Thursday, June 26, 2014

5 Fun Fact about Author Mae Clair

Today I'm thrilled to have author Mae Clair featured on my blog! She's here to share Five Fun Facts about herself, her book and her writing! And, if you scroll down, you can read a tantalizing excerpt of her brand new book, Eclipse Lake!
Book Cover

FUN FACT #1: About Mae
Most people don’t know I cut my writing teeth in the fantasy genre. I’ve never published any of it, but I have several completed manuscripts including a trilogy.  I’ve also written sci-fi, horror, western, speculative, magical realism, and—of course—romantic mysteries.

FUN FACT #2: About Eclipse Lake
I named the fictional town in my book “Onyx” after my cat who I lost to cancer in 2012. Just a little tip of the hat to the writing buddy who was always at my side when I worked on a story. I’m not quite ready for another cat, but soon.

FUN FACT #3: About one of the characters
Initially, my hero’s seventeen-year-old son, Jesse, was slated for a small part, but he had other ideas. He had a much stronger voice than I anticipated, and his role became critical to the plot. Jesse wasn’t content taking a backseat while the action happened around him. I’m really pleased with the way his part evolved.

FUN FACT #4: About Mae's Writing Process
Like many authors who work full-time, I squeeze in writing where I can, but I also have a set schedule of writing five to six hours every Sunday. Whether I feel creative or not, I’m pretty faithful in logging that time. 

FUN FACT #5: About Mae's next book!


Small towns hold the darkest secrets.

Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.

But memories in small towns are bitter and long.

Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.


And, add ECLIPSE LAKE to your Goodreads TBR!


Ellie stopped walking and turned to face him. “Why are you here?”

Dane picked up a flat stone. With a flick of his wrist he sent it skimming across the lake. It danced effortlessly across the surface as if he’d done the same thing a thousand times before. “You know that skeleton they found?”

She nodded.

“I’ve got more skeletons than a graveyard. I can’t pick up and go to another place…to the next photo shoot.” He turned to face her. “Half of my life is here and half’s on the west coast. I have to make them fit together.”

The revelation reminded her of the family she’d left behind in Idaho, reawakening a familiar tug of homesickness. In an effort to find more comfortable ground, she changed topics. “You told me you’re from San Diego. I did a photo op there four years ago. What do you do for a living?”

“I get by.” He took her hand and started walking again.

She sent a speculative glance in his direction, recognizing evasiveness when she heard it. He was wearing a Rolex, and though dressed casually, clearly had expensive taste. Yet he’d booked an ordinary cabin rather than one of the exclusive chalets higher up the mountain.

She liked the feel of his fingers around hers, warm and firm. The contact sent a pleasant tingle up her arm. What the hell was wrong with her, getting caught up in his touch as if it were magic? As if she’d waited her whole life for that sensation. He had skeletons in his past, a brother who couldn’t stand the sight of him and a sheriff who wanted to run him out of town. Eccentric, or just plain trouble?


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.

Discover more about Mae on her website and blog at

Twitter (@MaeClair1)


Oh, Mae, I'm sorry about your cat! I have two of the little guys living with me, but it is my sister's cat, now gone too, who I make a nod to in my upcoming novella. I love that we, as writers, can honor our furry companions like this. 

Who else loves cats? 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

5 Fun Facts about Author Donna Cummings

Today I'm excited to have author Donna Cummings featured on my blog! She's here to share Five Fun Facts about herself, her book and her writing! And, if you scroll down, you can read an action-packed excerpt from her book I Do...or Die!


FUN FACT #1 about author Donna Cummings

FUN FACT #2 (about Your Book): One day I was thinking about the various bridesmaid dresses I'd had when I was younger, and next thing I know this character started chattering about all the dresses SHE had (lots more than mine!) So I started typing, and those notes became the first scene of I Do. . . or Die. To my huge surprise, that scene ended with gunfire! So I thought, "You know, I've always wanted to try writing a mystery. . ."

FUN FACT #3 (about one of your characters): Shelby, the heroine, the one who had all the bridesmaid dresses -- well, she was constantly springing surprises on me. When I was doing a little revision on the opening paragraphs, she threw in this part about why she hated weddings: "Having a gigolo for a father might have contributed something to that philosophy. Who really knows for sure?" What?! I didn't know that! Give a girl some warning. :)

FUN FACT #4 (about your writing process): My process is messy and uncontrollable, and some days it feels like I'm watching a bunch of very funny people auditioning to be in a sitcom. It can be challenging to corral all the ideas and characters into something that resembles an actual story. I love drafting, and can do that very quickly. Revising and editing are harder since it requires me to be very critical of the story I've just created -- and then I worry I'll take out everything and end up with nothing more than the original sitcom auditions. LOL The editing stage seems to take forever, so my brain starts popping up with new story ideas--and it's tempting to follow those instead of patiently whipping the original story into shape!

FUN FACT #5 (about your next book): There are a few stories that are jostling to be the next book. Hmm. I'll just close my eyes and pick one at random. Okay, I had the TITLE of this book, Driving Miss Crazy, before I had the story. Slade, the hero, is the brother of the hero in I Do. . . or Die, and he's in only one scene. I hadn't really thought of him being his own hero, but he's got this charming way about him, and it's hard to say no. Which the heroine finds out when he jumps into her convertible one day, acting as if he knows her, and then convinces her to drive him to his own car-- two states away. They're a very fun couple, with lots of banter (my favorite thing!), and turns out I'd always wanted to do a road-trip book. . .


Book Cover for I Do...or Die


EXCERPT from I Do...Or Die

Before I could even scream, Detective Nichols threw himself at me, covering me with his body.

His strong, warm, protective, masculine body.

Glass particles sprinkled over us, glittering in the disappearing sunlight. The hole in the window amplified the sound of a car racing around the corner, tires screeching as it made its getaway.

I hardly had time to register that information before another thought rushed to the front of my mind. It wasn’t likely someone was trying to shoot him. In front of my apartment.

So that meant the gunfire I’d experienced that day—twice that day—

“Jesus! They are shooting at me!”

I popped up so I could see what was going on, and promptly had my head shoved back down.

“Shelby, stay down!”

He muttered something about people who didn’t have enough sense to keep their fool heads from being blown off. And it sounded like he might have been debating whether to let it happen, but then he couldn’t go on his vacation because of all the paperwork he’d have to deal with.

Not to mention my single brain cell spattered all over his car interior.

“I don’t think they followed us, but the shot came from back there,” Detective Nichols said, half to himself, twisting in the seat while keeping his body lowered over mine.

“Where? I can’t really see.”

My face was embarrassingly close to a certain portion of his anatomy. A part that was well worth investigating, but this wasn’t really the time, or the place. Although I was definitely developing an interest.

And it was clear that his interest was well, um, it was developing too.



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. 
The lovely Donna Cummings

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. 

I can usually be found on Twitter, talking about writing and coffee, and on Facebook, talking about coffee and writing. 




Alas, I have had very few meetings with celebrities, and certainly no photos with Fabio! I do love it when my gin and tonic talks to me, though. That's always a good night. ;)  

So I'm curious--have you been photographed with anyone famous?  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What I Love about Small Town Settings

Morning Lake, the setting for a contemporary romance series, is a small town in Alberta. Here are why I love this small town setting:

  • I grew up in small town Alberta, so it is a happy place for me. Although Morning Lake isn't really like my hometown, I love the sense of community. I've tried to recreate that feeling of being rooted and more connected to neighbors and fellow-townsfolk... All imbued with a sense of history and place.  Maybe that's just me.  It could be that I never really tried set down roots in the cities where I lived, but small towns just *feel* different to me.
  • Everyone knows everyone else (or so it seems). That way, the characters get a chance to interact with characters from earlier books in the series in a natural way, and some characters get cameo roles in all the books. It is fun to build the community and see how everyone gets along, or not... 
  • In small towns, you can't escape your past or your mistakes. Secrets don't always last that long. (See my last point.) What could be better for a writer? It is a built in opportunity for tension and conflict.
  • Cowboys. Sure, there are people in Calgary who wear cowboy boots and hats (even when it isn't Stampede), but most cowboys live in the country and frequent small towns. Yay! 

Do you like stories set in small towns? If so, what do you like best?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Seven Random Facts about Lorraine Paton

On Friday, my wonderful writing friend Mae Clair tagged me in with a Very Inspiring Blogger award. Mae and I met through Six Sentence Sunday, and have been friends ever since! She's been busy writing and publishing wonderful paranormal romances, which you should really check out!

Thank you, Mae!

By accepting, I am required to: 
  • Link back to the person who nominated me for the award.
  • Display the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.
  • Reveal 7 things about myself.
  • Nominate others to receive the award and continue the fun! 
7 things about me: 
  1. Two of my favorite movies are A Room with a View and the Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. 
  2. I really want to travel to New Orleans, Greece and Newfoundland--although perhaps not all during the same trip. 
  3. My favorite TV show to watch when I'm home alone? The Big Bang Theory.
  4. I drink beer with my critique group ... during critiques. (We all do.) Don't you wish you could join us? ;)
  5. On my daily commute, I get to enjoy a view of the Rocky Mountains. It is beautiful.
  6. I love having a big, open sky over my head. I don't enjoy living in rainy or cloudy places--I feel claustrophobic in places like that.
  7. I love planting flowers in my garden. When I come down the street and see them blooming, I smile. And what is better than that?
Peonies from my garden

And, I nominate the following bloggers to share in the fun (should they wish to participate): 

  • Mary M. Forbes, Western Contemporary and Historical Romance Writer who has a new release coming out soon!
  • Sarah Kades, Contemporary and Paranormal Romance Writer who has a new release coming out this summer!
  • Marlow Kelly, Historical Romance Writer who has a new release coming out in August!
  • Diana Cranstoun, Historical Romance Writer who has an amazing blog about WWII and writing!
  • Victoria Smith, Chick Lit Writer who has a fabulous blog where she talks about travel, books and other fun stuff!
  • Mahrie G. Reid, Mystery (with a touch of romance) Writer who has a new release coming out this month!
  • Dee Van Dyk, Professional Writer who has her first fiction novel releasing in 2014!

So, now it is your turn, what is your favorite movie?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

13 Tips on Book Cover Design

Recently someone asked me for my thoughts on book cover designs. So, I sent them a long email. After I hit send I thought, wait a minute, I could post this on my blog too! LOL. 

I am contemplating redesigning my covers too, so it is always worthwhile thinking about these issues. My current book covers are here: 

Coming Summer 2014!

Available now!

Available now!

So, here are a few of my thoughts on cover design
  1. THE LOOK: Study the books on Amazon bestsellers lists or similar ebook retailers that are in your genre. What do they look like? What colours do they use? Many book covers will suggest a genre. You'll want to make sure that your cover doesn't suggest something different from what you write.
  2. THINK SMALL: When you have a design you think you might like, look it in thumbnail size. Does it still look good? Does it catch your eye?  You do not necessarily have to be able to read the title / name on it, but the overall graphic should look good still.  Consider doing a mock up of your cover in among the other covers on the Amazon sales page. Does yours attract attention? The fact that most online retailers use thumb nails has had a huge impact on cover design.
  3. RESEARCH: There are a lot of websites out there that showcase "bad" / "good" covers. Read those!  Avoid making the mistakes they talk about. One helpful site is:, but there are a lot of others.
  4. FONTS: Think about typography and fonts. Study the ones used on bestsellers from publishers. They often do a great job on typography. Some fonts and sizes "look" like self-publishing. Here are some romance fonts - but before downloading and using them you'll need to check them for licencing requirements, etc.
  5. BLACK AND WHITE: Look at your book cover in black and white. Is it still legible? You'll want to do this because not all e-readers show in color (like mine), so you'll want to have your cover show nicely on those too.
  6. QUALITY: Make sure the images are high resolution.
  7. SIZES: Each retailer has a slightly different requirement for sizes of book covers. You'll have to adjust the covers for each site. Here is a post on sizes - but you'll want to check these for yourself at the various retailers' sites.  Note: Createspace cover sizes (print) are dependent on a number of variables and can't really be determined until you find out the number of pages, what size of book you want and what type of paper you want.
  8. YOUR NAME: Many people / designers comment that often the author's name is too small on self-published books. So watch for that. It used to be that the larger the author's name, the more established the author was in the publishing industry (or so I've been told), but it doesn't really work that way any more. Also, consider having your name in a different color and font from your title.
  9. BRAND: If you are thinking of publishing more than one book, consider your "brand." You will want to have stylistic similarities for all of your books so that reader's can come to recognize the book as from you. (Think Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series or J.R.Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series) Also, check out this post: And, you may want to carry some of that "branding" to your blog / website.
  10. TRENDS: Check out this link for some cover trends
  11. BEWARE: Have fun with it! But don't get too carried away. You probably won't want to use any of these stockphotos: or these 
  12. PRE-MADE: If you don't think you are up to designing your own cover, find a cover designer. For example, you can browse thousands of covers at

Do you have any other tips or tricks for cover design?