Magical Christmas Novella: Review and Visit from the Author

Food for Poe Final 2Snow fell in well-defined flakes, delicate as lace, while I read Food for Poe, a charming Christmas novella, whose title takes on a whole new—and mischievous—meaning once the book is consumed.

The story unfolds as a blizzard engulfs the characters, embracing them in a magical tale of miracles, love, renewal, and romance. With Mae Claire‘s unique ability to weave romantic suspense with an ample serving of the fantastical, this novella makes the perfect companion for a wintry afternoon, curled up next to the fireplace, sipping on hot chocolate.

Full of the wonder of the season, it transports the reader to a place where anything is possible, even a cat capable of an extraordinary miracle.

And, now, here’s Mae, talking about inspiration and her favorite season…

Cats, Christmas, and Romance by Mae Clair

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is looming just around the corner. I have no complaints though, because Christmas is my favorite holiday. Not only do I enjoy December 25th and Christmas Eve, but I love the entire month of December. It’s like one long holiday with all the merriment, festivities, and spirit of goodwill that leads up to that very special day. I’m a Christmas sap.

So it stands to reason I’d eventually get around to writing a Christmas story.

Those who know me also know there are two things (other than writing) I’m passionate about: folklore and cats. When it came time to dream up a Christmas story, I decided to weave both elements into the tale. The result is Food for Poe, a short Christmas novella that is also a tale of sweet romance, twined with the paranormal, and even a wee smidgen of horror (just a smidge, I promise!).


When a blizzard strands Quinn Easterly at a handsome stranger’s house on Christmas Eve, she doesn’t realize her newly adopted cat, Poe, is the catalyst responsible for bringing them together.

Breck Lansing gave up on relationships after his wife, unable to cope with their daughter’s illness, left him. But the pretty blonde he rescues from a snowstorm has him rethinking his stance—especially when Quinn’s arrival coincides with a dramatic change in Sophie’s health.

Unfortunately, that change also attracts something only whispered about in folklore. Together, Quinn and Breck must defeat a sinister creature intent on claiming the ultimate payment.

Warning: A clever black cat, Christmas magic and paranormal trouble

On sale now

In celebration of the holidays, you can grab a copy for $.99 at Amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download a FREE Kindle Reading App for your PC, MAC, iPad, iPhone, Android or tablet here. Cats and Christmas. What could be better?

Merry Pre-Christmas and Happy Holidays!

About the author

Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back. Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars.

Mae ClairMae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with mystery and romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.

Discover more about Mae on her website and blog at
Sign up for Mae’s newsletter here

Find Mae at the following haunts



Twitter (@MaeClair1)

Facebook Author Page

Amazon Author Page

Kensington Books Author Page



Newsletter Sign-Up

Purchase FOOD FOR POE from Amazon

On Publishing: Tips from bestselling author Ellen Hopkins

traffick-9781442482876_hrBestselling author Ellen Hopkins joins me today, as she  travels through the webosphere on a blog tour, to offer helpful tips to writers while they navigate the road to publication.

Here’s Ellen…

  • First, please remember that the road to publication is rarely short. Often it takes years to start publishing well. Submission and rejection are both part of the process. Accept rejection and learn from it. Perseverance is crucial, and belief in yourself and your writing.
  • Start with smaller publications. Literary magazines are a great place to send poetry and short stories. Don’t expect payment here. You are building a writer’s bio, and that is priceless. Try writing articles. Even if you want to write fiction, you’ll learn to research and to finish projects under deadlines.
  • Join writers groups, especially critique groups, where you’ll have other eyes on your work. Often as writers we’re too close to our words to see when a story takes a wrong turn or that a character is flat.
  • Take classes at a local college or adult learning program. Spelling, grammar, etc. most definitely do count. An editor at a big publishing house will not look twice at a manuscript with glaring errors.
  • If you’re truly interested in writing for a living, DO NOT self-publish. While there are a few renowned exceptions to this rule, the fact is most big publishers will not pick up a self-published book and go on to publish it. Not only that, but self-publishing signals impatience on the writer’s part, something a big publisher won’t deal with. An exception to this is if your book has a definite niche within the marketplace, one you can fill on your own. For instance, a textbook for your own classroom. Marketing is the biggest issue with self-published books. And most bookstores won’t carry them.
  • Once a book length manuscript is ready to go, go to writers’ conferences where you can meet editors and agents face to face to discuss your work. Often, they will critique manuscripts at conferences, and this is the best possible feedback, not to mention a great connection. Much better than submitting to the “slushpile” (just mailing it off and waiting to see what happens, along with those thousands of other manuscripts in the slushpile). And today many publishers don’t accept over-the-transom submissions.

Check out Ellen’s most recent work

The sequel to Tricks, her latest book follows five teenage victims of sex trafficking — from all walks of life and gender orientations — as they try to extricate themselves from their current situations and find a new way of life.

In her bestselling novel, Tricks, Ellen Hopkins introduced us to five memorable characters tackling these enormous questions: Eden, the preacher’s daughter who turns tricks in Vegas and is helped into a child prostitution rescue; Seth, the gay farm boy disowned by his father who finds himself without money or resources other than his own body; Whitney, the privileged kid coaxed into the life by a pimp and whose dreams are ruined in a heroin haze; Ginger, who runs away from home with her girlfriend and is arrested for soliciting an undercover cop; and Cody, whose gambling habit forces him into the life, but who is shot and left for dead.

And now, in Traffick, these five are faced with the toughest question of all: Is there a way out? How these five teenagers face the aftermath of their decisions and experiences is the soul of this story that exposes the dark, ferocious underbelly of the child trafficking trade. Heart wrenching and hopeful, Traffick takes us on five separate but intertwined journeys through the painful challenges of recovery, rehabilitation, and renewal to forgiveness and love. All the way home.

Goodreads | IndieBound | B&N | Amazon | Powell’s |BAM |S&S

About the author

authorPhoto-e1315801199400Ellen Hopkins is a poet, freelance writer, and the award-winning author of twenty nonfiction titles and five NY Times Bestselling novels-in-verse. She has published hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from aviation to child abuse to winegrowing.

Ellen mentors other writers through her position as a regional adviser for the Nevada chapter of the Society of ChildrenÕs Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

She is a regular speaker at schools; book festivals and writers conferences across the US, and now throughout the world.

Find her on the Web

Goodreads | Website | Twitter |Facebook | Pinterest | Tumblr

IMG_1297 (2) tour bannerContinue on Ellen’s tour

November 13thHeather Harlen – Top 5 or 10 List

November 13thAlec John Belle – Review

November 13thConfessions of a Kid-lit Lover – Review

November 13thMelissa Martin’s Reading List – Review / Interview

November 13thThe Phantom Paragrapher – Review

November 13thTeen Librarian Toolbox – Review / Interview

November 13thMiranda’s Book Blog – Guest Post


Top 10 Places in Literature that Will Trigger Your Wanderlust


Begin the weekend with a selection of literary travels from author Cindy Fazzi. After reading her posting, you’ll be planning your next trip…

Originally posted on Cindy Fazzi:

Duomo-CindyFazziPic The Duomo in Florence, which is mentioned in “A Room with a View.” (Photo by Vincent Fazzi)

One of the reasons I read novels is to escape to another place. Good books transport me to cities and countries I can only dream of visiting. Even when a story is sad or downright depressing, a memorable depiction of a locale can still trigger my wanderlust. And when I do get a chance to see some of those places, I feel twice as lucky.

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Halloween Tour: A week of stories and treats

Blood Stitches-highresEvery year on Halloween, the god of the Mayan underworld holds a demonic ball. Many attend; not everyone survives…

So begins my novella Blood Stitches–a story about magical knitting, fantastical creatures, sacrifice, and forgiveness–and to celebrate Halloween-when the story unfolds–the gang from Blood Stitches is going on a week-long tour, complete with spooky stories and prizes.

Scroll down to view the complete tour schedule, and I hope to see you during one of the stops–be sure to enter the giveaway (see below).

Reviews for Blood Stitches

“What a charming and delightful knitting fiction book… This book is refreshingly different in so many ways… The characters are interesting, with believable dialogue and and interesting plot. Great entertainment read. ” Read the rest here.

“Both technically and thematically, this short work was refreshing…. The main setting of the story was fun, as the characters travel to a fantastical underground… The plot was solid, the characters were interesting and quirky, and I really enjoyed the premise of magical knitting.” Read the rest here.


A Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour stops

You can also find the schedule here (a huge thank-you to NK Author Services for organizing the tour!).

10/25-Ebooks Galore– Spooky Short
10/25-Booklover Sue-Spooky Short
10/25-A Little Bit of R&R-Spooky Short
10/26-Wicked Women Book Blog-Spooky Short
10/26-Author Sandra Love-Spooky Short
10/26-Ebook Addicts
10/27-Eskimo Princess– Spooky Short
10/27-Midnight Angel Book Heaven
10/27-Spreading the Word
10/28-LBM Book Blog
10/28-Sapphyria’s Steamy Reads
10/28-Literature Litehouse
10/29-Dreamer Talks Books
10/29-Anything But Vanilla Books
10/29-Carly’s Cozy Corner
10/30-A Bit Bookish
10/30-Danielle’s Domain
10/30-We Read With A Glass of Wine
10/31-My Reading Reality-Spooky Short
10/31-Indy Book Fairy
10/31-One Book Boyfriend At A Time


Leaving Lake Emma

lake_emma_sunset 010We left Lake Emma for the final time as homeowners under a gray sky, swollen with rain. Memories trailed behind us, mingling with falling leaves–a collage of years fused onto amber, pink, and burgundy tree bouquets. Sun pricked through the clouds and illuminated a cluster of yellow leaves, an autumn lantern, lit from within, fragile and temporary.

We arrived at Lake Emma on a similar day almost fifteen years ago, and settled into its rustic ways… Or rather Lake Emma settled into us.

Brilliant fall colors exploded like Vegas showgirls next to their Puritan evergreen cousins. And on that first night, the sun slipped along the horizon as a huge flaming ball, leaving behind pink cloud islands floating in the sky. A soft duskiness draped itself around us and never left, filling us with a quiet peacefulness, the solitude of Michigan’s remote inland lakes.

Through Lake Emma, I learned the seasons of the north woods. Spring brought fiddleheads, crouching low, readying themselves for their summer performance when they sprang into ferns, a musical collaboration with nature. Turkey vultures, like a coven of witches, hunched over roadkill or perched on treetops, observing passersby.

Loons dominated summer nights with their eerie call, and during a paddle up the Ocqueoc River—Lake Emma is its headwaters–clouds of ebony jewelwing damselflies erupted from beneath a cedar. KayakThe moment carved itself into my memory as the jewelwings—every bit as beautiful as their name—fluttered around me, creatures from a fairy tale, ethereal and illusive.

Doubletracks snaked into dark woods, and thick weeds, like sea-serpent tentacles, reached out from Lake E’s murky depths. Bears lumbered across dirt roads, and a bobcat, carrying a rodent, once bounded in front of me as I biked along.

Chalk-fronted corporals—a type of dragonfly–gathered on our sandy driveway by the dozens. They seemed to join me when I jogged, rising up next to me, like combat pilots, and fighting off deerflies—the nemesis of Lake Emma. Lake EmmaWinter occasionally snowed us in, leaving us forgotten by the outside world, and we’d ski along the roads, as if cars had never existed.

It’s the place where I rediscovered Jane Austen, reading Emma, appropriately enough, as the red pines shimmied with the wind and sunlight danced on the knotty pine walls. Lost between pages, only Ms. Austen as company, the day passed and shadows lengthened, keeping me embraced in Lake E’s perfect silence.

I might have left Lake Emma, but it will never leave me.

Places we love, like the people we’ve loved–to borrow from Proverbs 3:3–are bound around our necks, written on the tablets of our hearts. Their presence, even when we aren’t fully aware of it, influence our lives in countless ways.

SunsetKayakLake Emma resides deep inside me—a cloud of ebony jewelwings, forever fused to my soul.

Swag on the cheap!


I just had to share this very clever (and thrifty!) marketing idea…

Originally posted on Megan Morgan:

Last week I made a post about how darn broke I am. When you’re broke, you learn how to make do and find clever ways to be resourceful. That being said, I’d like to share one of my resourceful triumphs with you!

A couple weeks ago I learned about a sale Shutterfly was having–I follow blogs that offer freebies, samples, and coupon codes for various services/products, which was how I heard about it. Shutterfly is a photo printing service and I’d never used them before. However, I had a code to get 99 4×6 prints for free, all I had to pay was shipping (which was less than five bucks). I wasn’t sure how my book covers would translate to 4×6 photos, but I figured it was five bucks, I would give it a shot. So I uploaded all my book covers and had some made of each. They…

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When Monsters Became Real: Guest post from author Mae Clair

After reading two of Mae Clair‘s novels, I can honestly say that she’s quickly becoming my go-to author for romantic suspense (read my reviews here and here) with her touches of lyricism and ability to intertwine the perfect blend of the mysterious and paranormal into her writing. So I’m very happy to have her guest posting today…

Here’s Mae:

Myth And Magic-highresThe Spooky House

There’s one in every neighborhood. When I was a kid, the spooky house was two doors down, part of the urban tree-lined street where my family made their home. A brooding three-story structure of gray stone with a sprawling covered front porch, white columns, and side bump-outs, it oozed mystery. The adults might have been oblivious, but all the neighborhood kids knew it was haunted.

My friends and I were convinced a coven of witches met there, and that if you ventured too close to the sides where the shadows were thickest, you’d be sucked up into a coffin tucked under the eaves. No one would ever know, because an evil twin, capable of fooling everyone, would take your place.

The house also had a ghost who lived on the second floor. We knew this because the south facing room had a trio of beautiful stained glass windows and that was the perfect place for a ghost to languish.  Our phantom was female. She was a melancholy soul who’d been separated from her true love and imprisoned by the witches because they were jealous. She spent her time listening to an old-fashioned music box, weeping for her lost love, and looking romantically tragic in a flowing white dress.

Yes, it was silly, but those images stayed with me for a long time, particularly the woman in the flowing white gown. In Myth and Magic it isn’t a house that is rumored to be haunted, but an isolated lodge frequented by corporate employees. When one of them sees a ghostly apparition “in a flowing white gown,” it’s the start of a sequence of bizarre events that have guests checking out before they can check in. Enter my hero, Caith Breckwood, a private investigator, who has a turbulent history with the lodge’s manager, Veronica Kent. It certainly doesn’t help that Caith’s family owns the lodge, or that he’s been estranged from them for years due to a tragedy that occurred in the past.

I you like myth, mystery, and romance, I hope you’ll give Myth and Magic a looksee.

It’s presently on sale for just $.99 through 11/14 and is set during Halloween—perfect for this time of year

I’d also love to know if there were any “spooky houses” in your neighborhood—past or present!



Veronica Kent fell in love with Caith Breckwood when they were children. As a teenager, she was certain he was the man she was destined to marry. But a traumatic event from Caith’s past led him to fear a future together. He left Veronica, hoping to save her from a terrible fate. Twelve years later, Caith, now a P.I., is hired to investigate bizarre incidents at the secluded retreat Veronica manages. Returning to his hometown, Caith is forced to face his nightmares—and his feelings for the woman he’s always loved.


After the callous way Caith broke her heart, Veronica isn’t thrilled to see him again. But strange occurrences have taken a dangerous toll on business at Stone Willow Lodge. Forced to work together, Veronica discovers it isn’t ghostly apparitions that frighten her, but her passion for a man she has never forgotten. Or forgiven. Can two people with a tarnished past unearth a magical future?

Buy Myth and Magic… Just $.99 through 11/4/2015


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Kensington Publishing


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Mae ClairAbout the author

Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back.  Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars.

Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with mystery and romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:



Twitter (@MaeClair1)


Facebook Author Page

Amazon Author Page

Kensington Books Author Page