Small things

We’ve all heard it before and know that it’s true.  Small things make a difference.  I know that if I write one chapter every weekday, I’ll have a book sooner than later.  But not everyone can do that.  I read a blog by Stuart Danker (whom I met on my blog), and he wrote a novel by writing 250 words a day.  https://stuartdanker.com/  I’ve met writers who are weekend warriors who only write on Saturdays and Sundays and end up with novels.  We all have to find our own path to writing.  And no one thing is right for everyone.  BUT, small things add up to bigger things.  Of that, I’m sure.  And it doesn’t just make a difference in writing.

My youngest sister is trying to clean out my sister Patty’s house to put it up for sale.  I mentioned my sister’s death a while ago.  Patty loved THINGS.  Cleaning out Patty’s house is a . . . chore.  Her house made me border on claustrophobic.  Every inch of wall space was filled.  Knickknacks were everywhere.  Pictures hung everywhere. It was almost overwhelming.

But on Saturday, I put on my crappy work clothes and met Mary there to start sifting through the big stuff.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m only small time help.  Mary’s doing all of the day to day, ugly stuff.  I’m just there for heavy labor.  BUT, Mary hates to cook.  Since we were meeting at one, I said I’d bring lunch.  Mary loves spaghetti, so I made a huge pot of that.  Enough for leftovers.  And, it made Mary so happy, it made me feel bad.  I take her and my cousin Jenny leftovers every other night, so that Mary doesn’t have to cook right now, but it made me realize what a small thing made so much difference to her.  That, and having a body show up so that she didn’t feel so alone.

It made me think about what makes the biggest impact in everyday life.  Sure, I have big goals that I’d like to reach.  But those goals come one step at a time.  Sometimes, one increment at a time.  And there are plenty of failures to make me feel that I’m not making any headway at all.  But what sustains me?  The small everyday joys of life.  My HH.  Friends.  Family.  Pets.  Anything that offers hope and sustenance.  When my rankings go up on Amazon.  When I get a good review.  Small things make a big difference.

In the very beginning of my writing endeavors, I was happy when I got a “good” rejection from an editor, when someone took the time to write a personal note on why they turned down my manuscript.  (And I will forever love Richard Chizmar from Cemetery Dance because of his nice rejections).  Ruth Cavin ALWAYS wrote a personal note when she rejected one of my novels.  And as weird as it sounds, those rejections made me feel like I was making progress.

So much of writing is impersonal.  (And that might be a good thing.  I don’t think I could stand facing down a choreographer or director to have him tell me I didn’t make the cut).  But one rejection after another beats the heck out of your writer ego, so any glimmer of hope helps.  Every ‘yes’ makes a difference.  Every “you almost made it” helps you carry on.  Well, it’s just the same with everything in life.  I watched Face the Nation this morning and listened to the many people talk about John Lewis, “the conscience of Congress.”  He had lots of setbacks, lots of “someday.”  But he carried on.  Because he had HOPE.  He believed in himself.  And he believed in America.   Hope’s what got me through.  I hope you have lots and lots of it.

Happy Writing.

Aristotle Gave Us More than Philosophy

Saw this by Staci Troilo on Story Empire. Every once in a while, I like to focus on writing craft, and this is a topnotch article (with more to come) on it.

Story Empire

Comedy TragedyCiao, SEers. Have you ever heard the term polymath? I had to dig deep into my college days to remember the definition. (We won’t discuss how long ago that was.)

A polymath is a person with knowledge in a wide range of topics. Polymaths go far beyond the Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none level of understanding and experience. These are experts in multiple fields. We often think of the Renaissance when we think of polymaths, Leonardo DaVinci being among the most famous. But there have been several throughout history. And Aristotle was one of them.

We tend to think of him as a philosopher. But among his many fields of expertise were arts, sciences, economics, politics, and metaphysics.

As this is a writing site, we’re going to talk about Aristotle’s contributions to literature. Not his work itself, but his defining of the terms comedy and tragedy.

Aristotelian Comedy
In an Aristotelian comedy, the…

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A Babet & Prosper short story

The Pied Piper

by

Judith Post

 

Babet was casting a spell when someone pounded on her front door.  Whoever it was would have to wait.  Vittorio, her friend the vampire, needed a protection amulet.  With his usual sense of dark humor, he’d brought her a fang attached to a leather thong.  She hoped he meant to wear it around his neck, but with Vittorio, she never knew.

The door opened, and her mother stopped on the threshold.  No witch would interrupt a casting.  When the spell was finished, Babet motioned her mom inside.  The house’s wards knew her as a friend and let her pass.  Morgana, Babet’s familiar, slithered to greet her.  The boa loved company.

Her mother raised an eyebrow at the long, curved tooth.  “Really?  Someone chose that as an amulet?”

“Vittorio.”  Her mother knew him.  He’d helped them fight the necromancer who’d come to River City to recruit dead witches.

“Did he yank it from a true dead friend?” her mom asked.

“No, I think it’s from a Were of some kind.  It looks authentic, though, doesn’t it?  I hope it helps him.  He’s managed to anger another one of his own.  It’s a good thing he has witch friends or he wouldn’t last long here.”  That, and he was old enough to be formidable.  Not that Vittorio looked old.  Anything but.  With his long, lanky body and dark, untamed looks, women came to his parlor to get tattoos they didn’t even want.

The niceties dealt with, her mother got straight to the point.  “Two of my students didn’t make it to witch’s school this morning.  Their parents sent them, but they never arrived.  They always walk together, and…” at Babet’s smirk, “they’re not the type to skip.”

Babet’s smirk faded.  She watched her mother lace and unlace her fingers.  It took a lot to bother Mom, the leader of River City’s coven.  “No one’s seen them?”  She glanced outside her front windows.  The sun hovered at the tree line in the west.  The day had gotten away from her.  Prosper was working late tonight on a case with Hatchet, so she didn’t have to watch the time.

Her mother looked out the window, too, as though the girls might walk down the sidewalk in front of Babet’s yellow bungalow.  “They never returned to their homes.  They’re good girls.  Something’s happened to them.”

Babet licked her lips.  The last time children disappeared in River City, the bogeyman was stealing them, but he only took children who misbehaved, and he’d promised never to return.   Most supernaturals lived together in peace here.  Succubi, vampires, voodoo, Weres, and witches treated one another with respect.  The supernatural enforcement agency—where Prosper and Hatchet worked—made sure of that.  But there was always the danger of someone or something new invading their city.

“Have you felt any new magicks?” Babet asked.  She knew that by now, most of the coven would be out scouring every nook and cranny for the girls.  Her mother must have thought they’d find them, or she’d have come for her sooner.

“That’s why I’m here,” her mother said.  “We’ve felt ripples of magic, but we can’t find their source.”

Babet nodded.  “Let me drop this off at Vittorio’s place—the sooner he gets it, the better—then I’ll join you at the shop.  I’ll bring Morgana with me.”

The snake bobbed her head.  She had a great sense of smell.  No bloodhound could beat her at tracking, especially when magic was involved.

Her mother nodded.  “Hurry.   The girls have to be frightened, if….”

Babet interrupted her.  “How old are they?”  Witches from kindergarten through high school age attended her mother’s classes.

“Twelve.  Right on the brink of….”

“Maturity.”  A witch’s powers swelled when she came into her womanhood.  Babet pressed her lips together in a tight line.  “Have you talked to Evangeline?”

Evangeline had both witch and voodoo powers.  She trained with their coven, and her mother was the high priestess of the voodoo community near the bayou.

“They’ve already sent their spirits out to search, too.”

Babet wasn’t sure what else they could do, but she’d offer any assistance she could.

Half an hour later, she parked at the curb in front of her mom’s school.  Vittorio had promised to join her once the sun went down.  Loreena, one of the witches in her mother’s coven, waited at the door for her.  Her lovely, mocha face was scrunched in panic.  Her lithe body tensed with nervous energy.  “Vesta’s missing now, too.   Her mother’s been with us, tracking any scents of magic we can.  Her husband called her home half an hour ago.  Vesta was in her room, upstairs, doing homework.  He didn’t hear her leave the house.  She didn’t say goodbye or tell him where she was going—not like her.”

A chill shivered down Babet’s arms.  “Are any other children missing?”

“Not that I know of.”  Loreena was sliding into Babet’s car to ride to Vesta’s house when Babet’s mother pulled in behind them and screeched her car to a stop.  She and Hennie ran to Babet and Loreena.  “Ezra’s gone now.  His dad was watching him play soccer.  Ezra went to the bathroom and never came out.  When his dad went to check on him, no one was there.”

Babet blinked.  “Did anyone else leave the restrooms?”

“A man in a long, black coat and black pants.  He was carrying something shiny.  It flashed in the last of the sunlight, so Ezra’s dad remembered it.  And there were lots of black birds flying overhead.”

Babet bit her bottom lip.  No one wore a long, black coat in Three Rivers in September.  What was this man?  “We might be able to use the birds to track him.  I could take Morgana to the soccer field to try to follow his scent.”   She’d have to wait to do that until it was dark and the park was empty.  Mortals tended to wonder about boas.

Before they could divide up to search, Evangeline and Perdita pulled next to them.  “Two more children are missing.”

Babet curled her fingers into fists.  “How?”  By now, every witch parent had their children under lock down.  No one would enter their houses and no child would be allowed to leave.

“Opal and Saffron climbed out their bedroom window and shimmied down a tree to run off.”

“He’s calling them,” Babet said.  “He’s bespelled them somehow.  He’d need hair or nail clippings to do that.  He’s planned this, probably for a long time.”

“How do we find him?” her mother asked.

“Morgana can follow his scent.  We’ll start at the soccer field.”  The sun sank below the horizon.  It would be safe now.  Most parks closed once it was dark.

They formed a caravan to drive to the fields, and Babet walked with Morgana to the public restrooms near the parking lot.  Morgana’s tongue flicked in and out.  When she found the scent of magic, she started after it.  They followed a trail through the woods to a large, grassy field.  A circle of stones sat in its center.   At one time, voodoo ceremonies were performed here—dances, music, and food.  No black magic, but when River City’s surburbs bumped against the voodoo community, the community had picked up and left.  Now, it sat between the slow-moving, lazy river and the bayou—three of its borders safe from encroachment.

Morgana slithered toward the circle, stopped, and bobbed her head.

A man sprang from the shadows behind the waist-high, stone wall, balancing on top of them.

Loreena gaped at him.  “Roary!  What are you doing here?”

Babet stared at his bare feet.  Earth magic.   He held a ragged piece of mirror in both hands.  He swayed from side to side and tilted his head, listening to something none of them heard.  Then he stared hard at Loreena.  “After you cast me aside, I traveled for a while, learned new magics.  And the more I thought about it, the angrier I was at you.”

Loreena frowned.  “What are you talking about?  We met at the spring solstice.  You barely spoke to me.  You barely spoke to anyone.”

“I wanted you.”  He did a little jig on the flagstones.  “But you never noticed.  The beautiful girl with the jade green eyes had no time for me.”

“I thought you didn’t like me.”

He threw back his head and laughed.  “Who wouldn’t like you?”

Babet had to agree.  Loreena’s skin looked like smooth, deep caramel.  Her exotic features attracted second glances.  And her smile stunned.  More, she was friendly and outgoing, so people flocked to her.

Loreena smiled at him.  “So you came to visit me?  To tell me how you feel?”

Smart girl.  Babet was impressed.

“No!”  Roary screamed the answer.  He raised the mirror above his head and cried, “I came to make you as miserable as you made me.”

“But why?  If you’d have talked to me, we could have been friends.”

“I don’t want to be your friend!”  Roary’s body trembled.  He shoved the mirror in front of him for them all to see.  “All you talked about was your coven, how much you loved your fellow witches.  So I knew.  If I hurt them, I’d hurt you.”

Morgana slithered toward him, and he glared at Babet.  “Keep your snake away from me, or I break this.”

“A mirror?  Is it important?”  Babet kept her voice light, conversational.  She didn’t want to upset Roary any more than he already was.

Roary’s lips twisted in a cruel smile.  He spoke some words, and a circle of fire formed in the air behind him.  A portal.  “My magic’s sucked your children into my mirror.  I want Loreena to watch me send them through the portal to the demons that await them.”

Cold stabbed Babet’s heart, made it clench.  Fear sped through her body.   An entrapment spell.  Black magic.  She frowned at Roary’s wrists.  Scars crisscrossed each other.  No wonder he wore long sleeves and pants.  She’d bet he’d cut himself everywhere to offer enough blood to empower the mirror.

Babet’s mother spoke, her voice like dry ice.  “We’ll kill you once you harm our children.”

Roary laughed—a high-pitched, eerie noise that set Babet’s nerves jangling.  “You can try.”

He meant to open the portal, then cause a diversion and disappear.  He wasn’t as good as he thought he was.  Every witch in the coven knew that trick…and how to stop it.  They’d fought demons before.  But by then, it would be too late.  Once the children went through that portal, they’d never return.

“I’ll promise to go with you, to stay with you, if you free the children,” Loreena said.

“It’s too late!”  Roary ran in place on the flagstones.  Babet didn’t know how he kept his balance.  It must be his Earth magic grounding him.  “I know you don’t want me.  I won’t live a lie.”

Tears coursed down Loreena’s cheeks.  “Please, don’t do this.”

He raised the mirror and began to say his words.  If they rushed him, and the mirror fell and broke, the children would be trapped wherever he sent them.  The amulet needed to return them would be destroyed.  If they waited, he’d send them to the pits.

A flash made Babet rub her eyes.  The scenery blurred, and then Roary howled in fury.  His hands were in the air, empty.

Movement stirred beside her, and Vittorio offered her the mirror.  She blinked.  A vampire’s speed.  So fast, mortals couldn’t follow it.  Obviously, neither could witches when they weren’t concentrating to see it.

She felt a lump swell in her throat and she swallowed it down.  “Thank you.”

Vittorio shrugged.  “I owe you.  Your spell saved me this evening.”

She shook her head.  She and Vittorio kept trading favors, and so far, it benefited both of them.

Roary licked his lips.  He gulped.  He was about to perform his disappearing act when a large, clawed hand shoved through the portal, grabbed him by the back of his black coat, and dragged him through the fiery hole.  When his foot disappeared, the portal closed.

Everyone stared.  No one knew what to say.  Finally Vittorio asked, “Does someone here know how to get the kids out of the mirror?”

Hennie nodded.  Babet’s mother’s best friend knew more about spells and potions than anyone in the coven.  Her mom could have looked it up in a spell book, but now she didn’t have to.  Hennie took the mirror from Babet, held it high, and chanted a spell.  First, Saffron and Opal walked from it, then Ezra, and then the two girls.  When the mirror was empty, Hennie asked, “Is there anyone else, from some other place?”

“No.”

Then Hennie broke it.  No one rejoiced.  Everyone sighed with relief.  Shoulders hunched, feet dragging, they silently walked back to their cars at the soccer fields.  Babet gave Vittorio a ride home.  Loreena returned with Babet’s mother and Hennie.  Evangeline and Perdita rode together.

When Babet and Morgana returned to their yellow bungalow, Prosper’s car was parked in the small drive by the back patio.  He was holding a glass of wine for her when she stepped inside the kitchen.  “Hatchet got a call from a few witch parents.  I’m guessing you’ve had a long day.  Do you want to talk about?”

And suddenly, she did.  She needed to spew it out, rid herself of the aftertaste.  They sat across from each other at the table, and he shared his day, and she shared hers.  One of the perks of bonding with a werebear.  He was not only cuddly, he was a great listener, and the perfect partner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Babet & Prosper

I got the files back for my Babet & Prosper novellas, so that I could load them on Amazon myself.  I spent all morning doing that, and since they’d already been in mobi format, Amazon processed them really fast.  I had as much fun writing Babet and Prosper as I do now writing Raven and Hester.  I intended them to be “lunch hour reads.”  Each story is about 40 pages, and when I finished four of them, I put them together in a bundle.  I read a few of them before I loaded them, and I think my writing style’s changed a little since I published them.  I hope it’s smoother with a little more padding.  But who can judge their own writing?  Anyway, they’re up, and here’s the breakdown for each bundle:

cover_27_thumb  The first collection has:

cover_6_final_thumb   cover_7_thumbcover_8_thumb,  andcover_12_thumb/

 

cover_mockup_30   The second collection includes the four novellas on the cover.

 

cover_50  The third collection includes:

cover_36_thumbcover_46_thumbcover_mockup_49 and cover_51_thumb

The last novella is longer and concludes the series:

cover_52_thumb .

I had a lot of fun finding covers for each of these.  When I first sold them, I wrote free short stories to promote them.  I’ll add them here, too, eventually.

 

Mystery Musings

For the first time ever, I’ve been invited to join a book club through Zoom while they discuss The Body in the Attic.  I’m thrilled to be invited.  It doesn’t take place until Nov. 3, so I have time to learn how Zoom works.

I’ve never had to Zoom before.  I’ve done an hour long chat Q&A on Kensington’s Between the Chapters Book Club.  That was fun!  I got so many good questions and discussions.  I’m thinking this will be a great two hours, too.  At conferences, I really enjoy talking to readers.  Most of them are more well-read than I am and know a slew of authors and their work.  It’s a learning experience listening to them, especially what they like and what they don’t.

I was going to buy a new laptop.  Mine died, and I hardly ever used it–so never replaced it–but my grandson sent me info about a camera and mic that plug into my desktop.  Lots cheaper and more practical for me.  I’m going to try to set it up and then use it enough to feel comfortable with it.

I don’t always resist change, but I’ve dragged my feet on Zoom.  This invitation was good motivation for me to catch up with the rest of the world.  Wish me luck!

It’s Here! Astral Conspiracy Series Book 1: THE GATE #scifi #aliens

I read Staci Troilo’s book when it first came out, and I’ve been waiting for the rest of the series ever since. I’m not a sci-fi fan, but I really enjoyed The Gate.

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! Today, it all begins.

I want to express my gratitude to you for supporting me through this whole endeavor. Writing a series is hard. Writing a five-book series is harder. Writing a five-book series in an existing storyworld built by someone else extremely difficult.

Last year, my publisher released The Gate (book one of my Astral Conspiracy Series, my contribution to the established Invasion Universe). To those of you who have read it, I want to express my thanks. And remind you to check for updates in your e-reader. Because the book was pulled down to do a re-release with the rest of the series, I had the opportunity to make a few little tweaks. (If I didn’t have a deadline, I’d still be making minute adjustments.) The content is the same; I didn’t make massive changes or retcon anything. But if you want to do a re-read…

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Two more, and maybe another

The digital rights director at my literary agency is letting me put up my old urban fantasy stories on my own as self-published.  First, she has to take them down, and then I can load them under my own name: Judith Post.  It hasn’t been quite as easy as I expected it to be, but we’re getting there.

At the beginning of the transition, we worked on the Fallen Angels series.  Then Wolf’s Bane.  This week, she took down Empty Altars, Spinners of Misfortune, and Fabric of Life.  We hit a hiccup with the Fabric file, but we’ll get there.  There were only two books in the Tyr and Diana series.  I’d hit too many deadends for urban fantasy by then and moved onto writing romances before I tried a third.

In the meantime, I wrote a lot of short novellas and collected them into bundles.  That’s what we’ll work on next.  I’m especially happy I’m going to get to put up all of the Babet & Prosper stories.  All of you know, I have a fondness for witches and supernaturals working together.  Stick them in a fake version of New Orleans, and those were just plain fun to write.

Empty Altars and Spinners of Misfortune were special for me, though.  I love Greek myths and dabbled a little in Norse myths, too.  In this series, I got to combine the two.  Diana, goddess of the hunt and the moon, also known as Hecate to witches, is the protagonist in those stories.  She’s not a warm, nurturing goddess.  In fact, when it comes to survival of the fittest, she can be ruthless, just as Nature can be.  She also can call on hellhounds to do her bidding.  And at the dark of the moon, she can hunt predators to exact justice.

Diana’s runes call her to a modern-day, Norse meadow, but the mortals who live there have kept the old ways and still sacrifice to the old gods.  Someone, however, is trying to destroy the old traditions and to defy the gods.  Diana finds herself working with the Norse god, Tyr, Thor, and the goddess Freya to restore order to their world.

Almost everyone recognizes Thor because of the movies, but his other name is Donar, and he has wild, red hair.  I’d heard of Tyr but never paid attention to him until I started these books.  Tyr placed his right hand in the wolf Fenrir’s mouth so that the world would be safer.  When the wolf realized the trap, Fenrir bit off Tyr’s hand, and the god of war and justice now is an expert sword wielder…with his left hand.  Freya is the goddess of love and lust.  She and her brother, Frey, inspired the Norse Maypole tradition–and it wasn’t just about ribbons and wishing people a happy spring.  She makes Venus look maidenly.

It was fun combining the two sets of myths into stories.  Fabric of Life, if I ever get it loaded:), is a standalone.  I’m a horoscope junkie and teeter back and forth on the idea of destiny, so it was interesting to write about a modern day woman who has to take over the job of the ancient Greek Fates.  Before a new soul can come to earth, it has to stand on a scale, and Thea Patek weaves a bookmark of each bounce back and forth that create the journey of that person’s life and cut the thread at the end.  The bounces only create a map.  How the person reacts and deals with each turning point is his or her choice.  So, yes, the person’s journey is preordained, but not their life.  Freedom of choice determines that.

I’ve left ideas of gods and goddesses behind, for now, and I’ve moved to writing mysteries.  But that’s still a matter of life and death.  And mysteries pose their own questions.  That’s part of the joy of writing, isn’t it?  Asking a question at the beginning of a book and answering it at the end.

Happy Writing!

 

A new cover!

I’m trading back and forth, working on Lux #2 and a new Muddy River short fiction.  I’ve surprised myself, and Lux is getting close to done.  Then I can spend all of my time on Raven and Hester while my critique partners mark up Heirlooms To Die For before giving it back to me.

For Muddy River, this time, I’m trying a different type of cover.  So far, I’ve used images of people with a background I hope hints at magic.  This time, I found an image that I think captures the theme of the story.  See what you think:

SU

And since I’m sharing the cover, I thought I’d share the opening scene of SURVIVAL, too:

Muddy River’s spring vacation usually brings bad weather.  I never schedule coven meetings during that time, so that I’m free of all responsibilities.  I love my young witches, but by early April, I’m as eager for a week away from them as they are to be free of lessons and me.

Days can be almost balmy right up until students leave my classroom on Friday, but that’s just to tease us.  Soon, clouds gather to deliver torrential rain, blinding snow, or hail.  It’s as though the heavens don’t condone our week off.

This year, we were supposed to get lucky.  According to Meda, one of my coven, her bespelled weather vanes predicted the sun would shine the entire month and the temperatures would be mild. I hummed as I waved my hand to lock the school before crossing the field to my yellow Victorian house.  A week of good weather.  A miracle.

Claws ran ahead of me, only stopping to check both ways before crossing the street.

“Don’t go too far!” I called to him.  “We’re leaving as soon as Raven gets home.”  My fire demon had decided that we should spend the week at the lake cottage he’d bought for getaways.  He was craving a little privacy.

His Lamborghini wasn’t in the drive, so I kicked off my shoes and headed straight to the kitchen.  I poured a glass of wine, ready to celebrate my last day of school.  Looking out the kitchen window, I saw Claws prowling the river bank that bordered the back of our property.  He could burn off some energy before we made the hour drive to our cottage.

I was sipping pinot grigio, letting my mind drift, when I heard Raven’s car pull into the garage.  A minute later, he pushed through the kitchen door.  Six-five and corded with muscle, with black hair and amber eyes, he locked gazes with me, and his look sizzled.  “Is everything packed?” When I nodded, he grinned.  “Brown’s covering the office while I’m gone, and Strike’s promised to help out if needed.  We have an entire week to ourselves, just you, me, and Claws.  I have plans for you, witch.”

It was about time.  Raven was Muddy River’s enforcer.  Between his job and mine, it was hard for either of us to get away.  I pointed to the suitcases and coolers sitting in the corner.  Swallowing the last of my wine, I stood.  “Let me change, and I’m ready.”

He licked his lips.  “Need any help?”

“If you want to get to the cabin by supper time, it would be safer if I did it myself.”

“Right.”  His expression turned lascivious.  “Everything in due time.”  He went to start loading my SUV.  Twenty minutes later, Claws curled on the backseat and I rode shotgun, wearing my worn jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt.  Raven turned away from Muddy River, and we headed north to enjoy ourselves and each other.

 

Hope you enjoy these.  I still have a decent amount to write for Raven and Hester.

Money, money, money

canstockphoto31168159

(Lux)

I thought I grew up middle class.  Now I’m not so sure.  Most of our neighbors had less money than we did, and my parents struggled quite a bit until my dad got a better job at the factory he worked at and made better wages.  They felt comfortable by the time my little sister was born, but I was twelve by then.

After I got married, had two daughters, and couldn’t get back into teaching, my husband and I dropped to middle class, too.  I only really think about money when something rears up and worries me, but we’re sure not rolling in it.  And sometimes I wonder what it would be like to NEVER have to think about budgets or bills or saving.  And that’s why I created Lux for my new mysteries.

Lux is filthy rich.  She’s so rich, it bothered my agent when she read my manuscript.  Jazzi and Ansel are well off, but they don’t throw money around.  Hester and Raven have amassed fortunes over their centuries-old lives, but they live in Muddy River with lots of other supernaturals who’ve done the same and try to avoid attention.  Lux is rich and enjoys it.

When I was growing up, I didn’t trust people who had a lot of money.  But then, when I started college, I got a job as a waitress at our local Chamber of Commerce.  And I served a lot of rich people at lunches and parties.  And I liked almost all of them.  Some were awesome and some weren’t, just like everyone else I’d met.  And then our church got a retired minister for a year, who’d grown up in Israel before marrying a rich woman and moving to the U.S.  He preached about enjoying blessings as often as he preached about being the best person you could be.  I loved him so much I asked him to marry hubs and me.  I still remember him fondly.

But he helped me realize that enjoying blessings was as important as facing the challenges thrown at us through life.  And that’s why Lux is so much fun to write.  I think she does both well.  She loves all of the money she has, but it doesn’t determine who she is or what she does or who she spends time with.  And as a reporter, and a protagonist who stumbles on crimes and bodies. she rises to each challenge with intelligence and a lot of compassion. She enjoys her yellow Bentley, her sprawling house, and her hunky chef boyfriend.  But she’s willing to pass out lunches at the community center, too, when Keon’s brother needs a helping hand.

As a writer, I love living vicariously through the characters I create.  And this time, with Lux, I get to experience a lot of things that I never had in real life.

 

Harry Dresden

I’ve been deluged by fans of Harry Dresden lately.  Lynn Cahoon, Midu Hadi, and Mae Clair.  So many who are so enthusiastic, I had to see what I was missing.  So I bought the first Harry Dresden book–Storm Front.  And for the first couple of chapters, I did an inward shrug.  What was the fuss about?  And then I got seriously hooked.

What is it about wizards named Harry?  Well, both of the ones I know are pretty much alone in the world.  Their parents, like every Disney animated movie I watched growing up, are past tense.  Kaput.  The establishment isn’t too fond of them.  And they have more talent than any single person (even a wizard) should have.  Add to that, that they’re up against monumental odds.  Odds they shouldn’t survive.  And neither of them take themselves too seriously.

Dresden has a great mix of lethal and humor.  People die horrible deaths, but the skull in the basement who helps him make potions, bargains for a weekend of ribald entertainment.  And the women in their lives are no shrinking violets.  When Dresden apologizes to Murphy, she hobbles into his hospital room to throw the flowers he sent her in his face.  The action made my adrenaline pump.  The monsters are scary.  And the villain’s scarier than the things he creates.  But even with magic bouncing off walls, Dresden felt REAL.  Because I could relate to him as a person.

When I finished Storm Front, I downloaded book two.  I never read books back to back, but I’m looking forward to the next story to see what Dresden does next.  Now I know what the fuss is about.  Harry Dresden is one fun series to read!