I was visiting my mother when she mentioned how much electrical storms frighten her. Then she casually told me when I was a child, I used to sit on the front porch with my father to watch as storms rolled in.

I did?

Oh yes, she assured me.  The rest of the family would be tucked safely inside the house, but my father would take me outside until the weather grew too severe to linger.  I’d forgotten how much he loved that, and was saddened to realize it had slipped from my memory. It all came tumbling back in a rush like someone flipping a light switch. The sprawling front porch, sitting side by side, listening to the thunder, watching the lightning. How bizarre this should be a father/daughter bonding element, but he loved storms and taught me to appreciate them (with a healthy dose of respect for the danger).

Today, weather patterns have grown erratic, often becoming violent.  Tornados were a rare occurrence in my area when I was a kid. Now they spin closer each summer. I’ve even been caught on the fringe of one and don’t think I will ever forget the way the sky looked at that moment, or the unnerving blackness that followed. I know many of you have experienced tornadoes and other weather events first hand.

Do changes in the weather influence the way you write or feel?  I often find myself moved to bursts of creativity during those transition periods.

As we head into storm season, stay safe everyone!