Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Mystique of Old Homes by Mae Clair...

I am so pleased to have Mae Clair, author of  Weathering Rock, here for a visit and talk a little bit about her amazing book and her love for historic homes, (something we share in common).

I’m delighted to be Debbie’s guest today, and hope you’ll indulge me while I take a few moments to share my passion for old homes. I love properties that resonate with the ghosts of yesteryear, awakening memories with every squeaking floorboard and groaning door. That might be because I’ve worked in the real estate industry for the last 20+ years, but I like to think my fascination goes deeper than that.

During my time in real estate, I’ve been through numerous properties, several B&B’s, some commercial buildings, farms reminiscent of a Currier and Ives print, multiple historic homes, and even a fully-equipped equine surgery center. It’s my job to dream up marketing for each of them, taking into account the characteristics of the property. Although I have an appreciation for contemporary style and design, there’s something about a house that has weathered the turn of centuries that speaks to me.

Perhaps that’s why I chose to title my debut novel, WEATHERING ROCK, after the historic home in the book where much of the action takes place. My lead character, Caleb DeCardian, has traveled through time from 1863 to the present where he meets my heroine, Arianna Hart. Caleb fought during the Civil War as a Colonel in the Union Army. Arianna teaches American history. Sounds like a match made in heaven, right?

Oh, but the path of true love is never smooth and these two have multiple complications stacked against them, including a rival who has cursed Caleb with lycanthropy. The only item he finds familiar in this new and confusing century is Weathering Rock, the home his father built in 1832. One hundred, eighty years later, it’s still standing, now owned by Caleb’s descendant, Wyn DeCardian.

Caleb and Arianna eventually come to understand how and why Weathering Rock was named, discovering the home may be key in keeping them together (doesn’t every old home have a bit of legend attached?).

I’ve personally had the pleasure of touring a number of historical properties over the years. It’s amazing the feelings you can conjure from homes like that. Impressions of past lives linger in the air like fingerprints.

No, I don’t mean ghosts. I’m talking about an awareness of lives and decades, almost as if the house has become a keeper for those memories. Maybe that’s why I started to think of the house in WEATHERING ROCK as a character.

My grandfather’s house was a three-story with covered front and rear porches, an upper level balcony, huge attic and a beautiful turned staircase with a landing. As kids, we used to crawl from the attic onto the roof and watch the fireworks launched over a river several miles away. I have such wonderful memories of that home, many of them inspired by the house itself.

EVERY house has a heart, and for every home, it’s different. The heart of my grandfather’s home was the stairwell. The heart of Weathering Rock . . .

Well, that would be giving away the legend I created to bring Caleb and Arianna together. If you’re curious, you can find the answer in my book. :D

For now, I’d like to know if old homes inspire you. I’d love to hear any memories you have to share!


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?

View Book Trailer for WEATHERING ROCK


“You’re where?” Lauren said into the phone, flabbergasted.

“Weathering Rock,” Arianna repeated. “You mean that big old house off Blackberry Lane? The weird one that’s supposed to attract ball lightning?”

“That’s the one.”

Too keyed up to sit, Arianna paced the guestroom. “I had a small accident on the way home.” And met an incredibly sexy man with silver eyes and an old-fashioned personality. That part would keep until tomorrow. 

Lauren drew a sharp breath. “Ari, you’re scaring me. Are you all right? Are you hurt?”

“I’m fine.” Walking to the window, she pushed the drapes aside and stared into the darkness. Her reflection leaped back like a disembodied ghost--raven hair, dark green eyes, her skin pale as milk in the night-blackened glass. The rain had arrived, pushed by a fury of wind and thunder. It pelted the windows, making her feel safe indoors.

I won’t hurt you, Caleb had promised. Why was it so important to him she stay?

She told her friend what happened, skipping her conflicting emotions about her blond-haired host.

“And you’re actually staying?” Lauren gave a cluck of disbelief. “I don’t care if it is raining, I’ll come get you. For all we know, one of them could have punctured your tire so you’d be stuck there.”

“You’ve seen too many slasher movies, Lauren. I’ll be fine.” She couldn’t explain why, but felt secure in the house, as if something sinister lurked outside. As long as she remained within the walls of Weathering Rock, she was protected from that unnamed threat.

By Caleb.

The thought shocked her. She eased to a seat on the bed, absently fingering the white eyelet cover. The furnishings looked plucked from a storybook, the bed dressed in a pale blue canopy and flirty skirted ruffle. The matching bureau was squat and old-fashioned with a standing mirror and gold-veined marble top. A walnut washstand with a pitcher and bowl was tucked into the corner.

“I’ll call you in the morning when I get home.”

 “You’re sure about this?”

 “Positive.” Arianna smiled, appreciating her friend’s concern. Lauren had been through a divorce eight months ago, the experience leaving her jaded when it came to trusting men.

"All right.” Lauren exhaled into the phone. “But I expect a call in the morning, followed by details in the afternoon. How about dropping by my shop after you finish your errands?”

 “Deal.” Running Saturday errands was a regular routine for Arianna and she most always ended at Lauren’s boutique for a visit afterward. “I’ll talk to you soon.”

 She said goodbye and set the cell within reach on the nightstand. Rain continued to batter the windows in fierce bursts, backlit by strobes of lightning. The intermittent flash made her think of the ball lightning she’d seen earlier, an occurrence Caleb had been reluctant to acknowledge. Yet another oddity from a man who excelled at them.

Yawning, she glanced at her watch. It was after one in the morning and the events of the night had finally caught up with her. She switched off the light and opened the drapes, inviting the frenzied dance of the storm indoors. She shimmied from her jeans and top and crawled into bed, the cotton sheets blessedly cool against her bare skin. Moments later, as she was drifting toward sleep, a rattling crack of thunder drew her upright. 
Outside, lightning transformed the night into surreal-whitened day, silhouetting the bulk of a large animal against the window. Arianna recoiled from the touch of its eyes, yellow in the flash-fire burst of the storm. The image lasted only a pulse-beat before it was swallowed by darkness.

She shoved from the bed, hastily pulling on her blouse to cover herself, and threw open the window. The night had bled into a cauldron of shadow and patchy fog, making it impossible to see more than a few feet. The air was redolent with wet grass and worm-rich soil, an odor that made her think of swollen riverbeds and bogs. Rain pelted her face and left her shivering in her skimpy bra and panties. The animal--if animal it had been--had been swallowed by the storm. She closed the window, careful to secure the lock.

It’s not safe tonight, Caleb had said.

She shook away a chill, convinced she’d been dreaming. The animal must have been a figment of her sleep-hazed mind. The events of the night, Caleb’s mysterious warning, and the legends surrounding Weathering Rock had taken a toll of her nerves.

Yet as she crawled into bed, she couldn’t help thinking the animal had looked very much like a wolf.


Barnes and Noble
Lyrical Press

Mae Clair Bio:

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.

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:
Twitter (@MaeClair1)
Facebook Author Page

Comments?  Mae would love to hear from you!


  1. Thanks for the invite, Debbie! I love old homes and have visited some amazing ones throughout my years in real estate. Thanks so much for having me as a guest today!

  2. Great post, Mae! I love old homes too, not only for the beauty, but because they make history seem real to us modern-day folks. :) One of the many things I loved about WEATHERING ROCK was the connection the house had for the characters, past and present.

    1. I agree! Weathering rock is a FUN read and one I highly recommend! So if you haven't got your copy yet...

    2. Hi, Donna. thanks for checking out my post on Debbie's blog. It was so lovely for her to ask me to drop by :)

      I could ramble and ramble about old homes and how I get transported backward in time whenever I visit one. So nice to know I'm not the only one who has that passion for the past!

  3. Another great post from you, Mae! Your grandfather's house sounds wonderful, I bet you do have fond memories of it. I would have too, if I'd been growing up playing in a house like that one. I love the getting a chance to stroll through an old historic home, and there's an energy in it that is hard to put in words. I like your tag of calling it 'the heart' of the place.

    The mansion in Weathering Rock has a strong presence, comes to life, as do all the amazing characters you've written in this great book!

    1. The house my grandparents lived in had a ghost... one that used to pace ALL NIGHT LONG... Beautiful home, but kind of creepy!

      Thanks for the comment!

    2. Hi, Venice! Oooh, so nice to see you online! You're so right about the 'energy' of an old home. It's something that washes over you the moment you step inside the door. I have such great memories of my grandfather's place! :)

    3. Debbie, I would be completely creeped out by the pacing ghost, LOL.

      I have another WIP with a old home that is central (lots of history in the house and the family who owned it) and there is a 'pacing' ghost in that one. Writing about them is one thing, hearing them another *shudder*

    4. Yep... I remember my entire family (parents and five kids) sleeping in the living room on couches or sleeping bags. And then, just as we all got comfortable, the pacing would begin upstairs all the way across the house and back again. My Dad, who insisted ghosts didn't exist until then, had to grudgingly agree there was someone upstairs.

      What's more? I actually saw him once...but that's another story...

      I'm excited for the new story, Mae!

    5. Okay, you just gave me a case of the heebie-jeebies, LOL!

    6. Think that's good? Ask me sometime about the elevator ghost at the hospital my sister and I saw recently...

      (Screeching violins...)

      Do you think that maybe I should write about something other than ghosts?

  4. I can hear those violins from here. That's entirely TOO weird! And you know what? I just made this comment 13. YIKES! I'm not superstitious, but....

    Okay, so maybe I am! :)

  5. Wow! Let me make it 14! Loved the post ladies!

    1. Many thanks! Now Mae won't have to worry... LOL

    2. Hey, thanks so much for that. That #13 was freaking me out, LOL!

  6. I love old houses! They're built to last and have far more character than the cookie-cutter designs that are so prevalent today. New houses don't have those stairs that squeak in certain spots. As a kid you try to remember which spots not to step when you're sneaking down or up the stairs. As a parent, I now consider that a built in alarm system. :o)

    1. Hi, Kate! Lovely to see you here, and I loved the description of old homes having a built-in alarm system, LOL.

      What you said about cookie-cutter designs is so true. It's something I see a lot of in real estate, so when I get a chance to visit a home that has stood for centuries, it's such a rush! Thanks for the wonderful comments! :)

  7. I totally agree with you Kate! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving us a comment!

  8. Love the blog ladies!!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Candice! I always enjoy your visits!

    2. Hi, Candice. I'm happy to hear you enjoyed my post. Thanks so much for commenting!

  9. Wow this sounds like a fun book to read..I also love old houses ghosts and Civil War history..Love the way you write...Thanks for the fun blog..

    1. Hi, Tammy. Thank you for the lovely compliment on my writing! I had a blast with the book...creating an old home, weaving in the paranormal, time travel, romance. If you get a chance to read it, I hope you enjoy it. I loved the characters I created, especially Caleb ;-)

  10. The post was really interesting. The "Weathering Rock" sounds like a wonderful book. I think I will get it for my next read. Thanks!!

    1. Wow, fantastic! That made my day :) I really hope you get a chance to read it. I'd love to hear what you think about it. Thank you so much for visiting, commenting on my post and considering WEATHERING ROCK. :D

    2. You won't regret it Meg! The book is really good. Thank you for taking the time to make a comment! It is appreciated!