Wednesday Weirdness: A Love of Creatures

pathway between large, gnarled trees with wacords "on the path of Wednesday Weirdness" superimposed over imageHi, friends. I was thinking about creatures the other day. No big surprise there. My mind often wonders that way. I’m a wuss when it comes to haunted houses, ghosts, and most things supernatural (despite writing about them), but creatures are another story. Leave the demonic slant out and I’m a fan girl.

Looking back, it started with the old soap opera Dark Shadows. Yeah, I’m dating myself. Everyone knows Barnabas Collins, but I was thoroughly smitten with Quentin Collins. I was six years old and captivated by the idea of someone turning into a werewolf. The thought of the moon altering someone’s behavior held me enthralled. Small wonder, the first book I had published was a werewolf tale.

Early photo of author, Mae Clair standing beside a large wood carving of a bat with folded wings

A creature I discovered in Rhode Island, late 1990s

A few years later, I saw Night of the Gargoyles, a movie that introduced me to flying creatures haunting the southwest. Around the same time, I watched a sci-fi movie with my parents. I have no idea what the name was, or what it was about. I just remember a huge insect like creature being emblazoned against the sky (still vivid in my head). Let it be known I detest 95% of insects, but this was a creature. An alien, most likely.

In my tweens and teens I discovered dragons, unicorns, and all manner of beasties from myth. That led to a love of reading and writing epic fantasy. In my thirties, I drifted away from fantasy into magical realism. The creatures became more subtle, sometimes wrapped in human guise. After that I fell in love with the bizarre. Stories of curiosities, creatures from cryptozoology, tales of visitors from other worlds.

Author, Mae Clair, beside the Mothman statue in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, June 2013

With the Mothman statue in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, 2013

Do I believe this stuff? Well, that’s as much a mystery as the cryptids, isn’t it? Let’s just say I’m mostly a skeptic who loves the possibility of “what if.” Despite all the logic and rationality of the world, the detailed facts unearthed by science and technology, I never want to lose the wonder and magic of childhood when everything carried the gloss of “what if.”

Creatures aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But for all the hairy-winged-scaled-hunched over-misunderstood creatures out there, I’m a fan girl. What about you? Have you got a favorite.

Creature Feature

If you’re a regular follower of my blog, it’s no secret I have a love affair with creatures—a passion I developed early, thanks in part to my older brother. He had a Creepy Crawler maker when we were kids. Remember those? You poured colored goop into a metal mold, then heated it up in a toy oven. After the mold baked, you ended up with rubbery scorpions, spiders, and snakes. My parents eventually got me a Flower Power maker, and although it was fun, I was partial to the slithery things (this from someone who detests bugs).

When I was seven, I remember my mom taking me to the opening of a new mall. Something on that scale was a big deal back in those days. There were kiddie rides in the parking lot and cotton candy machines, but what I treasured most was going home with a plastic blue brontosaurus. I still remember that thing. I was so smitten with my toy creature.

Not long after that came telescopes and fanciful tales of space creatures. I fell in love with the Gothic soap opera Dark shadows, thanks to my older sisters, and learned about werewolves and ghosts. When I hit my teen years, I discovered folklore, fantasy novels, and reruns of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. There’s nothing like giant squids, lobster men, or mutant plants for creature nirvana!

silhouette of creature in the woods at night, full moon in backgroundMy love for creatures eventually found its way into my writing. To date, I’ve told tales involving a werewolf, a sea monster, a changeling, and a notorious cryptid—the Mothman. With my upcoming release, Cusp of Night, I have a new monster to foist on readers, a Spring-Heeled Jack like being known as The Fiend. If that isn’t enough, I’ve tossed in a few ghosts for good measure. 😊

Cusp of Night releases on June 12th, and I’m doing everything I can to launch this one successfully. Several friends have already volunteered to host me on their blog. I’ve pre-written posts in preparation of book touring and have more posts simmering on the back burner. I rarely if ever reblog, but this time I’m going all out. You’re likely to see multiple posts and reblogs in this space over the next several weeks as I push Cusp into the world.

If you’d like to help spread the word, I’m looking for blog hosts with availability in June and July (or heck, even later). Please email me at maeclair (at) maeclair (dot) com if you’re interested. And no worries if you can’t help out—we all have crazy juggling acts of family, writing, and jobs. I get that there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

As for Cusp of Night, the story goes something like this:

book cover for Cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel by Mae ClairBLURB

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house–a woman whose ghost may still linger.

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

Cusp of Night is already available from all booksellers for pre-order through this link:  PURCHASE HERE

If you’re thinking of grabbing a copy, pre-ordering is a huge help for a successful book launch. I know we all have gargantuan TBRs but there’s no harm in padding them a little more, right? 😊

Thanks for considering, and thank you if you’re able to help with my book launch.

Exciting times!

I’m starting a new series *gulp*

I’ve got a new creature *gulp*

I’ve got dual timelines and dual mysteries *gulp, gulp*

Now if I could just find a plastic blue brontosaurus as a good luck charm! 😊