If you’ve read any of Mae Clair’s books, you know they are exciting, non-stop action, clever with twists you don’t expect. I haven’t read Things Old and Forgotten yet but it’s in the queue and I know I’m going to love it. To understand why I’m so confident about this one. Check out my reviews of Myth and Magic,In Search of McDoogal, and Cusp of Night.
I’m thrilled to welcome Mae to my blog for the kick off tour for her newest book, Things Old and Forgotten:
Hi, Jacqui. Thanks for hosting me today 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.
When I was in junior high, I discovered Ray Bradbury, who I consider the master of magical realism. I devoured book after book by Mr. Bradbury, but the one that stuck the most—the one I’ve read multiple times—is Something Wicked This Way Comes. I still have my original battered paperback copy. The eerie magic of the lightning rod salesman, and the carnival arriving in the middle of the night still give me goosebumps when I think about them.
I’ve always been attracted to tales that feature carnivals or circuses, so it was a no-brainer to pen my own for Things Old and Forgotten.
The Festival of Magic and Blood—part dark fantasy, part magical realism—is my tip of the hat to Ray Bradbury. Below is a short excerpt in which my lead character, twelve-year-old Nick Farrow, and his friends visit a carnival in their hometown.
Thanks again for hosting me today, Jacqui. 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.
A scarlet banner with gold lettering welcomed visitors to Frog Hollow’s hastily erected carnival. Supported between two poles, the sign proclaimed Rowan’s Mystical Jamboree in looping script every bit as candy-bright as the amusements it crowned.
Nick glanced to where Chad Connor stood gaping at the painting of an exotic dark-haired woman. Shimmering veils and glittering jewels draped her scantily clothed body, leaving little to the imagination. Snakes coiled about her feet, and a large boa constrictor hung seductively over her breasts. The legend beneath the painting read Willow, the Amazing Snake Dancer.
“Think we can get in to see her?” Chad gawked, spellbound.
“Don’t know.” Heat rose to Nick’s face. “Let’s keep looking, then decide what to try.”
He was glad when the others ducked behind the tent, moving further down the midway. Several yards away, a small striped pavilion sported emerald tassels. The sign in front read Madam Birch, Diviner of Fortunes and Dreams. Further along, another placard advertised Hawthorne the Magnificent and Yew the Fearless, Men who Defy Death.
“They’re all named for trees.” Nick thought of the banner over Roper’s Field. Of the dead mare in a pasture bare of footprints, and the maple on the creek bank. He waited until his friends were several yards ahead, then raced in the opposite direction. Flashes of placards caught his gaze as he flew past.
Ash, the Ancient. Blackthorn, the Sword Swallower. Elder, the Wolf-Boy.
“What’s your hurry, Nicholas?” A man’s voice brought him up short as he reached the entrance.
Nick pivoted, watching as a tall figure eased from under a walnut tree. The man’s eyes were moon pale, his hair the color of dusk.
“I’m Lord Rowan.”
The host tree.
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.
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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Man vs. Nature saga, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the acclaimed Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Winter 2022