#TuesdayBookBlog ~Cusp of Night by Mae Clair #ParanormalMystery @MaeClair1

The truth hides in dark places . . .

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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 . . .

Visit us at www.kensingtonbooks.com

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Forli, Emilia Romagna, Italy: narrow dark alley in the old town – ancient Italian street at night with lampposts and cobbled pavement

Our Review of Cusp of Night

“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…

 

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#Writephoto ~ Painted #Poetry

Thursday photo prompt: Painted #writephoto

 

This week Sue Vincent has chosen a rather lovely image for the prompt.

Shades of Monet there, I think…

 

Image by scvincent.com

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a rather oriental red bridge over a  pool covered with waterlilies and surrounded by trees.

 

Woodland Scent

What lies beyond the red bridge?

Tantalising, teasing, a sound calling me

Daring me to fight my way through the trees

I cross over the shining lily pond

Following the sweet melancholy sound

Of someone singing

Their sorrow filled the air

I felt it, a delicate touch

A small hand brushing against my skin

The scent of woodland must be messing with my head

I reach a clearing where a large tree had fallen

I sat awhile, the strange sound surrounding my head

Again, the touch on my arm

There she sat, beside me

Her eyes the colour of moonlight

Her hair, fallen snow, so delicate

One touch would crush her

I dare not move for fear she would vanish

So beautiful a wood nymph

As any painter would wish to put on canvas

I thought of Monet

How well she would look on his lily pond

Her tiny frame would not look out of place

Realising that the singing had stopped

I remember thinking I had not seen her mouth moving

Her words entered my head

You must save the woodlands

We are many, unseen by human eyes

We need the trees to protect us, to live…

With one last touch against my skin, she vanished.

My mind turned upside down

As I walked back across the bridge

Turning to take one last look

I swear I could see her sitting on a lily pad…

©anitadawes 2020

 

#Throwback Thursday ~ Out of the Shadows and Into my Book…

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This is how Silent PayBack began…

For more than a week now, I have had this new character in my head. He has been following me around, watching my every move. I have tried to talk to him, in my head, you understand, but he has this enigmatic smile, and that’s all I get from him.

I think he wants me to figure out what to do with him, guess what he wants to do but so far, my brain is siding with him and refusing to cooperate.

This morning, I decided I would try to interview him, something I have done before with several of my characters, but you guessed it, he wouldn’t even sit down!

All I know so far is that I do want to write about him, and if I must go through hoops to do it, so be it!

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him nod just then, so it would seem the game is on…

At first glance, he seems an unlikely hero, at least for one of my books. Not very tall, and slender with dark eyes and long hair tied back in a ponytail. Simply dressed in a dark shirt and jeans. But there is an aura about him, he could be a magician, magically producing doves from balls of tissue or flowers from thin air.

He has moved a little closer. I seem to have his full attention…

He is probably something in law enforcement, a police officer or detective, or why would he have turned up on my doorstep? I get killers too, but somehow I know he isn’t one of them. I hadn’t intended to write another crime thriller, I fancied a change, something haunting or spooky perhaps.

There is another character in my head, and although this one looks harmless, all blonde and attractive, the boy next door type. But I know instinctively that he means trouble. Are these two men destined to cross swords? I am beginning to think they are…

I have a lot of thinking imagining to do and to save confusion; I will call the dark haired one David and the blonde William. I already know they are two very different people, and discovering what they are about will be very interesting…

And the rest, as they say, is history…

©Jaye Marie 2020

Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge

Colleen’s 2020 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 178 #PhotoPrompt

 

WELCOME TO TANKA TUESDAY!

It’s the third week of the month! Time for a #PhotoPrompt

 

Image Credit: Balaji Malliswamy

 

In

nightmares

The sharp eye

of a hunter

follows my shadow

beside the riverbank

Through damp green jungle foliage

If I should slip, lunch would be served

Damp earth slipping beneath my feet

I wake before the sharp teeth can take hold…

©anitadawes 2020

#TuesdayBookBlog ~ Secrets… #DarkFamilyMystery

SOME SECRETS WILL KILL YOU…
and some are about someone who is already dead.
A mother must find the truth before the secrets destroy her family…

Secrets, a haunting family drama, about deeply buried guilt and all the secrets and suspicions that invade and control our lives.

Many children have an invisible friend, and sometimes they can be a necessary part of a child’s life for many reasons.
But when this ‘friend’ starts to cause more than just mischief, it is time for his mother to investigate further.

Maggie Swan loves her little boy Danny, but his new playmate was becoming something of a problem. It was almost as though something was wrong and he was trying to fix it.
Her husband Jack, was no help at all, dismissing her ideas as rubbish. But was he merely trying to hide a guilty secret? One that Danny’s new friend knew all about?

Amazon Review:

I’ve been thinking about this review for a few days. I finished Secrets a short while ago and I’ve been trying decide how to express what I felt about it, but now my heading really says it all. This is a strong and powerful story, very well told. The characters are well-drawn and empathic; you have to like and sympathise with them fully, and the main plot, being that of a child who has an invisible but somewhat malicious ‘friend’, is very compelling. If you enjoy and read a lot of paranormal suspense, then you will really love this book. It isn’t my usual choice but I still found myself ‘turning the pages’ on my Kindle till I reached the end. In fact, it is very good!

I won’t say too much about the story as I don’t want to spoil the suspense and excitement for the reader, so this review is quite short. However, I think Anita Dawes has tapped into subjects that are very topical today and it’s well worth reading this book to see what can happen when we bury secrets for too long.

Excerpt of Secrets…

Deep in thought, Maggie started to play with her breakfast and it was Jack’s turn to watch fondly as she doodled with the egg yolk, spreading strange and bizarre patterns across the plate. The early morning sunlight streamed through the kitchen window bathing the breakfast scene in a cosy glow. She looked like a child sitting there in a pretty cotton housecoat, pale honey-coloured hair falling around her shoulders like a halo. She had something on her mind, he was sure. Knowing he didn’t really have the time and hoping she’d say it was nothing, he said, ‘What’s up, love, did you have another bad night with Danny?’

She slowly looked up at him from the mess on her plate, and he could tell by the way her usually bright blue eyes had darkened to the colour of the sea that he wasn’t about to hear anything like what he wanted to hear.
Looking back down at her plate, she said, ‘I’m very worried about him, Jack. These terrible nightmares are getting him down; and now this thing about an imaginary friend, I don’t like it, something’s wrong.’
Jumping straight in, hoping to get it over with quickly so he could get out of the house, he said, ‘You know what the doctor told us, he’ll grow out of it soon enough. It will only make things worse if we try and make Danny let go before he’s ready.’

‘Yes, I know what he said,’ an edge creeping into her voice, ‘but he’s not God. You don’t have to take everything he says as gospel. I don’t happen to think this thing with Toby is the same as a comfy blanket or a favourite teddy a child drags around with him. Can’t you see how he’s changed?
‘… he’s destructive, rude and downright messy. Don’t you think dragging half the garden into the kitchen last week was going a bit too far? You saw his face when I tried to tell him off, he wasn’t the least bit sorry. Judging from the skid marks all over the place it was plain to see he’d had a whale of a time, and what did he say when I asked him why he’d done it? … because Toby wanted him to.

‘… Jack, can’t you see we have to make him understand this Toby is only in his mind and he’s too old to play these pretend games?’
He took a deep breath, painfully aware the time was getting on. ‘Maggie, he’s only seven. You’re making too much of it. The doctor said to give him time and not to bully him into giving up Toby. It might make his nightmares worse.’
She opened her mouth to say something, but before she could, he reminded her again that she had agreed the gentle approach was best.
‘Plus, you haven’t given that idea of yours idea a chance. Having Cathy take Danny to school with Michael may work. He’ll soon see that having a real friend is lots more fun. Have you asked him again about joining the cubs?’
She snorted. ‘I did, and his answer was the same as before. Toby doesn’t want him to.’
‘Give him time, Maggie, he’ll come around.’

Maggie seemed to have run out of wind for the time being, so he took his empty plate over to the sink and left it on the draining board. Straightening his tie as he turned to her again, he said, ‘I’m sorry I don’t have time to talk this morning. I have four books waiting a final decision and what with the deadline and our new budget, I think I’ll have to reject two of them, you know how I hate sending out rejection letters. It doesn’t make for a nice day, especially when a book is worth publishing. If you’re that worried about Danny, we’ll talk about it tonight.’
Maggie frowned and gave him the kind of look that said, sure we will. Jack had seen it many times and responded in a way she had grown used to over the years. He pulled her into his arms, squeezed her gently, saying, ‘I promise we’ll talk about it later.’
Then he kissed her goodbye, grabbed his briefcase and left.

 

 

 

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How I returned to work, and possibly ruined everything!

 

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How I returned to work, and possibly ruined everything!

 

I read an interesting post the other day, written by Staci Troilo, where she describes her struggle to get back on the old blogging workhouse after being out of circulation due to trying to finish five novels.

I too am struggling, but not because I have been as productive as Staci. I am fighting to regain the strength I’m sure I had before being cruelly struck down by illness.

I have been wondering where my muse was while I was AWOL and if there was a snowball’s chance in hell of working with him again.

My muse, like Staci’s, is also male but not as attractive. You must read her post, just to see if you turn green with envy like I did!

 

When I first started writing detective novels, I didn’t get to choose my muse but despite appearances, I am more than happy with the one who turned up. I call him Granddad (but not to his face!) He looks remarkably like Mark Twain with his snow-white hair and enormous moustache and he has guided me very well with his old-style wisdom. I could do with him now, for I have another story in my head for my favourite detective David Snow.

I haven’t run it past him yet, but the plot is almost complete. I need to get him on board, as he usually has strong feelings about my ideas and doesn’t always agree with me.

 

So I was completely floored to find the wrong man waiting for me in my office the following morning. It was my detective, David Snow, the tall, attractive man who always reminded me of Tom Selleck in his prime.

As I entered the room, he stood up and approached me.

‘I have been worried about you, Jaye. Are you properly recovered or just putting in a brave face?’

‘I’m fine, David, only tired. How did you know I was ill?’

‘I had the feeling you needed to speak to me, but you weren’t in your office all week, so I knew something was wrong.’

My legs felt weak, either because I still wasn’t running on full strength yet or the effect of having David in my office again. I have never quite relaxed in his company as the man is formidable and quite sexy.

He sat back down, and I almost fell into mine, cursing his scrutiny.

‘You’re not strong enough yet, maybe I should come back another time…’

‘No, I’m fine… And I have an important question for you. How would you feel about being in another of my stories, David?’

His face relaxed and the hint of a smile appeared.

The idea of starring in another novel appealed to his ego but I hadn’t mentioned the awkward part yet. I wondered how he would react when I did.

‘I’m always ready to star in another of your masterpieces, Jaye. You know that…’

Oh well, I thought. Here goes nothing.

‘Not as straightforward as all that this time, David. I am placing this one after book two, Out of Time. And before the current book three, CrossFire and all that happened in that one.’

I paused to see the effect of my words. He raised an eyebrow but said nothing.

‘I have wanted to address your problem with Kate for a while now and this new story will cover that, among other things. What do you think about it?’

The eyebrow was still raised, and I couldn’t tell if it was a good sign or not. ‘I’m not planning on it being a romantic story though…’

He stood up and walked to the door. ‘I will have to get back to you about that, Jaye…’

 

Had I just blown the chance to write the story that had been driving me nuts for weeks?

 

©Jaye Marie 2020