End of Summer Sale: Solstice Island by Mae Clair is FREE 8/31 and 9/1 #cryptidfiction #romance #adventure

I know summer isn’t officially over until the autumnal equinox rolls around mid-September, but by the time the calendar reads August 31, I’m already thinking fall. My husband and I will be closing our pool this coming weekend, Halloween stuff is stocked in most every store I visit, and the days are growing noticeably shorter. I live in the northeast where summer is much, much too short. Blink and it’s easy to miss. I love fall, but I thrive on summer. So…I’m lamenting the demise of my favorite season with an end of summer sale on SOLSTICE ISLAND, my breezy romantic adventure novella. Many thanks to all my friends and fellow bloggers who are helping me spread the word today and tomorrow!

Cover Kindle

Why should you read SOLSTICE ISLAND (other than the fact it’s like a shot of summer wrapped up inside Kindle pages)? I’m glad you asked. 🙂 

The Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Read Solstice Island by Mae Clair:

  1. You’ll meet a hot charter boat captain trying to live down his family legacy.
  2. You’ll encounter a spunky heroine cryptozoologist, determined hot captain should embrace said family legacy and all the baggage that goes with it.
  3. You’ll be able to impress your friends with your stunning new knowledge of cryptozoology.
  4. You may find yourself struck by the uncontrollable urge to look up blurry images of strange creatures online or go on a cryptid hunt (think Loch Ness, Big Foot, and the Jersey Devil).
  5. You’ll learn why you should never ignore a craving for mint chocolate chip ice cream.
  6. The next time your boat is attacked by a rampaging sea monster, you’ll know precisely what to do.
  7. You’ll be swept up in a tale of romance, adventure, and folklore.
  8. You’ll uncover buried treasure, thwart a villain, and discover a new use for a boat oar.
  9. As a 72 page novella, SOLSTICE ISLAND makes a quick end of summer read.

And the number one reason you should read SOLSTICE ISLAND:

  1. It’s FREE on Amazon August 31 and September 1!

SOLSTICE ISLAND Blurb: 
Can an ancient leviathan work magic between a practical man and an idealistic woman?

Rylie Carswell is an amateur cryptozoologist in search of a mythical creature, the Sea Goliath. In order to reach Solstice Island, a location the ancient leviathan is rumored to haunt, she’s forced to hire charter boat captain, Daniel Decatur.

Initially, Daniel wants nothing to do with the trip or the fool woman waving double payment in his face. Convinced she’s yet another loony treasure hunter looking for gold on the remote island, he reluctantly agrees. An embittered neighbor wants to have his charter license yanked, so the extra cash will help him stay afloat.

It doesn’t take long for Daniel to realize Rylie is after the same beast his parents were tracking when they mysteriously vanished ten years earlier. He’s avoided all links to cryptozoology ever since, but the smart and sexy cryptid hunter has him second-guessing his oath and wondering what he’s signed on for.

Warning:  A family legacy, glowing plankton and rough waters.

Download SOLSTICE ISLAND Free from:
Amazon

Add SOLSTICE ISLAND to your Goodreads TBR 

Mythical Monday: The Montauk Monster by Mae Clair

If you have even a passing interest in cryptozoology—the pseudo-science devoted to the study of animals that may exist but haven’t been proven to exist—you know that cryptids come in many varieties. From the aquatic Loch Ness Monster to the forest-loving Bigfoot and beings such as the Mothman that lurk around abandoned sites, cryptids haunt different terrains and habitats. Their knack for elusiveness is extraordinary, a testament as to why we only have grainy images, breathless onlooker accounts, and/or occasional snippets of sound to suggest they exist.

But what if a clear photo materialized to support eyewitness testimony? Hoax or legitimate proof?

Take the case of the Montauk Monster, an unidentified creature that washed ashore on a beach in Montauk, New York in July of 2008. Most people know that when a body (or animal carcass) is submerged in water for a prolonged period of time, it alters the subject’s physical form, sometimes bloating and distorting it beyond recognition.

Is that what happened to Montauk’s celebrated find?

Driftwood on a beachThe story begins on July 12, 2008, when Jenna Hewitt, a Montauk resident, and three of her friends were strolling along Ditch Plains Beach, a popular surfing spot, in search of a place to sit. Noticing a large crowd gathered around something lying on the sand, they took a closer look.

What they found was a creature that defied description, a pale, bloated dog-like thing with a hooked beak. The animal was so bizarre looking that Hewitt later joked it might have been something that escaped from Plum Island—a nearby center, specializing in animal disease.

She snapped a picture of the creature, an image that eventually ended up in several newspapers and found its way onto the internet where it exploded and became an overnight sensation.

Interestingly, the carcass of the creature disappeared, spirited away by a man who remains unidentified. As images circulated and weblogs surfaced, zoologists and other wildlife experts waded into the ring. Several speculated the creature could be a raccoon, its ghastly appearance the result of being submerged in the water for an extended period of time. Others suggested a turtle, and still others a dog or sheep. In all circumstances, there were those who refuted the claims—the legs were too long for a raccoon, sea turtles lack fur and teeth, and so on.

So, what exactly is the Mantauck Monster? To this day, its true identity remains a mystery shrouded in a cloud of speculation. Why not weigh in with your own opinion? You’ve likely seen this photograph before, but perhaps didn’t connect it with the story of the Mantauck Monster. Take a look now, then hop back here to share your thoughts about this potentially new cryptid. You can see multiple images here.

Freaky, wouldn’t you say?

Mythical Monday: The Van Meter Visitor by Mae Clair

During autumn of 1903, the sleepy village of Van Meter, Iowa experienced three nights of strange visitations from a creature they believed had crept from an abandoned mine shaft. The bizarre occurrences began on September 29th when Ulysses Griffith, a traveling salesman was heading home after a business trip. Around 1AM, Mr. Griffith spied an odd light that appeared to “hop” from rooftop to rooftop. Intrigued, he was nonetheless tired after a long day of travel, and promptly headed home to bed.

The next night, September 30th at approximately the same hour, Dr. Alcott, the town physician, was drawn awake by a shaft of bright light streaming into his bedroom. Thinking a burglar lurked outside, he grabbed a firearm and headed outdoors to investigate. What he found was a gargoyle-like creature endowed with large bat wings and a blunt horn on its forehead from which light poured. Horrified, Dr. Alcott shot the beast five times, but the bullets had no effect.

The third resident to spot the creature was local banker, Clarence Dunn. On the night of October 1st at approximately 1AM, Mr. Dunn was camped out at his bank when a bright light suddenly flowed through the front window. He heard a strange wheezing and spied a shadowy figure skulking outside. Like Dr. Alcott, he shot the creature, firing directly through the window. But when he went outside to investigate, the beast had vanished, leaving a three-toed print behind in the dirt. Mr. Dunn later made a cast from the footprint as proof of the visitation.

On the same night, O.V. White spied the creature perched on a telephone pole. He fired, but the beast merely shone its light on him, then used its large hooked beak to clamber down the pole. There it encountered another resident, who estimated its height near eight feet. The creature hopped off like a kangaroo, flapping its wings as if attempting to take flight.

Finally, that same night, a group of men working a late-night shift heard strange sounds coming from an old mine shaft. When they investigated, two of the creatures abruptly appeared, one smaller than the other, and promptly winged off into the night. Determined to destroy the beasts and remove the threat to Van Meter, the men returned to town and organized a posse. Armed with rifles, the group trekked back to the mine and waited for the gargoyles to return.

The pair flew back to their lair just before sunrise where they were greeted by a deadly hail of bullets. The barrage “would have sunk the Spanish fleet” but it had no effect on them. The men found themselves engulfed by a putrid odor—perhaps the creature’s only defense?—before the winged beasts vanished into the mine shaft, never to be seen again.

There are plenty of tales about cryptids, but what gives this legend particular credence is the reputation of the men who reported seeing the monster. Most were prominent professionals and businessmen who couldn’t afford to be viewed as crackpots, yet they willingly attached their names to reports of sightings.  It has prompted many to believe this particular legend carries merit.

the-van-meter-visitor-bookAuthors Chad Lewis, Noah Voss, and Kevin Nelson have penned their own account of those three days in autumn of 1903, thoroughly investigating the circumstances surrounding the sightings. Their book, The Van Meter Visitor is available for purchase from Amazon or direct (autographed copy) from the authors’ website. This one has been on my reading list for some time and I hope to indulge in it shortly.

I find it curious that although the creature was no doubt terrifying in appearance, not once did it act in a threatening manner. Repeatedly shot at, chased, and generally sought for slaughter, it never defended itself. Only when the smaller creature was with it at the mine—perhaps a mate or offspring?—did it respond defensively. Even then it was only to release a “putrid odor” rather than attack. Surely a beast of that size with a long hooked beak, horn, and enormous wings could have inflicted damage if it chose.

It makes me think that the Van Meter Visitor may have been a peaceful creature. What’s your take?

Mythical Monday: Chasing the Chupacabra by Mae Clair

The chupacabra is a creature said to haunt South America, Puerto Rico, parts of Mexico and portions of Texas. Known for attacking livestock and draining its prey of blood, the chupacabra’s name in Spanish is translated as “goat-sucker.” A mythical creature, the chupacabra is also recognized as a crytpid—a creature that may exist but hasn’t been proven to exist. If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you know I enjoy reading about mythical beasts and those put under the microscope of cryptozoology. It’s interesting when those fields intersect, as in the case of the chupacabra.

This is not a guy I would want to cross while out for a stroll.  A heinous looking oddity, the chupacabra has alternately been described as a winged monkey, a hairless dog with a pronounced spinal ridge or quills on its back, and a rodent or a reptile with grayish-green skin. The beast exudes a ghastly odor, is endowed with sharp fangs, and a forked tongue. Some believe the chupacabra is a coyote infected with mange, others that it is a species brought from outer space, still others that it is the result of a government experiment gone haywire.

Naturally, something this ugly has to have glowing eyes. In the case of the chupacabra, they are malignant red, capable of hypnotizing its victim and freezing them in place while the creature drains the victim’s blood.

Old farmshouse with free walking chickens  in rural surroundingsThe first report of dead livestock occurred in 1995 in Puerto Rico when a farmer found eight of his sheep drained of blood, each with three puncture wounds to the chest. For this reason, some believe the chupacabra is related to the vampire bat. It’s also been known to hiss and screech when alarmed and make an odd sound when feeding (who would want to get that close?).

Throughout the years the chupacabra has been blamed for numerous bizarre deaths in the killing of goats, chickens, pigs and dogs. Though most common to Latin America and South America, it has been spotted as far north as Michigan and Maine and has even shown up in Russia. There are countless videos and websites devoted to the myth of the chupacabra. This infamous crytpid has also made appearances on Animal Planet, and the Discovery Channel. Despite all the debate and discussion about El Chupacabra—including various descriptions from eyewitnesses—its legend continues to grow confounding skeptics, cryptozoologists and the curious in general.

As the debate rages, perhaps it’s best to err on the side of caution. What do you think?

Would you search for a mythical creature? by Mae Clair

I can actually say “been there, done that,” in relation to the question above. If you’ve visited my blog before, you might know I’ve traipsed around West Virginia in the area where the legendary Mothman was sighted — all in the name of research which I’ve factored into an upcoming novel.

But going out on a charter boat to track down a leviathan larger than a whale . . .a mythical seabeast that has a taste for gobbling up ships? Nah, probably not.

Cover KindleThat, is however, exactly what my heroine, Rylie Carswell, does in my new indie release, SOLSTICE ISLAND. Today, I’m visiting with my Kensington Books/Lyrical Press sister, Gemma Brocato on her fabulous blog. If you get a chance, I’d love for you to pop over and say hello.

 

 

Help Me Choose My Next Title by Mae Clair

Before I get into the main reason for this post, I wanted to mention that my Lyrical Press sister, D.B. Sieders, is hosting me today on her blog. She tossed some awesome questions my way about Twelfth Sun, Reagan and Elijah. I love digging deep like that, so please stop by if you can. You can find the interview here.

Next, I’ve now added a “News” page to my website. Yep, in case you forgot, I actually have one of those at www.MaeClair.com  🙂 I concentrate so much on my blog, sometimes even I forget it’s out there, but I’ve decided I want to pump it up. I’m not exactly certain what that entails, but I hope to add several new features in the coming weeks. The first of those is my News page which will feature a recap of the month and an update on my works in progress.

Speaking of those, I’ve finished Solstice Island. YAY!  This is a 21K romance/adventure that will be included in an anthology with three other authors and offered as a free read on Amazon. We hope to pub late this year or early 2014.

The end of June I ran a post lamenting my indecisiveness about the title. I wasn’t sure if it was too, well…bland. My friend, Emma Meade, suggested I run a poll (great idea, Emma) so here goes.

First the blurb:
Tag:  Can an ancient leviathan work magic between a practical man and an idealistic woman?

Rylie Carswell is an amateur cryptozoologist in search of a mythical creature, the Sea Goliath. In order to reach Solstice Island, a location the ancient leviathan is rumored to haunt, she’s forced to hire charter boat captain, Daniel Decatur.

Initially, Daniel wants nothing to do with the trip or the fool woman waving double payment in his face. Convinced she’s yet another loony treasure hunter looking for gold on the remote island, he reluctantly agrees. An embittered neighbor wants to have his charter license yanked, so the extra cash will help him stay afloat.

It doesn’t take long for Daniel to realize Rylie is after the same beast his parents were tracking when they mysteriously vanished ten years earlier. He’s avoided all links to cryptozoology ever since, but the smart and sexy cryptid hunter has him second-guessing his oath and wondering what he’s signed on for.

Warning: A family legacy, glowing plankton and rough waters.

title post copyThe titles I’m considering are:
Solstice Island
An Admirable Man
Cryptid Hunter

I have a definite favorite among these three, but I thought it would be fun to get other opinions.

So what do you think? Does one of these work or do I need to go back to the drawing board?

Mythical Monday: Cryptozoology and the Yeti, by Mae Clair

It’s Mythical Monday! As I write this post, it’s a brisk Sunday afternoon but, by the time it publishes, my area will likely be in the midst of a snowstorm. Yes, a snowstorm. On the 25th day of March, when temperatures should be in the mid-50 range, the forecast is for 2 to 5 inches of snow, possibly more in some areas. Mother Nature clearly didn’t get the message to “spring forward” with the rest of us.

As a result, for today’s Mythical Monday, I dug up the “cold facts” on a creature who is fond of ice and snow—the Yeti, also known as the Abominable Snowman. You probably remember the lumbering beast Bumble from Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer who lost his vicious bite when Hermie the elf removed his teeth. Poor guy. Fortunately, he was a softie at heart and ended up putting the star on Santa’s Christmas tree.

But the real Abominable is an enormous ape-like creature residing in the harsh terrain of the Himalaya Mountains. Yeti communicate by a series of whistling sounds and shrieks. Because of their size and backward pointing feet their capacity for speed is limited, but what they lack in agility they more than make up in strength. These ginormous, muscular creatures are able to hurl large boulders which they use as a defense (not that I imagine they have many predators!).

Like Bigfoot, the Yeti is one of the most popular creatures in cryptozoology, having spawned numerous expeditions. Oddly, some believe spying a Yeti brings ill fortune, illness or even death. That hasn’t stopped researchers, however, from venturing into the creature’s cold, inhospitable domain.

Sir Edmond Hillary was probably the most famous. One of the first two men to climb Mt. Everest, he later led a 1960 expedition sponsored by the World book Encyclopedia. Despite been equipped with trip-wire cameras, infrared and time lapse photography, the expedition failed to find definitive proof of the Yeti’s existence. The group returned with pelts and a scalp later identified as belonging to a rare blue bear and a serow goat.

bigstock-Sagarmatha-National-Park-Nepa-37595326One man, however, professes to owe his life to the Yeti. Captain d’Auvergue, curator of the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta, India experienced a bout of snow blindness while traversing the Himalayas alone in 1938. Suffering from exposure and on the brink of death, d’Auvergue claimed he was nursed back to health by a yeti.

Still the debate rages on. As with most famed creatures of cryptozoology—the Loch Ness Monster, Sasquatch, and the Colossal Squid (not to be confused with the Giant Squid)—the Yeti continues to inspire new research, dispute and speculation. I certainly don’t expect to see an Abominable in the 2 to 5 inches of snow forecast for my area, but on this cold and blustery Monday, the Yeti seemed a fitting mythical choice.

What is your favorite creature from cryptozoology or myth?