I’m super excited to have Mae Clair on the blog today celebrating the release of her new novel, Cusp of Night!
Thanks for hosting me on your blog today, Jacquie! I’ve been making the rounds with my newest release, Cusp of Night, a mystery / suspense novel with paranormal elements. Cusp of Night features two timelines—one set at the end of the 19th Century, with another in present day.
My main character in the past is a Spiritualist who becomes the toast of Philadelphia society. Her séances are well attended and she’s lauded in the newspapers as being genuine. “Sitters” who attend her sessions are treated to ghostly music, rapping sounds, table tilting, “spirit hands,” ectoplasm, and more. These were all typical elements of mediumistic practices at the time. While researching these and more, I found “automatic writings” to be particularly interesting.
A medium performs automatic writing—without conscious thought—when under the control of a spirit or guide. Rather than speaking, the medium would convey messages from a sitter’s departed loved one by writing longhand. This could be a few short sentences or pages upon pages of discourse. During the period of writing, the medium is usually unaware of what is happening, his or her hand flying rapidly across the page as the spirit takes control. Occasionally, the words produced might be in another language, or crammed so minute in scale, a magnifying glass would be needed to read them.
In Cusp of Night, Lucinda Glass, performs automatic writings for one of her regular customers—the same way Arthur Conan Doyle’s wife, Lady Jean, would perform an automatic writing for Harry Houdini (said to be from his mother) twenty-odd years later. And like the magicians and showmen of Houdini’s day, mediums of the nineteenth century were not above a bit of flim-flam. Just how much, comes to light in my novel when Lucinda’s world blends with that of Maya Sinclair.
Here’s the 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 . . .