About Mae Clair

Hi, I'm Mae Clair, an author who writes tales of mystery and suspense, flavored with folklore. In addition to writing, I'm an avid reader who loves discussing books and anything writing related. I'm also passionate about cryptozoology, legends, and cats!

Guest Author Thursday: John Howell with Eternal Road #newrelease

red quill pen on a piece of old parchment paper, with an ink well with words Welcome Guest in script

Welcome to a new Guest Author Thursday! Today, I’m pleased to have Story Empire colleague, John Howell, as my guest. John has dropped by to give us a glimpse of his latest release, Eternal Road. I’m rolling out the red carpet and chanting “one-click, one-click!” 🙂 You can read my 5 star review of John’s book HERE.

And now . . . take it away, John!

New Book Launch – Eternal Road – The final stop.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Mae, and thank you for helping me launch this book. I know you have your hands full with your current projects and I am pleased you could make time to help with this launch. Speaking of the book, let me describe it. Eternal Road is the story of two people finding their way through the selection process leading to the place where one will spend eternity. Yes, it is true. They both have passed away. James Wainwright just died in an auto accident. Samantha Tourneau died seventeen years before. Sam is James’s guide to help him decide where to spend eternity. This is not your usual thriller or paranormal romance. It is a piece of fiction that is a combination of inspiration, adventure, time travel, sci-fi, a touch of erotica, and a dash of spiritual. In short, it is a lot of things, but hopefully, a story that will make you happy to have read it.

It is now available on Amazon in paper and Kindle. The Kindle edition is introductory priced at 99¢ until October 15th

Here are the universal links

Kindle

Paper

The blurb

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things 1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older. 2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer, who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save humankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

An Excerpt

They each cradle their musket. James winces when his weapon comes to rest. “Can you please grab the pouch? My shoulder’s killing me.”

Sam nods. “Sure enough. What will happen in a fight?”

James gives her a stern look. “I thought about that.”

Sam locks eyes with him. “Tell me.”

James glances away. “Don’t you think it would be wrong for you and I to kill people? I mean, we’re not supposed to alter history. What if someone we killed would have been spared in the actual fight? On top of that, taking a human life is not something I would think appropriate for a dead person. Especially one looking for an eternal home.”

Sam walks around until she once more has James fixed in her sight. “You bring up two good points.” She pauses and takes his chin in her hand. “Maybe we should go on our way before the fighting begins.”

James places his hand over hers. “That’s what I think. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s death.”

“I hear you. I just wish the reason we came here would become apparent. That we don’t know bothers me.”

James lowers his hand, and Sam does the same. He looks toward the mission. “We haven’t found out what the date is either.”

Sam rests her musket against a tree. “Oh, that’s right. If we knew the date, we would know how much time we have until the actual shooting starts.”

James places his musket next to hers. “When did the shooting start in reality?”

Sam doesn’t have to think. “The first shots were fired on February 23rd at nighttime.”

James wipes his brow. “Okay, then. We just have to ask someone the date.”

Sam holds out her hand. “And broadcast to the whole group that we are so out of it we don’t know?”

James looks at the mission again. “Don’t you think it happens a lot in these troubled times? After all, they don’t have radio broadcasts and such.”
“Okay. You convinced me. Let’s ask the sentry.” They pick up their muskets and walk to the main gate. They both go up to the sentry on duty.

Sam breaks the ice, “Excuse me.”

The sentry stood watching them from the moment they went to the woods. “Yeah, what is it?”

Sam looks down. “We wondered if you knew the date.”

The sentry appears surprised. “The date? Well, it’s a Tuesday, so maybe it might be the 23rd or the 24th. Hold on, let me ask someone.”

Sam shakes her head. “Oh, that’s okay. You’re close enough.”

The sentry smiles. “Okay, then. How’d the practice go?”

James answers, “Just fine, thanks.”

“How’s that shoulder?”

James laughs. “I think I’ll live.”

The sentry grins. “It takes a while to get used to. Get yourself something to fold up. It’ll lessen the shock.”

The trailer

John’s bio

John is an award-winning author who, after an extensive business career, began writing full time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written five other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. The paperback versions are also available in the Indie Lector store

John lives in Lakeway, Texas, with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Contact John

Blog Fiction Favorites, http://johnwhowell.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Twitter –https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave

Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Amazon Author’s page –https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

John’s other books

Book Review Wednesday: Eternal Road, The Emissary 3: Love Hurts, The Choice: Unexpected Heroes. @HowellWave, @MarciaMeara, @gmplano

A woman sitting on the beach reading a book. Her back is to the camera, with ocean in front. Done in a wash of faded colors

If today’s post seems a little out of place, that’s because I’m a day late with my book reviews. I already had a post in place yesterday, so I moved my reviews to Hump Day this week. Every now and then you just have to go with the flow.

I have three titles to share, all from authors I admire. I’m pleased to say I’ve read and enjoyed every book each of these fabulous authors has released to date, so it’s no surprise I found their latest offerings equally up to snuff. All three are also Story Empire colleagues. That’s right–if you haven’t already heard the news, Gwen Plano has joined SE, and we couldn’t be happier! So today, it’s a blog 3-FER for SE reads, all recommended with plenty of fanfare and applause! 🙂


book cover for Etneral Road by John W. Howell shows blue and white 1965 Oldsmobile on road heading into cloudsEternal Road
John W. Howell

A combination of paranormal suspense, fantasy, and time travel, Eternal Road delivers on multiple levels. James dies in a car accident and finds himself on the “eternal road” where his soul offers ripe pickings for Lucifer. James hooks up with Samatha (Sam) a soul he knew in grade school, now a woman, who partners with him through numerous learning experiences that take them through various moments in history–the OK Corral, the Alamo, WWII–and even decades into the future, where the human race is at stake.

What stood out for me in this story was the spiritual aspect of good vs. evil, the love and protection of God, and the choices the characters have to make. The love between James and Sam transcends that of mortal scope, and many of the scenes related to their family (when they’re able to reach those moments) are beautifully written and heart warming. Eternal Road delivers adventure, history, fantasy, and spiritual warmth in equal measures. Although the ending delivers a solid wrap to the events, I could easily see this becoming a series, and would eagerly sign on for future stories! 5 Stars.

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Historical Thriller > Supernatural Thriller


book cover for The Emissary 3 by Marcia Meara shows silhouettes of couple gazing an ocean, angel wings over skyThe Emissary 3: Love Hurts
by Marcia Meara

In The Emissary 3: Love Hurts, author Marcia Meara returns to the world of Jake, Dodger, and Azrael—two emissaries and an angel whose job is to keep humans from making poor life choices. Azrael is in charge (or “Boss” as Jake calls him, to the non-amusement of Azrael) with Jake and Dodger working as his emissaries. Jake and Dodger have physical bodies, but they have previously passed from this life—which becomes a problem when Dodger falls for Juliet, a girl he sees at the library.

Azrael is willing to give Dodger a chance to explore his feelings and develop a relationship with Juliet, but the complications far surpass those of a normal couple, especially given Dodger is unable to share with Juliet who he really is or what he does.

As in past Emissary novellas, the story abounds with warmth and humor. I never tire of Azrael suddenly appearing and giving Jake a jolt. There is plenty of banter between angel and emissaries, but also plenty of near-parental type guidance and sternness from Azrael. That big angel has a huge soft spot for his recruits!

The story is polished with spot-on dialogue and emotions that tug on heart strings but ultimately leave the reader with a feel-good finish. This is a beautiful story, and a beautiful wrap to an enchanting series! 5 Stars.

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Paranormal and Urban Fantasy


Book cover for The Choice by Gwen Plano shows silhouettes of man and woman from back holding hands on rocky beach, helicopter with search beam in starry night skyThe Choice: the unexpected heroes
by Gwen Plano

If you enjoy military fiction and political intrigue, you’ll enjoy this well-polished and plotted novel. The sequel to The Contract: Between Heaven and Earth, the story delves into the murder of Brad and Sarah (from book one) and who ordered their deaths. The author does provide a forward which helps cover what occurred in the first novel if you are new to the series.

In The Choice, new characters are introduced, including two who set up a romantic theme. I liked how the relationship grew and flourished between Jim and Donna. The bulk of the story, however, focuses on the investigation and political twists and turns as our “unexpected heroes” work to stop a power-hungry man known as “the Lion” from creating a one-world government. The pace moves steadily throughout with a few unexpected and well delivered twists at the end. 4 Stars.

Amazon Link
Genre: Military Policy > Mystery Action Fiction > Action and Adventure Romance


Thank you for checking out my latest round of reviews. As always, I hope you have your nose buried in a good book and I wish you happy reading!

Autumn Reading: Murder They Wrote

comfortable sofa with throw pillows and soft fuzzy blanket surrounding copy of book Murder They Wrote

Today is the autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere. As much as I love summer, I do love the crisp days of fall, filled with cinnamon and gold leaves, bright orange pumpkins, and tall cornstalks. It’s also a great time to curl up with a book on your Kindle.

May I recommend Murder They Wrote? 🙂

You can learn more about this anthology of murder mysteries by visiting me today at Harmony Kent’s blog. If you’re roaming about the blogosphere, pop in and say hello!

Book Review Tuesday: HMS Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack, The Twins by D.L. Cross @Virgilante @stacitroilo

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageWelcome to another Book Review Tuesday. I have two five-star reviews to share today. Both of these books are wildly imaginative and engrossing from start to finish. If you enjoy ingenious fiction, you’re sure to love both of these!


book cover HMS Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack shows clipper ship on stormy seasH.M.S. Lanternfish
Lanternfish Series Book 2
By C. S. Boyack

C. S. Boyack delivers another colorful adventure with HMS Lanterfish. I loved the first novel, Voyage of the Lanternfish, which introduced us to James—pirate captain Bloodwater—and his crew. The gang is back again (including the scene stealing root monsters), along with new characters, imaginative creatures, and plenty of action. James is drawn from a peaceful retirement to act as privateer for the war effort.

As always, Boyack delivers a story that brims over with adventure and explosive action. There are exploding monks (and that’s only part of the “explosive” action, LOL), a possessed weapon, a shogun, con artists, terrifying creatures, a beautiful princess, and a crew of thoroughly unique characters. Some standouts for me are the relationship between James and his adopted son, Mule, and Serang, a fiercely loyal female warrior who can kick butt like no other and who gets her own ship this time around. It’s hard to catch your breath when Lanternfish sets sail.

If you enjoy fast-paced fiction, a good sea yarn and a fun time, you’ll love this book and this series. And if you have no clue what a root monster is, grab your copy of HMS Lanterfish and prepare to be enchanted, as these guys have plenty of tales to tell, and they are not shy about it as the crew can attest. When a root monster earns a name, it is really something special, just one more highlight in this wildly entertaining book!

5 STARS

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Sea Stories > Pirate Adventure > Epic Fantasy


Book cover for The Twins by D. L. Cross shows black sun with fiery corona above ruins of city, UFOs and Ying and Yang symbols The Twins
Astral Conspiracy Series Book 4

by D. L. Cross

I’ve been following this series since book one. The Stones has been my favorite to date, but The Twins comes in a close second. Once again, the action is nonstop, following different POV characters through separate pulse-pounding situations, all coming to a head in the closing quarter of the book. For fans who have followed the series, there are several surprises in store, including one jaw-dropping revelation that sets up book five, the closing novel in the series. That revelation is sheer brilliance on the part of the author, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. I also really loved Cross’s slant on Roswell with what took place there and why. Yet another perfectly lobbed plot grenade.

There is strong cast of characters in this series, and by now I’ve spent a good deal of time with all of them. As their loyalties change, and circumstance reveals news sides to their personalities and underlying motivations, I found my own loyalties changing—including grudgingly admiring more than one character I once detested. Although each chapter is a constant adrenalin rush, it’s almost impossible to catch your breath in the closing quarter of the book. I fully expect The Lab, book five, to deliver a nail-biting and riveting finish to this stellar series. If you enjoy alien invasion stories with exceptional character development, polished writing, and an engrossing storyline, The Twins, and the Astral Conspiracy series are not to be missed! I would love to see Netflix turn this into a series.

5 STARS

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Alien Invasion > Colonization Science Fiction


Book cover shows two figures in black silhouette in an empty room with large windows and curtains behind, gunman shooting victim in backI also read Murder They Wrote last week, a murder mystery anthology in which I have a short story. It was great to sit back and enjoy tales my co-authors created. C. S. Boyack, and Judi Lynn set up murder mysteries that allowed me to revisit with characters I love.

Boyack used Jason Fogg to tell his story, and Judi Lynn brought back Jazzi and Ansel from her popular series. Both were stellar mysteries.

I enjoyed every offering in this collection, but must give a special shout out to Julia Donner for  Murder at a Garden Party or The Unpleasantness in the Study, a Regency tale full of dry wit and humor. I enjoyed it so much, I want to track down more stories with these characters.

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Anthology > Murder Mystery


As always, I wish you happy reading and hope that a title I’ve shared will spark your interest. I am also still reading the Harry Dresden series, and recently finished book 14 of the 16 that are currently in release. Book 17 releases in October, so I’ve got to read fast to catch up. Most of the Dresden books run 500-600+ pages, so it’s taking me a while, LOL!

And if you’d like to learn about Murder They Wrote, and the story I wrote for the anthology, I invite you to visit Marcia Meara’s blog today, where I’ve got the spotlight for Guest Author Tuesday. Marcia is a good friend, a Story Empire colleague, and a fantastic author. If you’re not already following her blog, you’re missing out on something special. You can find today’s post, HERE.

Kindle Unlimited Books #Mothman

Happy Monday, friends! Please pardon my absence of the last few days. I came down with a wretched sinus infection and earache the end of last week, and basically spent my days sleeping or lounging around the house and doing nothing. Because several of my symptoms mimicked COVID-19, I had to have the test done—not a pleasant experience, but thankfully, it doesn’t take long.

I also didn’t have to wait in a string of cars. There was only one ahead of me, so I breezed through pretty quickly. My test was negative, and I’m now feeling much better. I’ve been on antibiotics which have taken care of the sinus infection and earache, but during those down days, I missed a number of your blog posts. I hope to be back in my normal routine with this week.

For those of you who are on Kindle Unlimited, I wanted to share the news that A Cold Tomorrow, and A Desolate Hour, Books 2 and 3 of my Point Pleasant series will be available on KU until November 14. Each of the books can be read as stand alone, and each delves into the urban legend of the Mothman and the tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Of all the books I’ve written, A Cold Tomorrow remains a personal favorite. I even had the cover made into a canvas wall print for my den. Blurbs for both books are below.

eerie farm road late at night below a green skyA Cold Tomorrow
Book 2 Point Pleasant

Where secrets make their home…

Book cover for A COLD TOMORROW by author, Mae Clair shows a deserted country lane at night beneath a sky of green cloudsStopping to help a motorist in trouble, Katie Lynch stumbles upon a mystery as elusive as the Mothman legend that haunts her hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Could the coded message she finds herald an extraterrestrial visitor? According to locals, it wouldn’t be the first time. And what sense should she make of her young son’s sudden spate of bizarre drawings—and his claim of a late-night visitation? Determined to uncover the truth, Katie only breaks the surface when a new threat erupts. Suddenly her long-gone ex-boyfriend is back and it’s as if he’s under someone else’s control. Not only is he half-crazed, he’s intent on murder….

As a sergeant in the sheriff’s office of the famously uncanny Point Pleasant, Officer Ryan Flynn has learned to tolerate reports of puzzling paranormal events.   But single mom Katie Lynch appears to be in very real danger—and somehow Ryan’s own brother, Caden, is caught up in the madness, too. What the skeptical lawman discovers astounds him—and sends him into action. For stopping whatever evil forces are at play may just keep Katie and Caden alive….

AMAZON KINDLE UNLIMITED LINK

Header image for A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair showing a man standing in a dark mysterious forest with bloody lake in foreground

A Desolate Hour
Book 3 Point Pleasant

Sins of the past could destroy all of their futures . . .

Book cover for A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair shows a small town overlooking a river at night, full moon overhead, cover in wash of green red and black with white letteringFor generations, Quentin Marsh’s family has seen its share of tragedy, though he remains skeptical that their misfortunes are tied to a centuries-old curse. But to placate his pregnant sister, Quentin makes the pilgrimage to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, hoping to learn more about the brutal murder of a Shawnee chief in the 1700s. Did one of the Marsh ancestors have a hand in killing Chief Cornstalk—the man who cursed the town with his dying breath?

While historian Sarah Sherman doesn’t believe in curses either, she’s compelled to use her knowledge of Point Pleasant to uncover the long-buried truth. The river town has had its own share of catastrophes, many tied to the legendary Mothman, the winged creature said to haunt the woods. But Quentin’s arrival soon reveals that she may have more of a stake than she realized. It seems that she and Quentin possess eerily similar family heirlooms. And the deeper the two of them dig into the past, the more their search enrages the ancient mystical forces surrounding Point Pleasant. As chaos and destruction start to befall residents, can they beat the clock to break the curse before the Mothman takes his ultimate revenge? . . .

AMAZON KINDLE UNLIMITED LINK


If you’ve been considering this series, and you’re a KU subscriber, now is a great time to take advantage. This is the first time my publisher has placed any of my books in the KU program. I’m eager to see how it goes.

Happy reading. And, as we near autumn in the northern hemisphere, and the start of cold and flu season, stay safe out there!

New Release: Liars and Thieves by D. Wallace Peach #fantasy #swordandsorcery

red quill pen on a piece of old parchment paper, with an ink well with words Welcome Guest in script
It’s my pleasure to have D. Wallace Peach on my blog today with her newest fantasy release, Liars and Thieves which is book one in a brand new epic fantasy series. Diana’s books are always rich in world building with intriguing, fully-fleshed out characters and plot lines that leave me in awe of their complexity and dexterity. I love that I can step into a vividly imagined world and lose myself in the beauty of her writing. She has a remarkable gift with words, and I’m honored to be taking part in her blog tour.

Banner ad for Liars and Thieves by D. Wallace Peach shows book, plus Kindle and e-reader versionsAt one point, the story suggests that all people are changelings. Diana explains what that means:

I’m intrigued by the idea that our choices define who we are, and that we have the ability to remake ourselves every moment of every day. We have the power to “change.” This applies to our appearance but, more importantly, to our thoughts and beliefs, how we speak and behave, whether we approach others with defensive hostility or kindness and compassion. We have the choice to seek a better world, a healthier planet, or to contribute to chaos. And simply by changing out choices we can become whole new people. That’s powerful!

I know the book will be powerful, too. Check out this trailer!


BLURB:

Behind the Veil, the hordes gather, eager to savage the world. But Kalann il Drakk, First of Chaos, is untroubled by the shimmering wall that holds his beasts at bay. For if he cannot cleanse the land of life, the races will do it for him. All he needs is a spark to light the fire.

Three unlikely allies stand in his way.

A misfit elf plagued by failure—

When Elanalue Windthorn abandons her soldiers to hunt a goblin, she strays into forbidden territory.

A changeling who betrays his home—

Talin Raska is a talented liar, thief, and spy. He makes a fatal mistake—he falls for his mark.

A halfbreed goblin with deadly secrets—

Naj’ar is a loner with a talent he doesn’t understand and cannot control, one that threatens all he holds dear.

When the spark of Chaos ignites, miners go missing. But they won’t be the last to vanish. As the cycles of blame whirl through the Borderland, old animosities flare, accusations break bonds, and war looms.

Three outcasts, thrust into an alliance by fate, by oaths, and the churning gears of calamity, must learn the truth. For they hold the future of their world in their hands.


Liars and Thieves Global Purchase Link


Author Bio:Author, D. Wallace Peach
D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two dogs, bats, owls, and the occasional family of coyotes.

Connect with the author at the following haunts:
Website/Blog | Website/Books | Amazon Author’s Page | Facebook | Twitter


Are you ready to get lost in this richly-layered fantasy world? Then I highly suggest you go forth and ONE-CLICK Liars and Thieves. Thanks for visiting today and joining in the launch excitement of Diana’s release. Please don’t forget to use the sharing buttons and help spread the news!

Murder They Wrote and a Blog Visit

Hi, Friends! If you live in the U.S., or Canada, I hope you had a long and enjoyable Labor Day weekend. I’m forgoing my usual Book Review Tuesday post today to share the news I’m once again out and about with Murder They Wrote, the mystery anthology in which I have a short story. Today, I’m visiting my friend and Story Empire colleague, Joan Hall.

If you get a chance, please drop over and say hello. And if you’re not already familiar with Joan, I recommend following her blog. She and I are kindred spirits in that we both love legends and folklore. Joan is working on a new legend-based series, but until book one is ready to roll, she has several other compelling mysteries you can explore.

Murder They Wrote Takes to the Road

tote bag surrounded by iphone, mouse, wallet, pencil, with book, Murder They Wrote on top of tote

I’m off visiting today, sharing details about the anthology, Murder They Wrote, in which I have a short story. Should you be out and about, please hop over to visit me at Mark Bierman’s blog.

While you’re there, poke around Mark’s corner of the blogosphere if you’re not already familiar with it. Mark is a skilled author and a great guy with a fun sense of humor. His posts cover a variety of topics, and are always engaging. See you there!

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #15 NEW Image Prompt. Join in the fun! #IARTG #ASMSG @pursoot #WritingCommunity

Suzanne Burke came up with another wonderful image for a flash fiction prompt, one that thoroughly enchanted my muse. If you’d like to participate, check out the rules and deadline HERE. In a nutshell—-750 words or less in the genre or format (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc.) of your choice. I always seem to come in right at the 750 word mark, or just under. Today’s count is 746.

old door with shattered glass stands open to weathered stairway, discarded junk and trash on floor

FREE Image by  Peter H  from Pixabay

Atonement

Julian St. Croix. stood on the first step, testing the weight of the rotted tread. Behind him, Rexmont kicked through detritus littering the floor­—slivers of wood, dried leaves, tattered scraps of paper. Small puffs of dust wafted from his shoes, tickling the sensitive tissue of Julian’s nose.

He sniffed and dragged a sleeve across his face. “Second floor’s off limits.”

Rexmont stopped long enough to raise his head. “How come?”

“This step feels like rice paper and the others look as flimsy. Too much dry rot to risk it.”

“That sucks.” Rexmont wandered closer. He craned his neck to gaze toward the landing where shadows nested in a pocket of charcoals and grays. “Up there’s where he hung himself.”

“You’re sure?” They’d only been in the abandoned house forty minutes, and already Julian felt the drain on his energy.

“I did the research.” Rexmont swiped a paw over the back of his neck. He was a big man, twice Julian’s size, with massive hands, a chest like a double-wide freezer, and close-set eyes the color of motor oil. Most people labeled him a gorilla, but he was every bit as gifted in intellect as brawn, which was why Julian valued him so highly. If there was friendship between them, it straddled the line between employer/employee, still too new to venture deeper.

“No choice then.” Julian gripped his cane, the anchor that kept him from crumpling when spirit energy deserted him and all that was left was mortal stamina. “You stay here.”

“You’re the boss, but…is that wise?”

“The steps would never hold you.” Julian tested the first one. He was a trim man, not quite six feet, all lean muscle and bone, but still the wood groaned its fragility. Using his cane, he prodded each tread before adding his weight. When he reached the second-floor landing, he paused to glance down at Rexmont. “It’s an old house, but the structure is sound.”

His hired muscle snorted. “You’re two centuries older, at minimum. What’s that say about you?”

Julian’s lips curled. On his worse day, he could still pass for late thirties. “Let’s pray my fortitude is every bit as resilient as this structure.”

Without waiting for an acknowledgement, he ambled down the hallway. Over moldy carpet, once a rich burgundy, now frayed and discolored by grime. Fat cobwebs clung to the ceiling and sprouted in the corners. He followed a pulse of dark energy to a room on the right. The furniture had been cleared out years ago, but Sight allowed him to see the area as it had once been—a king-sized bed, ebony bureau, standing wardrobe, and roll-top desk.

His stamina wavered and he closed his eyes. When he looked again, the desk lay face down, papers and books scattered over the floor. A toppled ink well left a stain like blood on the paisley carpet. Above, suspended from the rafters, hung the body of a thirtyish man with white-gold hair. He had not died easily, his face bloated and purple.

Julian drew a breath to center himself. He bowed his head then murmured a prayer in middle English. When his voice faded, the specter’s form shimmered, outlined by tiny points of light. Within seconds, it vanished.

“Boss?” Rexmont appeared on the threshold. He glanced around the room. “That was quick work.”

Julian nodded, unwilling to say more. The ritual of releasing a spirit in bondage resurrected ugly memories. “How did you manage the steps?”

“I didn’t. I found a second stairway off the kitchen. Are we done?”

“For now.”

Rexmont frowned. “I still don’t understand why it’s your job to hunt down these ghosts and release them.”

“Because they deserve the peace that eluded them in life.” Something he’d yet to achieve.

Thoughts of his young wife and her lover filled his head. Visions of the blood he’d left them lying in before he’d flung a rope over a crossbeam and hung himself. Julian walked toward the door, his cane thumping hollowly against the floor. There was no erasing the sins of his past. Penitence would have to suffice, along with the hope that someday his spirit—like those he freed—might move on.

He paused and faced Rexmont. “I do it for atonement.”

“For you?”

“And them.” For the wife who’d broken their marriage vows, the brother who’d betrayed him by sharing her bed. He did it to erase the violent killer he’d once been. “I do it for my soul.”


This prompt really resonated with me. BIG TIME! I could easily see myself expanding on the characters and the plot line, spinning them into a novella or something longer. Now, if I could only find the time 😉

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed my latest flash fiction! 

New Release: Murder They Wrote #whodunit #mystery #anthology

Book banner ad for Murder They Wrote shows ebook lying on sweater, old watch nearbyHappy hump day! I’m super excited to announce a new anthology in which I have a short story. Murder They Wrote is about….well, murder. Makes sense, right?  Seven authors (including moi) have come together to deliver whodunits with plenty of mystery and dead bodies. Here’s the best thing—you get a mash up of different settings and sub-genres.

Check out the blurb:Book cover shows two figures in black silhouette in an empty room with large windows and curtains behind, gunman shooting victim in back

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 excited to be part of this collection. Most readers know me as a writer of supernatural suspense and mystery but in my short story, A Winter Reckoning, I’ve foregone the supernatural element. One of my favorite mystery tropes (thanks to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None), is to take a group of characters/suspects, plop them in an isolated location—in this case, a snowbound medieval castle—stage a murder, then let the suspicions, tension, and finger-pointing begin.

My protagonist is a mercurial knight with a short temper and a highly refined sense of honor and loyalty. Sir Richard Essex is recently married to the daughter of his father’s rival. He has little patience for the catty aristocrats he’s forced to rub elbows with at a holiday gathering, and even less for the father-in-law who despises him. When the host of the gala is murdered, and most everyone has a motive, Richard realizes no one is really who they seem. If he doesn’t discover the killer in time, his own life may be forfeit. All the while the line between friend and foe grows increasingly blurred.

A Winter Reckoning is just one story in this suspenseful anthology. All of the authors deliver tales that will keep you flipping pages while transporting you through various time periods and sub-genres. So set aside your game of Clue, grab your magnifying glass and detective’s notebook, then ONE-CLICK this engaging anthology that will have you chasing red herrings, confronting suspects, and examining evidence.

In the end, all of the authors hope you will agree on the same verdict—Murder They Wrote is a collection of mysteries you need to read and solve! 🙂


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Thanks for visiting and checking out the post!  I wish you happy reading 🙂