Monday’s Friend: Mae Clair
Today I’m pleased to welcome romance writer Mae Clair to the blog.
What do you Fear?
by Mae Clair
I want to thank Sara-Jane Townsend for allowing me to commandeer her blog today. It’s always fun when I get a change of scenery and the chance to visit with another blogger. Kind of like a day trip where I’m both a tourist and the person in control.
If you look ‘control’ up in the dictionary, you’ll find a description that includes ‘dominate’ and ‘command.’ Powerful words that feed confidence. But what if you found yourself suddenly stripped of those strengths?
Let me put it another way–what do you fear?
It’s a loaded question, one that makes most people squirm. There are numerous evils in the world, things that terrify and induce nightmares but, for this post, I’m referring to something less horrific. Phobias are anxieties we deal with every day—fear of heights, flying, snakes, germs—take your pick, the list is endless. Even the commonplace quandaries of… is my job secure? Will the elevator get stuck between floors and trap me inside? Do I really want to ride that stratospheric sky-rush rollercoaster guaranteed to give me a nose bleed and tummy trauma?
Although each of these phobias are unique, they share a common denominator—lack of control. Why do people fear flying? Why are we helpless in the face of illness? Because we have no control over the situation. We’re at the mercy of powers we can’t manipulate, forced to trust the outcome. That’s hard to do if you’re used to influencing the results. It’s the difference between observing and being an active participant.
I want to take that one step further and introduce you to a character who values control above all other qualities. The hero of my paranormal/time travel romance, WEATHERING ROCK, Caleb DeCardian was a colonel for the Union Army during American’s Civil War. Yes, that Civil War, 1861-1865. A young officer, Caleb is used to being in charge and having others do exactly as he says when he orders. Imagine a person who thrives on self-discipline–who as a leader is emotionally detached–suddenly at the whim of a curse that controls him.
That’s where the paranormal element of my novel comes into play. Caleb has been cursed by Seth Reilly, a man once his closet friend now a bitter rival, to life as a werewolf. Lycanthropy has robbed him of the control he values so highly, the mainstay of his life through the senseless tragedy of war. If that weren’t debilitating enough, he and Seth are transported to the 21st Century where nothing is as he remembers. Everything is strange, foreign and confusing. The man accustomed to giving orders is now the one asking questions.
Thankfully, Caleb makes a few allies in the present, including a loyal descendant and a woman who is every bit as bewildering as his strange new century. Unfortunately, Seth has no plans of allowing him to live there peacefully—or remain alive.
Can Caleb defeat his enemy, win the woman he loves, and straddle two centuries to find happiness? I invite you to open the pages of WEATHERING ROCK to find out:
Drawn together across centuries, will their love be strong enough to defeat an ancient curse?
Colonel Caleb DeCardian was fighting America’s Civil War on the side of the Union when a freak shower of ball lightning transported him to the present, along with rival and former friend, Seth Reilly. Adapting to the 21st century is hard enough for the colonel, but he also has to find Seth, who cursed him to life as a werewolf. The last thing on Caleb’s mind is romance. Then fetching Arianna Hart nearly runs him down with her car. He can’t deny his attraction to the outspoken schoolteacher, but knows he should forget her.
Arianna finds Caleb bewildering, yet intriguing: courtly manners, smoldering sensuality and eyes that glow silver at night? When she sees Civil War photographs featuring a Union officer who looks exactly like Caleb, she begins to understand the man she is falling in love with harbors multiple secrets–some of which threaten the possibility of their happiness.
Finding a decent guy who’ll commit is hard enough. How can she expect Caleb to forsake his own century to be with her?
Caleb paced in the parlor, his head throbbing. He hadn’t bothered turning on any lights, his werewolf-enhanced vision acute without the extra illumination.
After Lucas Drake had dropped him off, barely a word passing between them, he’d prowled the crime scene. It was still taped off, two patrol officers and a squad car lingering over the cleanup. He’d crept beneath their noses, stealth a convenient advantage of lycanthropy. Seth’s odor had lingered like a fingerprint. In the air, on the ground, traceable in fat splotches of drying blood and patches of trampled grass. His rival hadn’t killed because he’d been driven to, but for pleasure and mastery. He’d killed to taunt Caleb.
“Bastard!” Caleb drove his fist into the wall. A framed watercolor shuddered beneath the blow, slipping on its hook to end at a lopsided angle. Outside, the distinctive purr of Wyn’s sporty BMW breezed up the drive and into the garage. Caleb didn’t need a clock to tell him it was after one AM, or that his nephew had kept him waiting longer than acceptable. And the fool had the nerve to accuse him of being preoccupied with sex!
It was damned unfair of Wyn to have a healthy, normal relationship with a woman when his own was eternally cursed. By the time his nephew walked up the porch steps, Caleb had wrenched open the front door.
“Where the hell have you been?”
Wyn gave a grunt, half laughter, half disbelief. “Work on your greeting, Colonel.” He shouldered past, pushing inside. “If you’re in a piss-poor mood, take a hike. I had a great night with Lauren and you’re not going to spoil it.”
“Winston!” But even the outrage that normally made his nephew draw up short in anger had no effect.
Wyn moved into the parlor and bent to switch on a lamp. “Some light wouldn’t hurt. Not all of us have your senses, Caleb.” Yawning, he rumpled a hand through his hair. “So, how was the big date? Did Arianna bring you home?”
“Lucas Drake brought me home,” Caleb snarled, thrusting past him. The glow from the lamp stung his eyes, intensifying the pain in his head. He didn’t know why he was so angry, at least not with Wyn. Seth was the one who took perverted pleasure in killing, taunting him with sadistic acts of violence. Trying to compose himself, he bowed his head and pinched the bridge of his nose. “There’s been another killing.”
Wyn’s head snapped up in alarm. “Another deer?”
“No.” The hostility drained from Caleb along with the frustration that had plagued him since he’d heard the news. He should have been out looking for Seth earlier instead of trying to coax Arianna into bed. “Human. A man, earlier tonight, just down the road.”
The doctor swallowed, taking a hesitant step forward. His shadow leapt across the floor, pencil-thin on the braided rug. “Seth?”
Caleb lowered his hand, his expression cold. “What do you think?”
“I think someone needs to kill that sick son-of-a-bitch.” Wyn swung away, scrubbing the back of his neck. “It doesn’t make sense. For three years he’s been untraceable, now he’s on a killing spree in our backyard. Why?”
“I don’t know.”
Wyn regarded him steadily. “Then I say we find a silver bullet and confide in someone. Maybe Drake.”
“And have him lock us away for mental instability? I’ll deal with Seth Reilly in my own time, Winston.”
“And what happens until then? He’s started killing people. People, damn it! Do you think he’s going to be satisfied with a deer now that he’s tasted human blood?”
Caleb looked away, wishing he could deny the truth. Seth’s brutal excitement at the murder scene had been almost tangible, lingering long after he was gone. Even Caleb had felt the allure of spilled blood, the grisly residue like a seductive siren song. For one heinous moment, he’d wanted to embrace the euphoria that came with animalistic power. He could almost hear Seth laughing.
Admit you want it, Caleb. You’ve always wanted power, authority over others, Colonel DeCardian. You’re glad I made you what you are.
Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back. Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars. She snagged the tail of a comet, hitched a ride, and discovered her writer’s Muse on the journey.
Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with conflict, romance and elements of mystery. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about writing, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.