Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Of Fiends, Time, and Trouble #amreading


Today I’m hosting Mae Clair, who is finishing up a blog tour for the first book of her new series. If you like past/present timelines, fiends, and sinister happenings, you’ll enjoy not only Cusp of Night, but Mae’s other books as well. Take it away, Mae!

Julie, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today. I’ve been making the rounds with my latest novel, Cusp of Night, the first book in my new Hode’s Hill series. Although the first book in a three-book series, Cusp of Night is also a complete standalone read offering two mysteries in one. It features past and present timelines that ultimately converge at the end, tying both plots together.

Lucinda Glass, my main character in the past, becomes a renowned medium in the late 1800s. She’s lauded by the elite of society for seances and producing “automatic writings” in which she communicates with the dead.

In the present, Maya Sinclair, a recent transplant to Hode’s Hill rents Lucinda’s old brownstone home. Once she moves in, odd occurrences start to take place—ghostly visitations that correspond with attacks and disappearances in Hode’s Hill. Residents fear the “Fiend”—a nightmarish creature said to have killed Lucinda and others in the late 1800s—has returned. Maya finds herself at the center of the mystery when she witnesses the creature attack Leland Hode, one of the town’s leading citizens. Soon, she and Leland’s son, Collin, are working together to get to the bottom of the attacks and how they tie-in with Lucinda’s life in the past.

I brought along a short excerpt today in which Collin takes an early morning jog and makes a grim discovery.

Collin slowed as his path led him closer to the river. The end of the bank was rife with reeds and cattails, knots of vegetation that sprouted in untamed clumps. Normally, he would turn back, but there was something lumped among the snarl of weeds that looked like a blue tarp. He could ignore it and let the current carry it down river, but the conscientious thing would be to haul it out and toss it. Every now and then his mother got on a kick about saving the planet. Recently, she’d joined a committee for environmental beautification.

picturesque summer landscape misty dawn in an oak grove on the banks of the river

Collin suspected she was secretly more interested in the attention she’d reap as a result.

Deciding he couldn’t leave the thing snagged in the water and weeds, he clambered down the bank. Up close, he realized it was a large piece of fabric, not plastic. His foot sank into the muck, and he knotted his fingers in the waterlogged material. It resisted when he pulled, far heavier than he’d thought. Another, stronger tug and it rolled like a fish, bobbing belly upright.

A bloated face framed by a hunk of blond hair popped to the surface.

Shit!” Collin tripped in his haste to get away, nearly landing on his butt. “Oh, shit. Hell, no.” He could see it clearly now, the body of a young woman, her clothing in tatters. Scrapes and abrasions marred her exposed flesh, chunks of skin gouged from her arms and legs as if every scavenger in the river had nibbled on her corpse. Wide, sightless eyes stared upward, frozen in an unanswered plea for help.

The stench hit him.

Collin dropped to his knees and vomited.

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:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Newsletter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Other Social Links

bio box for author, Mae Clair



Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), one dog, five chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

78 thoughts on “Of Fiends, Time, and Trouble #amreading

  1. Julie, thanks so much for hosting me today. It’s great to be here on your blog with Cusp of Night! I think Mr. E. is around here somewhere too—probably off chatting with your muse, LOL!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Reblogged this on From the Pen of Mae Clair and commented:
    It’s been a whirlwind, but my tour for Cusp of Night ends with today’s stop at Julie Holmes blog. Julie is a fun and friendly writer who will be celebrating with her debut release soon. I love visiting her blog, where her muse often takes center stage in her posts. If you’re not following her already, I highly recommend changing that.

    Today, I’m sharing a short excerpt from Cusp of Night (set in the present) in which Collin Hode makes a grim discovery. Come on over and check it out. And for everyone who has followed along with my tour, a huge “THANK YOU” for all of your wonderful support! You guys rock!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great scene! I loved this book.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. What an excerpt! Yikes. I’d be knocked back on my butt too. Wonderful to see Mae over here, Julie. Congrats on the tour, Mae. You certainly reeled me in. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  5. That would kind of ruin your day. Time to crack open the bourbon, close the blinds, and call in sick.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wicked excerpt, Mae. That would probably knock me on my butt, too.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. This looks wonderful, Mae. I love the crossover of past and present. Will be checking it out!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Enjoying your book and tour at same time! Thanks for hosting Julie:)

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I just started this book! I’m always excited when a new Mae Clair book comes out!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Powerful! Great excerpt, Mae. Can’t wait to start this one!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Mae, the excerpt is a huge hook! A definite must read book! And there are more like this one! Congrats on the book tour. 📚 Christine

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I adore Collin. Glad to have seen him here.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. 😊Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water! lol … Loved this extract from your fabulous book, Mae! Thanks so much for hosting Mae Clair today, Julie.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Stunning excerpt and one of my favourites. I loved this book!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. LOVE this book! Bravo to Mae. Thanks so much for sharing, Julie.
    Cheers to you both! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Way to go, Mae! Julie, you’re such a good blog buddy.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Yikes! A terrific excerpt and I was hooked! Lovely to see Mae on your blog, Julie. Wishing you both well with your writing and books! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Winning excerpt, Mae. I love the whole premise.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Reblogged this on Art by Rob Goldstein and commented:
    from Facets of a Muse

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I have enjoyed all Mae’s titles and am sure this one will keep me on the edge of my seat, judging by past experience and that excerpt! Great title too.

    Liked by 1 person

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