A New Release, Yearly Wrap, and New Plans

2020 in bold white on starry purple background with words happy new year in smaller gradient text beneathHappy New Year and Happy 2020, my friends! It’s hard to believe we are in a brand new decade. Have you seen the 20/20 commercial with Barbara Walters and other celebrities? I get a kick out of it every time it airs.

Here’s hoping everyone had a fantastic New Year’s. It’s the one holiday my husband and I spend at home. We stopped the party thing years ago and now have a nice quiet evening topped off by a lobster tail dinner, and a champagne toast at the ball drop. It’s a tradition we’ve kept up since the year 2000. Surely, you remember Y2K, LOL.

Another tradition I have involves blogging. As many of us do, I like to look back at the previous year, plus share a glimpse of what I plan moving ahead.

2019 REVIEW

BOOK RELEASES
I started the year off by releasing End of Day,  book 2 of my Hode’s Hill Series, and I closed out the year with the release of  Eventide, book 3, on New Year’s Eve.

That’s right—Eventide is now available! Didn’t you see all that confetti drop in Times Square? Okay, so there might have been some minor thing about a ball drop, but I like to think they were all celebrating along with me 🙂 Hey, a writer can dream, right?

Joking aside, if you haven’t grabbed your copy of Eventide yet, just click the handy link I’ve shared and you can purchase it from the bookseller of your choice. Several readers have commented that this is their favorite of the series, and early reviews on BookBub, Goodreads, and Amazon are off to a great start. A huge thanks to my ARC and Net Galley readers! If you haven’t read Cusp of Night, and End of Day, no worries. Early reviewers are saying it reads fine as a standalone. I was thrilled to see that sentiment shared by so many!


Banner ad for Eventide, a mystery novel by Mae Clair, features a dilapidated old house

BlURB:
The darkness is coming . . .

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?

Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…


WRITING
In 2019, I completed a one-hour story (more on that later) and a collection of short stories. Both will appear in 2020. I also participated in NaNoWriMo with a mystery/suspense novel entitled Belladonna Cottage, and although I did manage to “win” NaNo, that book will most probably be scrapped. I made a complete mess of it—though I do intend to salvage three of the characters and possibly the setting for use in a later tale.

READING
I’ve been doing the Goodreads Reading Challenge since 2013, and this was the third year I  met my goal (more confetti). I had hoped to read 70 books but managed 89. Not all of them appear on Goodreads, but—wow!—what an excellent year of reading.

My shortest read was Voodoo or Destiny by Jan Sikes (25 pages) and my longest was The Betrayed Wife by Kevin O’Brien (544 pages). My first review of the year was Final Girls by Riley Sager, and my last review was The Whisper Man by Alex North. I’ve already got several books lined up that I hope to read in January, and I’ve signed up for the Goodreads Reading Challenge again. I’m pledging 70 books, but hoping for more. If you’d like to participate, you can sign up from your Goodreads profile. Any number is acceptable, and no amount is too small.

BLOGGING
2019 was my first year sharing book reviews on my blog, and I am so thankful I started. I can’t imagine why I didn’t before. I also introduced Wednesday Weirdness as a regular feature. At Story Empire, my colleagues and I completed our third year and passed 500 posts on Christmas Day. Many thanks to all who continue to make that blog successful for all!

2020 PLANS

Quill pen and inkwell resting on an old book with green background concept for literature, writing, author and history

BOOK RELEASES
Remember the one-hour story, I mentioned above? I plan to release In Search of McDoogal, in time for Valentine’s Day. The story is already written, edited, and formatted for ebook, with the blurb and cover ready to go. If it weren’t for Eventide, I’d probably release it now.

McDoogal is going to be released as a standalone because it doesn’t fit the theme of my short story collection. Actually, McDoogal doesn’t fit with anything I’ve written before. When I release the blurb and cover later this month, you’ll understand why. It’s a a road trip, comedy of errors, buddy tale. Yeah—me doing humor. Shocker, I know 😉

WRITING
I’ve returned to work on The Keeping Place, a straight murder-mystery novel with just a smidgen of folklore about an old shack and a derelict rail line. Not a ghoul, creepy-crawly-thing or Mothman in sight.

READING
As stated above, I’ll be doing the GR challenge in 2020 with 70 books as my goal. I am always on the lookout for good reads and am thankful to have so many talented author friends who have plenty to choose from. Keeping writing!

BLOGGING
I will be continuing Tuesday Book Reviews and Wednesday Weirdness as we move into 2020. Thursday are always open for guest bloggers and friends with new releases or special promo, so please reach out to me whenever you need a spot. I am always happy to help!
(If you’re a new follower of my blog, I’m offline each week from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening/Monday morning).

At Story Empire, we will continue to bring you helpful content for all things writing, bookish, and promo-related. We have a few new and exciting things to roll out as the year progress, so stayed tuned.

Whew! That was a lot to cover in one post. Thank you for staying with me to the end.

Are you ready to tackle 2020? I’m in and sending cheers to all! 🙂

A Personal Look Back at 2015 by Mae Clair

I normally wax poetic when the New Year rolls around, but I’m feeling too punchy for that this time. I dug into my photo files for this post (something I don’t usually do) and got a kick out of these. I hope you do, too. Don’t forget to check out the captions.

As years go, 2015 gave me some great achievements, providing a few giddy highs, but it tossed in a few low balls, too. I suppose that’s to be expected with the mix.

Of the high notes, MYTH AND MAGIC released in June, then enjoyed a brief best-seller run on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble in October. I was giddy.

Author, Mae Clair holding a copy of her novel, Eclipse Lake

Holding the first copy of the first book I ever had in print, Eclipse Lake!

ECLIPSE LAKE hit new high notes thanks to a freebie promo I ran in June that exposed me to a host of new readers. Best of all, the book stayed strong with sales months after the promo ended. I’ve run some other freebies, but none have enjoyed the success Eclipse did. I wish I could bottle and repeat whatever I did to make that one work so well.

FOOD FOR POE released in November, and despite only minimal promo from me, made a nice splash. Using my newsletter to reach readers was probably instrumental in what it did achieve. I wish I would have done better promoting Poe, but December proved to be a challenging month with commitments that kept me mostly offline.

Overall, my backlist titles (Twelfth Sun, Solstice Island, and Weathering Rock) also performed well in 2015. I think I’m finally starting to see the result of what happens when you have multiple titles available for purchase and gain loyal readers. I’m still nowhere near where I want to be as a writer, but I’ve noticed a definite uptick in sales over the previous two years. A HUGE “thank you” to everyone who made that possible. You guys rock! 🙂

Looking back at my end of year post for 2014, I set specific goals for myself to accomplish in 2015. I thought I’d share how I did:

Submit my manuscript for A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS to Kensington Publishing

Author, Mae Clair

Point Pleasant, WV 2013. My first venture Mothman hunting. How do you like the hat? It says “Mothman Search Team.”

Done, and I’m delighted to say, the book releases on April 26, 2016. Not only that, but Kensington gave me a three book contract *CARTWHEELS*

Look for a cover reveal on A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS in the next few weeks. The first in my Point Pleasant Series, Yesteryears is also my first release with Kensington’s Lyrical Underground line, an imprint devoted to the mystery/suspense genre. I’ll be bringing you the Mothman, murder, and mystery. I hope you’ll like it. 🙂

Launch a newsletter
Another item I can check off my list. My newsletter is up and running. I sent out two in 2015, and will likely do 3-4 in 2016. Thanks to a few promos and blog hops I participated in, I garnered a surprising amount of subscribers (thanks!). If you’re not a subscriber and would like to join the fun, click here to sign up. I promise not to bombard your inbox! 🙂

Hold my first book signing
Unfortunately, this one didn’t see the light of day, but not for lack of trying. I made the mistake of attempting to set this up with a chain bookstore. Although the bookstore was happy to work with me, the corporate powers of said store could not. No biggie though, because I’m already on the roster of authors slated for a book signing at my local library in April 2016. So, although it became a bit delayed, I’m finally going to get do a book signing. *happy dance*

Reading Goal
When I discovered Goodreads, and realized I could set a “books read” goal each year, I started participating. For both 2013 and 2014 I read 65 books. This year I read 77, two more than my goal of 75. Granted, there were several short novellas in the mix, but there were also plenty of 500+ page epics, so I think it balanced out. So many books and so little time! Especially, because of . . .

Learning Spanish
This one wasn’t a goal from last year, but after taking a trip to the Dominican Republic in November, I decided to learn to speak Spanish. Uh…not that I don’t have enough to do already between working full-time, blogging, writing, and being committed to book contracts with deadlines. *sigh* Sometimes I can’t help myself.

So, my reading has suffered a bit as I devote a portion of that time to nightly Spanish sessions. I’ve been using the app Duolingo along with some books I picked up. I’m also eying the Rosetta Stone, but since Duolingo has been getting the job done, I’m not ready to plunk down the $$$ Rosetta wants. If you’ve used Rosetta, I’d love to hear what you think.

Cool thing about Duolingo for anyone who might be interested—the app is free and it includes multiple languages, not just Spanish. I highly recommend it for a fun and easy learning experience. You can check out their website at https://www.duolingo.com

~ooOOoo~

Ok…New Goals for 2016: 

Author, Mae Clair

Do I look ready to set some writerly goals? Bring on 2016!

Hold my first book signing
That one is already in the works

Keep on track with the submission deadlines for my Point Pleasant Series
Fingers crossed. I’ve got some tight deadlines but I’m working my tail off to meet them.

Indie pub a novella
Since 2012 I’ve managed to pub two titles a year. I know that might not seem a lot to some, but it’s a challenge for me. As it stands, book 2 of my Point Pleasant Series is scheduled for publication in December 2016 which would give me two titles for the year, but I’d still like to indie pub a novella. Either a book of short stories, or a short tale. Just a vague idea at this point, but I’m listing it as a goal. 

Author, Mae Clair

When it comes to learning Spanish, I’m not sure the smiles will last. Those $@&* verb conjugations!

Learn more Spanish
¿Está impresionado puedo escribir esto en español?

Reading Goal
I’m going to cut myself some slack and go with 50 titles this year. If I top that, it’s all icing.

So…I’ve shared my accomplishments for 2015 and my goals for 2016 (plus, I’m out of hat pictures).

Want to share some of yours achievements and your plans for the coming year? Let’s celebrate together and bring in 2016 with an authorly/readerly/writerly bang!

Cheers, everyone!