The Bogeyman Beneath the Bed by Mae Clair

Remember your childhood, and the creepy monsters who populated the darkness? Faceless beings who lurked in nether regions, tucked under the bed, burrowed in the closet, or hidden in a dank basement. The bogeyman was certainly the worst.

Today, for the third day of my blog tour celebrating the release of A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, I’m visiting RRBC sister author Jenny Hinsman and sharing a post about the night time terrors that existed in our imagination, yet seemed so real.

Why not drop by and share your own memories of those vivid creatures of yesteryear?

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

Finally! A Triple Crown Winner, American Pharoah, by Mae Clair

OMG! Am I the only one who was super-sonic ecstatic earlier tonight when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown? For those of you who don’t follow horse racing (and I only do from May through June each year), let me put it in perspective: There hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner since 1978 when Affirmed swept the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont—the three “jewels” in the Triple Crown.

A lot of people look forward to the Triple Crown each year, but for me it holds an extra special meaning. I don’t remember Affirmed winning in 1978, nor do I remember Seattle Slew winning in 1977, but I vividly remember watching all three races of the series in 1973 and seeing Secretariat claim the ultimate trophy (including his World Record Victory at the Belmont). Why were those races and that Triple Crown victory so special?

Because I watched all three races with my parents. In 1973, my father was alive and healthy. In September of 1975, he passed away from colon cancer when I was just thirteen years old. For some reason, seeing a horse take the Triple Crown now creates a connection to that long-ago race, and the whimsy of childhood when everything was right in the world.Year after year, I have watched, hoping to recapture that magical feeling, seeing that victory.

Today, I watched the race with my husband (who never met my father). I feel like I celebrated something that connected him with the other most important man in my life. I am so thoroughly jazzed to have seen TWO Triple Crown winners in my lifetime!

To American Pharoah (and yes, the misspelling is intentional, the result of an error by the Jockey Club), only the twelfth horse (hey, twelve is my favorite number!) to win the Triple Crown—to jockey, Victor Espinoza, trainer Bob Baffert, and owner, Ahmed Zayat—CONGRATULATIONS! You have accomplished something long overdue in the annals of horse racing.

I feel privileged to have witnessed such an amazing feat today! I’m on Cloud Nine. I can only imagine what they must be feeling. 🙂

Mythical Monday: Chasing Leprechauns by Mae Clair

Top ‘o the morning to ye and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Although I ran this post last year, I thought it worth re-sharing on this splendid day marking the wearin’ of the green.  Last year St. Patrick’s Day didn’t fall on a Mythical Monday. This year, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity when the date coincided so perfectly (maybe the wee folk had something to do with it)! So enjoy a virtual green beer on me while I trot out a much beloved figure from myth.

Leprechaun Sitting on ToadstoolRemember when you were a kid, and you wanted to catch a leprechaun? If you were like me, it had nothing to do with that legendary pot of gold. What was gold to a kid? The allure was the idea of a magical wee creature who could move between worlds. Spying a leprechaun meant maybe, just maybe, the veil between everyday reality and a hidden otherworld grew thin enough to cross over. What child wouldn’t want to explore a fairytale realm where enchantment was king?

Shoemakers by trade, Leprechauns were mostly solitary, but they enjoyed a good reel with the fiddle and tin whistles at night. Kindred to the Fair Folk, they were descended from the great Tuatha Dé Danann, and squirreled their gold away in buried pots. If you were crafty enough to catch a leprechaun and kept your eye fixed on him, he’d have to reveal the location of his gold when asked. One blink, however, and he quickly vanished from sight.

When I was a kid, there was a huge open field across the street from my house. It backed up to the rear yards of the homes on that side, and stretched the full length of the neighborhood. It was a magical place fully of whimsy. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was an enchanted realm all its own. There were walnut trees and wild flowers, clusters of honeysuckle and patches of sun-sweetened strawberries. When dusk settled, my friends and I gathered to watch bats launch from the tops of snarled dark trees. In the winter, we donned skates and glided on frozen ground water beneath a full moon. Autumn was perfect for gathering acorns and trekking to the “big hill” that sprouted from the earth like a mythical fairy mound.

Pot of GoldI never did find a leprechaun in that magical kingdom, not that I ever put any great energy into the search. I preferred to imagine one of the wee folk watching from beneath a shaded leaf or a plump toadstool. The problem with magic is that when you leash it, the enchantment fades. Perhaps that is why leprechauns and pots of gold only exist at the end of rainbows for rainbows have no end.

I don’t have a drop of Irish blood in my veins – – I’m Italian and German with a smidgen of Brit mixed in – – but I think all of us feel a connection to the Emerald Isle, especially during the month of March. So whether you’re Irish or just honorary for the day like me, here’s hoping your day is filled with rainbows and the blessings of the wee folk.

Was there a magical place you remember from childhood? Do you have any special St. Patrick’s Day traditions?