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Sunday, August 2, 2009

In the Moonlight with Clare Austin, author of Butterfly




I am awake tonight doing what I never do…waiting until the last minute! I was one of those annoying students who actually read the text book and studied for the test. I was never able to pull an all-nighter, so really didn’t try.

Today though, the sun was out. I am in Colorado and we have had a cold and very wet summer. I rode one of my horses, walked my little dog, puttered in the garden. It was glorious. Procrastination is often a gift. A new story came to me.

When I tell people I write novels, they almost always want to know, “How did you write a book?” And, “How did you get your book published?”

This is how it happens. I’ll be riding, gardening, just driving to the pool for a swim and my muse grabs me by the throat and demands my attention. I have learned to listen because she doesn’t like being ignored. She gets testy and demands dark chocolate.

Butterfly is the first book in the Fadό Trilogy. Fadό is a word in the Irish language that means “once upon a time.” It is not the first book I wrote. It is actually the fourth. But, it is the first to be contracted and will be released August 7, 2009. (Every time I say “Butterfly” and “released” in the same sentence, I have a clear visual of little red winged insects flitting away on a Colorado Breeze…can’t help it …I just do.) I have been bold about giving anyone who shows the slightest interest in Butterfly, a business card, suggesting they look at my website and MySpace. I am by nature a very private and not particularly gregarious person, but, to my surprise, talking about my book is thrilling and not so daunting as I thought it would be.

I have always had stories, rhymes, tales spinning in my conscious and unconscious. It did not mean I was meant to be an author. Didn’t everyone have characters who talked to them, told them of adventures beyond this realm, legends of new lands, chronicles of love and desire? Didn’t all little girls skip the fragile line from fantasy to reality just as I did on a daily basis? I’m Irish, we love to tell a tale. History and myth coalesce in a magical dance throughout our culture. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

When I was eight years old I wrote one of my stories down, illustrated it and sent it to a New York publisher. Oh how I wish I still had that rejection letter. The only part of it I remember, other than they didn’t want to buy my book, was the encouragement to keep writing.

It was decades later, after raising children, working in a field that challenged me and made me happy, pursuing my dream to train and compete with my horses, loving the empty nest…after all this, I sat myself down and wrote my first novel. I never even had any intention of selling it. That’s obvious when you read it! But, I let some friends read it and to my surprise they actually thought it was pretty good.

Wow! I’m an author. It wasn’t by accident or by lack of effort by any means. I had plenty to learn about the craft. The learning curve has been steep. It isn’t enough to simply pound out the words.

Joining a critique group forced me to focus on writing to a particular market. Butterfly really started out to be only an exercise…a way for me to center on the skills and tools for creating a novel. It turned out I just loved the characters and they told me a wonderful story.

The heroine, Flannery Sloane, is a young woman I would love to call my best friend. She is a blast to hang out with. She’s passionate about life. She makes me laugh, cry and want to be spontaneous. I would be envious that she is cute and plays the fiddle better than me, but she doesn’t flaunt her talents…she brings mine to the surface.

Looking back, I realize that I was either very lucky or in the right place at the right time. Butterfly found a home with a wonderful publisher after only a few months of submitting. The Wild Rose Press has been a great place for a newly published author to learn the ropes. I was also blessed with a great editor Eilidh MacKenzie, who worked with me every step to get my book as perfect as it could be. I have two more books coming out with TWRP: Angel’s Share, a romantic suspense and the second book in the Fadό Trilogy and Hot Flash, a stand-alone novel about a couple’s second chance at love.

Butterfly is available at www.thewildrosepress.com in trade paperback and as of August 7 will be available as an e-book. It may also be purchased from Amazon.com and other online booksellers. Later in August it will be in Borders stores and independent bookstores.

If you have questions or comments about my books please email me at authorclare@gmail.com or go to my website www.clareaustin.com for excerpts and updates about my writing.


Back Cover Blurb:

Flannery Sloane is a free spirited bohemian with a soul blessed by Irish musical tradition. She doesn’t give a care for where she’s going or how she’ll get there. Joy and passion are her only map. And, though she’s not interested in falling in love, she wouldn’t mind a little fun with a fine looking man. Hunter Kincade looks like he could fill that bill and have a bit of change left over.
Flannery never wears a watch. She’s late for everything but the downbeat of a fiddle tune. She’s happy serving pints in the pub and playing for tips and smiles. Hunter thrives on punctuality. He is in the music business with his focus on the bottom line. The pretty fiddle player with the bright green eyes would make his next production worth the price of a CD.

Their only common ground is the belief that falling in love is a danger to health and sanity.
Will it take more than Irish magic to pull a man like Hunter into the spell of a woman like Flannery? They are all wrong for each other...and they are so right.

Excerpt #1

He lost sight of the fiddler in the mobs of tourists enjoying the April sunshine.
No sooner had he decided to give up on his quest than he heard hands clapping in rhythm with the beat of the now familiar Irish drum.

Then he saw her.

She lifted her instrument and, with the surety of a bird’s wing slipping through the air, bow was laid to strings and life was breathed into melody.

He moved to the edge of the gathering where he could have an unobstructed view of the musicians. She looked up, and he thought she recognized him for an instant. Then her eyes turned and followed another. She smiled and nodded.

Cade had never thought of himself as the jealous type, but he did feel cheated out of that smile.
As soon as the last vibration of strings quieted, a man Cade recognized from O’Fallon’s came up behind the fiddler and, with disturbing familiarity, spoke in her ear. She responded with a hug and an adoring look in her eyes.

Cade had been raised to be competitive, in sports as well as in business, and the appearance of a rival on the field made him want to draw blood. He wanted the fiddler in his studio, and if she ended up in his bed, that might be as nice.

He stood and listened until the sun set and the air held a chill that thinned the throng. The musicians were packing it in.

He hadn’t realized he was staring, until she walked up to him and stood so
close he could smell the scent of her warm skin in the cool evening air. Her approach to introduction took Cade completely by surprise.

“Are you lookin’ at me or waitin’ for a bus?” she said, one hand on her hip and a sassy smile on her lips.

Excerpt #2
Flannery swung through the door into the dining room with a flourish but nearly tripped over a bar stool when she saw the now familiar profile, broad shoulders, and curly dark hair of the man who had come to see her sister.

“Sufferin’ ducks, and if it isn’t himself come to brighten the day at O’Fallon’s.” Cade was as
compelling as she remembered. Today he was dressed in jeans, a black knit shirt, leather bomber
jacket, and a slow smile that would stop a saint in her tracks.

“What can I get you?” She thought a couple of shots of good Irish whiskey would sort him out.

“I’d try the fish an’ chips if you would join me?”

She gave him one of her best smiles, turned toward the kitchen, and yelled, “Hey, Jamie, I’m
taking my break. Give us a one an’ one, a serving of the bangers and mushy peas, a couple o’ Harps, and an Inishowen, would you there?”

“Anything for the love of my life,” Jamie called from behind the door.

“Stow it, Jamie Mac!” Flannery shot back, then turned to Cade. “He’s always good fer craic, our
Jamie.”

“Craic? Inishowen? One and one? Would you like to translate?”

“Whatta ya mean ‘translate’? You speak English don’tcha?” she teased. “Okay...I’m just giving you a time. ‘Craic’ is fun, ‘Inishowen’ is a whiskey from County Donegal, and a ‘one and one’ is what we, the feckin’ Irish, call fish ‘n chips.”

Flannery’s pulse quickened at the way his dark eyes, shaded by long lashes, swept lazily over her, undressing her, right here in a public place. Yes, as her girlfriends back home liked to say, “He was a ride.”

Thank you for being our guest here today and sharing your story with our readers. ~ The Moonlighters

11 Moonbeams (comments):

Viola Estrella said...

Hi Clare!
Beautiful blog and fun excerpts! I look forward to reading Butterfly. Congrats on your release!

L M Gonzalez said...

Hi Clare,
Congrats on your first book! Isn't it thrilling? BUTTERFLY sounds like a fun read. I love magical books.

Lupe

Mary Ricksen said...

Good luck on your new releases.I hop you sell a ton of books. My Irish mom will love this! And so will I.

Anne Kane said...

I love hearing about the journey to publication. Butterflies sounds like a wonderful sotry, and I'll put it on my TBR list as soon as it's out in e-book.(Aug 7th?) I confess to a fondness for the digital editions, I can get so many more into a small space. LOL

Jana Richards said...

Hi Clare,
Good luck with your new release. I loved your excerpts. Congratulations!

Jana Richards

Debra St. John said...

Congrats on your upcoming release. The cover is beautiful and I enjoyed the excerpts. And I don't blame you for enjoying the sunshine. It's been an odd summer in the Midwest as well, so those sunny, summer days are precious!

Sheila Deeth said...

Sounds fun, and any excerpt that ends with fish and chips (or chish and fips as we called it) has got to be good.

Margay said...

I just wanted to thank Clare again for being our guest today. Best of luck with the tour for Butterfly!
Margay

Clare Austin said...

Thank you Margay and Moonlight,Lace & Mayhem for having me on your blog today. I am totally flying with excitement. I just looked on Amazon and B&N and Butterfly is there! As Flannery would put it "It's a grand ting, it is altogether."
Clare

Carrie said...

Hi Clare,

I finally got a chance to read your blog post. I can tell you that I didn't need to read through the excerpts to know that I will want to read this one!

Carrie (from Wisconsin)

Margay said...

Congratulations, Clare, that's wonderful news!
Margay