Wednesday Weirdness: Black Cat, a White Hair, and a Wish

pathway between large, gnarled trees with words "on the path of Wednesday Weirdness" superimposed over imageWelcome to the first Wednesday Weirdness of December. At the mention of black cats, most people immediately think of witches, familiars, superstitions, and Halloween. But there is another legend, and because I love both cats and folklore, I couldn’t resist spinning both into a tale called Food for Poe.

A black cat sitting on red ribbon and surrounded by Christmas decorationsIs it weird? Oh, yes. It’s been compared to a cross between Night Gallery and Hallmark. For even more of a mash-up, it’s also a Christmas story.

But what about the legend? I’ll let that unfold naturally. In the scene below, Quinn Easterly, encounters a strange old woman in the grocery store, where she has stopped to pick up food for her newly adopted cat, Poe:

“There’s a legend about black cats.” The woman eyed her critically, continuing as if she hadn’t spoken. “Not the witch legend or the Halloween stuff you hear as a kid.”

What an odd discussion to be having on Christmas Eve with a snow storm brewing outside. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have time to talk.” Quinn started to withdraw, then stopped. There was something in the woman’s manner that made her hesitate. The store bustled with activity, but no one drew near. Not a single person ventured into the aisle where they stood conversing over colorful plush mice, boxes of dried meal, and sparkly ribbons adorned with bells.

“Every pure black cat has a single white hair.” The woman’s voice was low as if she dispensed a timeless secret. “Remove the hair without being scratched and you’re permitted a wish—health or wealth, but you can’t have both. And you must make the wish before midnight on Christmas Eve. Health or wealth. Do you understand?”

Quinn felt caught in a twisted dream. “I—”

The woman pulled her closer. “Beware, girl. Healing often attracts one of the Dark Things. Changelings. Creatures that pattern themselves from the thoughts of others. They live in cesspools, drainpipes, and hollow logs. Anywhere that’s dark.”

The hair prickled on the nape of Quinn’s neck. She glanced over her shoulder hoping to find someone else in the aisle, but it remained eerily deserted as though she stood in a corridor severed from the rest of the store.  What she needed was an escape route.

“I’m sorry, but I have to leave.”

“So go already,” a disgruntled male voice chided.

Quinn blinked, startled to find the old woman gone, the aisle behind her suddenly overflowing with people and shopping carts. A mother and two children shuffled past, the youngest trailing a caramel-colored stuffed bear by the arm.

“Look, lady, either pick something or get out of the way.” The grating voice acted like a chisel on the edge of Quinn’s thoughts. The speaker was squat and barrel-chested, pushing a cart loaded with ten-pound bags of dog food.

Quinn smiled politely and shuffled aside.


I admit to twining three separate legends together to suit my own purposes, but the folklore about black cats, a white hair, and a wish for health or wealth is from an old wive’s tale. There’s nothing involving Christmas Eve or midnight, but both seemed like a good fit.

As one reviewer said:

“It is a tale of love, hope, compassion, faith, superstition, and suspense with a touch of horror… I was hooked from the start. If it was up to me, I’d make it into a Christmas movie and watch it every year.”

Cover of FOOD FOR POE with cute young couple and a black cat.And here’s the blurb:
When a blizzard strands Quinn Easterly at a handsome stranger’s house on Christmas Eve, she doesn’t realize her newly adopted cat, Poe, is the catalyst responsible for bringing them together.

Breck Lansing gave up on relationships after his wife, unable to cope with their daughter’s illness, left him. But the pretty blonde he rescues from a snowstorm has him rethinking his stance—especially when Quinn’s arrival coincides with a dramatic change in Sophie’s health.

Unfortunately, that change also attracts something only whispered about in folklore. Together, Quinn and Breck must defeat a sinister creature intent on claiming the ultimate payment.

Warning: A clever black cat, Christmas magic, and paranormal trouble


I rarely promote this little Christmas novella, but can’t resist splashing it around a bit in December. If you’re interested, you can grab it from Amazon for .99c through this LINK.

Are you familiar with the folklore I used in this story? It’s also been said the reverse is true—every pure white cat has a single black hair, although I don’t know what wish is granted should the hair be removed. If you like Hallmark Christmas stories and cats, along with a bit of the bizarre, I hope you’ll give Poe a try.

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!

Friday Feature

Just a quick note to say Marcia Meara invited me to be her first Fabulous Friday Guest Blogger, a weekly series she is launching. If you get a chance, hop over for a visit. I’m talking about—you guessed it—folklore.

Marcia is a bubbly and friendly blogger with an unmatched sense of humor. She’s also uber supportive of other writers. Give her a blog a follow while you’re there, then give Marcia a shout about doing your own Fabulous Friday guest post.

See you at Marcia’s place!

It’s Release Day! End of Day by Mae Clair #SupernaturalSuspense #Mystery #Thriller

Today is the book birthday for End of Day, book 2 of my Hode’s Hill trilogy.  If you enjoyed book 1, Cusp of Night, you’ll find this one in the same vein. Once again, I’m visiting the small Pennsylvania town of Hode’s Hill, but with a plot whose tentacles reach back to the town’s founding. As in Cusp of Night, I’ve spun two mysteries—one in the the past (taking place in the year 1799) and one in the present. You get two separate mysteries that tie together at the end.

Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weeds

The past is never truly buried…  

Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is it a Halloween prank? Or something more sinister?

As the descendants of those buried in the church yard begin to experience bizarre “accidents,” Jillian tries to uncover the cause. Deeply empathic, she does not make friends easily, or lightly. But to fend off the terror taking over her town, she must join forces with artist Dante DeLuca, whose sensitivity to the spirit world has been both a blessing and a curse. The two soon realize Jillian’s murky family history is entwined with a tragic legacy tracing back to the founding of Hode’s Hill. To set matters right, an ancient wrong must be avenged…or Jillian, Dante, and everyone in town will forever be at the mercy of a vengeful spirit.

~ooOOoo~

In Cusp of Night, I introduced the reader to the spiritualist movement of the 1800s, sham mediums, and a creature called the Fiend.

This time around, the story touches on Church Grims, Folk Memories, and a collection of monsters. Yes, monsters. I do love my creatures 🙂 The two lead characters—Jillian Cley and Dante DeLuca—had minor roles in Cusp. They take center stage, along with several new characters who bullied their way into the story. I never saw Madison, Sherre Lorquet, or the Porter Brothers coming until they appeared in their respective scenes. All added new layers which helped develop the plot. My muse knew what he was doing.

Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered. If you haven’t already grabbed a copy and would like to, you can purchase from the bookseller of your choice through this link.

Although this is the second book of a series, it can also be read as a stand alone. I would love to tell you more about grims and folk memories, but for now, I’ll let them unravel in the book. 🙂

Gearing up for Halloween

silhouette of black cat sitting on tree branch at night in front of a large orange moonSpooky things are afoot!

I’m always jazzed this time of year, inspired by the numerous bump-in-the-night ghostie and goblin posts that pop up in the blogosphere. For someone who loves folklore and legend, October is a month for feasting on myth!

There are a variety of events taking place in the online world. I’m excited to be participating in two that really appealed to me.

Today, I’m visiting Teri Polen during her month-long Bad Moon Rising feature. All month long, you can meet new authors, discover new reads, and have trick-or-treat fun with the Halloween questions Teri poses for her guest. I hope you’ll pop over and say hello while I’m hanging out with Teri today.

Next week, I’ll be visiting Melanie Noell Bernard who is doing a month-long paranormal event called Hallo-WE-en that features creatures. Each day you’ll get to meet a different beastie. Today, my good friend and critique partner, Staci Troilo, shares the history and folklore of gargoyles at Melanie’s haunt in the blogosphere.

So, get your ghostie on and celebrate Halloween!

Happy Solar Eclipse Day!

Before I kick off my post, just a quick note that I am also blogging at Story Empire today on the topic of “tribes.” Not sure what I mean?  You can check it out here if the mood strikes. 🙂

Having said that, I’ve been looking forward to this day for a while. Yeah, I know it’s Monday but in the U.S. August 21, 2017 is a big deal. Why? Because states and cities lying in a narrow band from the northwest to the southeast are going to experience a total solar eclipse.

As an example, if you live in Hopkinsville, Kentucky you’ve got it made. I picked that location because it’s listed as one of the 10 best viewing areas according to GreatAmericanEclipse.com.

It’s also the location of the Hopkinsville Goblin extraterrestrial incident of 1955. Hmm. That sighting occurred on August 21, 1955. Am I the only one who finds the coincidence in date a little freaky?

Total solar eclipse glowing on sky above wilderness in forest. Amazing scientific natural phenomenon when moon passes between planet earth and sun. Serenity nature background.

If you are in Hopkinsville or anywhere in the cross-country viewing band, consider yourself lucky. My area will only see a partial eclipse with the nearest to totality happening around 2:40 PM. People have been gobbling up viewing glasses wherever they can find them. As far as I know, there are none to be had.

The last time a total solar eclipse was visible from the lower 48 states in the U.S. was in February of 1979. Once again, my area only saw a partial eclipse but I vividly remember making a pin hole viewer. I also had a telescope at the time which was equipped with a sun filter and a white tray for projection. I still remember fiddling with that thing in the front yard. “Sky events” have always been something I’ve found highly intriguing. The Northern Lights are on my bucket list.

My father had a profound interest in astronomy and passed that love onto me. From sitting outside together and watching the stars, to showing me how to use my first telescope, he made sure I appreciated science and the sky. When he was in his twenties, he designed and built a telescope for one of his nephews. This would have been in the 1940s. That telescope remained operational into the 21st Century.

From the early origins of Man, we have looked to the heavens for signs and symbols. In days of old, people lived in fear of an eclipse, many believing the sun was devoured by demons or dragons. Others that the sun and moon waged war. Superstitions ranged from fear of going outside, to an eclipse being harmful to pregnant women, to children who were born during an eclipse turning into mice. In 6th Century B.C., a war between the Medes and Lydians ended abruptly because of an eclipse. The armies on both sides believed the darkening of the sun was a sign the gods were displeased by their fighting. On the more favorable side, Italians believed flowers planted during an eclipse would bloom with brighter colors than natural.

Mondays rarely make it onto my list of favorite days, but this one will go down as being special. Even if haze or clouds make the eclipse less than stellar, I love that people have taken such a keen interest in the sky, and are looking forward to a rare celestial event.

Silhouette of four people on a hillside watching a solar eclipse

Are you in the path of the eclipse? If so, what do you have planned for today? Is the excitement rampant where you are? Most importantly, have you ever experienced a solar eclipse? Let’s celebrate the event in the comments below!

The Tragic Collapse of the Silver Bridge by Mae Clair

I’m back on tour today with my mystery/suspense novel, A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS. Set in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, the book is a blend of history and fiction spun around the urban legend of the Mothman and the tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge.

Banner for A Thousand Yesteryears, a mystery/suspense release by Mae Clair

Today, I’m at Jan Sike’s blog. Jan is a sister author with Rave Reviews Book Club, and my hostess for the day. If you get a chance, hop over and pay me a visit. I’m blogging about the bridge that defined and forever changed the town of Point Pleasant!

Red Eyes and Winged Beasts #TheMothman

I’m a late with this post, but have another historical Mothman sighting to share. I’ve already posted two sightings from the night of November 15, 1966—the first reported by four eye-witnesses, the second by one.

Night road cutting through dark wooded setting, illuminated by headlightsOn the night of November 16, 1966, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Wamsley, along with Mrs. Marcella Bennett and her baby daughter Teena were on their way to visit Ralph and Virginia Thomas. The Thomas family lived near the TNT, an abandoned WWII munitions site located outside of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. It was on TNT grounds that Roger Scarberry, his wife, and friends were chased by a giant winged creature the night before.

When the Wamsley’s and Marcella Bennett arrived at the Thomas home, they discovered Ralph and Virginia were out for the evening. They stayed a short time, chatting with the Thomas’ three children, Rickie, Connie and Vicki, then headed back to their car.

Before they could reach the vehicle, a figure slowly rose behind it.  Marcella Bennett described the thing as being big and gray, larger than a man, “with terrible glowing red eyes.” She was so terrified by the creature she dropped her daughter and froze, hypnotized by what appeared to be a winged, headless being. Raymond Wamsley scooped up the little girl (who was not hurt), snared Marcella and, along with his wife, raced back into the house. They quickly secured and bolted the door.

Within seconds, they heard a noise on the porch. Two red eyes appeared in the window, staring through the glass. The women and children broke into a panic, and Wamsley frantically called the police. By the time the authorities arrived, the creature was gone. It would not, however, be the last time it was seen. Between 1966 and 1967, there were over 100 Mothman sightings.

I had the Wamsley/Bennett sighting in the back of my mind when spinning a plot thread involving one of my main characters in A Thousand Yesteryears. A house by the TNT, red eyes staring through the windows…they both play into a tragic occurrence that drastically changes Caden Flynn.

To meet Caden, and the other characters who populate my Point Pleasant, I hope you’ll give A Thousand Yesteryears a try. And hey, admit it—you might just be a little curious about that title, too! 🙂

Book cover for A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair, depicting a wooded thicket at nightBLURB:

Behind a legend lies the truth…

As a child, Eve Parrish lost her father and her best friend, Maggie Flynn, in a tragic bridge collapse. Fifteen years later, she returns to Point Pleasant to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. Though much has changed about the once thriving river community, the ghost of tragedy still weighs heavily on the town, as do rumors and sightings of the Mothman, a local legend. When Eve uncovers startling information about her aunt’s death, that legend is in danger of becoming all too real…

Caden Flynn is one of the few lucky survivors of the bridge collapse, but blames himself for coercing his younger sister out that night. He’s carried that guilt for fifteen years, unaware of darker currents haunting the town. It isn’t long before Eve’s arrival unravels an old secret—one that places her and Caden in the crosshairs of a deadly killer…

Purchase from:
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iTunes 
Google Play 
Kobo 
Kensington Publishing

Night of the Mothman, Part II by Mae Clair

Yesterday on my blog, I shared the November 15, 1966 sighting of the Mothman by Richard and Linda Scarberry, along with friends Steve and Mary Malette—certainly the most famous. But the creature made another appearance that same night.

Ninety miles away from Point Pleasant, in Salem, West Virginia, Newell Partridge was home watching television. Partridge worked as a building contractor and was no doubt winding down from a long day. His dog, Bandit, a German shepherd, was outside on the front porch. At approximately 10:30 Partridge’s TV abruptly went dark. A strange pattern filled the screen and a loud whining noise erupted outside. Partridge said the sound reminded him of a generator winding up. Whatever the cause, it launched Bandit into a frenzied state of howling.

Barn at night with a light onAlarmed, Partridge hunted up a flashlight and hurried to investigate. He spied two red eyes that looked like “bicycle reflectors” near his hay barn, situated about 150 yards away. He was positive the glowing eyes did not belong to an animal. Barking, Bandit shot off across the yard to challenge the creature. Partridge ducked into the house and grabbed a gun, but terror overwhelmed him.

He would later tell reporters the creature had frightened him so badly he couldn’t bring himself to go back outside. He slept with the gun by his bed throughout the night. When morning rolled around, he discovered Bandit missing. Tracks in the mud near the barn indicated his dog had spun about in a mindless circle, as if chasing his tail.

Two days later Partridge was reading the local paper when he stumbled over an article detailing what the Scarberrys and Malettes had witnessed the same night Bandit disappeared. Roger Scarberry reported seeing the body of a large dog on the side of the road during the frantic drive into Point Pleasant. When he and the others left, returning by the same route only minutes later, the body was gone.

Sadly for Partridge, Bandit was never seen again.

There are no dogs in A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, which releases today, but you will find plenty of references to the mysterious Mothman and the terror that gripped Point Pleasant in ’66 and ’67.

Grab a copy and see for yourself what NY Times bestselling author, Kevin O’Brien calls bone-chilling fiction.” Then be sure to come back tomorrow for details on another spooky Mothman sighting!

Do you know the Mothman? I do. Bwahahaha!

Book cover for A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair, depicting a wooded thicket at nightPurchase Links for A THOUSAND YESTYERYEARS:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble 
iTunes 
Google Play 
Kobo 
Kensington Publishing

Night of the Mothman by Mae Clair

Tomorrow is release day for A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, the first novel in my Point Pleasant series. I’m not actually kicking off a blog tour until the beginning of May, but I thought I’d do a couple of posts related to Mothman sightings this week, since he factors so highly into the novel and series.

The first sighting of the infamous cryptid took place on the night of November 15, 1966. Roger Scarberry, his wife Linda, and friends Steve and Mary Mallette took a drive to the “TNT,” a remote wooded area approximately six miles outside of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Once a World War II munitions site, the region was popular with many young couples who simply wanted a place to hang out away from town.

A pair of red evil eyes staring out from a black backgroundThe two couples parked near an abandoned power plant and were chatting when they spied two glowing red spheres behind a gate. It didn’t take long to realize those disembodied spheres were actually eyes. A creature unlike any they had ever seen regarded them steadily in the darkness. Towering nearly seven feet tall, the nightmarish form appeared humanoid with enormous wings folded behind its back

As his passengers screamed, Roger Scarberry hit the gas and sped toward town. The creature immediately took flight and pursued them. Mr. Scarberry insisted he had the car screaming over 100 MPH in his fright to escape the thing, but couldn’t shake it. The eyes were visible through the rear windshield as his terrified passengers urged him on. When they reached town, the monster veered off and the couples quickly hunted down Deputy Sheriff Millard Halstead.

Halstead would later recall how shaken all four appeared. “I’ve known these kids all their lives. They’d never been in any trouble and they were really scared that night. I took them seriously.” Separated and questioned individually, all four told the same story. Halstead even drove back to the TNT with Roger Scarberry in any attempt to locate the creature but couldn’t find it.

The next day a press conference was held at the county courthouse with the Scarberrys and Mallettes relating their encounter again. It wasn’t long before the press dubbed the creature the “Mothman.”

Sightings would continue up until the tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge. Connecting Point Pleasant with Gallipolis, Ohio, the old suspension bridge buckled under the weight of rush hour traffic on December 15, 1967, claiming forty-six lives. Shortly thereafter sightings of the Mothman dwindled, then ceased altogether. As a result, the two events remain forever twined in folkore.

Was the Mothman a prophetic visitor sent to warn the town of the impending disaster, or was he something far more sinister? A demon? An alien? In A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, I put my own spin on the legend of this mysterious creature.

Join me tomorrow for release day, and the tale of another sighting. In the meantime, take a look at A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS and pre-order your copy now for delivery tomorrow. Thanks for joining me on a journey of mystery and suspense that begins with…

A Thousand Yesteryears 2Behind a legend lies the truth…

As a child, Eve Parrish lost her father and her best friend, Maggie Flynn, in a tragic bridge collapse. Fifteen years later, she returns to Point Pleasant to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. Though much has changed about the once thriving river community, the ghost of tragedy still weighs heavily on the town, as do rumors and sightings of the Mothman, a local legend. When Eve uncovers startling information about her aunt’s death, that legend is in danger of becoming all too real…

Caden Flynn is one of the few lucky survivors of the bridge collapse, but blames himself for coercing his younger sister out that night. He’s carried that guilt for fifteen years, unaware of darker currents haunting the town. It isn’t long before Eve’s arrival unravels an old secret—one that places her and Caden in the crosshairs of a deadly killer…

Pre-order from:
Amazon 
Barnes and Noble 
iTunes 
Google Play 
Kobo 
Kensington Publishing