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!

Happy Halloween and a Brief Hiatus

Happy Halloween! Sometimes, October feels like one long festive party. We get thirty-one days of shivery movies and books, pumpkin carving activities, hayrides, jack-o-lanterns, hot cider, ghost stories, and spooky decorations.

Illuminated home garden path patio lights with halloween pumpkin lanterns

Trick-or-treat takes place in my neighborhood tonight, so I will be passing out candy to the little ghosts and ghouls who knock on my door. Maybe I’ll pop in a spooky movie or crack open a Halloween novel. Or maybe I’ll be doing my final round of NaNoWriMo prep. Tomorrow—November 1—kicks off the big event.

I’ve plotted as much as possible. I have my character sketches, my setting details and a number of scenes mapped out, but NaNo is still going to be a challenge. Especially because I work thirty hours a week. That’s less than many people, but still enough to limit the hours I can devote to writing.

As a result, I’m going to take a one month hiatus from blogging. I won’t be online much, if at all, which means I’m going to miss your November blog posts. I hope you’ll bear with me while I tackle NaNo. I’ll pop in, if and when I can, but for the most part I don’t expect to be visible. Wish me luck! 🙂

In the meantime, I cobbled together some Halloween superstitions and folklore for your enjoyment.

Did you know:

Leafless barren tree in front of oversized full moon iat nightYou should turn your pockets inside out when passing a graveyard on Halloween. That way,  you won’t inadvertently bring a ghost home in your pocket.

To ward off evil spirits, walk counterclockwise around your house backward, three times before sunset on Halloween.

If you hear footsteps behind you on Halloween, do not turn around. It could be Death or the dead following you.

If, however, you spy a spider on Halloween, consider yourself lucky. It means a departed loved one is watching over you.

If you happen to see a bull lying down on Halloween night, the wind will blow most of the winter from the direction he’s facing.

Finally, if you were born on Halloween, you can see spirits, chat with faeries, and interpret dreams!

Happy Halloween, and good luck to everyone who is participating in NaNo!

Wednesday Weirdness: Spook Lights and Corpse Candles

pathway between large, gnarled trees with words "on the path of Wednesday Weirdness" superimposed over imageIt’s time for another dose of Wednesday Weirdness. Today’s post comes with a bonus—a free book of Halloween stories. But first . . .

Beware the marsh when night unfolds,
and darkness sends the sun in flight.
‘Tis no place for mortal creature,
home to Fae and ghostly light.

Spook lights have many different names depending on culture and location, but have long been intertwined with magical things that go bump-in-the-night. Often referred to as ‘foolish fire’ for the propensity to lead night time travelers astray, these lights have various names including will-o-wisps, elf light, fox fire, and ghost lights among others.

Commonly attributed to the Fae or elemental spirits, they rarely bring good fortune to those who see them. When viewed in a graveyard, they are called  corpse candles. Dancing over marshy grounds and bogs, locals have dubbed them Jack o’ lanterns or friar’s lanterns. In some cases they’ve been said to mark treasure—assuming one is brave enough to go slogging through bog-muck in the middle of the night.

ghost lights over a bog with dead trees, Gothic structure in background

The practical explanation is that ‘ignis fatuus’ is produced from swamp gases when organic matter decays. Not very lyrical, is it? I much prefer the views of country folk who lived on the edges of bogs and forests and whispered of glowing lights that bobbed and weaved through the darkness. You can almost hear the hushed warnings as villagers huddled in their cottages and locked doors to ward off the spellbinding bewitchment. The night came alive with a symphony of light, whispering of enchanted paths, restless ghosts, and unexplored byways.

Spooky trees in the dark of night backlit by moon

Corpse candles make an appearance in my short story The Lady Ghost, about two brothers who decide to dig up a grave on Halloween. It’s one story among a collection of creepy tales all themed around October’s ghoulish holiday.

In this short excerpt, Conner, and his brother, Dorian, have been discussing the legends associated with an old cemetery overlooking a bluff along the Atlantic. They are there to dig up the body of a man name Grim, but the cemetery is gated and locked.


The seaside cemetery where Grim and his Lady Ghost were buried was reputedly haunted and had been a haven for unexplained phenomena for centuries. Corpse candles danced among the tombstones, a mysterious figure in black roamed the bluff overlooking the ocean, and a horrible keening wail sent trespassers fleeing in terror. Ironic that they’d decided to put those folktales to the test on All Hallows Eve.

Conner stopped abruptly, whistling softly as the cemetery came into view. A portion of the perimeter fencing jutted above the bluff. Even from a distance, the spiked tines looked weathered, coated with the coarse white grit of ocean salt. Trees clustered nearby, many blighted and stripped of leaves, a few nothing more than husks of dead wood. To the right, and below, the fury of the Atlantic crashed over spines of black rock.

“You know what I don’t get?” Conner had yet to look away from the brooding gated entrance to the old graveyard. “If the whole thing is a hoax, why lock the cemetery up tight and keep everyone out?”

Dorian rubbed the top of the wolf’s head cane. A crisp breeze chased dried leaves across the footpath, a tangible whisper of autumn rot snarled among brambles. Up ahead, towering stone angels flanked the gate.

 “Maybe it’s to keep something in.”


Book cover for Macabre Sanctuary shows a close up of part of a spooky old house at nightIf this snippet appealed to you, be sure to pick up your copy of Macabre Sanctuary FREE from the bookseller of your choice. Just use this link.

And if you enjoy the tales, I know the authors, myself included, would greatly appreciate any thoughts you’d care to share in a review.

I’ve always been fascinated by night time lights, which is probably why I love using solar lights to illuminate pathways in my yard. Sometimes I wonder if that isn’t a throwback to the enchantment our ancestors felt when they saw a dancing elf light or hinky-punk (the names are endless). I can’t help wondering what a stray will-o-wisp might feel should it blunder into my little oasis.

Would you follow a disembodied light into a dark forest or swamp? As much as I love legends, I’ll content myself with writing about them.

Tuesday Book Review: Silent Payback @jaydawes2 #PsychologicalFiction #DetectiveFiction

Hi, everyone, and welcome to my last book review of October. It seems like only yesterday I was lounging by my pool, but in two days I’m going to be handing out trick-or-treat candy. Yet another month has blown by on a whirlwind! Somehow, despite all that fast-forward flash of time, I still manage to slow the hours down long enough to read. Which brings me to today’s review!


book cover for Silent Payback by Jaye Marie shows profiles of two men, one side by side, one with long hair, beard and mustache, other clean cutSilent Payback
by Jaye Marie
This is a polished story that reads easily and moves at a good clip. The author does an excellent job of getting into the minds of her characters and sharing their emotions. Detective David Mallory is tasked with finding a serial killer, but in addition to tracking down the murderer, he must prove himself worthy to his peers while facing the scrutiny of a legendary commander.He’s also struggling with an issue in his personal life, that if exposed, could ruin everything.

The focus on the crime, and the efforts David employs, along with his partner Anna to find the killer before he strikes again, are the strength of the book in this reader’s opinion. I also loved the inclusion of Snow, the commander whose reputation precedes him. He has a quiet strength and dominates every scene he’s in. When the book is focused on crime solving, it’s great.

Somewhere near the halfway point, David’s secret is revealed (although we get hints prior) and the focus shifts to his personal life. His secret is a big one. Clearly, the author intended for it to be a surprise. It’s definitely nothing I would have guessed, but nor is it something I would normally choose to read about. Which could be why that part of the novel doesn’t work for me.

Huge points to the author for deft handling of a delicate situation. At this point it becomes a matter of personal taste, but I found too much of the story focused on the details of David problem. I liked the wrap to the crime. Coupled with the strength of the writing, and the obvious effort the author put into telling this tale, it warrants five glowing stars despite the issues I had.

Amazon Link
Genre: Psychological Fiction > Murder Fiction


Congratulations to Jaye on her new release! I probably won’t be reading much (or as much) during the month of November due to NaNo, but before the year is out, I hope to have several more reviews to share. In the meantime, I wish you happy reading!

My Girl Tour and Giveaway #newrelease #romance @JacqBiggar

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m kicking off the week by participating in a book tour for Jacquie Biggar’s newest release, My Girl, which sounds positively delightful! I’ve read quite a few of Jacquie’s books, and she always delivers an exceptional heartwarming tale. I’ve already got my copy of My Girl and look forward to getting lost within the pages.

Check it out, and don’t forget the awesome giveaway at the bottom!

My Girl
Gambling Hearts Book 3
by Jacquie Biggar
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Sometimes, the right decision isn’t the easiest one to make
Trish Sylvester knows her family and when they accept a week long stay at a rustic dude ranch, she is concerned- especially since it’s at her ex’s home.
Aaron is overjoyed at the opening of his family’s guest ranch, until he learns their first guest is his ex-girlfriend, her parents–and a fiancé.
And that isn’t the only surprise.
**99cents!**
JACQUIE BIGGAR is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls. She’s been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters.
Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can’t function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. 🙂 Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her website below!
Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world! You can also join her street team on Facebook called Biggar’s Book Buddies.
$25 Amazon gift card
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Lisa, the Robot Girl Talks Viral Blues and Grenades #SomethingWickedTour @Virgilante @StoryEmpire

It’s Friday, and the final day of the Story Empire Something Wicked Blog Tour. I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts this week. I’ve had a blast! To wrap things up, you can find the complete tour schedule here.

And what better way to close, than by having one of my favorite guests visit. Lisa, the robot girl, spokesmodel for C.S. Boyack has been here many times. I’m delighted she dropped by again to help me close out the tour. As always, Lisa is a class act…


Hi, Mae. Always a pleasure to see you. I understand that you’re over at P.H. Solomon’s place today with your own promo, so I hope you’re killing it over there.

Craig sent me to push his newest book, “Viral Blues.” This is a sequel to “The Hat,” but it’s so much more. A bunch of Craig’s characters got a sequel in a way. Including your favorite robot girl.

Gina Greybill gathered us all together under her Host Program. This is kind of a secret society that deals with paranormal threats. Someone, or something, is tampering with the nation’s vaccine supply. It’s our job to sort it all out, and still keep the general public from knowing about us at the same time.

Craig’s making me take excerpts around this time. This one is kind of embarrassing, because I’ve just been taken out by an electro magnet. Sometimes, robot girls have problems the regular folks don’t face.

Anyway, we’re in a fenced area that seems to be the place where the tampering is going on. Our position is inside a junkyard where the magnet moves cars to the crusher.

***

Lisa leaned against the Jeep. She spoke in a chorus of three different women’s voices. “Hi, guys. Welcome to Jurassic Park.”

“She’s still incapacitated,” Gupta said. “Where did the others go?”

“Those disgusting smelly people keep coming from the garages, and they’re even wading out of the river. Gina went into that building to talk to their boss. She took Clovis with her to make sure they listen. They’re going to stink up our garden party.”

“Stack the grenades across the car. When you get a cluster, let ‘em have it,” the hat said. “We’ll head for the river.”

“Wait.” Gupta leaned against the wrecked Jeep. “How do they work?”

“Such children,” the hat said. “Unscrew the cap at the end of the stick. There’s a bead in there. Grab it and pull. Throw it at the bad guys.”

Gupta removed the cap and found the bead. “I think I have it, and – Oh my, God.”

Lizzie and the hat turned to face Lisa. She used one of the grenades to repair her hairdo, and stuck bobby-pins to keep the victory rolls in place. “These things are great. Wish I had a blow dryer to go with them.”

Lizzie took the grenade away. “We need to borrow your curler for a minute, okay.” She turned to Gupta, and the whites of her eyes flashed wide. “You’re going to have to watch her.”

***

What would one of my visits be without a free poster for your readers. This is me trying to fix my hair with one of the grenades. Honestly, it was working pretty well before they took it away.

illustration of sexy red head in revealing midriff plaid shirt and jeans, curling her hair with a grenade

Lisa, definitely gets herself in a few fixes in this story.  Good thing she’s a robot, girl, and has options for turning the tables on the bad guys. It’s always fun when she drops by to promote one of Craig’s books. While I trot out the blurb for Viral Blues, Lisa and I are going to talk shoes and accessories. 🙂

BLURB:

Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.

They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.

Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?

Check out Viral Blues, for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark humor. And in recent superhero style, don’t miss the secret last chapter after the back material.

PURCHASE FROM AMAZON

bio box for author, C.S. Boyack

Connect with Craig at the following haunts:
Blog | My Novels | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest 

What can be better than zombies for Halloween reading? This is a fun, imaginative story with a diverse cast of characters who keep every page entertaining. Highly recommended.

And to close out the week, I’m visiting with P.H. Solomon talking about a very specific curse that has haunted a town for centuries. I hope you have an opportunity to visit!

The Bow of Hart Saga #SomethingWickedTour @ph_solomon @StoryEmpire

Welcome to another day of Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour. My guest today is P.H. Solomon who is extremely adept at writing epic fantasy. You can find the complete tour schedule here.

October is all about creatures, and trust me, P.H.’s books are loaded with them, including all manner of diverse and fascinating characters. I’ve read his complete Bow of Hart saga, and it’s a winner. I hope you enjoy his post today as he shares information about various characters and creatures who populate the saga.

Book covers for the fantasy series Bow of Hart by P.H. Solomon

Thanks to Mae for hosting me today. It’s been a lot of fun so far on the Something Wicked Book Tour with the rest of the authors at Story Empire. Please make sure to share this post and visit the other stops this week and share those.

The Bane is a character that never speaks, but effects The Bow of Hart Saga throughout the entire series. Conjured near the beginning of The Bow of Destiny by Corgren for specific activity to instigate action out of Athson, the Bane is a creature of magic, born of Magdronu’s will and frightens even the most fearless of people.

Makwi is a dauntless character, a dwarf champion never out of sorts, but when he, Ralda and Athson are confronted by the creature, they flee in panic. The Bane is seemingly impervious to attacks but wields fear and physical weapons mercilessly. It is a fearsome adversary whose touch can freeze the will of almost anyone. Every character is repelled and struggle with this presence. Here’s how Limbreth, a bold person herself, reacts to her first contact with the Bane in An Arrow Against the Wind:

Banner ad for An Arrow Against the Wind, fantasy novel by P. H.Solomon

Limbreth lay beneath her blanket. She grunted to herself. She’d hardly thought of Athson all day. The weather race had taken all of her attention. She sighed in weariness. Sleep overtook her without further thought.

The touch of a cold hand drew Limbreth out of the depths of slumber. Her watch already? But her eyes only fluttered open and shut. Hastra said nothing. That touch—it was far colder than the weather. It crept deep into her sluggish thoughts and along her spine.

Limbreth groaned and turned her head. Her eyes flared wide at the sight of a black hand. It grasped her arm. Her jaw worked, but she uttered not a sound. Her heart slammed in her throat, and her chest heaved. The Bane dragged her toward the door where Gweld squatted.

The figure of the Bane swallowed all the light in the small space even though the fire still burned well. Limbreth found some strength and flopped as the Bane pulled her to the door’s threshold and then ducked out.

Limbreth’s lungs strained to utter any noise. It was a spell! She fought for a sound and croaked a whimper. The Bane pulled her right arm out the door.

Why wouldn’t Gweld do anything?

Limbreth fumbled with her free hand and snagged the rock edge of the doorway. The Bane yanked at her arm. Her breath came in gasps but made no viable sound.

She drew the deepest of breaths and mustered all her strength, which passed her lips in a feeble whisper: “Help.” Not enough to wake anyone. You’re on your own. Gweld never moved.

The Bane yanked her torso into the blizzard outside. Her hand grasped the doorway fast and her left arm locked in pain. A groan escaped her lips.

You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens, but Limbreth clearly reacts with an unfamiliar emotion for her. The fear lingers Limbreth and she struggles with it until a confrontation in The White Arrow. Looking for some fear factor, well the series is rife with it and the Bane reaches throughout with it’s appalling touch.


About An Arrow Against the Wind is Book 2 of The Bow of Hart Saga:

Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Tossed like an arrow in the wind.

Athson discovered the unexpected during the search for The Bow of Hart. Yet the prophesied weapon remains hidden. Mysteries discovered during the quest draw him deeper into the peril. The flames of vengeance surge in his thoughts with new revelations. Can he escape the traps of his enemies? The dragon’s reach endangers even Athson’s companions in unexpected ways. His enemy wants the bow but his mentor claims it must be used according to prophesy. With each turn of the search for the bow, long-hidden secrets surface and Athson must find the bow or risk losing those dear to him. When the dragon gains an upper hand with the abduction of Limbreth, Athson is torn between destiny and desire. But Athson seeks his own path. Will he falter like an arrow against the wind?

Find  An Arrow Against the Wind, book 2 of The Bow of Hart Saga on Amazon in e-book, audio and coming soon to print.

Also in this series:
Book 1: The Bow of Destiny
Book 3: The White Arrow

Author photo, P. H. SolomonAbout the author
P. H. Solomon loves reading and writing fantasy of all kinds, especially epic fantasy. If a book has dragons, elves, dwarves, wizards, magic or mythical creatures, it’s in his reading zone. He lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. His first novel, The Bow of Destiny was named 2016 Book of the Year by Fantasia Reviews and is the first book of The Bow of Hart Saga. The sequel novel, An Arrow Against the Wind, was released in April of 2017. The third book of the series, The White Arrow, was released during October of 2017. P. H. Solomon also authored the award-winning short story, The Black Bag, which won best published short story at SCWC 2012. P. H. is also a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

FROM P.H.:
Thanks for stopping by today. Please take time to share this post. Whether you’ve read The Bow of Hart Saga or not, please leave you reactions to this scene and the book.

Connect with P.H. at the following haunts:
Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads  | Website  | BookBub
Pinterest  |  Wattpad   | Amazon Author | SFWA Member
Contributing Author, Story Empire

If you enjoy epic fantasy, you’re sure to love this series. I’ve read all three books and was glued to the pages through each. They all make wonderful candidates for your TBR.

Today, you can find me at Craig Boyack’s blog taking a look at a famous alien encounter.
Ever hear of the Hopkinsville Goblins? Hop over and find out who these guys are!

All is Not as it Seems in The Glade #SomethingWickedTour @harmony_kent @StoryEmpire

Welcome to another day of Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour! I hope you’re enjoying the shivers, goosebumps, and eclectic fiction the SE gang has been trotting out. You can find the complete tour schedule here. My guest today is Harmony Kent, here to share her very creepy novel, The Glade. Bwahahaha!


Hello everyone, Harmony here. Thanks for hosting me today, Mae! It’s great to visit with you and your readers to kick off my third stop on Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour. In true Halloween-month fashion, I’d like to visit The Glade, where malignant forces are gathering power …

All is not as it seems in The Glade

What possessed me to turn an idyllic setting into a place of horror, you might ask? Well, it all started with a news story about bringing people back from the dead, and my warped imagination took it from there.

According to the BBC news in April 2013 …

A doctor says people can be revived several hours after they have seemingly died. Should this change the way we think about death?

It most certainly changed the way I looked at it, lol. And it begged the question, What Would Happen If … some of my characters came back from the dead? My demanding Muse also wanted to set this little disaster in the middle of a spooky forest.

My first struggle came in finding a vast and remote woodland in the UK. The sad truth is that we just don’t have such a thing anymore on our small island. The nearest I could come up with was The Forest of Dean, located in Gloustershire, a little north of the River Severn. While this forest is fairly large, it’s a long way from remote and has lots of busy roads running through it.

The corner stone I put on the cottage built in my lovely little glade is based on The Standing Stone, which actually has one of those well-travelled roads running right past it. For my purposes, I took some artistic license and moved it to an isolated glade. Which quickly turned malevolent … te hee he he.

Local folklore says that the stone will bleed if pricked with a pin at precisely midnight.

Of course, that little snippet grabbed my Muse by the scruff of the neck and rubbed its nose right in the supernatural delights on offer.

And then my research of the area brought up the topic of Ley Lines. I hadn’t intended to include these in the narrative, but what I discovered was too good to miss. So, between the energy and the stone and the local folklore, I wove a wicked tale of supernatural evil, and Something Wicked most definitley this way came. Thus, The Glade, was born.

Here’s a bit more about the book:

You’re arrested for the murder of your husband.

You have a secret you can’t tell.

The evil is gathering …

This gripping, edge-of-your-seat mystery/thriller will have you thinking twice about booking that idyllic cottage in the country. Nothing in this woodland paradise within the Forest of Dean is what it seems.

The Wenstrops have it all: health, wealth, and happiness. Until everything falls apart. Helen gets arrested for murder, and yet is either unable or unwilling to give a defence. During her detention, vital evidence goes missing and tensions run high.

Meanwhile, in the woods, malignant forces gather power.

Praise for The Glade:

“The glade is a horror story in the mould of Stephen King, rendered the more so by its faint echoes of Pet Semetary and the even stronger resonance of the pervasive malignancy of It. “

“Lock the doors and light up every room, for this book will have you on edge for the entire journey through its pages.”

“Readers who like to curl up during the long winter evenings and feel the delicious chill of fear running up and down their spines need only turn to The Glade to have all their expectations fulfilled.”

Purchase Link

To Learn More About Harmony Check Out:

WebsiteStory Empire (co-authored) | Amazon Author Page |
Twitter | LinkedIn | Goodreads | BookBub |

I’ve read The Glade and can vouch it’s going to inspire plenty of goosebumps and shivers.
I wish you happy lights-on-in-the-dark reading! 🙂

Harmony and I did a blog swap today, so you can find me hanging out at her place talking about a spooky house in the neighborhood where I grew up. I hope you’ll pop over to check it out! 

Playing with Fire #SomethingWickedTour @JoanHallWrites @storyempire

Welcome friends! Pull up a computer, tablet, or phone, and sit a spell as Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour continues. You can find the complete tour schedule here. My guest today is Joan Hall, who shares a very scary and very human kind of wickedness . . .


Mae, thanks for hosting me today for this second day of the Something Wicked Tour. It’s a pleasure to be here and interact with your readers.


Hey everyone. More often than not, the greatest evil we face isn’t with the paranormal or encounters with aliens. Real people often commit serious crimes—among them are espionage, murder, kidnapping, and arson.

During a six-month period in 1992-1993, a series of arsons occurred in Seattle, Washington, and the surrounding area. Before a task force identified a suspect, over 107 fires occurred. Three people died as a result of a fire in a retirement home.

Paul Kenneth Keller was arrested and charged with the crime. His father identified him from a composite drawing and criminal profile. Keller had a fascination with fires from an early age. After his arrest, he admitted to setting seventy-six fires and is currently serving a ninety-nine-year prison term.

Does a serial arsonist sound like the basis for a novel? That’s what I did with Unknown Reasons, a romantic suspense novel and the second in my Driscoll Lake Series. The arsonist targeted houses, businesses, and a nursing home.

The common factor? My main character, Brian Nichols, has a connection with each place. He’s trying to build his business while overcoming his past. He’s also in the middle of a new romance.

But someone is intent on destroying him. What’s worse, he becomes a prime suspect.

Excerpt: 
He stepped out of the shadows, leaving the cloak of darkness, and crept toward the abandoned factory. His pulse quickened with excitement as he neared the building. On the other hand, it could be nerves. A solitary streetlight illuminated his path for several feet between the fence and an abandoned boxcar.

But there was little to worry about. It was Friday night, and many of Driscoll Lake’s residents would be at the football game.

It was hard to remember a time when fire didn’t captivate him. He learned how to start a flame without the benefit of matches or a lighter and delighted in holding a magnifying glass in a position where the sun reflected on dry leaves, causing them to smolder.

Fire was essential. People used it for cooking. It gave off warmth and provided a source of light.

One small spark could quickly develop into a roaring flame. And a roaring flame was powerful. It could destroy. Even kill.

Book cover for Unknown Reasons by Joan Hall shows sun reflected in lake, golden water, ghost profile of man's face superimposed over wanterBlurb:

If you can’t stand the heat…

Rachel Jackson hails from one of Driscoll Lake’s wealthiest families. Like her father, she became a doctor and is now a respected physician. But despite her successful career, Rachel feels something is missing from her life—until she crosses paths with Brian Nichols.

The son of a hard-working mother and alcoholic father, Brian acted out when he was young, earning a reputation as a troublemaker. As an adult, he’s worked hard to clean up his act and now owns a burgeoning construction company.

Rachel and Brian form an unlikely friendship which begins to blossom into something more. But a series of structure fires—determined to be arson—puts Brian in the hot seat. The properties are all associated with his work, making him the prime suspect. Toss in his juvenile history, and he finds himself the focus of a tenacious investigator. Even Rachel starts to have doubts.

Brian struggles to save his relationship, his company, and his reputation. But unless the real arsonist is caught before striking again, everything Brian holds dear may go up in smoke.

Universal Purchase Link

Connect with Joan:
Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | BookBub

This is another great read you’re going to want to grab. I’ve read this entire series, and enjoyed it immensely, especially the small town setting and characters who feel like neighbors and friends.

Today, you can find me haunting Staci Troilo’s blog with a look at Home Circles. Sounds pretty un-spooky, right?  Well, they’re likely not what you think. Find out here and say hello!

Serpent Mound Lore #SomethingWickedTour @stacitroilo @storyempire

Hello and welcome to the first day of Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour! The SE authors will be sharing posts all week long, visiting the blogs of our colleagues  with posts and books offering shivers and goosebumps. We hope you’ll join in the fun and, hopefully, discover some chill-inducing reads along the way. You can find the complete tour schedule here.

But don’t expect all of those goosebumps to come from creepy-crawling things or ghosts and ghouls oozing from the crypt. As my first guest, Staci Troilo, explains, darkness comes in all shapes…


Thanks for welcoming me here today, Mae.

The Gate

Ciao, amici! When my SE cohorts came up with the idea for a Something Wicked tour, I was initially concerned about how my current writing would fit into the theme. Sci-fi felt like a far cry from malevolence. Then I realized aliens with a nefarious agenda were just as wicked as demons; they just had a different origin. I don’t think it matters if a being is from a star in the Hydrus constellation or from Hell… evil is a matter of intent, not origin.

My Astral Conspiracy series is a combination of futuristic tech and ancient history. If you (like me) are obsessed with—or even aware of—Ancient Aliens, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

In The Gate, the first of my five-book series, the characters visit the Great Serpent Mound in Adams County, Ohio. They’re there to steal a buried artifact, which is absolutely fiction. But the lore behind the effigy is pure fact. And it’s fascinating. Serpent Mound (aerial view)

Photo Attribution: Timothy A. Price and Nichole I.; uploaded by the authors. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Serpent Mound was built by Native Americans. I wish I could tell you when, but that’s still up for debate. A set of charcoal pieces was found in 1996. Two of the pieces were carbon-dated to 1070, which would make the builders the Fort Ancient society (a mound-building culture from the Late Prehistoric era, 900-1650 AD). But the third was dated two thousand years earlier to the Adena culture (2920 +/-65 years BC). The current theory, and the one that makes the most sense to me, is that is was built during the Adena period and then renovated by the Fort Ancients. Adena graves nearby strengthen that theory.

The Great Serpent Mound is a 1,348-foot long, three-foot-high earthwork of a snake. It’s the largest known serpent effigy in the world. It’s located on an astrobleme (an asteroid impact structure whose center is raised sedimentary strata). At the west end, the snake’s tail is coiled into a spiral; at the east, its mouth is open as though eating an egg, the sun, a giant eye, or the body of a frog (experts can’t decide). There are seven curves to its body.

But what was it built for? The oval and head area of the effigy is aligned with the summer solstice sunset while the tail is in line with the winter solstice sunrise. It’s also been suggested that the undulations of the body are correspond to certain lunar events. So, the mound may be a calendar marking the seasons.

The sculpt mimics the constellation Draco, with the star Thuban mapped to the first curve of the body. Thuban was used as the North Pole star from the fourth to second millennium BC, so there is an argument to be made that the effigy was a compass of sorts.

And nearby graves suggest this may have been a mortuary of sorts, a place that would help guide spirits to the great beyond. (It’s worth noting the graves were nearby, but none were found at the site itself.)

Whatever its true purpose, it has a great significance in my novel, The Gate, book one of my Astral Conspiracy series. If you’re curious about how I used it, I encourage you to read the book.


The Gate

He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

The Gate is the first of five novels in the Astral Conspiracy Series, part of Sterling and Stone’s Invasion Universe.

Universal Purchase Link

Other Links:

Staci’s Amazon Page | Staci’s BookBub Page | D.L.’s Amazon Page | D.L.’s BookBub Page

Bio box for author, Staci Troilo

I found this fascinating, just like the book. The Gate is an excellent story that moves at a break-neck pace. I highly recommend adding it for addictive reading.

Finally, in closing, Joan Hall is hosting me today, where I’m sharing a scary historical encounter. Hop over if you can and check out Red Eyes and Winged Beasts.

New Release: Silent Payback @jaydawes2 #DetectiveFiction #PsychologicalFiction

Tour banner for Silent Payback by Jaye Marie lists participating blog hosts against a background of a city street/alley with ligjts

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Jaye Marie to my blog. Jaye is awesome at supporting other authors and is a talented writer. She’s dropped by to share her latest release, Silent Payback. If you like mysteries and suspense, this is a book you’re going to want to check out!

book cover for Silet Payback by Jaye Marie shows profiles of two men, one side by side, one with long hair, beard and mustache, other clean cutBLURB:
A city on edge – a detective on shaky ground…

A serial killer roams the streets of Brighton, hunting for his next victim.

When the case lands on detective David Mallory’s desk, will his personal demon prevent him from bringing this vicious monster to justice?

As the body count rises, Mallory finds himself sinking under the weight of his heavy secret – one that could jeopardise his job and his reputation.

With the pressure building, can the troubled detective reconcile his issues and solve the case, before more women die?

About Jaye:
Jaye Marie is affectionately known as the giant redwood, probably because she is very tall, but also because of her love for trees. Most afternoons she can be found repotting or taking care of her bonsai collection, but her love of detective mysteries soon brings her back indoors. She has written three fiction novels in this genre, Nine Lives, Out of Time and Crossfire and is looking forward to publishing Silent Payback, her fourth book.

She spends any free time learning everything she can about self-publishing, and despite all the obstacles, she never gives up on anything and is as stubborn as a mule. She also shares a website http://jenanita01.com with Anita Dawes…

Connect with Jaye at the following haunts:

Email: jayemarie01@btinternet.com
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Pinterest | Instagram | Medium

Sound good? Then you’re going to want to One-Click on AmazonRight now you can grab this engrossing story for only .99c. I know I’ve already got my copy. Happy reading!