Ciao, amici! It’s always a pleasure to open my blog to other writers. I’m delighted to welcome new guests just as much as people I’ve known and adored for ages. Today, I have the pleasure of hosting not only an extremely gifted writer, but also one with whom I share a long and lovely history. She’s a another Keystoner (though, to my great disappointment, we don’t agree about the Steelers), a colleague at Story Empire, and a dear friend. Many of you know her. If you’ve read her work, you’ve surely been blown away by it. She can turn a phrase like no one I’ve ever met. Today, she’s here to tell us about her new release, an anthology of several stories that transcend the world we know. Please join me in welcoming Mae Clair as she tells us about Things Old and Forgotten.
Hi, Staci! It’s great to be back on your blog. Thanks for hosting me and allowing me to share my newest release with your readers. Things Old and Forgotten is a collection of short fiction that includes stories in several genres—magical realism, fantasy, speculative, even two that touch on mild horror. One of the stories is especially personal. The entire tale came to me in the form of an extremely vivid dream decades ago.
Father’s Day is a fictional tale layered with personal truths. Thirty-three-year-old Beth learns the father who passed away from cancer when she was thirteen, has secretly been kept alive in an experimental treatment facility. Many of the feelings Beth experiences in the story—the things she never got to do with her dad—those are my feelings.
I lost my father to colon cancer when I was thirteen. The details given about “Bob Harriman’s” life are taken from my father’s life. I rarely include anything personal about myself or family members in a story, but Father’s Day is different—it was specifically written about MY dad.
And then there is the dream, which I still recall clearly all these years later. What I remember most (except for the ending) was the utter drenching of light in the care facility where Bob Harriman lived. Sunlight, white light, luminescent light—shining, glowing, nearly blinding. I tried to capture that in the story without overdoing it.
Below is an excerpt from an earlier scene. Beth has driven to the town of Wheaton at the request of her mother. After meeting with her mom, she phones her husband, Ethan.
The sound of her husband’s voice brought tears to her eyes. With effort, she kept her greeting steady. “Ethan, it’s Beth. I saw Mom, and—”
“I worried something happened when I didn’t hear from you. Did you meet Peggy?”
She wiped her cheeks. “There is no Peggy. My Mom’s been traveling up here all these years to…” She couldn’t finish the thought. Say the impossible.
“To what?” There was no mistaking the frown in Ethan’s voice. “What’s going on?”
“My Dad isn’t dead.” She grabbed a tissue to blow her nose, bottom lip quivering.
“Don’t joke.” There was no humor in her husband’s grunt of disbelief. Only hours ago, when her mom revealed the truth over a lunch of Caesar salads and lemon-laced tea, Beth reacted much the same.
“She told me he’s been in a care facility all this time—here in Wheaton.” The inconceivable reality spilled out through fresh tears. “Experimental treatments for cancer.”
“That’s impossible. Didn’t you tell me there was a viewing? A funeral?”
“It was closed casket.” She dabbed her eyes. Her head thrummed like it might explode. “At the time, my mom said she did it for me. So I wouldn’t have to see his body.”
She felt his hesitation, bottled with frustration. Anger that he was home when she was miles away, facing the dilemma alone. Losing the battle with grief, she sobbed into the phone.
“That’s it. I’m coming up there. If I leave now, I can be there by—”
“No!” She needed to do this on her own. She’d promised her mother. “I’ll be okay. It’s just been a shock.”
“Do you believe her?”
“I don’t know what to believe.” She snatched another tissue. “I’m supposed to see him tomorrow. Mom made arrangements.”
Ethan exhaled noisily. It was how she felt—pent-up inside, the turbulent weight of her emotions a stone around her neck.
“Why now?” Ethan’s question mirrored what she’d asked her mother. “Why keep it secret all this time?”
A man keeping King Arthur’s dream of Camelot alive.
A Robin Hood battling in a drastically different Sherwood.
A young man facing eternity in the desert.
A genteel southern lady besting a powerful order of genies.
A woman meeting her father decades after his death.
These are but a few of the intriguing tales waiting to be discovered in Things Old and Forgotten. Prepare to be transported to realms of folklore and legend, where magic and wonder linger around every corner, and fantastic possibilities are limited only by imagination.
Thanks again or hosting me, Staci. In honor of my love for autumn—a fantastic time to curl up with a book—Things Old and Forgotten will be on sale for .99c through October 31st.
Old friend, new release. All fantastic.
I confess to reading an advance copy of the anthology, and it’s amazing. This particular story really stuck with me, so I’m glad it was the one Mae chose to feature on my site.
I wish her much success—richly deserved—with this release, and I hope you’ll join me in celebrating these stories. If you’re so inclined, click those like, share, and purchase links, then leave Mae a comment below. Grazie!