Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere


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Double-dose of spooky

It’s October and we all know what that means: a month’s worth of haunted hayrides, haunted houses, haunted amusement parks, and big bags of fun-sized treats. And no one said you have to share with little kids dressed like Batman or ballerinas.

Getting back to the spooky (now that I’m thinking about chocolate ❤ ), this week I had two nights of Halloween-esque fun. Our local Twin Cities chapter of Sisters in Crime has monthly meeting the first Tuesday of every month. At every meeting, one of the members reads from their work (WIP or published) and we have a speaker such as an FBI agent or medical examiner or audiobook producer.

This month we got to hear all about ghosts and spirits from a real-life psychic/medium/paranormal investigator.  Natalie told us her story about realizing her abilities and using them to help spirits cross over. She was fantastic! Now, I am somewhat skeptical, but I firmly believe there are a lot of things we don’t understand about our world, and I think there really are people who are sensitive to things beyond our perception. I mean, with 7 billion people on the planet, someone (many someones) has to be, right?

Natalie shared some of her experiences with us, including a spirit that wanted to cross over on a stairway to heaven, like the song, and it took as long for him to climb the stairs as the song. Another spirit she helped, who had died in an ATV accident, decided he wanted to go on a Harley. Man, when I get there, I want to go on a dragon 😀

All the stories were great inspiration for adding spooky to mysteries. Natalie is a member of our chapter, and accessible. She said watching ghost-hunting shows on TV is not the same as the experience. If there’s a legit paranormal investigation group in your area, they might have opportunities for you to tag along on an investigation, or they may conduct events for groups at known haunted places. In fact, Natalie and her group are doing an event this month at the Palmer House Hotel, a known hot-spot for ghosts.

TC SinC ghost tour 2

picture taken in Anoka by Timya Owen, Twin Cities Sisters in Crime, on the ghost tour

Have you ever heard of Anoka, MN, the Halloween Capital of the World? The historical society there conducts walking ghost tours of the city, complete with historical facts about houses deemed to be inhabited by souls that haven’t crossed over yet. A group of Twin Cities Sisters in Crime (TC SinC) members, including yours truly, went on a tour the night after our psychic speaker primed us for all things paranormal.

The house in the picture above is purported to be the haunting grounds of a little girl who died during the flu pandemic in the early 1900s. Another house has a proper Victorian-age woman who refuses to let the homeowner sleep in on weekends (by banging around), and watches movies with the homeowner on her laptop. (How does the homeowner know? Cold spots where someone might be looking over her shoulders, then she adjusted the laptop, and the cold spots went away)

TC SinC ghost tour 1

Members of Twin Cities Sisters in Crime, pic taken by Timya Owen (I think)

This Masonic Lodge is connected to a house that was built by a couple who were doctors. The house is now an antique shop, but the spirits still hang out; people have even smelled someone smoking (no smoking is allowed in the place, of course). The story about the Lodge involved a member who was there late working on something on one of the upper floors. He finished, turned out the light, down the stairs, locked the door, got into his car…

And the light was on. So he gets out of the car, unlocks the door, goes up the stairs, turns out the light, back down the stairs, locks the door, back out to the car. And it happens again. The third time it happened (this is all the same night, btw) he raced up the stairs, turned the light out, raced back down, and in a mirror beside the door caught a glimpse of trousers and shoes coming down the stairs behind him. The Mason said, “Turn the light off your damn self,” or something along those lines. He locks the door, back to the car. . . . . And the light stayed off.

It was a dark and stormy (windy) night, perfect for a walking ghost tour. From ghosts who warn the house/ building residents of danger by leaving lights on or knocking bowls off of refrigerators to spirits of children running up and down hallways like kids do, there were sooo many ideas for stories.

It was a fun week, and I learned a lot about the paranormal, and the possibilities. I kept thinking about Mae Clair’s most recent book, Cusp of Night, which revolves around a spiritualist and things left behind (and don’t forget her Point Pleasant series with the … oops, not going to spoil it 🙂 ). Another author with some great (IMHO) books involving the paranormal is Kay Hooper and her Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series, which is actually multiple series starting with Stealing Shadows, through the Evil, Fear, and Blood trilogies to the SCU series and the Bishop Files. I’ve also read and enjoyed the Abby Cooper books by Victoria Laurie.

Yeesh, didn’t expect this to be so long. Anyway, if you want some fodder for spooky stories, a ghost tour or a talk from a paranormal investigator will stir up your imagination.

Trying to fight off a cold that just hit me yesterday, so other than pickling all the peppers I rescued before the plants succumbed to frost, I’m going to relax a bit this weekend. Next weekend I’m spending a day at a book festival for TC SinC. Gotta get some experience; my March release is only 6 months away 🙂

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Look! Cover Reveal! #amreading #paranormal #urbanfantasy

Hey, lookie here! Check this out–fellow blogger Marcia Meara is revealing her upcoming release. Also, make sure you visit Marcia on her blog, The Write Stuff, where you can find all Marcia’s other books and check out her posts.

COMING SOON!

They’re back!
Jake and Dodger are at it again,
accompanied by their boss, the archangel Azrael.

I am so excited, I can hardly stand it. Once again, Nicki Forde Graphics Design has come up with a cover that does exactly what I wanted it to do. It provides a great-looking image that clearly links the second novella in my Emissary series with the first one. And it does this by putting Jake’s big, red-and-white semi front and center, angel wings and all, but with a completely different background.

In The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody, Jake and Dodger travel both coasts of Florida, day and night, working their emissarial magic wherever they find souls in trouble. For me, the palm fronds over the truck, the ocean in the background, and the moon shining down are perfect.

I can’t give you an exact release date for The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody yet, as I still have a few more tiny odds and ends to finish up, including the blurb. But I’m 99.9% sure it will be available within a week or two, and I’ll have more to share with you then. In the meantime, what do you think?

My heartfelt thanks to all the wonderful bloggers who have helped me share my new cover with the Immediate World! It’s lovely to be part of such a supportive online community, and every single one of you is special to me. Thank you!

NOTE: This is not a stand-alone novella, so now’s a good time to grab the first one. You can read it in an evening and be all set for The Emissary 2. You’ll find The Emissary 1 on Amazon HERE.


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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.

EXCERPT:
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.

BLURB:
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 . . .

PURCHASE CUSP OF NIGHT HERE

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

 

 


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Cover Reveal–New Series by Mae Clair

Woot woot! Mae Clair is a wonderful blogging friend and a great writer. We finally get a peek at her new Hode’s Hill series. If you’ve never read any of Mae’s books, you’re missing out. Stop over at her website and check out her list.

Cusp of Night
by Mae Clair
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Mystery> Thriller & Suspense > Paranormal

book cover for Cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair

BLURB:
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 . . .

ADD TO YOUR GOODREADS LIST

Connect with Mae Clair at the following haunts:

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

Promotional banner for author Mae Clair with bio and author photo, spooky house as header in wash of red


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The Paranormal Bar & Grille – Virtual Book Tour

October starts out warm and sunny, but this is the month when everything changes. Mornings grow frosty, leaves change colors, and the breeze takes on a bite.

Summer dies.

It’s a time for harvest celebrations. A boy loans a girl his coat. She snuggles a little closer and takes his hand. A riot of autumn splendor accompanies the farmer’s market where they stroll.

But the vibrancy of daylight doesn’t compare to the darkness of night. Is that chill on your neck the breeze or something else?

You walk a tad faster and look over your shoulder. The trees creak when the wind whips through their branches—at least, you hope that noise came from the undulating bows.

You check under the bed and inside the closet before climbing under the covers. Sleep doesn’t come easy. The old house groans its complaints, and the night magnifies every innocuous noise until terror paralyzes you—because you know nefarious things go bump in the night.

Welcome to the Paranormal Bar & Grille Blog Tour

…where you can rub elbows with everyone from a gargoyle or vampire, to a creature from urban legend, to the ghosts from realms of myth. Step up to the bar, grab a booth. You never know what’s on the menu, or if you might end up there yourself.

Sound like your kind of hangout? Then you’ve come to the right place. We’re a group of five authors who love nothing more than to trigger the chill that crawls up your back, the nervous glance tossed over your shoulder. We invite you to discover outstanding books and check out our awesome tour prizes.

Enter our $30 Rafflecopter giveaway here, then visit our blog StoryEmpire.com to participate in a scavenger hunt. Fifteen prizes are up for grabs on Story Empire, three from each author. You have the opportunity for 10 Amazon gift cards ranging in value from $15 to $10, plus ebooks from the participating authors.

Just be careful of what the bartender serves you. That heady brew may not be a beer, and witches can’t be trusted to provide effective antidotes.

 


Supernatural Suspense/Mystery

Date Published: April 26, 2016
Kensington Publishing/Lyrical Underground

 “Masterful, bone-chilling fiction…one intense thriller. A Thousand Yesteryears will keep you guessing, gasping and turning the pages for more.” —New York Times bestselling author Kevin O’Brien

 Behind a legend lies the truth…

As a child, Eve Parrish lost her father and her best friend, Maggie Flynn, in a tragic bridge collapse. Fifteen years later, she returns to Point Pleasant to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. Though much has changed about the once thriving river community, the ghost of tragedy still weighs heavily on the town, as do rumors and sightings of the Mothman, a local legend. When Eve uncovers startling information about her aunt’s death, that legend is in danger of becoming all too real…

Caden Flynn is one of the few lucky survivors of the bridge collapse, but blames himself for coercing his younger sister out that night. He’s carried that guilt for fifteen years, unaware of darker currents haunting the town. It isn’t long before Eve’s arrival unravels an old secret—one that places her and Caden in the crosshairs of a deadly killer…

Purchase Links


Mae Clair has been chasing myth, monsters and folklore through research and reading since she was a child. In 2013 and 2015, she journeyed to West Virginia to learn more about the legendary Mothman, a creature who factors into her latest release.

Mae pens tales of mystery and suspense with a touch of romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and numbers cats, history and exploring old graveyards among her passions.  Look for Mae on her website at MaeClair.net

Contact Information

Twitter (@MaeClair1)



Mystery/Thriller

Date Published: November 2014

“Readers who like to curl up during the long winter evenings and feel the delicious chill of fear running up and down their spines need only turn to The Glade to have all their expectations fulfilled. The Glade is a horror story in the mould of Stephen King, and rendered the more so by its faint echoes of Pet Cemetery and the even stronger resonance of the pervasive malignancy of It.”—Review by Brian O’Hare

This gripping, edge-of-your-seat mystery/thriller will have you thinking twice about booking that idyllic cottage in the country. Nothing in this woodland paradise within the Forest of Dean is what it seems.

The Wenstrops have it all: health, wealth, and happiness. Until everything falls apart. Helen gets arrested for murder, and yet is either unable or unwilling to give a defence. During her detention, vital evidence goes missing and tensions run high.

Meanwhile, in the woods, malignant forces gather power.

This sensational second novel by acclaimed author Harmony Kent will have you alternately laughing, crying, and gripping the edge of your seat as this roller-coaster ride of a plot unfolds. It will keep you guessing through its many twists and turns, and hijack your attention right up until you turn the final page. This book has it all: murder, intrigue, the supernatural, a broken marriage, a love affair, courage against impossible odds, suspense, and high drama.

“Expertly written, the book keeps you guessing at every turn. What can I say? You really have to read this book … if you’re brave enough!”—Review by Fantasy Queen

The Glade is an IndieB.R.A.G.Medallion honoree, and an Official Selection for the New Apple Book Awards 2015.

Purchase Links
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GNQVPOK – nav-subnav

Harmony Kent is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour and quirky neighbours and refuses to admit to her age.

If you catch her at work, you’ll see that she also offers editing, proof reading, manuscript appraisal, and beta reading services. Not to mention being passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

Contact Links

Website: www.harmonykent.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/HarmonyKentOnline
Twitter: @harmony_kent 
Blog: www.harmonykent.co.uk/Dissonance
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/HarmonyK
 


Paranormal/Young Adult
Date Published: March 13, 2015

There is something evil up Bergamot Holler, and it’s been targeting the Hall family for generations.

Patty Hall is fifteen years old. She loves stargazing, science fiction, and all things related to space exploration. This leaves her perfectly prepared for the wrong problem.

Patty is afraid her mother will send her to a care facility if she tells her what she’s seen. If she doesn’t figure things out soon, she’s going to join her father in the Hall family cemetery plot.

Patty has to come to grips with her own physical handicap, survive the wilderness, and face an ancient evil all alone if she’s going to survive.

Will O’ the Wisp is suitable for young adults. It involves strong elements of suspense, and is set in the mid 1970s.

Purchase Links

North American Continent http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UPH6BNS
Rest of the world http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UQNDT2C

 

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Contact Links
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColdhandBoyack
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Virgilante
Blog: http://www.coldhandboyack.wordpress.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack
 
 
 


Paranormal Romance

Date Published: April 2, 2016

A cold stone heart breaks more easily than it beats. Than it loves.

Damien was a loyal warrior, killed in battle in 1203. Because of his true heart, he was given the option to pass on to his eternal reward or exist in another state of being as a protector… until the time came when he could resume living the life he’d been cheated of.

A soldier by nature, he chose the latter. And he waited centuries—as a gargoyle—growing increasingly bitter about his choice. Then he sees her.

Rina is a hard worker and loyal friend. She just has the worst luck. One night, after saving her best friend from a violent assault, she finds herself at the attacker’s mercy. Then out of nowhere, a savior comes and rescues her.

With only an angel to guide him, Damien must make the right choices to win Rina’s heart, or be forever damned as a grotesque mockery of the guardian he once was.

 Purchase Links

Amazon: https://amzn.com/B01DSCTGCE
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/STlovesetinstone

Staci Troilo has always loved fiction, ever since her parents read her fairy tales when she was little. Today, her interests are much more eclectic. She loves getting lost in sci-fi battles, fantasy realms, horror worlds, suspenseful intrigues, and romantic entanglements.

As goes her reading, so goes her writing. She can’t pick a single genre to focus on, so she doesn’t even try. She’s proud to say she’s a multi-genre author.

When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with family and friends, possibly cooking for them, or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the pool. To learn more about her, visit her website or connect with her on social media.

Contact Links

Website: http://stacitroilo.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorstacitroilo
Twitter: https://twitter.com/stacitroilo
Blog: http://stacitroilo.com/blog
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/stacitroilo
Goodreads: https://goodreads.com/staci_troilo
 

 

Paranormal YA
Date Published: October 18, 2015

My name is Zoe Tempest. Just let me say, I had no intention of becoming a vampire hunter. My world revolved around the trendiest clothes, the boy of the week and shopping. My parents were well-off and indulgent. I was the center of their universe. I’m afraid I took that for granted. My life was as close to perfect as a seventeen year old can get. I had everything. Then my parents were murdered and my world came crashing down.

After their funeral, I went to live with my uncle Julian Kilmer. That’s when everything changed. In a manner more terrifying than anything I could have imagined.

Purchase Links
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/nkjfqmc 

Sandra writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her  porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee or a latte and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.



Contact Links
Website: http://www.sandracox1.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SandraCox.Author/
Twitter: @ Sandra_Cox
Blog: https://www.sandracox.blogspot.com