About Mae Clair

Writing tales of myth, mystery, and contemporary romantic suspense

The Where and Why of Vanishing by Mae Clair

Life has been a bit cagey for me lately.  Temporary upheaval on the day job spun a few things around, and I found myself covering a different department until a replacement could be found. I work in real estate and spring is when the housing market explodes. As a result, it’s been chaotic. I normally write my blog posts in the evenings and on weekends, but lately I couldn’t summon the energy to look at a computer after ping-ponging between my job and the temporary one. Fortunately, we now have someone new in that position, and life is spiraling back to a normal axis.

Two of my weekends also got sucked up in a bathroom remodeling project with my husband, and a plethora of yard work. Sadly, this is the first thing I’ve written since March 30th.

Am I whining? Yes!  I’ve missed blogging, I’ve missed visiting characters I’d left languishing in unfinished stories and notes, and I’ve missed making my regular blogosphere rounds. So if I’ve been low-key or completely AWOL from your blog recently, all of that is about to change. My mojo has returned. Huzzah!

And I do have some good things to report from those long weeks of languishing without my muse:

I am two scenes away from finishing a paranormal romance, Christmas novella (how’s that for a genre and a mouthful?) called FOOD FOR POE. Poe was my WIP when March 30th hit and my writing world went whacky. I’m hoping to wrap the story and indie pub it in time for Christmas. It’s a weird combination of Hallmark and folklore with a smidgen of horror tossed in. Not your normal Christmas read. :)

I joined a local critique group and have met some fabulous writers. It’s been years decades since I’ve been part of a local writing group, and I’m enjoying interacting with my peers. Only other writers truly “get” writers. Just to have that connection again is fantastic. The group has also been great in providing feedback on my submissions. Coupled with my two online critique partners, I feel like I’ve got a strong foundation to keep me grounded and on target with my goals.

Statue of my favorite cryptid, the Mothman, in downtown Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Statue of my favorite cryptid, the Mothman, in downtown Point Pleasant, West Virginia

I heard back from my editor regarding A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, my Mothman mystery/suspense novel. She asked me to tighten up one of my plot threads (which I did) then she gave it her approval. YAY! Step one, down.

The manuscript is now on its way to a senior editor in the house. Because I’m venturing into a new/different genre (very little romance with more emphasis on mystery and suspense) it has to be approved by that editor as well. It will probably be 2-3 months until I get a response, but in the meantime I plan on finishing FOOD FOR POE, then starting on the sequel to Yesteryears—A COLD TOMORROW. I’ve put a ton of work and research into my Point Pleasant Series, and I strongly believe Yesteryears is my best effort to date. Hopefully, Kensington Publishing will feel the same. Wish me luck on that one!

Mythical Monday should be back on track beginning this coming Monday. I’ve got new beastie folklore I’m anxious to share, so look for more creature features from my pen.

I was tagged in a blog post by C. S. Boyack on WIPs and hope to have something up soon. It looks like a fun one, so I’m eager to sit down and draft up something about my projects. Hopefully, Craig won’t’ mind I’ve taken so long to get my act in gear.

Finally, here’s hoping everyone has had an enjoyable and productive three weeks while I’ve been on sabbatical. Missed you guys, and am looking forward to diving back into the blogosphere! :)

Mae Clair Presents: Deadly Curses by Donna Shields #BookTour

Today, I’m happy to participate in the blog tour for Donna Shields and her new romantic suspense release, DEADLY CURSES. I’ve enjoyed Donna’s previous releases, THE SWAN COVE MURDERS and SECRETS OF JENKINS BRIDGE, so I’m delighted to have her here today. Please help me in welcoming Donna Shields!

Blog tour banner for Deadly Curses by Donna Shields

I’m happy to be here today doing a guest blog. Speaking of blogs, sometimes it can be so frustrating trying to write a simple blog. For example, I had to write 7 blogs for this blog tour. And I gotta say, I felt so overwhelmed. All I could think was, what in the world was I going to talk about? It’s like writer’s block all over again. I can’t be the only one who can sometimes dread writing a blog whether on my own blog or someone else’s. My brain just wants to rebel and freeze. So, if there are more like me out there worrying about what to write about on their blog, I’ll give you five ways to unstick your brain to find something to blog about:

1) Write about what you know. Cooking, sewing, raising babies, pet lovers, etc. That’s what will make your blog your own. Share a favorite recipe. Just finish reading a book? Write up a review.

2) Read others blog. (Not steal their posts) Just get a sense of what everyone is blogging about. You’d be surprised what might spark your mind.

3) I’ll take the dictionary and randomly open a page to see what words are there. 9 times out of 10, I’ll find something to write about. Or watch tv. It is amazing what silly things spark my mind.

4) Lots of bloggers do the ‘Six Sentence Sunday’ or ‘Fun Facts Friday’ or there are a host of others out there. Try something like this.

5) And when all else fails, do whatever you would for writers’ block. Mine? I’ll do something totally unrelated to writing and an idea will pop into my mind. Or scribble and doodle on a notebook. It’s a right brain, left brain thing and it really works. Just don’t think while doodling. The mind is a mysterious but wonderful thing the way it works all on its own without us forcing it.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Deadly Curses (Magnolia Valley Series)

Book cover for romantic suspense novel, Deadly Curses by Donna ShieldsDr. Trent Moore’s life is complete – a no-strings relationship, financial security, and great health – until he is summoned to his father’s grave and discovers a grave robber stole one of his father’s bones … a finger bone. From there, Trent’s seemly perfect world spirals out of control. Strange occurrences happen, and the sexy lead detective informs him a grief stricken mother has placed a curse upon him. As his near death experiences ramp up, and he finds himself falling in love, he’s beginning to believe there may be some truth to it all. But, will he run out of time before he can tell her he loves her?

When Detective Ciarra Pacelli is assigned to a prominent judge’s suspicious death, she doesn’t know her little world is about to be turned upside down. She discovers other possible victims of a deadly Voodoo curse, one being the gorgeous and stubborn doctor. As she becomes wrapped up in protecting him at all costs, she finds she’s fighting against her developing feelings for him. Once she realizes she can’t, she gives her all in finding a cure against the curse that promises to take him away from her for good.

EXCERPT:
Ciarra straddled the chair close to Trent’s bed resting her head on her hands. His cheeks lacked color. His eyes appeared sunk in. It seemed as if he’d aged within the last two hours.

Gregory came in from the hospital, which was where Trent was attempting to point out through the window just before he passed out, and said Trent probably had a touch of the flu as it was going around, and he was dehydrated.

Flu her ass. More like a damn curse. Ciarra called Tiesha back in. He wasn’t protected. Ciarra looked for the amulet he’d received last night, but never found it.

Trent’s sister in law, Sammy, prepared chicken noodle soup downstairs.

“Oh wow,” Tiesha said upon entering the room. “He doesn’t look very good. About as bad as the other one. I must say your partner’s unbelievable. He’s over there wearing gloves and a mask. I tried to explain to him he couldn’t catch it. But, he won’t listen to a crazy ape like me.”

Ciarra rolled her eyes. High time to give Rick some eye opening life lessons. “What do you think?”

“You should try a shaman or a Vodun priestess. You need to break the curse.” She placed the back of her hand against his cheek. “No fever. If anything, he feels cold and clammy.”

Ciarra eyed her best friend. “So, you know a Vodun priestess I suppose?”

“And a shaman. Which do you prefer? You don’t have a lot of time left.” She pulled out an amulet and handed to Ciarra. “Here is a new one. Place it under his pillow.”

“Thanks for the reminder . . . and the amulet. I guess the best bet would be Voodoo.” Ciarra reached out and ran her hand across the top of his head. She swore she wasn’t going to fall for this man. Yet, she teetered on the edge of a very high cliff with Trent. If only she could just let go and fall.

Jack, oh Jack. What do I do?

Her heart ached, being torn between the dead and the living. How had it happened? Trent lived like a playboy.

But, she could see a side of him he didn’t let out too often. One he wouldn’t really show. But then did a couple of times without knowing, he had.

Ciarra and he were like night and day. They could never last. But, the same could be said for Princess and Brutus. Yet, there the two misfits lay. Brutus the big baby on the rug and precious Princess curled up near his head, as if they had been the best of friends forever. Animals could teach humans a thing or two.

“Hello, Ciarra?” Tiesha waved her hands in front of Ciarra’s face. “Where were you just now?”

Ciarra shook off her thoughts. “Nowhere promising.”

“Oh boy.”

Ciarra raised an eyebrow. “What?”

“Oh this isn’t good. You have fallen flat on your face, huh?”

Ciarra turned away and back to Trent.

Then, it hit her. The whole Florence Nightingale syndrome thing. She only cared for him as a human being. “Nope. There will never be another Jack.” Silly little liar.

“Go ahead and lie to yourself. But Ciarra Pacelli, you are not, and I mean not, fooling me. I know you.”

Ciarra crossed her arms over her chest. “It’s only because I have to protect him.” Finally, something to cling to besides love. Maybe, she wouldn’t be tumbling off the cliff after all. She was lying to herself, but it was the only way to protect her from Trent.

“Again, go ahead and twist it any way you want. You have fallen for him.”

View the book trailer

Purchase DEADLY CURSES from Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author, Donna ShieldsI’m Donna Shields, author of paranormal romance and romantic suspense – published with Soul Mate Publishing, mom of six, gramma of four precious cuties and wife to an imperfect, yet amazing husband of fifteen years and counting (He’ll say a hundred, roll his eyes, and smile). Psss…I’m imperfect too, but don’t tell him that….

We call the beautiful state of South Carolina our home where there isn’t much hustling and bustling going on, where people are friendly (for the most part-it’s called that Southern Hospitality), strangers wave and say hello with a smile. And it doesn’t hurt being centrally located where the ocean is a mere three hour drive and the mountains no more than an hour and a half away.

I’ve been writing for five years steadily, but have always dabbled with writing short stories here and there. I’m a sucker (no pun intended) for all sorts of paranormal. And when suspense and adventure is thrown in the mix, I’m a truly happy girl. I enjoy writing both genres and at times the lines between the two blur, combining to make paranormal romantic suspense. My heroines are strong, even if quiet. They are independent, yet scarred and in need of a true love. A real hero, one who understands they need their space, but will love them fiercely. The hero may have a hard exterior, but inside he’s a mush ball. And the hero needs that woman who can tame him down a little and love with all her heart and soul.

Connect with Donna at the following haunts:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Google+
Goodreads
Amazon Page

Purchase DEADLY CURSES from Amazon

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Book Tour: ECLIPSE LAKE by Mae Clair #mystery #romance

After two months of visiting a number of fantastic hosts throughout the blogosphere, my book tour for ECLIPSE LAKE draws to a close today. I hope you’ll join me for my last stop at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews. I’m sharing the top three items that influenced me to tell Dane and Ellie’s story.

Many thanks to the great folks at Goddess Fish Promotions who put together such a fantastic tour. An extra special shout-out to all the wonderful hosts who’ve showcased ECLIPSE LAKE on their blogs. It’s been an adventure.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a $20.00 gift card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice). There’s still time to toss your name into the ring today at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews.  See you there! :)

Tour banner for Eclipse Lake, a novel by Mae Clair, depicts a serene lake setting

Mythical Monday: Ravens, Rooks and Crows Revisited by Mae Clair

Good day, friends! I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to borrow from a post I ran in 2012 for today’s Mythical Monday. I have a rare day off work and hubby and I are taking a short trip to a neighboring town known for its eclectic shops and microbreweries. My normal writing time this weekend was gobbled up preparing A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS (my Mothman novel) for submission and clicking “send” (more on that in a later post, I hope).

So I’m cheating today and rerunning an old post that not many people saw. I’ve trimmed this down from the original and tweaked a bit. I no longer have the car mentioned toward the end (it didn’t do well in northern winters, so I traded it for an SUV), but I do recall the fun I had on Twitter tweeting about the events in this post. Mostly how my car was used in a murder.

Curious? Read on . . . :)

A crow perched on a tombstone at night in a spooky cemeteryHow do you feel about birds associated with folklore and superstition?

Ravens have a long-standing kinship with mysticism. In addition to being portrayed as a familiar to witches and wizards, they were also known to be extremely divining. Many Native American tribes regarded them as “Keeper of Secrets,” wise ones who safeguarded the teachings of magic.

Raven, a man with the head of a bird, brought light into the world and taught its inhabitants how to care for themselves. On the flip side, the raven was also a Trickster initiating change, not always pleasant. I find it interesting the term “rook” made it into our slang as a reference for being swindled. A rook is an old-world type of crow or raven. In reality, these intelligent birds are clever mimics that have been known to learn human words.

In the Bible, Noah sent a raven from the ark in search of ground, but it flew back and forth, unable to find a place to land in a world deluged with floodwaters. Later, he sent the dove which returned with an olive branch. Ravens were also commanded to feed the prophet Elijah and, in the gospel of Luke, we’re reminded that God feeds the ravens though they don’t sow, reap, or have storerooms or barns.

Would I know the difference between a crow and a raven if I saw them? Probably not. I know that ravens are larger and prefer less populated areas, while crows are more apt to hang around cities and urban spaces. Even cars.

A solitary crow on a post bows its head Case in point:  Two weeks ago while visiting my sister, I walked outside to find six or seven crows camped out on the roof and hood of my Chrysler 300. If I’d had a camera, I would have snapped a picture – large black birds on a solid black car. Turns out there must have been something snagged in the wiper blades. I never did find out what it was, but it had one handsome gent summoning his cronies to investigate. Before I knew it, my car had become the site of a “murder”.

Now I like birds, but not that much. There is something inherently creepy about seeing that many black birds rooted to your car. It’s not natural. By the time I shooed them away, they’d already turned my wiper blades into a gourmet snack.

And, of course, it was raining. That meant I was treated to a firsthand glimpse of the damage on the drive home—my wipers trialing long black strings that looked like ragged feathers. Trickster? Two new wiper blades later, I’d say it’s safe to tack that name onto crows, too.

So, despite having my car become the momentary snack of choice, I haven’t lost my appreciation for these the magical tricksters. How about you?

Mae Clair Presents: Will O’ the Wisp by C. S. Boyack #YA #MagicalRealism

Have I got a treat for you today! Blogging friend, Craig Boyack, has just released a tale guaranteed to appeal to young and old alike. I was fortunate enough to get an ARC of this wonderful novel, which combines elements of magical realism, mystery, and fantasy, as well as a highly appealing coming of age theme. As I don’t post reviews on my blog, you’ll have to check Amazon for my five star review/rating—but I do have to point out several things that stood out for me about this novel:

Title and book cover:
I’m a Will o’ the Wisp fanatic from long ago. That bobbing, weaving sphere of light might not get as much exposure on my blog, as say my favorite cryptid, the Mothman, but I’ll readily devour any novel built around the legend of a “hinkypunk” or “spook light” — especially when the myth is so cleverly woven into the plot.

Setting:
Craig chose to set his novel in 1975, which resonated strongly with me. He fully immersed me in a time I remember well, making it easy to identify with his lead character, Patty Hall. I’m also a sucker for coming of age tales and anything that transports me back to those whimsical days of childhood. Here’s a small snippet from my Amazon review to give you an idea of what I mean:

This is an engaging YA read, but it’s also a treat for adults who will remember the era in which this is set. I loved the glimpse into a small rural town/farming community and the magic and whimsy of friendship. Remember Quisp cereal, your first teen dance, roaming through fields at night, exploring old cemeteries, sharing secrets with your friends? All of that magic and more is here. Patty is an everyday kid you can’t help but cheer for and admire. A delightful read for young and old alike.

And now, I invite you to take a closer look at WILL O’ THE WISP.

Book cover for Will O' the Wisp by C. S. Boyack depicting a ghostly floating light over a stream with trees

BLURB:
There is something evil up Bergamot Holler, and it’s been targeting the Hall family for generations.

Patty Hall is fifteen years old. She loves stargazing, science fiction, and all things related to space exploration. This leaves her perfectly prepared for the wrong problem.

Patty is afraid her mother will send her to a care facility if she tells her what she’s seen. If she doesn’t figure things out soon, she’s going to join her father in the Hall family cemetery plot.

Patty is going to have to come to grips with her own physical handicap, survive the wilderness, and face an ancient evil all alone if she’s going to survive.

Will O’ the Wisp is suitable for young adults. It involves strong elements of suspense, and is set in the mid 1970s.

EXCERPT:
In this scene, Patty and her friend, Laura are watching late night horror movies. There is a killer on the loose in their small town.

We curled up together on the couch and cuddled under Mom’s afghan. Mom turned the light off and went upstairs.

When the first alien eye peeked out of the TV screen, Laura said, “Maybe that’s it. Look, it’s green and it moves around too.”

“I don’t think so. It wasn’t attached to anything.”

“You said you were a long ways off. What if it’s one of those?”

“I would have seen that. Besides, they all get sick and die at the end. That’s not the worst that could happen.”

“Okay,” Laura said, “I don’t want to watch anymore. Besides your alien, there’s still a lunatic on the loose. He could jump through the window any old time.”

“I’ll go get my flashlight. You turn off the TV and I’ll make sure you aren’t in the dark.”

“Why do I have to be the one to stay here?”

“Okay, it’s in my backpack, but make sure you keep it on.”

She went upstairs and came back to the top of the stairs. Once the light was on, I hobbled to the TV and pushed the knob in.

I made three steps toward the staircase.

The light went off.

I screamed.

Laura screamed.

Mom ran out and bumped into Laura. Mom screamed.

Mom made Rick check the whole house with his gun in hand. She chewed us both out for not being more grown up. “I swear, no more Nightmare Theater for you, ever…”

Purchase Links:
WILL O’ THE WISP has two versions. This is due to use-permission on a particular song lyric used in the novel. If you live on the Northern American Continent, purchase your Kindle copy here.

Anywhere else in the world, grab your Kindle copy here.

Author C. S. BoyackConnect with C. S. Boyack at the following haunts:
Blog 

Twitter 
Goodreads 
Find all of Craig’s novels here  

Book Tour: Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair #mystery #romance

Well, friends, my book tour for ECLIPSE LAKE is winding down to a close. Today is my second to last stop. You can find me visiting with Yeah Books, as I answer a few interview questions. Admit it…you’ve always wanted to know what my favorite movie is, and what superpower I’d love to have. :) The answers to those and other riveting questions can be discovered on today’s tour stop, so do hop over and say hello!

Tour banner for Eclipse Lake, a novel by Mae Clair, depicts a serene lake setting

Mythical Monday: Morning Coffee with the Alp by Mae Clair

Saint Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, brimming with the luck of the Irish, pots of gold, and mischievous leprechauns. Given the playfulness of tomorrow’s holiday, I thought I’d focus on a different kind of imp for Mythical Monday—the Alp.

Did you ever have a really bad nightmare? If so, you can probably blame this nasty elf-like creature who has its roots in Germanic folklore. Alps delight in nothing better than filling the sleep of their victims with ghastly dreams. Some people believe Alps to be the spirits of recently deceased relatives, others that stillborn infants return as Alps. The majority of Alps are male, but their female counterparts are given the name “mare”….as in nightmare.

Photographic representation of painting "The Nightmare" by John Henry Fuseli  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Photographic representation of painting “The Nightmare” by John Henry Fuseli
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Crafty beings, they are able to gain entry to a house through the tiniest of holes. Locking doors and windows does little to deter them once they have selected a victim for their nighttime visit. To protect yourself, plug any keyholes with rags and seal up cavities in walls.

Once arriving, the Alp makes itself comfortable by squatting on its victim’s chest and exerting “elf pressure,” as it grows heavier and heavier. Eventually, the density of its weight drags the victim awake. The person normally returns to consciousness disoriented, terrified, and out of breath. Many believe elf pressure was an early explanation for sleep apnea. But the Alp has more going for it than a single nighttime propensity.

Among its magical abilities, it is able to turn invisible, fly, and shapeshift into a dog, cat, pig or white butterfly. The source of its power comes from a hat it is never without. Whatever shape or ability the Alp elects to use, the hat is always visible. Should an Alp lose its hat, it will offer a great reward for the item’s return.

Those in the old country knew there were certain methods to protect themselves from the Alp through the use of wards. These include hanging an iron horseshoe from the bedpost, placing a mirror on a chest, or a broomstick under the pillow. Burning a light all night and having a cross handy will also protect against an Alp. And—as bizarre as it sounds—if you wake during the middle of the night with an Alp squatting on your chest, invite it to return in the morning for coffee.

Yes, coffee. Can you imagine that conversation?

“Uh…if you could just see your way clear to stop squatting on my chest, Mr, Alp, I’ve got some nice French roast I’ll brew up in the morning.  How does sevenish sound?”

Provide a polite invitation, and the Alp will immediately dash off and leave you in peace. But you’d better have your Keurig ready in the morning as promised, because the Alp will be back, eager for its caffeine treat.

So the next time you have a bad dream, stock up on fresh coffee. Maybe you can convince your particular Alp to leave you alone over a cup of Vermont Country Blend or Keurig Dark Magic.

I’m curious…what kind of coffee would you offer an Alp?