How Many Words Does it Take to Replace a Light Bulb? by Mae Clair

bigstock-beautiful-girl-4997153I’m a lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, Central PA, to be precise.

We don’t have accents (well, unless you venture into Dutch Country), but I’ve come to realize we do use terms and phrases that sometimes leave others scratching their heads.

That was an eye-opener for me. Oh sure, I was familiar with regional accents from different parts of the country and realized that every area has colloquialisms, but I never realized I occasionally spoke in a manner that other people thought unusual. Given my professional career and my love for the written word, I have a strong vocabulary. I’ve frequently been told I express myself well, even in casual conversation. I developed a tendency for certain precise pronunciations that have become second nature. Some examples:

Either
I pronounce this word as I-ther, not E-ther which is common for my area.

Going
I pronounce this go-ing (two distinct syllables) as opposed to goin’ which is the common choice for my region.

No biggies. But when the internet opened a new world of connections, and I began working with critique partners many years ago, I learned something shocking – – some of my word choices are clearly colloquialisms. Take this sentence as an example:

The light bulb needs to be replaced.

It’s how many people would say and write it (or perhaps, “the light bulb should be replaced.”). Imagine my surprise when I realized I commonly say and write: The light bulb needs replaced.

I can’t tell you how many times critique partners have flagged me because I dropped the “to be.” I had no clue I did it, no clue that it wasn’t correct. I will still use it in character dialogue to reflect local color, but I’m on constant alert for it in prose.

Another example: When I wrote a story with a setting I identified as Riverfront, two critique partners said it should be “the riverfront.” They argued it was strange to use it as a proper name. But I grew up in an area with a location commonly referred to as Riverfront. It’s completely natural to me.

And then there is macadam. Apparently, the rest of the country considers this word the equivalent of something from a foreign language. My editor has even called me on it (we changed it to asphalt).

What about you? Are there any regional terms or phrases that occasionally slip into your writing without your awareness? I’d love to hear some examples!

Fishing for Plots by Mae Clair

Early in our marriage, my husband introduced me to flounder fishing. That attachment eventually evolved into crabbing, clamming, and a long stretch of boat ownership, but in the beginning, it was all about catching the coveted flounder.

Here’s my hubby, filleting the day’s catch at a bay front apartment we rented with his family in Maryland;

MHarbor

I’d never been fishing in my life the first time he took me out. I learned early on there were several types of fish and sea critters apt to go after the bait I dangled into the water, but not all were desirable. Those that weren’t, always got tossed back into the water.

Recently, I started thinking about fish in terms of plot. Sound crazy? Let me put it in perspective:

SeaRobin_LongIslandSound1

This is a Sea Robin
Photo courtesy of Versageek via Wikimedia Commons

JUNK FISH
When you’re fishing for flounder, just about everything else falls into the category of “junk fish.” The most common junk fish we’d hook were sea robins. These guys will never win a beauty contest. If you don’t believe me, take a gander at the gent on the left.

Sea robins look like a leftover from the Paleozoic Era, They have legs, spines that inject poison, and wing-like fins. They also croak like a frog and will complain loudly when caught.

Despite that bizarre appearance, I always thought they were intriguing. They have pretty blue eyes, an opinion not shared by my husband.

Junk plots are much the same. Pull one from your writer’s hat and you’ll quickly realize no matter how you tweak it, you can’t make it work. It might have some redeeming value (like the sea robin’s pretty blue eyes) but, in the end, all you can do is toss it back into the plot bin and fish for another.

HARD SHELL CRABS
You’d be surprised how many hard shells go after a fishing line. In the beginning, we considered them a nuisance (they make nasty work of your bait). Then we realized we could steam them and have stuffed flounder!  After that, any (legal) hard shell that wandered onto our lines was fair game. It wasn’t long before we were baiting and setting crab pots, collecting them in earnest.

Hard shell crabs are the plots that start out looking hopeless, but with polish and attention turn into gems. It takes some work to get them to that point, but when you do, they’re golden!

SAND SHARKS
These guys rarely got snagged in the bay. When they did, thankfully they were small. My husband once caught one that was about eighteen inches long. At that size, they’re utterly bewitching, gleaming tin-foil bright in the sun. 

You know this plot, right? The one that beguiles you with possibility. You’re enraptured by it, treating it like a prized jewel. Until you realize it can’t be manipulated to fit your needs. It blinds you with its beauty, but once you return to writer terra-firma, it becomes fool’s gold. Back into the plot bin it goes.

FLOUNDER
There was always a lot of excitement when we hooked a flounder. It’s why we’d spend 5-6 hours tooling around the bay, burning in the sun, maneuvering through channels and getting swamped in bigger wake.

Flounder is the ideal writer’s plot. Perfection. Oh, you might have to filet it, to make it work the way you want, but you know you’ve got a winner as soon as you hook it.

I haven’t been flounder fishing in many years, but I remember those times with extreme fondness. My husband’s mother eventually bought a place at the beach, and hubby and I spent a couple of decades going down most every weekend during the summer.

This is a picture of the family pontoon boat moored at his mom’s place in Delaware. She has since sold, and although we hung onto the boat for many years afterward, its life finally expired. Salt water is extremely hard on a boat!

PontoonTwenty years of boating results in a lot of tales–and a lot of fish, LOL. I also did a lot of plotting on this pontoon and dreamed up some wonderful stories and characters. Here’s hoping you find more flounder than sea robins when you go fishing for plots!

How do you think my comparisons stack up? Do you recognize any of these fish/plots?

A Writer’s Fiefdom by Mae Clair

What do you do when your work space is usurped? When chaos, clutter and disorder intrude upon your writer’s fiefdom?

Although I can plot, visualize, and jot story notes just about anywhere–and don’t mind working on my laptop now and again–like most authors, I have a preferred spot for writing.  When I want to buckle down, concentrate, and knock out a decent word count, I need my den and desktop computer. I want the big screen PC and the mojo that comes from a long established domain. My territory.

My den.

My husband might poke his head in occasionally, but it’s foreign territory. He has his own laptop,  workshop/shed, and thus no desire to sort through my books, notes, WIPs, and writing paraphernalia.

A perfect yin-yang balance of space.

Until last week when we decided to remodel two rooms in our house–my den and a spare bedroom. In order to start, we had to move everything (everything!) from the spare bedroom into my existing den so we could rip up the carpet. That means–Kodak moment, please–my den is now overflowing with two rooms of furniture that have been haphazardly stuffed into one. Please dwell on the word “stuffed.”

Woman in a small office

Why is this chick smiling? Doesn’t she get this is NOT how I want to work!

I have a single path that allows me to move from the door to my desk, another from the desk to the closet. Other than that, the room is an obstacle course. Bookcases, dressers, a flatscreen TV, file cabinet, two tables, a monstrosity of a desk and assorted odds-and-ends all vying for space. My fiefdom suddenly feels the size of a box.

A common question between hubby and me these days is “Where did you put the (insert name-of-thing-you-haven’t-needed-in-three -months-and-probably-won’t-for-another-six-but-it’s-now-insanely-critical-that-you-find).”

There is clutter everywhere, and it’s doing nasty things to my organizational OCD. Although my desk is routinely littered with post-it notes, purple index cards, magazine clippings, photos and colored stones (I fiddle with them when I’m stalled on a scene), there’s structural madness to my disorder. Or maybe structural disorder to my madness.

In any event, the disruption couldn’t have hit at a worse time. I’m working on galleys for TWELFTH SUN and putting a final polish on ECLIPSE LAKE before shipping it off for submission. So how am I dealing with the mess? By reminding myself that when all is said and done, I will have a brand new den and a brand new work area. I can’t wait! In the meantime, I hold a vision of the finished product like a mantra in my head as I wend my way through a labyrinth of uprooted furniture and bric-a-brac.

Have you ever had your work space disrupted? How did you handle it? Do you have a preferred place for writing? I’d love to know if I’m the only one set in my ways when it comes to my writer’s fiefdom.

Welcoming Guest Blogger Sara Jayne Townsend

I’m rolling out the red carpet for Sara Jayne Townsend who has dropped my blog today to to share a guest post.  This is a good one *rubs hands together eagerly* and I can’t wait to hear your opinions! So kick back, enjoy and check out what she has to say!

Minority Opinion?
by Sara Jayne Townsend

Sarah Townsend (45) smallLast month was Women in Horror month. For the second year running, I participated in this by running relevant posts on my blog.  Last year, I showcased women horror writers.  This year, I looked at fictional kick-ass role models of horror (specifically Buffy, Alice from ‘Resident Evil’, Ripley from ‘Alien’ and Sarah Connor from the ‘Terminator’ films).

I think this is an important cause, because we need to raise the profile of women in horror.  Women have been writing horror since Mary Shelley penned ‘Frankenstein’.  They read horror.  There are even well-respected women directing horror films.  So why, in the 21st century, is there still a pervading general opinion that women don’t ‘do’ horror?  As a woman horror writer I think about this question a lot.

I think part of the problem is the fact that the media will always encourage majority opinion.  This is most evident when the Xmas ads get rolled out.  If you buy your gifts based on the message the commercials are giving you, you’d assume that the women in your life want make-up kits and romance films, and the men in your life want computer games and science fiction films.    Not that I want to rant about this, but anyone who doesn’t know me well enough to know I’d rather have a zombie PS3 game for Xmas than a make-up kit shouldn’t be buying me a gift at all.

I have lived my life in the minority.  I’m left-handed, and the world is geared for right-handed people.  I live in a country where the two favourite pastimes are eating curry and watching football, and I don’t like either.  I am a woman who reads and writes horror.  I play video games, and D&D.  I don’t have, and have no desire to have, children, and I have little interest in clothes and shoes and hand bags.  I am not alone in any of this.  The majority of my female friends are horror and sci fi fans, and we talk with enthusiasm about the same TV shows.  We also rant collectively about the image of women in the media, and lack of decent female role models.

Things are changing, slowly (hence my recent blog posts about positive fictional female role models in the media), but there’s still a long way to go.  And if the media continues to cater to gender preconceptions, things will never change quickly enough.

But change is always slow, if constant.  There may always be fewer women writing horror than there are men, but that doesn’t make them any less relevant.   The majority opinion isn’t necessarily right – just more popular.  And there is something to be said for being part of the elite minority.  When your voice is smaller, you just have to shout louder.  Eventually people listen.

BIO:
Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror.  Her latest book, SOUL SCREAMS is a collection of short horror stories and is available in e-book and print format from Stumar Press (http://stumarpress.webs.com/soulscreams.htm).  Learn more about Sara and her writing by visiting her website (http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com) and her blog (http://sayssara.wordpress.com).
SOULSCREAMS-2

Seasons for the Senses, by Mae Clair

How difficult do you find it to write about spring when snow is on the ground? Or the festive hustle-bustle of the Christmas holiday when you’re planning a beach party? As a writer, it’s easy to dip into our imagination and resurrect a setting on which to draw no matter the time of year. I don’t need to sit poolside with the sun on my face and the scent of chlorine in the air to write about a summer swim. Most of the time it isn’t plausible to have our fictional seasons coincide with reality. If you’re like me, you probably start writing during one season and wrap your book in another.

Creatice concept image of setting sun reflected in still lake waCase in point—I put the finishing touches on my latest WIP, THE MYSTERY OF ECLIPSE LAKE this past weekend. ELICPSE takes place in early summer, yet as I wrote sun-soaked scene after sun-soaked scene, it was to the symphony of the wind howling outside. Daytime temperatures didn’t climb above the low 30s and the sky was a bleak gray canvas.  It would have been nice to hear the crickets and tree frogs I mention in my story, or smell the unique mixture of lake water and boat fuel permeating the novel’s marina. Instead, I’ve been inundated with snow.

And sleet. And freezing rain. And more freezing rain.

Writing isn’t seasonal, but it does make me realize how often I choose a particular time of year in which to frame my stories. All writers have a cache of stored work.  In looking back over mine, I favor using late spring/early summer as the preferred cornerstone for my novels. Autumn is another favorite, particularly the month of October. Bringing up the rear? You guessed it—our chilly friend winter.

As a season, winter gets a bad rap. I realize there are plenty of people who love it and, okay, it does have some intrinsic appeal. Some. Like cuddling in front of a fireplace, the glimmer of starlight on freshly fallen snow, or bundling beneath warm blankets with someone you love. Overall, I’d just as soon skip it.

Creative concept idea of Winter landscape coming out of pages inBut here’s the shocker–as much as I don’t care to experience it or write about winter, I love reading books that use it as a setting. Anyone ever read NORTHERN LIGHTS by Nora Roberts? I was enthralled by how vividly she brought the Alaskan setting to life. And I will gladly read and reread THE RINGED CASTLE by Dorothy Dunnett simply to wrap myself in the author’s phenomenal descriptions of bitterly cold Czarist Russia. A feast for the senses. In the hands of a skilled writer winter sparkles, bewitches and even comes off as something marginally tolerable. Amazing! 🙂

So what do you think of seasonal settings? Do you have a favorite for writing and/or reading? Do you find it hard to write about summer while experiencing winter or vice versa?

Off for a Visit, by Mae Clair

I’m off gbigstock-Portrait-of-the-elegant-young--13156082alivanting today. If you get a chance, please drop by the blog of Kyra Jacobs, who was gracious enough to invite me over for a chat and a short interview.

Kyra is the author of the upcoming Lyrical Press release, ARMED WITH STEELE. Her blog, Indiana Wonderer, is a delightful place to hang out. While there, I’ll be chatting about some of my favorite subjects including writing, reading and…Caleb DeCardian.

I hope you get a chance to swing by and say hello.

May your day be everything romantic and rewarding! 😀

Mae Clair, Author: The Naming of Names

I’m starting to feel the tingle of excitement that comes whenever I wind down a project and begin a new one. I have about 20 to 30K yet to go in order to finish THE MYSTERY OF ECLIPSE LAKE and then I can move into final polishing mode for submission. At the same time, I’m eying up two new projects while I continue to work on the sequel to WEATHERING ROCK.

The new projects involve a twist on the Mothman– a creature from urban legend that haunted the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the late 1960s–and a novella for an anthology I’m working on with a few friends.  I have vague ideas for both at this point, but nothing concrete. The characters have begun to take shadowy shape in my mind, including how their lives will intertwine in their respective stories. Normally, when I start a new project, creating characters is my favorite part, especially when it comes to choosing names.

bigstock-Portrait-of-a-young-fair-haire-12589124The novella has been  easy. The hero’s name is Daniel Jordan and the heroine, Rylie St. James. As soon as I came up with the names, I knew they fit the characters dancing around in my head.

The Mothman story, however, is proving difficult. My hero, Caden Flynn (Cade for short), came to life easily, but my heroine is a blur.  The names I’ve come up with are either too lofty for the type of story I want to tell or too basic. If you’re like me you feel a ‘click’ when the character fits the name, and so far that click hasn’t happened.

I’ve looked online, checked some character name lists generated from a few apps I have on my iPad Mini, and poked through a handwritten notebook I keep. I even have a ‘naming dice’ app on the iPad, but still nothing.

I think part of the problem is I haven’t decided on ‘her’ yet, so it’s hard to dream up a name. I know what drives Daniel and Rylie in the novella, and I know what motivates Caden in the Mothman story, but my elusive ‘she’ refuses to settle into a niche.  Her backstory keeps changing, the edges blurry like a watercolor painting under glass. I lob names at her and she dances away, stubbornly insisting none suit. I have to trust she knows better than I do, as I don’t have a clear vision of her. It’s as if she’s partially hidden, allowing only glimpses of herself to peek through. So, for the time being, I am tangled up in the naming of names.

I suppose it’s a good place to be, even if it is giving me a headache. A new project, no matter how difficult to get off the ground, is always cause for celebration.

What are you working on at present and how difficult do you find it to name your characters? I’m curious if everyone goes through the same melodrama as I do with my characters.

Mae Clair: You’ve Come a Long Way, Writer

I realize 2012 still has a few days remaining before it officially winds to a close, but we’re near enough to bidding it goodbye that I had to take a look back at how I’ve grown as writer and author. When I was a kid, I never appreciated the significance of New Year’s. Now, I seem to measure each passing year in milestones, and 2012 was a milestone that stood on its own.

Why? Because I went from a closet writer to an author. Sure, it’s still an uphill battle but I’m doing something I love and having a blast in the process. When I think of all I’ve accomplished, I’m astounded. And humbled.

Love letter

This is my timeline:

02/11: Submitted WEATHERING ROCK to Lyrical Press for publication consideration

02/18: Made my first blog post with much trepidation. Such a greenhorn!

02/29: Received acceptance and contract from Lyrical. Did the happy dance (okay, I needed to be peeled from the ceiling)

02/29: Joined Facebook and set up an author page. *gulp* A huge step for a life-long introvert

03/03: Joined Twitter completely clueless about what I was doing. It’s now my second favorite social media outlet after blogging.

03/25: Blundered my way through my first Six Sentence Sunday post. I thought I could only have six sentences total, post and all (don’t laugh). Good thing I made so many great SSS friends to show me the ropes.

March: At some point during this month I joined Goodreads. Clueless again but it sounded like a place I wanted to hang out. Good move on my part. 🙂

04/05: Invited to join Triberr. Muddled through the initial set-up, shrieking and pulling my hair out until I made sense of what I was doing. It is now an invaluable resource I couldn’t imagine being without.

05/11: Bravely *shaking in my shoes* wrote my first post for my publisher’s blog. Happy to report I survived.

05/29: Created and posted a book trailer for WEATHERING ROCK. Oooh, a new toy to play with. Spontaneous Snoopy dancing.

06/19: Received the Stylish Blogger Award (my first blog award) from my good friend, L.J. Kentowski. Postively giddy.

June: Finish second draft of MYTH AND MAGIC (contemporary mystery/romance) but realize I need to shuffle plot lines around. Overly theaterical Muse throws a tizzy. Thankfully, it is short-lived and we confer on a new strategy.

S

06/29: Interviewed as an author for the first time by Savannah Rayne. Moi? Nervous and excited. A no-caffeine-needed day.

07/01-07/04: New experience! My first blog hop, the Celebrating Independence Blog Hop with Drea Becraft. Had a blast and learned a lot.

07/07: I resurrect an unfinished manuscript, TWELFTH SUN (contemporary mystery/romance) and my Muse cooperates. We work well when she isn’t being a diva.

07/16: Wrote my first Mythical Monday post: Walking with Werewolves. It’s since become one of my favorite blog topics.

07/20:  My first “Wizards with Words” post (then called “Author Spotlight”) with Savannah Rayne.  My first time interviewing another author. I liked it! 🙂

08/27: Submitted TWELFTH SUN to my editor at Lyrical Press for consideration. Pins and needles time while I wait.

09/02: Start sequel to WEATHERING ROCK. Tentative title: BLUE ENCHANTMENT.

09/05:  Wizards with Words is born. My first Wizard post goes live with guest, Jennifer Lowery, discussing her Lyrical Press release, HARD CORE.

09/20: Receive and sign contract for TWELFTH SUN. I’m a two book author! 😀 Anticipated release from Lyrical Press, August 2013.

09/21: I become a tour partner for BUY THE BOOK TOURS.

09/27: Several booksellers, including Amazon, release WEATHERING ROCK earlier than expected. It’s official. I’m an author. And scrambling.

10/08: WEATHERING ROCK’s official release day arrives. Worked so hard to get here! Celebration!

10/09: My two-month WEATHERING ROCK blog tour kicks off.

10/12: My first review shows up on Amazon. Excited! Excited! Excited!

10/18: I connect with two wonderful critique partners. My writing life is starting to feel complete.

10/25: I’m invited to become a weekly contributing blogger at VENTURE GALLERIES and make my first post.

11/01:  My first BUY THE BOOK TOUR post. I love being part of the author community!

11/03: While working on BLUE ENCHANTMENT I decide to resurrect an inspirational mystery/ romance called JONAH’S PRAYER

11/06: JONAH’S PRAYER becomes THE SECRET OF ECLIPSE LAKE and the inspirational angle is dropped. Lots of changes to enhance and strengthen the story. It is now a full blown mystery/romance with emphasis on family drama. I’m jazzed! Love these characters!

12/07: WEATHERING ROCK is a Silver Finalist in the monthly Chapter One contest hosted by author, Cheryl Bradshaw. SQUEEE!

12/26-01/02:  Post Christmas Blog Tour for WEATHERING ROCK. 

What an amazing, wondrous, exhausting, wouldn’t-trade-it-for-anything trip it’s been. 2012 has been a magical year. I pray it has been every bit as enchanted for you.

bluejacketcrop2To all my wonderful new author and reader friends, long-time supporters, the folks at Lyrical Press, and everyone who lent a hand along the way…thank you for being part of my journey.

I couldn’t have done it without you!

Mae

Mae Clair’s Wizards with Words: Donna Cummings

A beam of light shines out from an open bookHello, Wizard fans. I’m super excited to have Donna Cummings on my blog today. I ‘met’ Donna several months ago when I read her novel, LORD MIDNIGHT. Since then she has proven to be a delightful writer and a great author friend. Even better, she’s just rolled out a new release called I DO…OR DIE. I’ve already downloaded it on my Kindle and can’t wait to devour it from start to finish. Donna is a master at weaving flirty romance with humor. If you want a fun, sexy read look no further. Please welcome Donna as she shares a bit about her new release.

~ooOOoo~

By Donna Cummings

I love my heroines. They are fun, and witty, and they constantly surprise me with the outrageous things they say.

Shelby Atwood, the heroine from my latest release, I Do. . .or Die, has an extra special place in my heart. She’s sassy and determined and she speaks her mind in a way that makes me laugh out loud. But what I love the most is that little bit of vulnerability she tries to keep hidden. She thinks she’s keeping people at arms’ length, but her kookiness draws them in, and before she knows it, she’s letting down her guard and embracing love wholeheartedly.

But instead of me going on and on about Shelby, and her fear of commitment, let me give you a scene where she’s having lunch with her best friend, Alexa. Shelby has been Alexa’s maid of honor for three previous weddings, but the fourth wedding was interrupted by gunfire:

“You know,” Alexa said, taking a sip of wine. “Getting shot at was the best thing that ever happened to your love life.”

“I can’t believe you just said that,” I rasped, trying to dislodge the lettuce leaf threatening to close off my throat.

She chortled, way too pleased with herself. And only Alexa could chortle without sounding ridiculous. “I’m serious. If that man hadn’t been shooting at you, you’d never have met Ryan.”

“Even if that is true, and I’m not saying it is, I’d take it all back, even the Ryan part.” I blinked back some unexpected mistiness. “I mean, you’ve got a nasty scar, thanks to me.”

“Thanks to the shooter,” she amended, giving her shoulder a gentle rub. “Besides, Jordan thinks it’s sexy.”

I coughed. Jordan probably wet his pants every time he saw the scar, reminding him just how scary guns could be.

Poor fella.

“And,” Alexa continued, “I know you don’t wish you’d never met Ryan.”

“Wellll—”

She gave me that look she always gave me when she didn’t want to say the word “bullshit” in public. It made me want to tempt her beyond endurance, so she would say it without censoring herself.

“I’m not really ready to talk about all that,” I said, truthfully.

I couldn’t stop thinking about Ryan. It was as if my brain was always looking for something I’d set down, like my car keys, and couldn’t remember where to look for them, because I’d put them in a different place than usual.

I Do or Die CoverOr like my DNA had been put in a blender and whirled around, and now I was trying to reassemble the pieces into the Shelby I was used to dealing with.

One who didn’t refer to herself as a separate entity. Yeesh.

“Besides,” I added, “we need to talk about re-doing your wedding. That’s if you still want to do it again. You have a really good out this time, one you’ve never had before.”

Alexa took a long sip of her wine. I would have worried I’d offended her, except we’d gone past that milestone too many years ago to worry about it now. It was probably that embarrassing time in seventh grade when—

She set her wineglass on the table. “I’m actually done with weddings.”

“Really?”

It came out sounding like a maniacal shriek from an opera singer who’d stubbed her toe. In the next instant, I was swamped with relief that I could actually hang up my bridesmaid dresses and retire with dignity.

“Your bridesmaid days are over,” Alexa confirmed, taking a tiny bite of her salad in that elegant way she had. “I think I’ve done it right this time.”

I took a sip—okay, it was more like a gulp—of wine.

“Really?” I managed in a more refined tone this time. Talk about an excellent wine. My voice was already back to normal. “How can you be so sure? I mean, about not getting married anymore after this?”

She probably thought I was ensuring I’d never have to go through bridesmaid dress fittings, and bridal shower preparations, and rehearsal dinners, ever again.

But what I really needed assurance about was the being, and staying, married part.

How could you really know for sure you’d made the right choice? That was what really frightened me about marriage, and commitment.

I mean, I’ve bought the perfect pair of shoes and then had second thoughts the next day when I saw an even better pair—and on sale.

There wasn’t any money-back guarantee written into the wedding vows. And husbands didn’t seem to have as liberal of a return policy as my favorite shoe store either.

Was it any wonder I broke out in a sweat at the thought of choosing to stay with somebody forever?

Blurb:
“Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” is Shelby Atwood’s personal credo. She’s managed to avoid commitment all her life – no pets, no plants, not even a long-term lease. Heck, she’s had colds last longer than her romantic relationships. How could she be any other way when she has a gigolo for a father?

But then gunfire erupts at the latest wedding she’s agreed to be in, and it ends up being the best thing to happen to Shelby’s love life. Detective Ryan Nichols is assigned to the case, and when the shootings don’t stop, he becomes her 24-hour bodyguard. Shelby wouldn’t mind except Ryan is too appealing, too sexy, and too happy to remind her of the raucous bachelorette party when she mistook him for a stripper.

Shelby’s plan is simple: find the shooter, have a fling with Ryan, and return to her non-committal life. Unfortunately, the shooter is very elusive. Shelby’s feelings for Ryan are way more than adrenaline-fueled lust. And returning to her normal life is now impossible since, despite her lifelong resistance, she’s managed to put her heart smack dab in the line of fire.

Welcome Page PhotoAuthor Bio:
I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.

I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton.

In addition to I Do. . .or Die, I have Summer Lovin’, a contemporary romantic comedy novella, and Lord Midnight, a Regency historical, currently available. My contemporary novella, Back on Track, will release from Samhain on April 2, 2013.

Look for Donna at the following haunts:
Website/blog
Twitter @BookEmDonna
Facebook
Goodreads
Pinterest

Buy links for I DO…OR DIE:
iTunes
Amazon
Kobo

Mae Clair: The Next Big Thing Reprise

So, here it is almost two full weeks since L.J. Kentowski tagged me in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop, and I’ve had the distinct honor of being tagged again by Sheri de Grom. If you don’t know Sheri, I suggest you hasten over to her blog pronto and become acquainted. Not only is she a writer and reviewer of women’s fiction, but she is also an advocate for mental health, Medicare reform and Veteran’s rights. In addition, she’s one of the most candid and giving people I’ve met online. Thank you, Sheri for the nomination.

Just to refresh everyone’s memory about the NBT hop, writers answer a series of questions related to their current WIP, then tag five other authors to join the hop. On the 28th of November, I shared information on the mystery/romance on which I’ve furiously been working called ECLIPSE LAKE. At the same time, I’m also working on the sequel to WEATHERING ROCK, Book 2 of the DeCardian Family Chronicles. Are you interested in learning more? I hope so! Here ’tis:

What is the working title of your book?
BLUE ENCHANTMENT, although that may change.

Where did the idea of the book come from?
It’s the second in a three-book series once again utilizing paranormal and romantic elements. In my debut novel WEATHERING ROCK, Winston (Wyn) DeCardian is a secondary character, but I felt he deserved his own book. I inserted a few references about his past and childhood in WEATHERING ROCK that I intend to flesh out in BLUE ENCHANTMENT. And, of course, I wanted to give him a romance with an HEA all his own. I’ve employed time-travel again, though the gap this time, is relatively small.

What genre does your book fall under?
The same as WEATHERING ROCK, paranormal / time-travel romantic suspense.

haircolors-08Which actors would you choose to play your characters in movie renditions?
Wyn is easy. I’ve always imagined him as Jim Caviezel the way Jim looked at the end of the  Count of Monte Cristo (when he was clean-shaven). Oh yeah, that’s definitely my Wyn! 😀

As for Calliope LeMay, my heroine, I don’t have anyone set in mind. The same with my villain Sol Quinlan. He’s still taking shape in my head and Callie’s looks are a bit unusual – – red hair and lavender eyes.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Wyn DeCardian meets a woman with a score to settle, who lived thirty years in the past and who may be tied to the mysterious explosion that resulted in his father’s death when he was two.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m hoping it will be picked up by Lyrical Press, the publisher for WEATHERING ROCK.

How long did it take you to finish the first draft of your project?
I’m still in the writing process right now and, at this point, am only about a quarter of the way into the story.

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
Um . . . well, I’d have to say WEATHERING ROCK since it employs many of the same elements (time-travel, romance and paranormal or fantasy elements) and some of the same characters.

Who or what inspired you to write this story?
I wanted to do something that referenced the blue-skinned people of Kentucky.  I’m known for my love of myth and legend but, the Blue People of Kentucky actually exist. Their unusual pigmentation is caused by a blood disorder first introduced by a man named Martin Fugate in the early 1800s. I can’t explain how that factors into the story but it does. From the moment I stumbled over a Yahoo newsfeed about it several years ago, I knew I wanted to implement it in a book.

Fonendoscopio y piruleta, corazón, San Valentín.What else about your book may pique readers’ interest?
For anyone who’s read WEATHERING ROCK they know that Wyn is a doctor. My heroine, Calliope LeMay is a gifted healer with magical talent. Naturally, science and magic are going to clash, right along with Wyn and Callie. Caleb and Arianna are also back for brief appearances, along with Lauren Talbot and Lucas Drake.

So there you have it—the low down on another project I have in the hopper.  Thanks again to Sheri de Grom for nominating me and now I’d like to nominate the following authors:

Cd Brennan
Calisa Rhose
Brynna Curry
Kate Meader
Tera Shanley