Tag Archives: Mae Clair

Historical Fiction

My husband reads lots of nonfiction, especially history and biographies.  I, on the other hand, love a book with a historical background, but I prefer fiction.  I want a plot, a story, with a sense of a time period.

Right now, I’m reading the second book in Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby series, MORTAL ARTS.  Set in Scotland in 1830, it’s a mystery–a little on the dark side–with the feeling of English lords and ladies with a bit of Gothic thrown in.  I’m a fan.

I recently read Mae Clair’s END OF DAY, with a present day mystery linked to a heinous event that happened during the founding of Hode’s Hill in 1799.  The chapters from the past added depth and gravity to a curse that’s released when Gabriel Vane’s remains are stolen from the town’s old church yard.  Those scenes from the past were vivid and emotional.

Another author I return to with every new book she writes is my friend Julia Donner/ M.L. Rigdon.  I love her Regency romances.  They take me back to my love of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen.  But she’s started a new historical Western romance series, and I love those books every bit as much.

That’s why I’m happy to share that the first book in her Westward Bound series, AVENUE TO HEAVEN, is available now on a Goodreads giveaway.  100 lucky winners will receive an e-book copy of her book.  Here’s the link:  https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway?sort=recently_listed&tab=recently_listed.  And here’s a tiny tease about her book:

Mary Lou's Avenur to Heaven twitter post

Hope you have a great week and Happy Writing!

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October writing

In case anyone here was following my mystery, A Baker’s Dozen, written chapter by chapter on my webpage, I put up the last chapter today.

Next week, I want to start writing an experimental story a week to put up.  I like to read C. S. Boyack’s blog, and he’s posting a story once a week for October on his blog.  He’s a darned good writer.  So you might want to check them out.    https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/macabre-macaroni/

Teri Polen is doing a special October blog, too, Bad Moon Rising, interviewing authors about the supernatural and paranormal.   And yes, ouija boards scare me.  https://teripolen.com/2018/10/03/badmoonrising-cusp-of-night-by-mae-clair-supernatural-suspense/   If you scroll down, you’ll see more authors’ answers, including Staci Troilo’s.

But a while ago, Craig (C. S. Boyack) wrote a blog for Story Empire about writing out of your comfort zone, and he asked what authors would write if they decided to let their fingers wander out of their usual writing zone.  https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2018/08/31/friday-group-post-questing-beasts/

I put down short stories I’d like to try:  an alternate history, magic realism (if I can ever nail what I really think it is–but I have an idea), something creepy, and the genre I almost ALWAYS fail at–horror.  I’d like to write the scariest, baddest short story I’ve ever written.  Which might still be too upbeat, knowing me.  Aargh!

Anyway, I hope you have a perfectly wonderful time writing this month.  And if black cats and witches wander onto your pages, so much the better:)

 

Book Cover Reveal

I’m so lucky, because I get to share in the joy of Mae Clair’s book cover reveal.  END OF DAY is the second book in her Hode’s Hill series.  I read the first book, CUSP OF NIGHT, and loved it.  The blurb for this one sounds even eerier.  Here’s the cover:

EndofDay_Mae Clair's cover reveal Sept. 10

Awesome, isn’t it?  And here’s the blurb:

Release Date: January 15, 2019
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Supernatural Thriller
Publisher:  Kensington Publishing • Lyrical Underground Imprint

BLURB:
The past is never truly buried…

Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is it a Halloween prank? Or something more sinister?

As the descendants of those buried in the church yard begin to experience bizarre “accidents,” Jillian tries to uncover the cause. Deeply empathic, she does not make friends easily, or lightly. But to fend off the terror taking over her town, she must join forces with artist Dante DeLuca, whose sensitivity to the spirit world has been both a blessing and a curse. The two soon realize Jillian’s murky family history is entwined in a tragic legacy tracing back to the founding of Hode’s Hill. In order to set matters right, an ancient wrong must be avenged…or Jillian, Dante, and everyone in town will forever be at the mercy of a vengeful spirit.

End of Day can be read as a stand alone novel or as a follow-up to book one of the Hode’s Hill series, Cusp of Night.

End of Day is available for pre-order through this link
and available to add to your Goodreads to-be-read list here.

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon | BookBub | Newsletter Sign-Up  
Website & Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | All Social Media

Bio Box for Mae Clair--Sept. 10

 

 

 

Let’s Talk Recipes

My friend and fellow Kensington author, Mae Clair, guested on Esme Salon recently.  She wrote a fun post about the ingredients needed to write a good book and her recipe for a dynamite tortellini salad.  (Well, sort of a recipe…maybe…I copied and pasted it in case you want to give it a try:)  You can find the entire post here:  https://esmesalon.com/guest-post-cooks-books-and-suspense/  And just in case you can’t wait to get in the kitchen, here’s the recipe:

Mae Clair’s No-Fail Tortellini Salad

  1. Mix a healthy dose of delusions with 1 cup of vigorous pep-talk.
  2. Remind yourself you’ve created complex characters and plots. How difficult can an oven/stove thingie be?
  3. Ignore spouse who reminds you about the “infamous cake fiasco” that resulted in one overly large, hockey puck-like biscotti. Apparently, there is a legitimate reason a box cake mix calls for water. Who knew?
  4. Settle for making a simple appetizer and breathe a sigh of relief.
  5. Ignore husband when he comments the last appetizer you made should have been killed before it multiplied.
  6. Blow the dust off cookbooks and search for an appetizer recipe.
  7. Turn deaf ear to the husband who suggests you have yet to outgrow the adult supervision stage.
  8. Decide you’d rather spend your time writing than crushing tortilla chips and slicing up fat black olives. Celebrate with a glass of wine.
  9. Head for your nearest gourmet deli and clean them out of tortellini salad.
  10. For the highly skilled (I wouldn’t suggest something this complex on the first try): place tortellini salad in a festive bowl and pass off as your own. Blank expressions and stammering rarely work when someone asks for the recipe. The best you can hope for is a diversion. Fainting usually does the trick

Now Mae’s recipe was obviously tongue-in-cheek, but for my new mystery series, my editor asked me to include two recipes for the first book.  I have more recipes than any file folder can hold, but I always worry about how much I have to tinker with them to make them mine.  I love puttering in the kitchen, but my two sisters have never met a stove/thingie they like.  Even if I do the cooking, they don’t like it when I get too “chefy.”  So, I was curious how other authors who write “food” mysteries handled the cooking and recipes.  To find out, I’ve been reading a lot of them.

I just finished The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis.  Clever, huh?  Davis combines cooking, characters, the mystery, and more twists and turns than San Francisco’s Lombard Street.  It was the first book in her Diva series, and I plan to buy more.  I was relieved to see that she included only two recipes at the back of the book, but she DID include lots of Martha Stewart type entertaining and decorating tips.  I got hooked on food mysteries when I first discovered Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldy Bear’s catering novels.  When Goldy catered an event, Davidson included most or all of the recipes.  Shirley Jump–who used to live in my city and was a gracious hostess for writing get-togethers–wrote a series of Sweet and Savory romances, starting with The Bride Wore Chocolate, where she shared a witty recipe at the end of every chapter.  (She said she gained weight testing them all).

Anyway, this is my question.  When a writer includes recipes in a novel, have any of you tried them out?  How many recipes do you expect at the end of a book?  Can a writer include too many?  Do you prefer simple recipes to complicated ones?

For now, I’ve moved on to reading No Cats Allowed, a Cat in the Stacks mystery by Miranda James.  Cats and librarians.  How can you beat that?

Whatever you’re reading now, I hope you enjoy it.  And happy writing!

 

Fiend Fest

Today, I’d like to welcome Mae Clair as my guest.  I read Mae’s blog every week and enjoy it.  I’ve read a good share of her writing, too.  She writes paranormal suspense with a mix of eerie happenings and strong characters.  Her novel, CUSP OF NIGHT, came out June 12th.  I bought it and, for me, it was a five-star read.  I’ll let her tell you about it:

Thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog today! I’ve been making the rounds with my newest release Cusp of Night. This is a book that blends past and present in a mystery/suspense theme, laced with paranormal elements. I’ve set the story in a fictional river town called Hode’s Hill. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, a devil-like creature terrorized the town and committed several horrific murders. The beast was never caught, but the legend remained.

Each June, Hode’s Hill holds an annual Fiend Fest to commemorate the legend. Filled with music, food vendors, arts and crafts, there is even a “Fiend” costume contest for anyone who wishes to compete.

My main character, Maya Sinclair, has recently moved to the town to accept a job as a reference librarian. She attends the Fiend Fest with her friend Ivy, then on the walk home witnesses an assault on Leland Hode—one of the town’s leading citizens—by someone (or some “thing”) that resembles the Fiend.

I brought along a short excerpt that takes place the day after the attack. In this scene, Maya shares what she saw with Ivy:

~ooOOoo~

 

Once situated at the table in the breakfast area, Maya relayed what happened on her walk home.

 

Ivy’s eyes grew rounder with each detail. “Wow,” she said once Maya had finished. “Maybe Leland has a mistress. What else would he be doing in an alley?”

 

Maya hadn’t considered that. “I’m worried about him. He passed out before the ambulance got there. And you didn’t see the creature. It was huge.”

 

“Probably a leftover from the festival.”

 

“That’s what Detective Gregg thought.” Maya still wasn’t certain. “Either that, or someone taking advantage of the festival as cover.”

 

“You don’t sound convinced.”

 

Scary shadow on a vintage brick wall in a dark, gritty and wet C

 

How could she explain without sounding like an idiot? “It’s just that…” Dropping her gaze, she cupped her glass between her hands and conjured a mental image of the previous night. The nest of shadows in the alley, Leland slumped against the building like a discarded ragdoll, the dark form beside him swelling in size. “It seemed too big to be human.”

 

Ivy blew out a breath. “What are you saying? That you saw the Fiend?” A look of incredulity crossed her face. “We’re not going to see you on one of those Bigfoot reality shows, are we?”

 

Maya laughed. “I’m not that crazy.” She swiped her thumb over the glass, collecting condensation. “But something attacked Leland.”

 

“You mean someone.” Ivy leaned forward and rested her forearms on the table, her expression a blend of common sense and concern. “Leland has a lot of enemies. I’m more worried about you. Whoever was in the alley…did they get a good look at you?”

 

“Oh.” Maya flinched, sensing where Ivy was headed. “I…I don’t know. But why should that matter? I couldn’t ID the person. They were in a costume, if I’m to believe you and Detective Gregg.” The thought of someone wanting to silence her made her uneasy, but the alternative was worse—that the thing she’d seen truly was a nightmarish creature of lore. For her own sanity, she needed to learn more about the Fiend of Hode’s Hill. Not just rumors and myth, or even the oft-repeated urban legend, but actual accounts. Something had attacked Charlotte Hode and several others at the turn of the century. There had to be newspaper reports.

 

~ooOOoo~

 

I hope that little snippet sparks some interest! The story switches back and forth with Maya’s story in the present, and that of a 19th Century spiritualist named Lucinda Glass in the past. Eventually, both converge at the end. Perhaps the blurb explains better:

 

Cusp_AvailableNow--Mae's

BLURB

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

 

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house–a woman whose ghost may still linger.

 

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

 

PURCHASE HERE

 

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Newsletter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Other Social Links

mae author box

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not all about the writing

If you’ve read my blog much, you know that I’m a sucker for writers who can mesmerize me  with their use of language.  I’ve said it before, but Theodore Sturgeon’s The Silken-Swift (a short story in his anthology E Pluribus Unicorn) still stuns me with its lyrical beauty.  I reread it off and on just to remember how beautiful words can be–  (available here: http://www.baen.com/Chapters/9781625791177/9781625791177___2.htm).  Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen feel poetic to me when I read them because of their what-feels-simple-but-isn’t, visual, almost magical quality.  Elizabeth George’s mysteries…well, what can I say?  I idolize her writing.  It makes me work, it has so much depth, so many layers.  She’s NEVER a fast read for me.  I savor her.

All that said, to my shame, I’ve discovered that I can be had with almost any magic and abandon, even if the writing’s just passable.  Sometimes, I just want something FUN.  If word repetition and misplaced commas are only occasional, I go with the characters and the story.  I’m reading The Crystal by Sandra Cox right now and absolutely enjoying it.  Yes, once in a while, commas are in the wrong place.  Do I care?  For about half a second.  I’m too busy trying to keep up with all of the characters’ shenanigans.  And there’s MAGIC.  Kathy Palm would be proud of me.  Her book series, which someday I’ll gladly announce and promote because she belongs to my writers’ club and she’s read us chapters that are AWESOME, is a fantasy series.  She loves magic, but I might love it just as much.  My magic taste runs to fun and games, though, like When Demons Walk by Patricia Briggs and Firelight by Kristen Callihan.  And Sandra Cox delivers plenty of fun.  There’s a crystal ball–that was bespelled–by a fairy.  Gabby Bell buys it before Christopher Saint can steal it, and the mayhem begins.  (I found this book on Mae Clair’s blog:  https://maeclair.net/blog/).   I’d read three romances in a row–all good–but I was ready for something fun and frivolous.  And so far, this book is really delivering.  The writing is solid–(no, it’s not up to Elizabeth George, but neither am I).  The star of the book is the STORY.

Every once in a while, I get so absorbed in word choice, plot, and pacing that I forget to just have fun with my characters.  Yes, every book needs a BIG question that drives the story. It needs tension and pacing.  But some books, every once in a while, have a SPARK.  And that spark can make me stay up past midnight and risk turning into a pumpkin to see what happens next.  It’s just plain FUN.  And inbetween serious books, romances with angst, and characters buried under problems, a little fun is sometimes welcome.  Can’t wait to finish this book!

The Crystal, by Sandra Cox:  https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Cox/e/B002BM3AKC/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1483562143&sr=1-2-ent

By the way, I put up chapter 3 of VERDANTA on my webpage if you like nymphs, sprites, and mortals.  http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JudiLynnwrites/

Twitter:  @judypost

Writing: Fishing for Ideas with Mae Clair

When I first started writing, I had more ideas than I knew what to do with.  The thing I discovered, though, is that not all ideas are created equal.  Some can carry a short story, some die if you try to write more than 10,000 words, and some sag under the weight of a novel.   My friend, Mae Clair, wrote a witty blog post about which plot ideas to keep and which to toss back.  Mae’s suspense novel came out on Tuesday, and I’m halfway through reading it.  Thank goodness she heard the legend of the Mothman and used that as an idea for a mystery–more than enough heft to support an absorbing plot line.  I’m loving it!   So, here’s Mae to help us decide which ideas are keepers.  And happy fishing!

pontoon

Fishing for Plots by Mae Clair

 

Hello and many thanks to Judith for inviting me to be a guest on her blog! I’ve come equipped with a writing topic today that relates to various types of plots.

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.

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

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 are never going to win a beauty contest. They’re prehistoric-looking with legs, spines that inject poison, and wing-like fins. They also croak like a frog and will complain loudly when caught. I always thought they had 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 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 they were (thankfully) on the small side. My husband once caught one that was about eighteen inches. When they’re that size, they bedazzle, flashing bright silver in the sun. Very pretty.

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-firm, 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 work it 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 now, but I remember those times with extreme fondness. Twenty years of boating results in a lot of tale—and a lot of fish!

Here’s hoping you find more flounder than sea robins when you go fishing for plots. How do you think my comparisons stack up?

While you’re considering, I hope you’ll take a look at my newest book, A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, a mystery/suspense novel combining history, urban legend and fiction.

athousandyesteryears_hires

Here’s a look at the blurb:

A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS

 

Behind a legend lies the truth…

 

As a child, Eve Parrish lost her father and her best friend, Maggie Flynn, in a tragic bridge collapse. Fifteen years later, she returns to Point Pleasant to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. Though much has changed about the once thriving river community, the ghost of tragedy still weighs heavily on the town, as do rumors and sightings of the Mothman, a local legend. When Eve uncovers startling information about her aunt’s death, that legend is in danger of becoming all too real…

 

Caden Flynn is one of the few lucky survivors of the bridge collapse, but blames himself for coercing his younger sister out that night. He’s carried that guilt for fifteen years, unaware of darker currents haunting the town. It isn’t long before Eve’s arrival unravels an old secret—one that places her and Caden in the crosshairs of a deadly killer…

 

A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS is available from:

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Thousand-Yesteryears-Point-Pleasant-ebook/dp/B0138NHJ4A

B & N
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-thousand-yesteryears-mae-clair/1122454905?ean=9781601837776

Kobo
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/a-thousand-yesteryears

Google Play
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Mae_Clair_A_Thousand_Yesteryears?id=kY9KCgAAQBAJ&hl=en

iTunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-thousand-yesteryears/id1050516745?mt=11

Kensington Publishing
http://www.ekensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/32298

Mae Clair

 

Author Bio:

Mae Clair has been chasing myth, monsters and folklore through research and reading since she was a child. In 2013 and 2015, she journeyed to West Virginia to learn more about the legendary Mothman, a creature who factors into her latest release.

Mae pens tales of mystery and suspense with a touch of romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and numbers cats, history and exploring old graveyards among her passions. Look for Mae on her website at MaeClair.net where you can sign-up for her newsletter.

 

Connect with Mae Clair at the following haunts:
Website
Blog
Twitter (@MaeClair1)
Google+
Facebook Author Page
Amazon Author Page
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