It was early morning and James was trying to work, his pen hovering over the blank sheet of paper as he composed the verse in his mind. His mind wandered, unwilling to focus on the job at hand and he found himself thinking of his daughter instead. Still fragile, but growing stronger every day, Angela was constantly in his thoughts. The disease had struck suddenly, almost stealing her away, but fate had intervened and she returned to them, pale and weak, her skin almost translucent.
As if her return hadn’t been gift enough, she brought him things every day to put on his desk, a flower, an unusual leaf, and yesterday, a feather. It sat on the corner of his desk, catching his eye as he sought inspiration.
Quite a large feather, he thought, a flight feather, white with iridescent blue barbs, the central shaft strong enough for quite a large creature. He wanted to pick it up and examine it in detail. To turn it over to see what colour it was on the underside. Most feathers were a different colour underneath to camouflage the bird in flight, but for some reason, he couldn’t bring himself to touch it. It lay there, gleaming in the morning light, the iridescence radiating outward like a halo.
As he gazed at the feather, he remembered the careful way Angela placed it there, reverently, as if giving him a holy thing. He did feel blessed, but it was by her presence, not just the gift, so why did the sight of it lying there fill him with awe?
Something about it had touched his heart, reminding him that life was full of wonder if you took the trouble to stop and look for it. Miracles did happen sometimes…
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, triggers Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .
“Equal parts monster and fallen angel…”
I knew when I read the blurb for CUSP OF NIGHT that I had to read the first book in Mae Clair’s new series, and I wasn’t disappointed.
It is an unusual story, beautifully written, dripping with a chilling mystery that draws you into the dark world of spiritualism and myth. Mae Clair skilfully blends and intertwines the chapters, connecting the reader to the 1900’s and the present day and the mysteries of both.
I especially loved the way the mysteries from the past begin to resonate with the present circumstances, leading the hero, Maya Sinclair into the paranormal discovery of an evil that somehow can live forever.
Why would an evil entity visit the present, dragging tragedy and horror with it?
This is the mystery that Maya needs to solve, as disaster begins to strike the people around her. Would she be able to solve the mystery and discover the truth behind the legend?
The tension had me chewing my nails, and then the unexpected sadness had me reaching for a box of tissues, but I thoroughly enjoyed every word.
Already described as “unique, addictive and creepy…” this new series promises to be a best seller and I can highly recommend Cusp of Night to anyone who loves a haunting and formidable story…
EXCERPT FROM CUSP OF NIGHT
She’d left her purse on the dresser, keys by her jewellery chest. A half dozen shoeboxes that had yet to find a place in the closet were stacked beside a white rocking chair. Made from distressed wood, the chair had come from Mrs.Bonnifer’s antique shop. Maya had bought it on the spot after hearing it dated from the 1880s. She’d placed it in the parlour initially, then moved it to the bedroom, where it fits perfectly in the corner by the fireplace. Almost as if it had been made for the spot.
The fireplace had long ago been converted to gas, but the charm of the elaborate Victorian mantel had been one of the deciding factors prompting her to sign the lease.
A soft creak broke the stillness, and the rocker pitched slowly back and forth. The runners bobbled up and down as if someone sat in the chair, controlling the movement. A finger of cold traced Maya’s spine. Secondcrept into second as the deliberate rocking continued, the floorboards creaking in unison with the lurch of the runners.
Barely breathing, Maya stood. Ever since those few seconds in the Aether, she’d grown sensitive to ripples on the fringe of normal. She didn’t believe in ghosts or hauntings but couldn’t deny the existence of vibrations that breached barriers between life and death. She was living proof of a “between” world. Ivy was the only person she’d ever told what she’d experienced while EMTs fought to revive her.
Shock. Trauma, they’d said. You were lucky.
Be careful here. Mrs Bonnifer’s warning echoed in her head. This place has a history.
Maya stepped to the foot of the bed, her gaze glued to the rocker. Its movement stopped abruptly as if an unseen hand had clamped down on the back…
“Like a beautiful man who farts as he leaves the room, Dexter changed the world for the better, but left a noxious stink behind…”
Dexter: The TV series. 2006-2013
I discovered this series as I was checking out the box sets on my TV. Eight series, each containing 12 episodes, enough to keep me happy throughout the long winter months.
Boy, was I in for a treat!
It turned out that what I had discovered was a lethal formula of black comedy and revenge-killing procedural. From its debut in 2006, Showtime’s adaptation of Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter novels expertly marshalled its own absurdities to deliver a confident, darkly funny show like nothing around at the time.
It was television’s first serial killer procedural: a monster of the week format where Dexter assessed, tracked and killed whichever rapist, spree killer or assassin was in his sights. Rooting for the villain was nothing new, of course, but this took fanboying the bad boy to the next level.
Working as a blood-spatter analyst for Miami-Dade police offered Dexter the Intel and expertise to carry out his campaign. He was the psychopath you could introduce to your parents.
With every episode pored over in forensic detail, it only took the first episode to make me a devoted fan. As a budding crime/thriller writer, this series was like my own personal podcast, viewed from the comfort of my armchair. Every week, there would be something interesting to learn, some nuance or idea that could be utilised in a story of my own.
Dexter Morgan, bless him, played by Michael C Hall taught me so much about the perfect villain. One you could actually like and almost approve of.
And I did!
I spotted this POST the other day about the magical relationship between writers and their notebooks by one of my favourite bloggers and instantly knew she was talking about me. It had to be because I have a thing about notebooks. Notebooks are an essential part of being a writer, and they should be attractive to look at.
This is so important for the magical element of writing, as only good things can be written in such a notebook, and consequently, only brilliance can ever find its way out of one.
The difference between hastily scribbled, barely decipherable notes on scraps of paper and your notebook entries is nothing short of amazing. One important difference is the fact that your notebook entries will at least be readable. I mean, you will be using your very best handwriting in your notebook, won’t you?
I know I do. I simply cannot spoil it with any of my messy scrawl!
Because of the special nature of notebooks, you will write better content in them too. A strange magic occurs when you open an attractive notebook, as it is almost a challenge to produce something special. Something that almost never happens with scraps of paper or post-it notes.
Our book, Lazy Days, about our first family holiday on a boat on the Norfolk Broads, was born in a notebook. Originally called our Captains Log, we wrote down everything that happened and everywhere we went. It was fun but only intended to be a keepsake. Nearly forty years later, we turned it into a book. All of our family loved reading it and remembering our adventure…
Most weeks in our house are usually a mishmash of incidents, some good and a few of the other kind. But whatever happens there is never a dull moment around here!
This past week has excelled itself, hurtling from one mini-disaster to another. At one point, I contemplated staying in bed, just to break the cycle, but as I am the nosiest person for miles, I couldn’t bear to think of anything happening without me. Seeing as how I was born with a sword in one hand and cleaning mop in the other, I could usually cope with anything!
It all started to go wrong when we spotted a fantastic bargain in our local charity shop, a two-seater couch in black leather. It was in perfect condition and a price that would n’t bring our bank account to its knees. So without thinking things through, we bought it, to be delivered the following day.
But what to do with the dilapidated broken down couch in our living room?
The local council have a collection service, so all we had to do was get it out of the house. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? In case you were wondering, it definitely wasn’t.
We are both in our 70’s and not the fittest people on the block, but we were determined. We would do this, even if it meant dragging the couch out of the house in pieces. A not so small nightmare later, two broken and bad-tempered women sat on the old couch in the front garden, swearing never again. We didn’t understand why it had been so difficult, it was a two-seater after all. We clearly remembered the day years before when it was first delivered, so either the couch had grown, or the house had shrunk.
The next day, tempers and difficulty forgot, the new couch was delivered and peace reigned once more. How I wish the story ended there.
At this point in the story, I can blame Anita for what happened next. She had seen (and fallen in love with) another couch in the charity shop, which she assured me, would be far more comfortable than our old three seater. You couldn’t make up what happened next.
To cut a long and painful story short, we bought the three seater and managed to drag the old one out. Slightly easier this time as it could be dismantled. Shame it was so bloody heavy though!
Shortly after the new three-seater was delivered, it became obvious that the blessed thing wasn’t comfortable at all, and had to go. By this time we were exhausted, unhappy and tempers were flaring. Again!
After three days of juggling large, heavy and unresponsive pieces of furniture, I have banned the word ‘couch’ from ever being spoken of in my hearing again. The furniture we have will just have to last, for there is no way I am going to lift anything heavier than the kettle for the foreseeable future!