I’m at #StoryEmpire Today and I Hope You’ll Stop By!

As many of you know, I was invited to join the team over at Story Empire, and will now be posting there regularly (about twice a month). Happily, I scheduled several posts ahead, which is helpful while I’m still moving at a snail’s pace around here. And today, I’m beginning my Why Write Wrong? series over there, as a quick and easy way to understand frequently misused words and phrases. Hope you’ll stop by to say hi, and check out it out. I’ll be running this series on Story Empire every two or three posts, and hope it will be a helpful and fun way for folks to learn how to avoid some of these writing errors. I’ve posted a couple of these here over the years, but there are also a lot of new ones coming up. I see these things way too often lately, and I’ve been taking notes. 😀 

Hope to see you there, thanks! 

whywritewrong2

STORY EMPIRE “WHY WRITE WRONG?” POST

 

Touching Base and #Update

Some of you already know this from various posts around social media, but I am officially under “house arrest” for the next few weeks. Because I’m in a high risk group for Covid-19, due to my age, and have three additional strikes against me due to some health issues, I have been advised to stay at home. Period. I’m taking the advice very seriously. I have grandkids I’d like to see grow up, books to write, and friends to enjoy, so I’ve cancelled my local presentations until further notice, and am NOT leaving the house or yard any time soon.

Now, I’ve become more and more of a hermit over the years, even though I’m not particularly introverted. (Some would say not at all introverted.) I stay at home for days and days at a time, never going past the mailbox, and am fine with it, but it’s my own choice. Knowing I have to stay here is a whole ‘nuther kettle o’ fish. However, I’ve made up my mind that this can have benefits in addition to decreasing my risk of getting sick. If you checked out Don Massenzio’s post I shared earlier, you’ll understand what I mean.

I’m actually looking forward to some uninterrupted writing and blogging time again, as soon as I shake this cold I’ve been fighting. (I’m getting better every day, honest.) I also want to catch up with a whole bunch of things around the house and yard that have fallen by the wayside in recent months. So, I’m going to focus on my at home time as a chance to do all of the above. Naturally, I would have preferred to find a way to make that chance come about without the current wretched crisis we are all trying to cope with, but that’s out of our hands, and we just have to make the best of it.

I’m going to miss getting out to talk about Florida wildlife with audiences that have become friends to me, but many of these wonderful folks are seniors, too, and do not need to be attending events where there are mixed audiences around them. No one wants to expose another person to illness, nor be exposed themselves, so cancelling these events is the right thing to do. If you were planning to attend any of the next few, just know that we will be reassessing in a few weeks, and as soon as it’s safe, we will resume our usual schedule. 

I will also be resuming my regular blog features here in another week or so, as soon as my energy level picks up a bit more.

In the meantime, please folks–take this threat seriously and do everything you can to stay safe yourself and to avoid exposing others to this dangerous illness. When we’ve reached the other side of all this, I don’t want to discover there are any faces missing from my my circle of online friends or the audience at my next event!! (Not even MINE!! 😉 )

Stay safe, stay informed, stay WELL! And I promise to try my best to do the same. 

#GuestBlogger #New Release #MaeClair #InSearchOfMcDoogal

Good Morning, Folks! Today, I’d like to welcome Mae Clair to The Write Stuff. Mae has a brand new book out called In Search of McDoogal, and she’d like to tell you more about it. So, without further ado, take it away, Mae! 

~~~

Hi, Marcia. I’m excited to be here today! Many thanks for hosting me with the release of my Amazon 90-minute short read, In Search of McDoogal. This is a light-hearted story, themed around the hunt for a missing painting. My two main characters—Brady Conrad and Declan Fitzgerald—take a day trip to a neighboring town to track down the buyer of a painting Brady mistakenly sold. They’re on the clock because the artist is Brady’s girlfriend, and she’s returning to her gallery that evening after several days away.

As with most of my stories, my setting is fictional. When it came time to develop the small town where I set Brady and Declan loose, I wanted something that carried a coastal connotation. I chose the name Breaker’s Bay, and from there a trend was born. I decided to play with alliteration for most place names in the town. I don’t draw attention to the fact, but readers will encounter Puddlehopper’s Park, Courtney’s Corner, and the Bountiful Baker to name a few—just an extra bit of silliness to add to the predicaments Brady and Declan stumble over while trying to retrieve Vanessa’s painting.

If you enjoy a comedy of errors, set in a quirky town with oddball characters, In Search of McDoogal is right up your reading alley!

BLURB:
In search of something ugly…

All Brady Conrad wants to do is earn a few merit points with his artist girlfriend, so he volunteers to cover her gallery when she leaves town. What should be an easy day of sales goes belly up when he mistakenly sells a cherished painting.

With the clock ticking toward Vanessa’s return, Brady has less than a day to track McDoogal down. He coerces his friend Declan to tag along for moral support. How difficult can it be for an investigator and the director of a renowned institute to find a single painting in a town the size of a postage stamp?

Neither Brady nor Declan counted on a suspicious sheriff, rival baseball teams with a longstanding grudge, or a clueless kid trying to win his girlfriend with all the wrong gifts.

McDoogal is smack in the middle. But Brady’s biggest dilemma isn’t the disastrous hunt. It’s confessing to Vanessa her painting is the ugliest thing he’s ever seen.


I hope you’ll join in the fun of this road-trip-buddy-fic-comedy-of-errors. In Search of McDoogal falls into Amazon’s 90-minute short read category—perfect for an extended lunch break or quick read any time of the day or evening.

Thanks for helping me celebrate the release!

PURCHASE FROM AMAZON

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

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Website | BlogTwitterGoodreadsAll Social Media

#Update – Hangin’ in There but Movin’ Slow

Thanks so much to everyone who has sent me wishes for a speedy recovery. Unfortunately, while I’m not seriously ill, this cold is taking its own sweet time about moving on. 

Because I’m in a double-high risk group for you-know-what, I’m paying very close attention to the things I need to watch out for. I do not have a single one of the more worrisome symptoms, and I’m 99% sure I caught this bug from Mark. The good news is, he has pretty much completely recovered. The bad news is, it took about 9 days for him to feel he was totally back to normal. I seem to be following the same pattern, only about 3 days after him, which makes sense, given that he caught it first and gave it to me. (He’s so thoughtful that way. 😀 ) 

I have a regular appointment coming up soon with my family physician, but I will call to talk to her sooner if there is any worsening of my condition. So far, I’ve only seen improvement, slow though it might be. For instance, the low-grade, off and on fever seems to be gone now, knock wood, and I have had no chest congestion at all. Mine has all been sinus related, which probably indicates that my allergies kicked in, right alongside this cold. 

 

I am self-quarantined for now, because a) nobody wants to catch a cold or mild flu from me, either, and b) my resistance is likely low, and I do not want to expose myself to any other problems. Again, there’s no indication that I have anything more serious than a common cold/allergy combo, but I am moving at a snail’s pace, for sure.

Please take care of yourselves! Stay informed on what you need to do to remain well, but don’t give into the mass hysteria. This, too, shall pass! In the meantime, I’m going to remain on R&R a bit longer, until my energy level picks up again, but I will continue to update you every couple of days until I’m back.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled program!

 

 

 

Temporary Change In Posting Schedule

Just a quick heads up so you won’t wonder where I’ve disappeared to. Mark and I have both been under the weather with a bit of a cold (nothing serious, I promise!) and though he is much improved, I’m still dragging.  I’ve fallen even farther behind with things  that aren’t optional, so I’ve decided to give myself a bit of a break for a week or so with the things that are.  My regularly (mostly 🙂 ) #ShareAReviewDay, #ThorsDaySmiles, and #FirstLineFriday posts are on hold as of now and through all of next week. I do have a guest poster next week, but it’s already been scheduled, as have my upcoming posts on Story Empire, so those will run as planned. Hope you’ll tune in for each.

I’ll try to resume my normal schedule here on TWS  during the week of March 23, assuming I’m feeling much better. Will give you a heads up when it’s time to submit any reviews you’d like to share after that date. 

I may pop in with a short post here or there during this interim, if I feel well (and energetic) enough for it. And if you need to contact me, please feel free to do so. I’ll still be sitting here at my desk most of the time, trying to attend to some of the things that have fallen through the cracks as I’ve been plodding my way through this “bug.” Progress is slow and often interrupted by naps, but I’ll be able to respond either here or via email. I just don’t feel quite up to assembling any larger posts yet. Thanks so much for understanding.  

Here’s to your health! (And mine!)

Nothing like a cup of “Earl Grey, hot” to soothe what ails ye. 🙂

 

#SpringtimeTea #DeBaryHall – Reminder

Just a quick reminder for those of you the central Florida area. If you are planning to attend the springtime tea at DeBary Hall (11:00am, Saturday Feb 22), you need to contact the hall right away to make reservations. They have to know how many lunches to order from the caterers. 

Hope to see you there for a yummy lunch, custom teas, a reading & Q&A session with me, and a signed book of your choice, all included in the $25 cost. But don’t wait. The formal parlor area only seats about 20 folks, so don’t miss out.

Call 386-668-3840 and reserve your spot today!

Hope to see you there!

#Updates #BuildingALocalReadership #ScheduleChange

Just a quick post to let those in this area know that I’ve made some changes in my presentation topics. The dates are still the same, but I split one of my programs into Part 1 and Part 2, and that necessitated moving a few things around. Here is the info on the next two events I’ll be doing, followed by an updated schedule through October. 

Remember if any of you are planning to come to the springtime tea at DeBary Hall, you need to call and make reservations. The little parlor area in the mansion will only seat about 20 folks, so don’t wait too late! 🙂 I know most of you aren’t in central Florida, but for those who are, hope to see you at some of these. Thanks!

2020 EVENT SCHEDULE

CONTACT INFO:
DEBARY HALL: 386-668-3840 – 1 Tea & 5 Nature Programs
ENTERPRISE MUSEUM: 386-259-5900 – 13 Nature Programs & 1 Tea

Note: Planned topics may change. If in doubt, call ahead for updates.

*********************************************************************************************

 JANUARY
     January 11 – EM – CFFW Alligators & Crocodiles
     January 25 – EM – Book Release Open House

FEBRUARY
     February 8 – EM Furry Critters #2, PART 1: Raccoons (New 2020)
     February 22 – DH – Springtime Tea

MARCH
     March 7 – EM – Furry Critters #2, PART 2: Opossums and Armadillos
     March 28 – EM – Florida’s Fantastic Owls 

APRIL
     April 11 – DH – For Goodness Snakes!
     April 18- EM – Vultures and Crested Caracaras (New 2020)

MAY
     May 9 – DH – Furry Critters #1 – Squirrels
     May 23 – EM – Florida’s Fabulous Felines: Bobcats and Panthers (New 2020)

JUNE
     June 6 – EM – Lizards and Skinks (New 2020)
     June 13 – DH Furry Critters #2 – Raccoons (New 2020)
     June 27 – EM – Florida’s Fabulous Woodpeckers (New 2020)

JULY
     July 11 – DH – Furry Critters #2, PART 2: Opossums and Armadillos
     July 25 – EM – Furry Critters #3:  Foxes and Coyotes (New 2020)

AUGUST
     August 8 – DH – Florida’s Fantastic Owls
     August 15 – EM – Turkey and Quails (New 2020)

SEPTEMBER
     September 12 – EM – Goin’ Batty (New 2020)
     September 26 – EM – Tea

OCTOBER
     October 10 – EM – Exotics Running Wild! (New 2020)

#BuildingALocalReadership #Update #CentralFloridasFabulousWildlife #EnterpriseMuseum

Just a quick update for those of you in central Florida who might be planning to come to my wildlife presentation on Saturday. It was originally intended to focus on three more fun critters, namely raccoons, opossums, and armadillos. As I got into gathering facts and figures, I realized that I couldn’t do any of the three justice in one presentation, so “Furry Critters #2 has now been broken into a Part 1 and Part 2. This Saturday, we’ll be talking about Raccoons, and on March 7, we’ll cover Opossums and Armadillos.

Remember, the wildlife talks are all 1:00-3:00pm, no reservations required, and FREE, though donations to the museum are always needed and gratefully accepted.

Hope to see some of you there!

#GuestAuthor #Promo #Excerpt- End of Day by Mae Clair

I’m so excited to be sharing an excerpt from Mae Clair’s End of Day, the 2nd book in her fabulous Hode’s Hill series, along with her news of a fantastic sale! First, take a look at this terrific, shivery cover!

And next, here’s Mae to tell you all about what’s coming up! Mae? You’re on!

~~~

Many thanks for hosting me today, Marcia. I’m delighted to share exciting news about my Hode’s Hill series of mysteries. For the month of February, my publisher has placed all three books on sale. That’s right—all three! End of Day and Eventide are currently priced at .99c each. Later this month, you can pick up book one, Cusp of Night FREE from the 20th through the 25th.

That means you can purchase all three supernatural suspense mysteries for a total of $1.98, a hard deal to beat. Each book features dual timelines—a mystery in the past, and a mystery in the present—which tie together at the close of each novel.

Today, I want to take a closer look at book 2, End of Day.

Jillian Cley was born with empathic abilities that have made life difficult. Because the emotions of others overwhelm her, she’s created a habit of holding people at arm’s length. She works from home and keeps to herself with only Blizzard, her therapy dog, for company. Once a week, she honors a tradition that has been passed down in her family through generations­—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane. Jillian doesn’t truly understand the reasoning behind the strange obligation, but faithfully maintains the practice. Shortly before Halloween, Gabriel’s grave is dug up and his remains are stolen. At the same time, bizarre accidents begin happening to the residents of Hode’s Hill.

In the excerpt below, Detectives David Gregg and Sherre Lorquet confer about the theft.

~ooOOoo~

Leaves crunched under David’s shoes as he made his way to the rear of the cemetery. Sherre Lorquet was in the farthest corner, squatting by an open grave. A decrepit-looking hickory tree hunched over her shoulder, bowed over the tomb like a sentry in mourning. Sherre stood when she saw him, dusting her hands on her pants. The area had yet to be roped off; mounds of fresh dirt scattered in humps behind the church. Fallen hickory nuts littered the ground.

“What do you think?” She indicated the narrow ditch. “Halloween trick?”

“Could be, but we’re weeks from Hell Night.” He looked for a grave marker. “Do we know the identity of the remains?”

Sherre consulted a small notebook. “Gabriel Vane. The headstone is over here.” She walked around the edge of the pit. Unlike the tall limestone and granite markers denoting other graves, Vane’s headstone was recessed into the ground. David could barely read the lettering, but someone had tended the plot, ensuring the slab was free of mold and weeds. Drawing a small flashlight from his pocket, he flicked on the beam, then dumped light on the stone.

Gabriel Vane
1781

October 21, 1799

“That’s a hell of an old grave.”

“Could be the first in the cemetery.” Sherre hooked sleek black hair behind her ear. “The original chapel on this site was built when Hode’s Hill was a village. Why would anyone want the remains of a body that’s over two centuries old?” She tilted her head to stare up at him.

“Could be a prank, or a meth-head hoping to score off the sale of old bones. Could even be ritualist.”

“Satanic?” Sherre clicked a pen against her teeth. “Not this grave.”

David raised a brow. “Why?”

“Did you look at the depth?” She inclined her head to indicate the hole. “Eight feet or better. Not sure why a body would be buried so deep, but there are more recent graves, some as late as the early twentieth century. No need for the perp to dig so far.”

“Would our grave robbers know that?”

“You used plural.”

“Had to be more than one. Too much work for a single person. And if someone is selling bones to a museum or hoping to fetch black market price, the older the better.” He squatted, noting where the dirt and grass had been raked over by slender tines. “Looks like they covered their tracks. What about tire prints?”

“Thorton’s on it.”

David nodded, standing and dusting his hands. “Shitty day. Did you hear about Coleman?”

Most everyone who worked at the precinct was on friendly terms with their janitor. Coleman often stopped to shoot the breeze in the squad room, sometimes showing up with donuts or muffins from the local bakery. The guy had been working for the city long before David started, and had to be seventy if he was a day.

Sherre’s brow knitted. “What happened?”

“He was changing a fluorescent tube when the whole light came loose, mount and all. The thing dropped like a guillotine and sliced off his ear.”

“My God.”

“Ambulance took him to the hospital, but I guess his heart couldn’t stand the shock. I heard he died in transit.”

Sherre blanched. “That’s horrible! Poor Coleman.” She’d been close to him like everyone else. “His wife is going to be devastated.”

“Yeah.” David dropped his voice. It sucked when bad things happened to good people. “There’s a collection going around at the precinct. The place was a mess this morning when it happened.” He forced the thought aside. Cops didn’t dwell on death, especially when they had no control over it. “You notice anything unusual about Vane’s grave?”

Sherre frowned, the movement drawing attention to the beauty mark at the corner of her mouth. The tiny mole looked damn good on her coppery skin. Too bad the department had a rule about fraternizing.

“You mean other than the fact it’s got a recessed headstone and is currently nothing more than an eight-foot ditch?”

“Yeah. What you said—and it’s isolated.”

Her brows furrowed. “Huh?”

“Take a look.” David indicated where they stood in conjunction with the other tombstones. Gabriel Vane’s grave was segregated behind the church tower, the singular burial plot removed from the others.

“Shit.” Sherre’s eyes grew wide. “It’s like he was ostracized.”

~ooOOoo~

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.

UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK 

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

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Website | BlogTwitterGoodreadsAll Social Media

Cover Reveal for Grinders by C. S. Boyack

I’m happy to welcome C. S. Boyack here today with a cover reveal of his newest work, Grinders. Craig has some interesting info to share on the book, as well. This intriguing set up will surely inspire you guys to share this post far and wide! Thanks! Now, take it away, Craig!

~~~

I’m here to reveal my newest cover and talk a bit about Grinders. This time, I’m tackling a cyberpunk world. It’s one of those worlds where the Internet and being connected too much controls our lives.

One of the things I like about science fiction is the ability to project current events into the future. I call this, “Poking things with a stick.”

I poked a lot of things in this book, but most of them are in passing. Some of them show up in advertisements, which are invasive in this world. Others might just be a news blurb. There are times when I dive a bit deeper, and not everything is negative. Here is a small list of things that show up in the story:

  • Global warming
  • Plastic pollution
  • Helicopter moms
  • Cyber shut-ins
  • The energy crisis
  • New ways for package thieves to operate
  • Police who can’t carry guns until they are five-year veterans
  • Homeowner associations

There are a lot more, and most of them are pretty subtle. Cyberpunk is not known for deep plots, but I wanted one anyway.

Grinders is set about a hundred years in the future, in San Francisco. The main characters are cops assigned to the Grinder Squad. This is the duty nobody wants, and you almost have to screw up to get this assignment.

Grinders exist today, but I ramped them up for this story. These are people who surgically modify themselves, or each other, in basement surgeries, beauty salons, and tattoo parlors. Real world examples are those who implant chips under their skin to allow themselves to unlock doors or start cars without a key. There has even been one who injected dye into his eyeballs in an attempt to see in the dark. In that example, it actually worked but the results were temporary.

My story involves the downside of these modifications, why they’re illegal, and most of them are a bit more extreme than the real world versions. For example, you’ll meet Brandi, who has moth-like antennae implanted into her forehead. They aren’t just cute, they allow her to taste virtually everything. She’s almost like a bloodhound, only using the sense of taste.

Grinder Squad rarely ever does anything, but the new girl on the squad, Jimi, wants to bust a grind shop in the worst way. She feels like it could be her ticket off this crap detail and on to better duty.

One of my silly goals was to release the book in time for Chinese New Year. I’m not going to make it. I still need to finish my final pass, send it to the formatter, and get my promotional posters. It’s going to need a blurb, too.

I targeted this date because in the story, it’s the Year of the Rat. An important part of the story takes place at San Francisco’s annual parade. There are even a couple of rats in the story that play a pivotal role. Aside from that, I was born in the Year of the Rat.

Readers won’t actually care about my silly target date, and it’s more important to give everything the final polish. What I did get in time was cover art. So Gong Hei Fot Choi, everyone, and enjoy the cover. The story will be available before you know it, and I’ll announce that on my blog.

 

You Can Reach C. S. Boyack at the Links Below