Mythical Monday: The HMS Friday, by Mae Clair

Sailing boat silhouette at sunsetHello, everyone, and welcome to another Mythical Monday. I’m still in a nautical frame of mind. 🙂

Last week, I shared a number of seafaring superstitions. Today, I want to focus on a single belief that spurned an entire urban legend.

Anyone remotely familiar with maritime folklore will tell you it’s considered bad luck to begin a voyage on a Friday. Why? Because bad things happen on a Friday.

Jesus was crucified on Friday, and biblical disasters such as the Great Flood and Adam biting the apple in the Garden of Eden supposedly occurred on a Friday. Whether the latter two are true, the fact remains that Friday is a day to avoid when setting sail.

This belief was so ingrained and so widespread, that in the 19th century the Royal Navy took drastic steps to dispel it by commissioning a ship named the HMS Friday. The ship’s keel was laid on a Friday and she set sail on her maiden voyage on Friday the 13th. If that wasn’t enough, she was commanded by Captain James Friday.

All of this Friday-ism would have certainly proved a point had it worked. Unfortunately for Captain Friday, his crew, and his ship, they were never seen or heard from again. *cue eerie music*

Isn’t that great fodder for an urban legend? As it turns out, the tale of the HMS Friday is precisely that – an impressive story for inspiring goose bumps, but without a shred of truth. False or not, it’s an intriguing snippet of maritime folklore I couldn’t resist sharing. It has all the perfect components of an urban legend with just enough what-if leeway to make you wonder.

To close, I’m sharing a snippet from my upcoming contemporary romance/mystery, TWELFTH SUN. In this scene, my heroine, Reagan Cassidy is having breakfast with the novel’s hero, Dr. Elijah Cross, a twenty-five year old marine archeologist who is brilliant, annoying and good-looking. 🙂 Reagan considers their first encounter humiliating, and is still irritated over what happened. At thirty-five, she’s also thrown by Elijah’s age in contrast to his professional achievements. The scene picks up with them discussing the Twelfth Sun, a 19th century schooner.


“Getting back to the Twelfth Sun,” Elijah continued as if her interruption were of no consequence. “She was built in the 1790’s when Baltimore led the nation in shipbuilding, and came out of Fells Point like most clippers.”

“I thought you said she was a schooner?”

“Pretty much an interchangeable term. The Twelfth Sun was owned by the Wheeler Shipping Company and captained under Samuel Storm. During the war of 1812 she turned privateer and was responsible for single-handedly sinking or capturing ten British vessels. When the war ended, she floundered. The clipper era was on the wane. Changing maritime conditions and economic trends combined to make it almost obsolete.”

Reagan tilted her head. She vaguely recalled her uncle saying something along the same lines. She’d always viewed old sailing ships as poetic, romantic images, but had never taken the time to learn their history.

twelfthsuncover“Wheeler Shipping fell on hard times and sold to a pair of brothers out of Massachusetts,” Elijah continued. “The Rooks were wealthy, but inexperienced. Samuel Storm stayed on as captain of the Twelfth Sun and continued making cargo runs. In 1836, Chester Rook sent his younger brother Jeremiah along as the shipping company’s onboard representative.”

“The Twelfth Sun sank in 1836.” That much she did know.

Elijah nodded. He eyed her fruit again. “Are you really going to eat that?”

Exasperated, she pushed the plate across the table to him. He grinned broadly and attacked the pieces of cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple with relish. Munching contentedly, he continued his tale.

“The voyage was doomed from the start. Chester Rook ordered the ship to launch on a Friday in direct opposition to Samuel Storm’s wishes.”

Reagan waited, expecting to learn there’d been a horrible gale or unstable weather conditions.

Elijah simply let the sentence hang.

“So?” she prompted, annoyed by the lapse.

“Friday, Reagan. Anyone familiar with sailing lore knows you never begin a voyage on a Friday. It’s bad luck.”

She bristled. “Ms. Cassidy, please.”

“A little too proper for first names?”

“Just tell me what happened.”

He finished the last of the fruit and drained his coffee. Slumping back in his chair, he folded his arms over his chest and stared at her across the table. The thick black line of his lashes made his eyes intensely blue, as vibrant as cut glass caught in the sun. Dark brown hair curled in long, riotous waves against his collar.

For one unsettling minute, Reagan had the insane desire to lace her fingers through it. Disturbed, she sat straighter and lowered her eyes. She’d always had a weakness for men with tousled, unkempt hair, but so what? Elijah Cross might be good-looking, but he was also a royal pain in the posterior.


I hope you enjoyed my excerpt. TWELFTH SUN doesn’t release until August 5, but I’m getting excited thinking about it! 🙂 And, although my fictional vessel didn’t vanish like the HMS Friday, the mystery of what happened to her is at the heart of the novel.

Do you find old ships fascinating? What about the legends attached to them? Is there a particular ghost ship or legendary vessel that intrigues you?

It’s Here! Cover Reveal: Twelfth Sun by Mae Clair

It’s Thursday, still dreary and bleak in my neck of the woods, but it feels like Christmas and spring rolled into one! A lot of things have come together in the last few days that I’m anxious to share!

First, I leaned my video trailer for WEATHERING ROCK has been entered into the monthly contest at You Gotta Read Reviews. I’m #6, and the vid went up yesterday. Voting will occur between March 21 and March 26. This was my first attempt at a video trailer and I’m up against some stiff competition with sleek designs, so I’m not expecting miracles but it’s nice to be included. And don’t worry—when it’s time to vote, I’ll provide a shout out reminder to anyone who would like to vote for WEATHERING ROCK. 🙂

Now, about the title of my blog post. 😀 Tuesday night, after a fun evening out with ‘the girls’ I came home to find the cover art for TWELFTH SUN waiting in my inbox. Talk about a great cap to a wonderful night! If you haven’t already heard me screaming about it, TWELFTH SUN is my new contemporary romance/mystery set to release in August.

I’m in love with the cover! The very talented Renee Rocco, publisher of Lyrical Press, Inc. did the design for me. It features my hunky young PhD, sunset colors, and the beautiful feel of a beach coastline. Check it out:


Nice, huh?  And not only did the cover arrive, but so did my tag and blurb. I was pleased the publisher chose to use a lot of what I had suggested for the blurb, but it’s been fluffed and enhanced:

The hunky young PhD knows all about seduction, but what does he know about love?

Reagan Cassidy is settled in her life. She has a thriving interior design firm, an upscale condo, two cats, and a goldfish. As a favor to her uncle, she agrees to team up with his marine archeologist friend to validate and retrieve a nineteenth-century journal, reputedly that of a passenger aboard the doomed schooner Twelfth Sun. Finding a hunky twenty-five-year-old coming out of the shower in her hotel room wasn’t part of the deal, but it’s hard to complain…

Dr. Elijah Cross is cocky and he knows it. He enjoys trading barbs with the lovely Reagan. Barbs, and some innuendo. He can tell she’d rather get back home to her business than stick around for the extended treasure hunt they’ve been talked into, but he’s fine with the situation. At least, until the “clues” start getting personal.

Reagan finds Dr. Gorgeous is as skilled in matters of the heart as he is behind the lectern. Throw in a series of clues which mean more to Elijah than he’ll explain, several odd-ball competitors out to win the journal, a saboteur, and a lavish seaside mansion, and Reagan has enough trouble keeping her head straight, let alone her heart.

WARNING: Younger man, older woman, nautical riddles and romance.

Now all I have to do is wait for August to roll around! Having the cover and blurb has ratcheted up my excitement level.

Is it August yet? LOL!

I really love these characters and hope you will too. Yes, I know writers say that about all their books, but this one was a lot of fun to write!

Thanks for sharing my cover reveal with me 😀

Mae Clair, Author: A Valentine’s Day Treat

Elegant Valentine's Day backgroundHappy Valentine’s Day, everyone!
I hope you get to enjoy the day with someone special who makes your heart go pitter-patter. It’s a work day for me, but I’m looking forward to celebrating with my hubby in the evening, including a nice dinner out.

Since it’s Valentine’s Day and romance is on everyone’s hearts, I thought I’d share a glimpse of my upcoming contemporary romance, TWELFTH SUN. This is the blurb I’ve been using:

At thirty-five, Reagan Cassidy is settled in her life with a thriving interior design firm, an upscale condo, two cats, and a goldfish. Then she meets Dr. Elijah Cross, a brilliant but quirky twenty-five year old with a doctorate in marine archeology. When she and Elijah team together to retrieve an nineteenth century journal reputed to have been written by a passenger aboard the doomed schooner, Twelfth Sun, they become embroiled in a treasure hunt hosted by a reclusive billionaire.

Against her better judgment, Reagan falls for the hunky, young Ph.D. who is as skilled in matters of the heart as he is behind the lectern. Throw in several odd-ball competitors out to win the journal, a series of cryptic clues, a saboteur, and a lavish seaside mansion, and Reagan has enough trouble keeping her head straight, let alone her heart. She’d just as soon forget Dr. Gorgeous and his smoldering kisses, but Elijah has other ideas. The only treasure he wants to claim is Reagan’s heart, and he isn’t going to let something as trivial as age stop him.

In the scene I’m sharing, Reagan and Elijah have only recently arrived at the estate of Eric Sothern. Sothern has several other guests for the weekend which Reagan didn’t expect. After introductions and a brief period of socializing, Reagan and Elijah are escorted to their rooms by Sothern’s staff manager, Felix Pellar.


Reagan looked straight ahead. They’d reached the top of the stairwell, giving her the opportunity to shoulder past Elijah. It was in her best interest not to discuss anything further, unless it concerned Rook’s journal.

Pellar led them across the loft and down a shorter hallway, eventually halting before side-by-side rooms. “I trust you’ll find everything acceptable.”

Both doors stood open. Reagan glanced inside, finding them near-mirror images with differing color schemes.

“Mr. Sothern calls them the twins,” Pellar explained, noticing her glance. “They share a Jack-and-Jill bath. For privacy, I suggest you make certain the opposite door is locked when you use the facility.” He departed with a slight incline of his head.

Elijah rolled his eyes. “The facility. Can you believe that guy?”

Reagan paled. The thought of sharing a bathroom with him, even one with locking doors, left her queasy. After the humiliating circumstances of their initial meeting, it was too much like tempting fate.

“What’s the matter?” Elijah propped a shoulder against the doorframe of his room. “Want help unpacking? I could color coordinate your lingerie. Pink and pink.”

Handsome man squatting on a building garden ledgeShe steeled herself, tempted to slap him. The return of his casual cockiness smothered her anxiety. It galled her to think she’d actually thought she might be attracted to him. “You really are a despicable man, Dr. Cross.”

“Is that why you can’t keep your eyes off me?”

Slapping be damned. He needed to be drawn and quartered, then dumped headfirst into a vat of boiling oil. Reagan scrunched her hands into fists. “You arrogant, self-centered, egotistical–”


She wanted to scream. He was toying with her, playing a game of aren’t-I-the-calm-clever-one? Exasperated, she shook her head, intending to leave before her composure cracked. Elijah surprised her by grabbing her arm and tugging her against him. He was all muscle and sinew, deliciously lean, wondrously sensual male. Shocked by the unexpected feel of him, she froze.

He lowered his head and claimed her mouth in a soft, exploratory kiss. Warm, gentle. Nothing like she would have expected. Before she could fully comprehend what had happened, he released her with a smile.

“See you at dinner.”

The door snicked closed. Stunned, Reagan stared at the wood. A minute passed before she felt the slow burn of heat on her face. He’d done it again. Made a fool of her; and she’d let him. What was she thinking? The man was a–a–child!

With a Ph.D., a silent voice mocked. He was damned attractive, and she knew it.

Disgusted, she dug her fingernails into her palms. Is this how he planned to charm Livy Franklin? It wasn’t Brody with his blond good looks and suave manner she had to worry about. It was Elijah Cross. Despite her better judgment, despite their age difference, she couldn’t get him out of her head.

Or erase the feel of his lips on hers.

Panicked by the realization, she kicked the door as hard as she could. Pain spiked from her ankle to her kneecap. She spat an unlady-like curse and hobbled in a circle. A glance down the hall told her no one had witnessed her ridiculous fit of temper. All she needed was the arrival of golden-girl Livy or model-perfect Monica to make her humiliation complete. Muttering, she limped into her room and slammed the door. A painting wobbled on the wall.

She glared at it, as if it had questioned her integrity. She could still feel the heat of Elijah’s lips on hers, a sensation that left her unnerved. Did she want to wring his neck, or invite him for an encore? The resurrection of her bewildering attraction sent her over the top, and she did the only childish thing she could think to do. Stomping into the bath, she locked the adjoining door, permanently barring him from the shared room.


As they say, the path to true love is never smooth. I hope you enjoyed this small glimpse of TWELFTH SUN. It’s a departure from the paranormal for me, straight contemporary romance with mystery tossed in for good measure. If you like a treasure hunt with riddles, a hunky brilliant hero, opinionated heroine, and a cast of characters with hidden agendas, I hope you’ll join me in August for its release.  Personally, I can’t wait!

Happy Valentine’s Day!