EASIEST PATH, FRAUGHT WITH HIDDEN DANGER!
Today I’m thrilled to host talented Author Mae Clair! I’ve personally read and enjoyed a number of her books and she comes highly rcommended! She’s here to discuss a new anthology created by seven authors, including herself. They all have something in common, murder and mystery. You can find out more about purchasing your copy at the end of this blog.
Thank you for visiting! I’ll let Mae take it from here.
Thanks for hosting me today, Mark. I’m delighted to be here sharing news of an anthology in which I have a short story. Murder They Wrote brings together seven authors writing in various sub genres of whodunits and various time periods.
You can see the variety reflected in the blurb:
Murder comes in 7 different genres. By 7 different authors.
Are you a fan of courtroom drama? In the anthology’s first story, Abraham Lincoln defends a friend’s son against a charge of murder.
For lovers of speculative fiction, Jason Fogg dissolves into mist to sneak through open windows and snoop for clues.
How about a cozy? Jazzi, Jerod, and Ansel discover a dead body while renovating a kitchen, dining room, and half bath.
Have a craving for a Regency? Lord Peregrine and his wife, Elizabeth, use their sharp minds and quick wit to solve a murder at a garden party.
Need a bit of literary fiction? A young, lonely widow must deal with the theft of a valuable butterfly collection.
And what about a little psychological horror? Twin sisters discover that their attic is haunted by not one, but two ghosts.
Last, but never least, the anthology concludes with a historical mystery. A young, newly married knight is accused of murdering his obnoxious host at a holiday gathering in his castle.
I am so pleased to be part of this anthology with such an excellent group of authors. My story, A Winter Reckoning, gave me a chance to play outside of my usual supernatural mystery genre. Naturally, the mystery is still there, but this tale lacks for a supernatural presence. No ghosts or creatures.
What you do get is a young knight who accepts a task that would normally fall to his father who has been detained at court. That leaves Richard Essex to escort his mother’s closest friend to a holiday party, in order to protect her from the party’s lecherous host. To complicate matters, the father-in-law who despises him is among the guests.
One of my favorite parts of writing this story was in creating the roster of suspects. It was fun to “stack the deck” with so many potential killers. The pleasure of a mystery rests in trying to piece together the clues and identify the killer before the lead character does. Richard has his hands full with so many suspects. It’s my hope you’ll be guessing, too—trying to discern who has the strongest motive when the host ends up dead. Did I mention Richard is blamed?
My story is just one of seven in which you can do plenty of sleuthing!
Murder They Wrote offers a variety of clever tales in which there are clues to be found, red herrings to avoid, and villains to unmask. And because each short story is a complete mystery, you can engage your detective skills a little at a time, or all at once as your mood dictates.
Thanks again for having me as your guest today, Mark!
Meet Mae Clair and find out more about how to get in touch and purchase her works!
Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:
Happy Sunday! Here is my take on talented Author Suzanne Burkes’ weekly Fiction In a Flash Challenge. Authors are invited to write a short story about the photo shown. Please click on the above link to go to her blog site. Thank you so much, Suzanne for hosting this regular challenge!
“Grandma, are you sure you want to go up there? They’re in bad shape, and your hip.”
“Oh, pish posh,” Rosemary waved dismissively. “Should have done this years ago and those were built when quality counted.”
“That was seventy-seven years ago. This place has been abandoned for—”
“Twenty years, other than some vandalism, the bones are solid.”
“Maybe, but yours aren’t. Please, just let me have a look. The third floorboard from the back wall of the closet, right?”
Rosemary patted Emily’s hand. “I need to do this myself, with a bit of help from you.”
Emily wiped a tear and hugged her grandmother. “I understand. You were eight and you’ve waited this long. It was your only hope. All these years . . . ” Her grief soaked the purple shawl.
“Shh . . . I’ve made my peace. This must be done before I see him again. I pray God will allow it in Heaven. Father has the other half, that’s why they never found it on him.”
Rosemary’s eyes stung but she must show restraint, be the brave girl that her father had said she was just before he left for the Great War. “Let’s continue, shall we?”
“Yes, I’m sorry.” Emily broke her embrace and took the tissue from Rosemary.
“But you must let me check each tread before you step on it and let me guide you. Those are my rules, I’m sorry. I love you too much to lose you.”
Rosemary nodded. “Agreed.”
They moved ahead, arm in arm, with Emily sweeping away the debris with her foot to clear a path. At the base of the stairs, she tested the railing and was satisfied.
“You see, built to last. The stairs will be the same, though the third step might creak. I learned to avoid that one when I’d sneak downstairs after bedtime to grab an extra cookie.” She pointed to the room they’d just left. “My parents would be sitting in their chairs, Mother with her nose in a book, while Father would be asleep. I never got caught, but sometimes I think Mother knew.” Rosemary smiled.
The stairs proved to be every bit as resilient as promised, but every tread protested the disturbance.
The hideous orange and white floral-patterned linoleum flooring installed by the last tenants had chunks missing and revealed the hardwood underneath. Decay wasn’t always bad.
Emily gingerly walked her grandmother across the tripping hazard to the first room on the left. Time had left only a thick layer of dust, cobwebs, and a musty smell in the barren room.
“Hmmm . . . used to be a lot bigger,” Rosemary said. She blamed her watering eyes on the dust and mold. “I loved this room, but after Father was gone, well, we had to move.”
She sighed deeply and shuffled towards the tiny closet. Emily’s hand went to grab her arm, but she brushed it off. “I’m good for now, but I’ll need you to help me kneel.”
The old woman reached the closet and Emily helped her to her knees.
Rosemary struggled to remove the floorboard and Emily offered to help.
“No! I must do this!” Her face softened and her tears splattered into the floor dust. “I’m sorry, dear, I didn’t mean to snap. This arthritis is making it hard. Did they nail it down?”
After what seemed an eternity, the board yielded, and was hoisted with a collectively held breath. Would it still be there?
Emily handed over the flashlight. The small beam illuminated only cobwebs and dirt. Rosemary dug frantically to clear them, and the light reflected off a silver object lying in between the floor joists.
Rosemary picked up the necklace with shaky hands. Emily gasped, for there it was, the legendary object that she’d heard about since early childhood.
A heart, with one half missing, the other half perhaps lay on a faraway battlefield.
Rosemary clutched the jewelry to her heart, and then wept loudly. Emily rushed to her side and tried to console her grandmother through her own tears.
It took several moments to recover, and Rosemary showed her the inscription in the heart. Because of the shape and the missing piece, it read, ALW TOGE . . . Always Together.
“Oh Grandma, is that true? Do you really believe that?”
“Yes, Emily, all of my life I knew he was there, and soon I will get to see him again and this heart will be whole.”
Hello, I’m back from a much-needed hiatus from writing. I return with fingers eagerly pecking away at the old magic portal that lets me send my work to the world without buying a plane ticket and risking COVID.
I apologize for any late responses to my last posts, and I will be reading your new ones soon.
While away, I did partake in some reading, and today I’m going to give you my review of Keith Edgar Channing’s Making Merry An Alien Adventure.
It would be best to start with the blurb:
Commander Meredith Winstanley and Lieutenant Commander Tarquin Stuart-Lane, generally regarded as the poshest of those who had purchased commissions in the Royal Space Regiment, had been selected by a ballot of their peers for a special mission to the moon. Their brief was to find out for how long two people could survive on that dead world, in an artificial habitat that they were to construct themselves, in situ, from materials they had with them. To allow them to take as much food and equipment as possible, with a view to extending their stay, their craft carried only enough fuel for a one-way journey. That, according to the brief, was also necessary because their craft would form an essential part of the habitat they were to construct. When they reached the point in the mission where their return was indicated, the higher-ups said they might send someone to collect them. What happens next no-one was prepared for.
Follow our hapless pair as they encounter or are encountered by incredibly tall and thin aliens, short and stout aliens, a striking young mathematician who turns out not to be what he seems to be and technologies you couldn’t make up.
This was a wonderful tongue-in-cheek, one of a kind, space adventure tale that I thoroughly enjoyed. Commander Meredith Winstanley and Lieutenant Commander Tarquin Stuart-Lane are assigned to a one-way trip to the moon under the guise of discovering a way to survive on the moon. It seems like an important trip for the selected pair, even the name of their ship Waist of Space fails to alert them to possibility that the Royal Space Regiment may actually be casting them off like refuse.
The moon proves far more interesting, and comical, than either had ever expected. While Commander Meredith proves herself invaluable, the bumbling Lieutenant Commander Tarquin provides plenty of laughs. His off-color-remarks, simpleton view of life, literal translation of everything he’s told, and the constant diet of his foot, kept me chuckling. Keith brings his great sense of humor and throws a smattering of scientific facts into the mix.
I did find the book a bit lengthy. However, the cast of characters provided enough entertainment to keep my interest.
This book would appeal to those who enjoy a humorous trip into Sci-Fi. There is some adult oriented material, so perhaps it’s not the best choice for a younger reader.
I am giving this book Four Stars!
As a writer of fiction, I make up and write lies for the sheer pleasure of doing it. These lies generally end up on my blog, as do a few of the photographs I take from time to time.
With my wife Clare and our two dogs, I have recently relocated to South Yorkshire after living for thirteen years in a rural location in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France.
Oh yes, INTJ-T.
Purchase a copy of this book or one of many others by Keith:
Connect with Keith:
Today I have the privilege of sharing the cover reveal of Hiding Cracked Glass the sequel to Watching Glass Shatter written by James J. Cudney.
I’ll let him explain it to you.
I’m thrilled to reveal the cover of my next book, Hiding Cracked Glass. This contemporary fiction family drama is the sequel to Watching Glass Shatter and part of the Perceptions of Glass series. With the help of a few friends and bunches of amazing bloggers working with Shalini @ Digital Reads, who organized this wonderful promotion, you’ll get to see the beautiful cover further below. Before we do, let’s learn a little more about this book…
About the Book(s)
An ominous blackmail letter appears at an inopportune moment. The recipient’s name is accidentally blurred out upon arrival. Which member of the Glass family is the ruthless missive meant for?
In the powerful sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is the first to read the nasty threat and assumes it’s meant for her. When the mysterious letter falls into the wrong hands and is read aloud, it throws the entire Glass family into an inescapable trajectory of self-question. Across the span of eight hours, Olivia and her sons contemplate whether to confess their hidden secrets or find a way to bury them forever. Some failed to learn an important lesson last time. Will they determine how to save themselves before it’s too late?
Each chapter’s focus alternates between the various family members and introduces several new and familiar faces with a vested interest in the outcome. As each hour ticks by, the remaining siblings and their mother gradually reveal what’s happened to them in the preceding months, and when the blackmailer makes an appearance at Olivia’s birthday party, the truth brilliantly comes to light.
Although everyone seemed to embrace the healing process at the end of Watching Glass Shatter, there were hidden cracks in the Glass family that couldn’t be mended. Their lives are about to shatter into pieces once again, but this time, the stakes are even higher. Someone wants to teach them a permanent lesson and refuses to stop until success is achieved.
Hiding Cracked Glass will be available for pre-sale very soon. It will officially be published on October 8th, 2020, which is the three year anniversary of Watching Glass Shatter, my debut novel. If you’ve never read that book, now’s your chance to catch up!
About the Author
James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I began working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment, media, retail, and hospitality industries. Although I enjoy my job, I also want to re-focus on my passions: telling stories and connecting people through words.
In 2017, I published my debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor, and romance. From there, I wrote another family drama novel, Father Figure, and created the Braxton Campus Mysteries, a light investigation series about a humorous guy dealing with murders and the drama of a small town. I am currently writing a sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, a co-authored book with a surprise writer, and the next Braxton Campus Mystery, all set to be released in late 2020 and early 2021.
Most of my books are available in hardcover, paperback, electronic, and audiobook formats. We’ve begun translating into Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian for some of the books too. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com.
Outside of writing, I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, I have over 1,000 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I share several fun features, including the Book Bucket List, Tips & Advice, Author Spotlights & Book Alerts, and the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. You’ll find tons of humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers… where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have segments where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.
A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Baxter, a two-year-old shiba inu, constantly tries to stop me from writing so I can play with him and keep him amused. How else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?
Websites & Blog
Next Chapter Pub: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney
Genres, Formats & Languages
I write in the family drama and mystery genres. My first two books are Watching Glass Shatter (2017) and Father Figure (2018). Both are contemporary fiction and focus on the dynamics between parents and children and between siblings. I’m currently writing the sequel to Watching Glass Shatter. I also have a light mystery series called the Braxton Campus Mysteries with six books available.
All my books come in multiple formats (Kindle, physical print, large print paperback, and audiobook) and some are also translated into foreign languages such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and German.
Goodreads Book Links
Braxton Campus Mysteries
- Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)
- Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)
- Flower Power Trip – #3 (March 2019)
- Mistaken Identity Crisis – #4 (June 2019)
- Haunted House Ghost – #5 (October 2019)
- Frozen Stiff Drink – #6 (March 2020)
Cover Reveal Time
READY? SCROLL DOWN SOME!!!
So… the cover is amazing! I love the similarities to the shattered glass from the debut novel. The envelope is very important to the plot, as is the red liquid appearing in the photo… blood? ink? paint? What could be it be? I’m grateful to my publisher, Next Chapter, for everything they have done to make this series shine. I’m also thankful to ten beta readers who have finished reading the novel and provided amazing feedback. I have one week left to make some final copy edits before it will be formatted and enter the marketing platforms. Stay tuned for news on the upcoming blog tour this fall; it’ll be full of giveaways, interviews, and other fun surprises.