And the Winners are….by Mae Clair

Colorful balloons on blue skyI want to thank everyone who dropped by my blog yesterday to say hello to Mary E. Merrell while she was out promoting The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery series. I’m finding book one, House Haunting, a fun clever read and can’t wait to see what Mary dreams up in the next two.

~ooOOoo~

And now for the winners of the giveaway:

The winner of the $10 gift card to Amazon is Sheri de Grom.

The winner of the first two ebooks in Mary’s series, HOUSE HAUNTING and CURVE APPEAL is Emma Meade.

Congrats to Sheri and Emma, and many thanks again to everyone who stopped by to comment. I hope you’ll add Mary’s fab books to your TBR list. They make great summer reading!

Mae Clair’s Mythical Monday with G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y: A Ghost Story

It’s a Mythical Monday, and also the last day for Howloween Hop. For a list of all participating authors, visit the Blog Hop Howloween event page. There are lots of treats to be had!

I will be giving away two prizes:

A $15.00 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice)

A copy of my paranormal / time travel release, WEATHERING ROCK in Kindle or Nook format (winner’s choice)

Read through to discover how you can win. I hope you’ll also take a moment to sit back as I share a ghost story in honor of Mythical Monday. Normally, I would delve into legend or a bit of folklore that intrigues me for an MM post, but today I’m going to share something personal.

My father. Burma, India. WWII

Those of you who follow my blog regularly have probably seen one or two posts related to my father. He died of cancer when I was 13. I’m the youngest of four siblings and came as a late-in-life-baby to my parents. My mother was 39 when I was born, my father 40.  There aren’t many people my age who can say their father was a veteran of WWII, but I have several friends who are able to say that about their grandparents.

Growing up, I never really considered how much older my parents were, probably because they supported me in everything I did. When it came to writing, they were my biggest fans.I inherited my gift for words from my dad. He used to dabble with writing when he was young, but his real passion was art.

When WWII ended he left the service and enrolled in art college. His preferred medium was oil paints but, occasionally, he worked with charcoal, pastels and even water colors. After art college, he returned to the service where he stayed for the Korean War. That’s how he met my mom – – teaching at a war barracks. According to my mother, he walked into the restaurant her parents owned, ordered a ham and cheese sandwich, and her mother asked her to take it to his table. The rest, as they say, is history. 🙂

So what’s with the ghost story?

When my father was in art school, he lived with his older brother, and his brother’s family. My Uncle Ross and Aunt Judy had several young children at the time, who found my father extremely engaging. To indulge his nieces and nephew, he painted a whimsical representation of a flibbertigibbet for them. Sort of a scatterbrained, mischievous imp. Keep in mind he painted this years before he married my mother. No one in my family knew the painting existed (although we do have several others he did after he and my mother married).

Fast-forward to about a year ago when two of my cousins and I hooked up through email. We’ve never met, and they live in a different state. I can’t even remember how we found one another, but we did. Talk about exciting! Then I learned my father had painted something for them when they were kids, and they promised to ship it to me.

There were obstacles along the way, so it took some time, but it finally arrived last week. When I saw the box, I asked my husband to help me open it, saying “I want to see my Dad’s painting.” At that precise moment, there was a crash.

I had no clue what it was, but I remember jumping and asking “What was that?” My husband was coming from the other room and hadn’t heard it. Not seeing anything out of the ordinary, and excited about the painting, I quickly forgot about it.

The next morning as I was coming down the steps, I noticed two of the framed pictures on the drum table in my formal living room were lying face down. I asked my husband about them, and he said “That must have been the crash you heard last night.”

Onyx, the drum table, and the bow window. One of his favorite perches.

I put them back in place and joked, saying it must have been our cat, Onyx, wanting to get in the bow window (we had to put Onyx to sleep last January because of cancer). It wasn’t until I was on my way to work that morning that I mulled it over some more, remembering when the crash occurred – – precisely when I wanted to open the painiting.

When I got home that night, I examined the pictures – – two ordinary family photos – – one of me with my sisters and one with my husband.

Are you familiar with the folding leg behind a frame that holds a picture upright? Fold it in, and the picture falls backward. Gravity will not allow it to fall forward unless it’s pushed or something propels it.

Hmm.

When my cousin shipped the painting to me, she sent an email that said, “Somehow I feel as though I’ve sent it home to where it should be.”

The flibbertigibbet painting, over 60 years old.

Had my father made his presence felt, welcoming home something he’d painted over sixty-odd years in the past? Or was it perhaps my mother (who died this summer), excited to see a work she’d never known about? There is no rational explanation to explain how those photos fell forward, not backward. I usually don’t buy into things like that but, in this case, I can’t chalk it up to coincidence.

Yeah, Dad. I know you were there.

So, for today’s Mythical Monday, and to be entered into the last day of my Howloween Hop gift drawing, leave a comment with your email. Do you have a favorite ghostly story, real or fictional? What gives you shivers?

I’ll be announcing the winner tomorrow on my blog, so check back to see if you’ve won. I also hope you’ll give WEATHERING ROCK a look-see. If you like werewolves, hunky heroes and romance, I think you’ll enjoy what’s in store.

And, finally, although I’m not making it mandatory, I would really LOVE if you’d sign up to follow my blog, and/or give my Facebook Author Page a “Like.” Really, guys, you can’t lose! I talk about some interesting stuff! 😀

Happy Howloween!

The Wisdom of the Cat

A master at relaxing. And looking good while doing it!

Say hello to Onyx, my beautiful black domestic shorthair. Sadly, I had to say goodbye to him early in the year when cancer claimed him prematurely.  We had 13 wonderful years together, an interesting number for a black cat now that I think about it. During that time, Onyx taught me several things, foremost among them patience.  Cats have an endless supply of that all-elusive, mystical quality.

 A cat can outwait time.

Onyx had two favorite diversions (aside from the cat-popular sun-bathing and sleeping): chasing shadows and stalking whatever colorful trinket I dangled in front of him. He’d crouch behind a piece of furniture (the African bush), tail swishing, waiting for the precise moment to spring. Trust me. There are only so many ways to make a glittering neon green ‘twirly stick’ festooned with feathers seem like enticing prey. I swear there were times when he waited for the planets to align!  

I always thought I was patient, but Onyx showed me I’m reactionary at heart.  Like most people, I’m used to instant results. Whether I’m Googling information, nuking veggies in the microwave, or 1-clicking my Kindle for an e-book download, I rarely have to wait more than a few seconds. Technology is great, but it’s made me into a fidgety wreck when the world slows down. God forbid I’d have stand in line for a teller at the bank rather than use the MAC machine; get stuck with a slow internet connection, or be restricted from fast forwarding through commercials when using On Demand (who made that taboo anyway?). I remember when nuking a potato for eight minutes seemed like a godsend. Now it’s eight minutes too long. 

I need to be more like Onyx. Slow down. Pause. Study. Appreciate.

I do it with writing, choosing just the right word for a snippet of dialogue or a passage of descriptive prose. I take my time. I listen to the music of the sentences and how they flow together. I don’t rush. I savor.

We live in a fast-forward world and that makes it easy to get derailed. Sometimes, we need to press ‘stop’ and be the feline in the grass. My cat, the sage. He had it together.

Which is why I’m going to chill with a book later today and savor my downtime. 

What do you do when you need to unwind?