About Mae Clair

Writing tales of myth, mystery, and contemporary romantic suspense

AN UNEXPECTED SIN: Limited time 99 cent introductory price & $50 Giveaway

Welcome to Sarah Ballance, a wonderfully supportive friend and prolific author. I’m pleased to have her back on my blog with her latest release, AN UNEXPECTED SIN, a historical romance that plays off the Salem Witch Trials. She’s even got fab giveaway taking place to celebrate the second book in her Sins of Salem series.

I think you’ll be even more intrigued when you see what Sarah has to say . . .

Sarah Ballance: Why Salem?

I’ll be the first to admit a book set during the Salem witch trials doesn’t exactly scream romance. For that matter, the setting doesn’t even whimper romance—at least not at first glance. I mean, there were hangings and rotting jail cells and constant fear—not just of the evil that supposedly lurked among the people of Salem, but of being accused of so-called affliction and being sent to die. This fear was tangible. It lived and breathed among these people as if it were one of their own, and I admit my initial draw to Salem had a whole lot to do with its dark history.

But then came the challenge.

This wasn’t just a terrible period that tends to get a lot of play on the History Channel each October. It was a time in which people (or the lucky ones who survived) lived. They loved, they lost, they feared, and they had stories. Looking back, it was a relatively brief, terrifying period, but for those who lived it, it was so much more. Not just death, but life. And through the pages of my Sins of Salem series, I hope to connect you to what’s largely been left out of the history books.

To the romance.

For more on the Sins of Salem series, please click here.

AUS_500.jpgAN UNEXPECTED SIN (A Sins of Salem Novel)

Colonial Salem

The moment the stranger’s dark eyes meet hers, Anne Scudder’s world is immediately overthrown by chaos. That single flare of desire is immediate, driving away all notions of propriety. Instead, Anne is consumed with sinful thoughts – ones that no unmarried girl should ever have for a man who isn’t her husband…

But Josiah Cromwell is no stranger.

It’s been six years since Josiah stole kisses from Anne, his best friend’s younger sister. Six years since Josiah left after his best friend’s death, burdened by the knowledge that he was responsible for destroying Anne’s family. Now he’s returned to claim the woman he can’t live without. But even as their desire threatens to consume them both – body and soul – the dark workings of suspicion and witchcraft are afoot.

Because in Salem, too much passion can lead a woman to ruin… and condemned to death.

Find it @
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Amazon.uk | Amazon.ca | Google Books | Goodreads

  • Title: AN UNEXPECTED SIN (Sins of Salem #2)
  • Author: Sarah Ballance
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Publisher: Entangled Publishing
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Release Date: April 14, 2014
  • ISBN 13: 978-1-62266-547-1
  • Available format(s): ebook

EXCERPT

She raked his hair. Clutched desperately at his back. Found it was she who moved against him, for he had eased his grip in favor of taking fierce hold of her breasts. In the dark and through her clothes, he put his mouth over first one, then the other. Desire toppled her sensibilities until she was left arching her back, every part of her begging to be closer. Begging for the kind of fulfillment she knew in her heart only he could deliver.

Begging until he broke free.

Breathing heavily, he bathed her in the lopsided, boyish grin she had long adored. “Your father will see me to the gallows for this,” he said in his low, husky voice.

Though the logic of his words found her, she wanted not for sensibilities. She wanted Josiah. “My father sleeps upstairs.”

Josiah took a deep breath. “It is not often I wish to be a lesser man,” he said, “but a lesser man has a certain advantage when a beautiful woman comes to him in the dark of the night.”

A beautiful woman. Anne had never imagined such a description could belong to her. “You could never be a lesser man.”

“Rest assured, if you return to my room in the dark of the night, I will be nothing more.”

Though his tone was light, she did not miss its undercurrent. His serious nature made his words all the more thrilling, for they left little doubt as to what he wanted—or how badly he wanted it. She could not keep the smile from her voice as she asked, “Are you saying I need only walk from the room for a minute’s time to make a lesser man of you?”

“I would like to think myself more honorable, but I make no promises in my current state.”

“Perhaps we should test that supposition.”

He grinned and leaned in, kissing her softly. “As much as I ache to know every inch of you,” he said, “it is not my desire to make off with your honor like a thief in the night.”

She splayed her fingers across his warm, bare chest and took a deep breath of courage. “You have long stolen my heart. My honor will not be far behind.”

Read the entire first chapter for FREE at Entangled Publishing. (No registration or cartwheels required.)

GIVEAWAY
To enter the $50 giveaway, please click here.

Sarah BallanceABOUT SARAH BALLANCE
Sarah Ballanceis a multi-published author of contemporary, historical, and supernatural romance and romantic suspense. She’s been married to her own romantic hero for what he calls a “long, long time” (and no, he’ll never hear the end of saying that). Together they have six children … and clearly too much time on their hands. She currently writes for Entangled and has upcoming releases from both Entangled and Samhain Publishing.

Mythical Monday: Dwarves, Dragons and Danes by Mae Clair

I finally had a chance to catch up with the second part of The Hobbit last night, The Desolation of Smaug. I’ve been a fan of Tolkien ever since my tenth grade English teacher gave me his copy of The Fellowship of the Ring. That’s when my love of fantasy really took off. Tolkien’s books are loaded with all things mythical and marvelous—elves, dwarves, enchanted forests and lakes, wizards, and walking trees—just to name a few.  After watching The Desolation of Smaug, I thought it was an appropriate time to shine a spotlight on dwarves. Admittedly, Thorin and Kili might have had something to do with that. :D

Not all dwarves were heroic warriors. Some were simple folk, concerned with agriculture and common tasks like smithing, baking and spinning. The Danes tell a folktale about a human farmer who leased a homestead that had seen numerous ill-fated owners before him. None had any luck tilling the land or raising a profit from livestock. Drought had struck the crops repeatedly, and disease thinned every herd. This farmer—a man, with a wife and two young children—hoped for better luck.

Summer rural scene with old wooden abandoned barn in green mountain meadowOn the night he arrived—a fine balmy summer evening—he addressed the farm with what he hoped was a respectful greeting. “Good evening, farm.”

“Good evening,” a voice immediately returned. Sounding much like the croak of a toad, the voice came from the direction of the cowshed.

The farmer peered through the twilight, searching for the source, but saw no one about. Unsure if he had imagined the reply, he shrugged and added, “Well, whoever you are, come to the cottage at Christmas and show yourself.”

The next day he set to work, patching walls and re-thatching the roof, for the farm had fallen into a horrible state of disrepair. He stabled his herd in the cowshed, but not long afterward, one of his best cows mysterious went dry. In the back of his mind, he feared the curse of the farm would plague him as well.

Still, when Christmas Eve arrived there was a fat goose for the family feast, and plenty of ale. In the middle of dinner, as the family enjoyed their holiday fare, the door suddenly burst open with a gust of cold air.

A small gnarled man dressed in gray stood on the threshold. He surveyed them for a moment, taking in the shocked faces of the children, then called out a Christmas greeting. The farmer instantly recognized the croaking-toad voice he had heard the evening of his arrival, and invited his strange visitor inside. He offered the dwarf a plate of goose, and a mug of ale.

“You must come to the cowshed on New Year’s Eve so I may return the favor in kind,” the dwarf informed his anxious host after he had feasted.

The farmer was wary, but feared insulting a supernatural being. When New Year’s Eve arrived, he went to the cowshed as promised. The dwarf pointed out a hole in the earth ringed with loose soil, then vanished into the dark passageway. Growing ever more fearful, and not seeing how he could ever fit through such a small opening, the farmer nonetheless stuck his foot into the hole. He immediately dropped into a low chamber composed of clay walls and gnarled roots. Furnished with oil lamps and a table, the small space was cozy and inviting. The dwarf bade the farmer to sit, then gave him a steaming bowl of porridge. Before the farmer could take a bite, a fat drop of foul-smelling brown moisture plopped onto the table from the ceiling.

“You see why I curse the land now?” the dwarf asked. “The first owner built his cowshed directly over my home, and ever since the muddy floor has oozed through my ceiling and ruined my food. I bear no malice to mortals, but have blighted crops and cursed cattle as a result of my spoiled porridge. ‘Twould be better if we lived in peace. Move the shed at first thaw, so that we both may prosper.”

Beautiful old farmstead surrounded by lush greeneryThe farmer did as the dwarf requested, moving the cowshed as soon as the weather permitted. In return, his crops flourished and his dry cow gave an abundance of milk. Not only did he prosper, but his harvests where plentiful and his herds enjoyed good health and long days. The dwarf’s animosity became rich blessings instead, allowing the farmer and his family to thrive on the farmstead where all others had failed.

It’s interesting that there aren’t that many tales about dwarfs out there. I think some tales where imps are involved (like Rumplestiltskin) could also be interpreted with dwarves. Can you think of any fairy tales or myths that include dwarves? Do you have a favorite?

And the most important question—what do you think of Thorin and Kili? :D

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fridays and Good Friday Memories by Mae Clair

What do you love best about Fridays? For me it’s the adrenalin rush of knowing the week is coming to a close, that the weekend is right around the corner. Friday is the equivalent of the day before you leave on a vacation. A perpetual high.

Good Friday is a bit different, somber. When my mother was living, we often attended services together for Stations of the Cross. It’s one of my wonderful memories of her, just the two of us together on Good Friday afternoons.

To kick off this particular Friday, I’m visiting with Sarah Ballance on her blog. Naturally, I’m talking about creatures and cryptozoology in honor of my novella, SOLSTICE ISLAND.  If you’re out wandering around the blogosphere and have a moment to spare, drop over and say hello.

Whatever your plans may be on this Good Friday—whether a moment to attend church and share in the stations of the cross, or simply to rejoice over the coming weekend and the Easter Holiday—I hope your Friday is all that you desire it to be!

Author Mae Clair with her mother

Me and my mom, several years ago during a beach vacation.

Debbie Peterson Visits the Ghosts of Berry Pomeroy Castle

I’ve got a special Pen Pal on my blog today–Debbie Peterson, whose novels I love. I’ve read them all, and each time I think she can’t out do herself, she does. I’m currently deeply engrossed in her latest release, SPIRIT OF THE KNIGHT, and think it’s my favorite to date. A Scottish Castle, romance, ghosts, mystery . . . what’s not to love?

Today, Debbie has dropped by to share a few eerie legends about Berry Pomeroy Castle, rumored to be one of the most haunted sites in the British Isles. What better way to usher in her ghostly romance, SPIRIT OF THE KNIGHT, than to set the tone with this thoroughly spooky guest post:

~ooOOoo~

Hello Mae! I’m so excited to be here and share some blog space with you today while I celebrate the early Kindle release of “Spirit of the Knight . . .”

Mariah Jennings, the heroine of “Spirit of the Knight,” believes in ghosts. After all, she has seen her fair share of them since taking on the task of painting castles for “The Gallery of Castles Project.” For instance, shortly after arriving at her first assignment in South Devon, England, she discovered firsthand the wild tales concerning Berry Pomeroy Castle were, in fact, quite true.

The mysterious castle ruins, nestled deep in a wooded valley, charmed Mariah at first glance. She easily imagined William the Conqueror gifting the lands to Ralph de Pomeroy in appreciation of his support during the Norman invasion and all the way through the battle of Hastings in the year 1066. Yet, the lovely fortification wouldn’t grace the area until 1305.

Berry Pomeroy Castle

Berry Pomeroy Castle
Courtesy of Wikimedia, Image in Public Domain

Her research also revealed that two centuries later, Sir Edward Seymour, brother-in-law of King Henry VIII and Lord Protector of England, acquired Berry Pomeroy in the 1540’s. During his tenure as Lord Protector, Sir Edward made a host of enemies. Therefore, it didn’t surprise a soul that in October of 1549, the Earl of Warwick managed to oust and imprison him in the Tower of London. His subsequent conviction on twenty-nine different charges resulted in a death sentence. Edward’s enemies saw him executed on the 22nd day of January, in the year 1552. His death notwithstanding, the Seymour family inhabited the castle until 1668 and retains guardianship to this very day.

Now, the day Mariah arrived at Pomeroy, the locals regaled her with stories of ghostly apparitions and strange phenomena. They spoke of lights without source, disembodied voices, cold spots, and sudden, freak winds. She could testify to all of that and within the first few days of her stay. Those particular events didn’t pose a problem for Mariah. However, becoming a witness to the legendary, full-bodied apparitions took far more courage.

While inspecting the shadowy dungeon, she came face to face with the “White Lady.” This particular ghost haunts the castle prison, and rises up from the tower known as St. Margaret’s, to the castle ramparts. She is the spirit of Margaret Pomeroy, imprisoned by her sister Eleanor, after Lord Pomeroy left for the crusades. Unfortunately, their father left Eleanor in charge. According to legend, jealousy of Margaret’s beauty and her love for the man she too desired, Eleanor slowly starved Margaret to death, following a two-decade incarceration.

Berry Pomeroy Castle

Berry Pomeroy Castle
Courtesy of Wikimedia, Image in Public Domain

Shortly after the shock of seeing the ghost wore off, an apparition dressed in a long blue cape and hood appeared in the doorway as Mariah worked on her first painting of the castle.  Known as the “Blue Lady,” this ominous spirit enjoys luring men into the most dangerous, unstable portions of the castle in hopes of facilitating their death. Why would she do such a dastardly thing? Well, tradition maintains this spirit is the daughter of a Norman Lord who once occupied the castle. His vile abuse resulted in the birth of a child. To cover his heinous deed, the man strangled the infant. Another version of the story states that our “Blue Lady” hated the child so much, she strangled it herself. As a result, her troubled spirit will never find rest. Those who’ve seen her say she wrings her hands in anguish and torment. At various times, the cries of the murdered infant can be heard throughout the castle. (I’m not certain I’d want to stick around after that…)

During her stay, Mariah oftentimes heard unexplained screams accompanied by heavy thuds in a vicinity of the castle known as Pomeroy’s Leap. This, the locals said, was easily explained. Besieged at the castle, with defeat imminent, two brothers dressed themselves in full armor. They mounted their horses, rode off the top of the castle ramparts, and fell into the precipice below. An act–considered heroic by some–they apparently replicate to this very day.

Despite the beauty of the castle, Mariah seemed quite relieved the day she packed her belongings and headed to the next castle on her list. I can’t say that I blame her though, do you?

Thanks Mae, I truly enjoy each of my visits with you!

Book cover for Spirit of the KnightBLURB SPIRIT OF THE KNIGHT:
She fell deeply in love with him in the early days of her childhood. And in return, she captured his heart the moment he first cast his gaze upon her…

Renowned artist, Mariah Jennings hired to paint a thirteenth-century Scottish castle, gets the shock of her life when she encounters the handsome knight who has dominated a lifetime of portraits and sketchbooks.

But Sir Cailen Braithnoch is no ordinary ghost, nor did he suffer an ordinary death. Magic of the blackest kind cast a pall over the knights centuries ago. As the ghost and his lady seek to unravel the paradox surrounding his death, black arts, otherworldly forces, and a jealous rival conspire against them.

Will those forces tear them apart, or is their love destined to last throughout the ages?

ABOUT THE AUTHORDebbie Peterson, Author Debbie has always had a soft spot for fairy tales, the joy of falling in love, and happily ever after endings. Stories of love and make believe filled her head for as long as she can remember. However, it was her beloved husband who encouraged, cajoled and inspired her to take up a pen and write some of them down. Her journey to published author could fill quite a few pages, but in June of 2010, she submitted her debut novel, “Spirit of the Rebellion” to her wonderful, patient, editor at The Wild Rose Press. A few short months after Rebellion’s release, her second novel, “Shadow of the Witte Wieven” was published through InkSpell Publishing. Her third novel, “Spirit of the Revolution” was released in 2013, through The Wild Rose Press.

When she is not busy conjuring her latest novel, Debbie spends time with the members of her very large family. She also pursues her interests in family history, mythology, and all things ancient and historic.

You can find Debbie at the following haunts:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

SPIRIT OF THE KNIGHT is currently available in early release for purchase on Amazon

 

Hump Day Visits by Mae Clair

I’m visiting today, hopping over to my friend’s blog. Daisy Banks, a lovely sister author from across the pond was kind enough to invite me to her blog to gush er, talk, about SOLSTICE ISLAND. Before I hop over there (and invite you to do the same), I wanted to wish everyone a happy hump day.

Two butterflies on flowering white bloomsWe’re on the downside of the week now, rolling toward the weekend (my favorite time).

We’re also halfway through April. Have you noticed how green everything is getting? In my neck of the woods, trees are blooming, flowers are sprouting, and the grass has tossed off the brown dregs of winter. On the downside, all of that lush budding and flowering is playing havoc with my sinuses. I suppose it’s a small price to pay for the return of spring.

Enjoy your Wednesday, and if you get a moment, please say hello over at Daisy’s blog. She’s got a really nifty hangout and loves to showcase authors. You may even want to sign-up to follow while you’re there! :D

I’m also visiting with the awesome Debbie Peterson with an entirely different post on SOLSTICE ISLAND. Debbie has a very cool paranormal blog and writes beautiful ghostly romances. I’m presently enraptured with her current release, SPIRIT OF THE KNIGHT, which is looking destined to become one of my all time favorite reads. While you’re wandering around the blogosphere on hump day, do drop over and say hello! :)

North Parish Book Tour with Rohn Federbush #Giveaway

Today, as a Buy the Book Tour participating host, I’m welcoming Rohn Federbush as she tours with her new release, North Parish. I was initially drawn to this book by it’s gorgeous cover and title, then after reading the blurb, knew I had to showcase it. Please welcome Rohn as she shares her background, writing process, and what inspires her creativity. There’s also a Rafflecopter giveaway link at the bottom, so be sure to enter!

Tour banner for North Parish by Rohn Federbush~ooOOoo~

I lived on farms in Illinois until I was fourteen. Those wind-swept plains can’t compare to the storm-free, surrounding hills of my adopted state of Michigan. I’m dyslectic and uncomfortable in crowds. I’m happier in my old-age than I ever was in the riotous, experimental years of youth. Who hasn’t wanted to know everything about everything?

I first realized I wanted to be a writer when I was sixteen. My sister’s baby died after not completing a day of life. Her name was Diane Thaddeus Schultz. I was shocked because my high-school English class remained unaware of my family’s loss, or the world’s. So I wrote a poem and eulogized my niece, hooking me forever on the potency of catharsis and the power of adding to the remembrance of a lost child. What gave you your first clue that you were one of us, unable to stop putting words on paper?

How long does it take you to read a book? My first writing draft is finished in about three months, but the editing takes even longer. I’m usually at my writing desk by 9:00 in the morning. I outline. I use Elizabeth’s system from “Write Right” and Michael Hauge’s “Six Stage Plot Structure,” which is a furtherance of Debra Dixon’s “Goals, Motivation, and Conflict” structure for characters. I put the finished outline, which includes one-sentence scene descriptions into the body of my manuscript and start writing the Rough Draft. Nothing is ever final, the outline, the sequence of scenes, etc. But the skeleton exists. The next day’s scene can be reviewed before bed and embellished in the morning. If I get stopped, I interview the characters to find out where we’re going.

I’ve been writing full time since 1999, when I retired from the University of Michigan as an Administrative Assistant. Of course, I take breaks, and lunch. However, I try not to stop until I have ten new pages or 4:00 arrives. My completed books are piling up, but I am still happiest and better balanced when new work is created. It is tempting to market full time, but the writer work-ethic in me rebels.

My ideas for books follow my curiosity. How does it feel to be this character or that one? Could I live in this place or that climate? What if I had lived in those times, in that war, or among those gardens? What if my goal had been to be a race-car driver, or a ghost-hunter, or a forest ranger? While I yet live, the wonder of life keeps me intrigued.

When I’m not writing, I paint cartoonish pictures in oil and even watercolors. I love the control over colors. I paint in primary colors, heavy on the brush. After fifteen years of steady fictional work output, my family has pretty much resigned themselves to the fact that I’ll be writing on my death bed. One sister-in-law thought I might have missed a career as a painter, but she received one of my better oils.

I’ve completed 15 novels. The three historicals about Michigan and Ann Arbor history are my favorites. But the one I’m working on, editing or writing new scenes, always claims my heart. When an idea presents itself for a story, the title usually comes first and then the resolution. I think we all write with a purpose. Sure to entertain is required, but to last in the world of more books than people, the need to share an understanding of how life works and my belief in a Higher Power, Our Father’s presence in our lives motivates me.

Hiring my GirlFriday, Florence Price, has saved me from frustrating chores I don’t have the patience to learn. Such as my website design, promotion ideas and an increasing number of tasks I ask her to undertake.

I like being married better than living alone. Of course, I am married to the best man in the universe. I’m also thankful for moderate good health in old age. My grandchildren are perfect and my children claim every ounce of affection I own. Isn’t this  every woman’s dream?

Have you read any of my books on Amazon, yet? I’m on Linkedin and have two               Facebook pages. Feel free to contact me at rohn@comcast.net. My website is             www.rohnfederbush.com

NORTH PARISH BLURB

An Ann Arborite, Professor Silas Douglas, became the first president of Michigan’s Historical Society. He was a teenager who witnessed the 1818 Maumee River treaty signing by seven tribes for President Monroe’s Erie Canal. The names of the tribes and the individual natives have been preserved in the Ann Arbor Public Library.

North Parish follows the diplomats around the Great Lakes.

* * * * *

Book cover for North Parish by Rohn FederbushParish North is the blonde adopted son of a Huron native, and with his manhood-quest completed in time for his father’s trip with a Jesuit bishop, he’s allowed to participate in the efforts to secure powwow agreements from seven tribes around the Great Lakes for the building of the Erie Canal. During the trip, Parish recognizes his vision temptress in Dorothy Evans.

Hoping to join the delegation, Dorothy Evans dreams of escaping duties as her mother’s cook-helper at Fort Detroit. Exciting windows to the wider world open for the girl in the Fort’s Jesuit library. Two centuries worth of European books convince her everything good and pure comes from nature. And when Dorothy meets the blond native, Parish North, she feels her heart quicken when he smiles in her direction. She’s positive Parish is half of her future.

When a bishop assigned to the trip persuades Dorothy’s mother to allow him to chaperon her intelligent daughter on the trip to facilitate her education, Dorothy’s mother accepts his kind offer with the comforting knowledge that Dorothy is under the protection of a man of the Church. But the Bishop’s intentions may not be as pure as they appear and Dorothy’s virtue is in danger. Will the Bishop’s unholy plan succeed?

EXCERPT:
Fort Detroit, Fall, 1817

Cheers from the fort’s crowd drew sixteen-year-old Dorothy Evans to the river’s shore. Two high-ended Algonquin canoes from Lake Erie and a smaller French trapper’s canoe advanced toward them on the Detroit River. With each new shout, more yellow aspen leaves tumbled to the ground, crushed under the feet of soldiers and civilians rushing along the riverbank. The sober clothing of the throng clashed with the riotous colors of the maple trees.

A Chippewa runner had arrived the night before to warn, or rather to assemble the fort’s population for Bishop Pascal’s arrival. Father Sebastian, the Jesuit pastor, rose on his tiptoes to peer down river. Dorothy and her mother stood on either side of the nervous priest. Elizabeth’s short, plump figure advertised her success as the rectory’s cook. Dorothy considered herself a competent but reluctant cook’s helper.

Preparations for meals left little time to think, to read, to dream. She hurried through her daily chores to escape into the priest’s extensive library. For more than a hundred years, the Jesuits at Fort Detroit had collected Europe’s finest literature. The tomes whetted her appetite for adventure and romance.

As Dorothy waited for the Bishop, histories of Florence, its free thinkers, faces of popes and red-garbed cardinals swam in her head. The band of young and seasoned soldiers from the fort held no interest. They smelled, and treated her as the stuck-up cook’s daughter. She was only someone to hand out an extra cookie or two when their buddies weren’t around to tease. But in her secret heart, Dorothy was a mysterious spy, an adventurous temptress, a princess waiting to be rescued.

No hint of cardinal reds were in the approaching crafts, only more drab brown and black clothing. Dorothy sighed, breathed in the cool, tannic-scented air and prayed for patience as the ceremonies began. Her chores awaited and her fingers itched to re-open the Italian history she had set aside.

After the first boat emptied its passengers, a sergeant among the troops yelled, “Attention!”

The thirty or so men lined up, tucked in their shirts and squared their shoulders. The newly arrived, tall, mustached officer with soft gray eyes under menacing bushy eyebrows introduced himself to the sloppy, disgraceful bunch. “Lieutenant C. Louis Cass.” He returned their salute and marched past them taking time to point out an unbuttoned tunic, dusty boots, or straighten a jauntily placed cap. “Where is your commanding officer?”

“Abed.” A young private in the rear yelled without fear of detection.

“This way,” Father Sebastian motioned for the Bishop to follow the troops on the half-mile trek back to the fort.

Dorothy’s mother gestured for her to follow, but Dorothy shook her head. Elizabeth delayed and tidied her hair until Dorothy relented and drew closer for what she thought would be a reprimand. Her mother merely whispered. “They’re going to take more land from the natives. Mark my word.”

“Not again. Where will they let them farm now? Is that why the Bishop came?”

“Father says the seven tribes around the Great Lakes will be affected.” Elizabeth tucked a loose black strand of hair behind Dorothy’s ear. “I guess the Bishop thinks a missionary is needed to persuade the tribes to attend the new treaty powwow.”

Dorothy shook her head. “What chance do the natives have to survive, if they disagree?”

“Hurry back to help me.” Her mother scurried away to catch up to Father Sebastian.

Dorothy wandered closer to the river. Dark clouds threatened to stop the sunshine’s play with the sparkling waves. The second smaller canoe purposefully tread water in order not to be drawn ashore. Dorothy examined its crew. A tall, straight-backed Huron sat in the front of the boat. Behind him a younger native caught her eye. The shifting sunbeams highlighted the man’s blond hair. His face seemed lit from within.

His eyes dreamily swept the shoreline past her, then sharply returned as if he had been startled into remembering something. Something important.

Me, Dorothy thought. He’s looking at me. For a moment her breath seemed to stop.

She couldn’t help rushing forward to mingle among the native men helping the two pull the boat onto the sandy shore. The natives nearly bowed before the tall Huron. He spoke kindly to each. Did he personally know their families? Then he introduced the younger man to them, “My favored son.” The older man inclined his head proudly in the direction of the blond young man, whose ethereal bearing evoked the capability of walking on water.

Noticing Dorothy among the group, the older man said, “They call me Ponthe Walker.”

Dorothy nodded but could not keep her face turned away from the infinitely more interesting younger man.

“And my adopted son, Perish North.”

“I’m…I’m,” Dorothy was sure she’d never remember her own name. “Dorothy Evans. My mother is Elizabeth, the rectory cook.”

Perish stepped forward. “A pious believer then?”

Dorothy gained full use of her tongue. “More of a favorite doubter of the Lord’s. Like Saint Thomas? You know the one who had to put his hand in Jesus’ side before he would believe in the resurrection?”

Ponthe seemed to lose interest, but Perish didn’t move.

“I’ve just returned from my vision quest,” he said.

Dorothy believed he grew an inch before her eyes. She slipped a glance down to his boots to see if he’d stretched up on his toes. As she brought her gaze up, she noted his waist adornments, his broad shoulders covered in buckskin. His light blue eyes seemed bleached by the sun, or his vision.

“The manhood rite,” she said, trying not to check. A stiff breeze lifted her hair, cooling the nervous sweat on her brow.

“You’ve heard of the Midewiwins?” Perish took a step closer.

Dorothy could smell a scent of juniper. “I have, but aren’t you too young?”

Perish laughed.

A thrill passed through her at the clear, rich tones of his voice.

When his father began to lead the natives back to the Fort Detroit, Dorothy boldly pulled at Perish’s elbow. “Walk with me.”

Perish slowed to stroll beside her.

Dorothy smiled as winningly as she knew how. “Tell me.”

“I can only share Orenda’s vision message with family.” His face was serious but his eyes were friendly.

“Adopt me,” Dorothy said, then raced ahead of the group. Aware of her silliness, she knew her mother would be needing help.

*

Author, Rohn FederbushABOUT ROHN FEDERBUSH
Rohn Federbush retired as an administrator from the University of Michigan in 1999. She received a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing in 1995 from Eastern Michigan University. Frederick Busch of Colgate granted a 1997 summer stipend for her ghost-story collection. Michael Joyce of Vassar encouraged earlier writing at Jackson Community College, Jackson, Michigan in 1981. Rohn has completed fourteen novels, with an additional mystery nearly finished, 120 short stories and 150 poems to date.

Connect with Rohn Federbush at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ 

PURCHASE NORTH PARISH FROM:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

THE GIVEAWAY:
Enter Rohn’s Rafflecopter drawing to win
$15 Amazon Gift Card
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Mythical Monday: Beware the Bunny Man by Mae Clair

Although this nefarious character is usually spotted near Halloween, I couldn’t resist the bunny connection with Easter. It just seemed a good time to blog about an urban legend related to well… bunnies.

Before I go any further, let me state emphatically that I adore bunnies. And Easter is my second favorite holiday, after Christmas. I love it for its religious significance and also the sense of rebirth it brings with the newness of spring. It’s one holiday I would never want to associate with anything “soiled” for lack of a better word.  Then I stumbled over the urban legend of the Bunny Man.

According to folklore, in 1904, the residents of Clifton, Virginia petitioned to have a nearby mental asylum shut down and its patients relocated. In hindsight, that was probably a bad idea. For proof, I offer the following nugget of wisdom:  Any urban legend that includes the mention of “mental” and “asylum” usually doesn’t end well and this one is no different.

Norfolk Southern Freight Train at Colchester Overpass.

Norfolk Southern Freight Train at Colchester Overpass. Photo credit: By Kohlchester via Wikimedia Commons

The residents of Clifton got their wish, but in the process of transferring the patients to another facility, the vehicle used to move them was involved in a crash. A few of the prisoners died, many others escaped and took to the countryside.

The authorities immediately launched a search and were able to round up all of the escapees with the exception of a man named Douglas Grifon. Grifon had supposedly been institutionalized for murdering his wife and children on Easter Sunday.

In the days following his escape, the residents were horrified to find the skinned, half-eaten carcasses of rabbits dangling from the branches of surrounding trees. Their fear transitioned to terror when the body of a man named Marcus Wallster was found in a similar condition not long afterward. His mutilated corpse was discovered hanging from a tree near a railroad overpass.

Prompted by the grisly discovery, the police began another frenzied search, this time managing to catch up with Grifon near the bridge. Before they could apprehend him, he ran onto the railroad tracks and was struck by an oncoming train. The horrific scene turned spine-tingling when the train passed, rattling down the tracks. In the unnatural silence that followed, the police were spooked by the sound of sinister laughter.

Train and vehicular traffic at Colchester Overpass aka Bunnyman Bridge

Colcehster Overpass. Photo credit: By Kohlchester, via Wikimedia Commons

Thereafter, the locals referred to the site as Bunny Man Bridge, dubbing Grifon the Bunny Man. For years after his death, carcasses were found hanging from the overpass in the days preceding Halloween.

Should you like to explore this legend yourself, all you need do is visit the southern railway overpass that crosses Colchester Road near Clifton, Virginia. But beware should you go exploring— the bunny man’s laughter is still heard echoing through the trees.

 

Friday Fun by Mae Clair

cute poodle dog wearing party hatIt’s Friday! My favorite day of the week after Saturday and Sunday, so it’s only appropriate to kick it off with some fun. Today, I have two good friends helping me out.

Jessi Gage, a fabulous hybrid author in her own right, is doing a Free Publicity Friday spotlight for SOLSTICE ISLAND on her blog. I’d love to have you hop over and check it out while you’re wandering about the blogosphere!

Donna Cummings is also hosting me today on her blog, All About the Writing. Donna writes “humorously ever after romances,” and is a delight herself! I love her fun sense of humor. Today, she injects that frivolity in a three question interview. Yes, she only gave me three questions to answer, but let me tell you — that first one required major thought!

Curious? I hope so :)  You can find our short interview here.

Happy Friday! Here’s hoping yours is grand!

 

Adventure and Romance with Cd Brennan: A World Apart

Stack of old letters with ink quill and feather penI’m happy to have another Pen Pal on my blog today. Cd Brennan has led an adventurous life, traipsing all over the globe before settling down in Michigan.

From yacht racing in Ireland, to gutting fish in Alaska, and working on a ranch in the Australian Outback—you name it, this girl has done it! And she’s used those adventures to her benefit in creating a wonderful series of novels called “Love Where you Roam.” Please welcome Cd, as she shares the latest book in this series, A WOLRD APART.

Cd, let’s start with your background. Please share a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.

I grew up in Michigan but as soon as I was out of Uni went traveling the world and didn’t return “home” for a very long time. Married an Australian cowboy and rugby player and have two sons, two and five who are the tornado in our life in which we revolve. When we lived in Australia, a neighbor across the street, and a good friend, challenged me to write a romance for a contest through Mills & Boons New Voices. I came mid-pack in results, but it prompted me to keep going. My friend kept me motivated by setting chapter goals, and I doubt I would have finished my first book if she hadn’t. I had a toddler and was pregnant with the second, and working! But I’m proud to say I had it published and then after the first, the next ones come easier. A World Apart is the second book in the Love Where You Roam series.

It’s wonderful to have a friend who motivates you like that and believes in your talent. My previous critique partner was my cheerleader for twelve years. She passed away before I submitted and was published, but I still smile when I think of all the motivation she gave me. I’m so glad your friend did the same. Do you have a favorite place and/or time of day to write?

I don’t! It’s called squeeze-it-in-when-I-can :) With my day job and the kids, running the house and everything else, I’m pretty buggered, but I try to even get a few sentences down every night. I know that might not seem like a lot, but I force myself to commit to even that small amount of time.

Any commitment to writing is a great discipline—and that’s a lot you’re juggling! Good for you squeezing those moments in each night. I really enjoyed the first release in your Love Where You Roam series, WATERSHED, and am looking forward to losing myself in A WORLD APART. Without giving too much away, please share a bit about your favorite scene.

I have a few favorites, but the one that comes to mind right now is when Hamish climbs the fire escape to try and break into the rooms where Lizzy lives above the hotel she works at. Okay, it might sound a bit Pretty Woman, but its significant to Hamish as he isn’t the impulsive type, the exact opposite and his love and adoration for this sunshine of a shiela compels him to step outside his box. It’s pissing rain (as they say over there) and he’s clumsy as heck getting up the old rickety metal escape. It’s a big humorous, a bit profound. :)

I love “pissing rain,” LOL. It sounds like a great scene. How did you choose your setting?

A World Apart Old Book Cover

A World Apart Old Book Cover

A World Apart is set in Bridge of Allan, Scotland, a small beautiful town just outside the University of Stirling where I attended to get my MPHIL in Publishing Studies. I actually worked and lived in the Queen’s Hotel where much of the story takes place. I utterly and completely fell in love with not only this quaint Scottish village, but all of Scotland. A bit of my heart still remains there.

I would love to see Scotland someday. It must have been phenomenal to live there. Would you like to share the first three sentences of your book?

“Pass those empties, mate.” Lizzy prodded the man with her free hand, the other balancing a stack of empty pint glasses.

“Would you shut it?” The man ignored Lizzy’s request.

A mighty roar bellowed in the room, the wallop of noise raising the hairs on Lizzy’s arms.

Nice! I wonder just what that noise is all about. :) Now, let’s learn about Cd. When you’re not writing (or reading) what do you do to unwind?

Honestly, I rarely unwind, unless I am comatose asleep at night, and that’s unless our 2-year old wakes me up :). But I think it’s important for everyone to take time for themselves. It makes them better at all the other roles they play – a better and happier mum, a more creative writer, a more dedicated employee. So, I took the first step and combined exercise and unwind time by walking our dog. I also indulge in red wine a few times a week. For a frazzled mum, it’s a godsend! And not too unhealthy :)

You’re so right that we all need some “me” time. I like your methods for unwinding! If you couldn’t be a writer, what else would you choose to do?

Cowgirl, definitely. Or do you mean something that actually pays a wage? Helicopter pilot was one of my dreams when I was much younger, but since I have developed a fear of flying, that just won’t do anymore. LOL I guess I am stuck with writing, and I love my job as an Editor, as well.

A fear of flying would definitely impinge on being a helicopter pilot, LOL. It’s great you have writing—and a job as an editor—to keep you happy. And now for a few quick favorites:

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy godmother: Cologne, Germany for Octoberfest! My sister lives there so I get to see her and her family along with great beer in a stein and the beautiful German countryside.

Favorite season: Summer, too much Aussie in me to totally appreciate the winters in Michigan.

Favorite time of day: Morning, yep I’m one of those. I used to irritate the crap out of my housemates when I was younger.

Favorite color: Maroon – earthy and warm

Favorite type of music: Right now – classical. I have enough “noise” in my house with two wee boys and a dog. It soothes me LOL

Germany for Octoberfest would surely be an experience to remember! I love your choice of maroon—most unusual when I think of color. And I’m with you on summer and mornings (I’m still trying to figure out how I went from being a night owl when I was younger to being a morning person). It was great to have you visit today, Cd. I wish you much success and many sales for A WORLD APART. I already have my copy on my Kindle. It’s great to know there are even more books planned for this adventurous series!

~ooOOoo~

As a side note, when you go shopping for A WORLD APART, note that the book cover has had a redesign. As a result, you may find some sites still have the older cover (above) while others have the new adult book cover, below. Either way, you can be sure you’re still getting the same great tale!

Author Cd BrennanAuthor Bio
Having traveled and lived all over the world, Cd Brennan now talks with a strange accent, a mix of distant terminology, a blend of culturally cute but confusing euphemisms that leaves everyone looking at her with a blank stare. Luckily, her Australian husband (who she met in Ireland) and her two Aussie/Yankee sons have no problem understanding her – well, except for the word NO.

Now settled back “home” in Michigan, she enjoys reliving her glory days by writing about them. She considers the last fifteen years abroad the perfect research for her Love Where You Roam series; matchmaking women and men from different cultures, even different hemispheres, helping them find their true one across oceans of difference.

As destiny plays a hand in all the stories, Cd Brennan truly believes that what is for you, won’t pass you by. She hopes to inspire others to get out there: “Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” [Mark Twain]  And of course, fall in love.

Get in touch with her at www.cdbrennan.com

Connect with Cd at the following haunts:
Website
Blog:  Sundae With Nuts at the above address
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

A World Apart New Book Cover

A World Apart New Book Cover

BLURB FOR A WORLD APART:

She left home to find herself…and found love along the way.

Lizzy travels to Scotland to track down her roots, hoping where she comes from will help her figure out where she needs to go. An Aussie girl through and through, tough as nuts and a bit wild, she believes there’s nothing so wonderful as a world seen through wine-tinted glasses…

…until she meets Hottie Hamish, Bridge of Allan’s most eligible bachelor.

Hamish is Lizzy’s polar opposite in every way. He’s serious, driven, and motivated, focused on becoming the youngest associate professor at the Glasgow School of Art. But he’s hiding a social phobia behind his gruff exterior that makes it almost impossible to connect with people…

…until he meets Lost Lizzy, all sunshine and lightness, an Australian beauty with the proverbial heart of gold.

Where they come from may be worlds apart, but atop a Scottish Munro, they begin to realize where they’re going is best traveled side by side.

CONTENT WARNING: Graphic descriptions of haggis ingredients.

A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance

PURCHASE A WORLD APART FROM:

AMAZON   AMAZON UK   AMAZON AUSTRALIA  iTUNES   B&N   KOBO  BOOKWIRE

 

 

 

Would you search for a mythical creature? by Mae Clair

I can actually say “been there, done that,” in relation to the question above. If you’ve visited my blog before, you might know I’ve traipsed around West Virginia in the area where the legendary Mothman was sighted — all in the name of research which I’ve factored into an upcoming novel.

But going out on a charter boat to track down a leviathan larger than a whale . . .a mythical seabeast that has a taste for gobbling up ships? Nah, probably not.

Cover KindleThat, is however, exactly what my heroine, Rylie Carswell, does in my new indie release, SOLSTICE ISLAND. Today, I’m visiting with my Kensington Books/Lyrical Press sister, Gemma Brocato on her fabulous blog. If you get a chance, I’d love for you to pop over and say hello.