Today, I’d like to welcome Mae Clair as my guest. I read Mae’s blog every week and enjoy it. I’ve read a good share of her writing, too. She writes paranormal suspense with a mix of eerie happenings and strong characters. Her novel, CUSP OF NIGHT, came out June 12th. I bought it and, for me, it was a five-star read. I’ll let her tell you about it:
Thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog today! I’ve been making the rounds with my newest release Cusp of Night. This is a book that blends past and present in a mystery/suspense theme, laced with paranormal elements. I’ve set the story in a fictional river town called Hode’s Hill. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, a devil-like creature terrorized the town and committed several horrific murders. The beast was never caught, but the legend remained.
Each June, Hode’s Hill holds an annual Fiend Fest to commemorate the legend. Filled with music, food vendors, arts and crafts, there is even a “Fiend” costume contest for anyone who wishes to compete.
My main character, Maya Sinclair, has recently moved to the town to accept a job as a reference librarian. She attends the Fiend Fest with her friend Ivy, then on the walk home witnesses an assault on Leland Hode—one of the town’s leading citizens—by someone (or some “thing”) that resembles the Fiend.
I brought along a short excerpt that takes place the day after the attack. In this scene, Maya shares what she saw with Ivy:
Once situated at the table in the breakfast area, Maya relayed what happened on her walk home.
Ivy’s eyes grew rounder with each detail. “Wow,” she said once Maya had finished. “Maybe Leland has a mistress. What else would he be doing in an alley?”
Maya hadn’t considered that. “I’m worried about him. He passed out before the ambulance got there. And you didn’t see the creature. It was huge.”
“Probably a leftover from the festival.”
“That’s what Detective Gregg thought.” Maya still wasn’t certain. “Either that, or someone taking advantage of the festival as cover.”
“You don’t sound convinced.”
How could she explain without sounding like an idiot? “It’s just that…” Dropping her gaze, she cupped her glass between her hands and conjured a mental image of the previous night. The nest of shadows in the alley, Leland slumped against the building like a discarded ragdoll, the dark form beside him swelling in size. “It seemed too big to be human.”
Ivy blew out a breath. “What are you saying? That you saw the Fiend?” A look of incredulity crossed her face. “We’re not going to see you on one of those Bigfoot reality shows, are we?”
Maya laughed. “I’m not that crazy.” She swiped her thumb over the glass, collecting condensation. “But something attacked Leland.”
“You mean someone.” Ivy leaned forward and rested her forearms on the table, her expression a blend of common sense and concern. “Leland has a lot of enemies. I’m more worried about you. Whoever was in the alley…did they get a good look at you?”
“Oh.” Maya flinched, sensing where Ivy was headed. “I…I don’t know. But why should that matter? I couldn’t ID the person. They were in a costume, if I’m to believe you and Detective Gregg.” The thought of someone wanting to silence her made her uneasy, but the alternative was worse—that the thing she’d seen truly was a nightmarish creature of lore. For her own sanity, she needed to learn more about the Fiend of Hode’s Hill. Not just rumors and myth, or even the oft-repeated urban legend, but actual accounts. Something had attacked Charlotte Hode and several others at the turn of the century. There had to be newspaper reports.
I hope that little snippet sparks some interest! The story switches back and forth with Maya’s story in the present, and that of a 19th Century spiritualist named Lucinda Glass in the past. Eventually, both converge at the end. Perhaps the blurb explains better:
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 . . .
You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts: