Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Magick and Murder - Chapter 2

Here's the unedited second chapter of my next release!


Kirsten automatically shielded Mary and Rose with her body while Jo threw up a shield. Glass smack the magickal ward and tinkled to the linoleum as the projectile cracked against wood. Jo muttered an obscenity and charged for the locked front doors.

“You two okay?” Kirsten asked her friends. Both women nodded. They all looked over at the chair that had been knocked over. A softball-sized river stone lay on the broken back slat of the chair. It looked like the same stones the landscapers used as barriers around the flowering plants on the courthouse grounds.

Before Kirsten could reach her aunt, Jo had one of the doors unlocked and stormed outside. The bell jangled with her anger. Jeering and booing came from much closer, even accounting for the broken window. Kirsten raced after her. If Jo did anything to the crowd, it would only add ammunition to their claims that supernaturals were dangerous.

Outside, the protestors formed a semi-circle in the middle of the street, the open end facing Jo’s Coffee Shop. Cars honked and a couple of truckers blared their horns, which added to the cacophony. The two officers assigned to keep an eye on the crowd tried to guide the members of Humanity Now back to the sidewalk in front of the courthouse, but they not only were ignored, but woefully outmatched.

Worse, Jo stood toe-to-toe with Warren Simon in the middle of the semi-circle. Kirsten couldn’t catch exactly what they were shouting at each other.

Over the mob’s heads, a familiar mahogany ponytail bounced toward them from South Monroe Street. Cory Parsons, the Monitor’s staff photographer, towered over the crowd at six-six, and he was headed east on Jackson toward Mom’s direction.

Mom’s job as the editor-in-chief was to report on events objectively. And right now, Jo sure wasn’t being objective. Kirsten ran out into the street and grabbed Jo’s arm. “Come on, these jerks aren’t worth it.” She said the words aloud and telepathically.

Jo jerked out of her hold. “I’m going to sue your ass into the next century, Simon!”

“Go ahead!” he shouted back. “Then everyone will see your immorality!”

Kirsten pushed her body between Jo’s and Simon’s. Don’t let him bait you, Jo. He’s doing this to make you look bad. “I don’t care!” Jo jabbed her finger over Kirsten’s shoulder. “They could killed you or Mary or one of our customers!” “And you breed heathen, Satan-loving sluts,” Simon shouted behind her.

With the volatile emotion raging around them, someone really was going to get hurt. Where the heck had the two police officers disappeared to?

Jo, for the sake of the Goddess and everything on Earth, please go inside!

A troubled look appeared on Jo’s face. Maybe their predicament was finally getting through to her. She took a hesitant step back, obviously forced herself to calm down, and took two more steps back.

Kirsten relaxed a hair and started to follow Jo when someone plowed into her from behind.

She’d been body-checked enough times over the years of playing basketball. Fighting the instinct to put her arms out, she curled and rolled with the force of the shove.

Except the asphalt of Jackson Street was a heck of a lot harder than the wooden boards of the West Holmes High School basketball court. The landing knocked every molecule of air out of her lungs.

The crowd surged forward. Primal fear consumed her. This crowd wanted blood. Her blood.

A fireball whizzed over her head between her and the crowd. It startled the Humanity Now protesters into silence. The acrid odor of fear was a tangible thing permeating the street.

“Get the hell away from my daughter now!”


The one person who never displayed her talents in public.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Magick and Murder - Chapter 1

I think I've got everything fixed with Fae and Felonies. At least, the copy I downloaded from Amazon was correct. If you got a copy with less than twenty-one (21) chapters, contact me. I'll make it right.

In the meantime, I'll give you a taste of book 3 of the Millersburg Magick Mysteries, Magick and Murder.


Kirsten Wilson kept an eye on the protesters across the street from Aunt Jo’s coffee shop as she served their only two customers. The huge double-paned picture windows didn’t block the crowd’s shouts. The auras around the Normals who marched were ugly smears of gray, their hatred marring their usual rainbow colors. They paraded up and down the block of East Jackson Street in front of the Holmes County courthouse. The Normal protesters shot even uglier looks at the coffee shop as they shouted their awful slogans.

She wished all of them were simply people from Cleveland or elsewhere, but she recognized more faces than she was comfortable with, including Amelia Ryder’s mom. People in Millersburg may get into a snit fit if the neighbor’s dog pooped in their lawn. Maybe the occasional DUI or domestic abuse situation. But nothing so bigoted as marching in in hatred because someone was different.

Heck, Jo’s status as a witch had been an open secret in the area, long before the Rainier Outing revealed the existence of the supernatural races twelve years ago. The ladies in town often consulted her about their problems. A lot of farmers stopped in for a hot breakfast and even hotter coffee with a side helping of weather predictions. But with the current lawsuits questioning the supernaturals’ status as United States citizens, some nasty elements in Normal society decided integration was something to be avoided at all costs.

An occasional dead leaf drifted down the street on the wind, a reminder that the earth was settling in for its long winter sleep. But it was an unusually bright, sunny day for Ohio this close to Thanksgiving despite the steady breeze. The brilliant blue sky silhouetted the three-story stone historic courthouse. However, its imposing features didn’t deter the protesters. Neither did the couple of police officers watching them to make sure they didn’t get out hand. A couple of the idiots had tried to annoy people heading into the courthouse, both Amish and English alike. But after one warning from the police, Warren Simon, the leader of Humanity Now, reined in his followers.

Kirsten nibbled on her lower lip. Why did anyone follow a man like that? There was nothing really imposing about him. He was average height and average build for a Normal in his forties. His sandy brown hair was thinning on top. His round black spectacles gave him an owlish expression. Standard khaki slacks and a navy windbreaker over his white shirt looked like every other dad at the local basketball games. Scuffed dark brown loafers completed his dad ensemble. If he wasn’t one of the top anti-supernatural leaders in the country, she would have mistaken him for an accountant.

Mary Levy joined Kirsten at the window. The ties of her prayer cap dangled over her shoulders, as startling white against her navy blue dress as her apron was. She’d given up on cleaning the tables, not that they really needed it. Her bucket of lemony sanitizer competed with the rich aroma of fresh ground beans. Beans that would go to waste. None of their usual weekday regulars were coming in. Not today. Not with the mob across the street.

“No good will come of this many angry English in town.” Mary shook her head.

Even though Mary was a month younger than Kirsten, the Amish considered her an adult. Sometimes, Kirsten was envious of Mary’s status in her own community. Other times, not so much. The two of them had been friends as long as Kirsten could remember, but the Levys never so much as commented on the Wilson family’s differences from other English. Maybe because Mary’s great-great-aunt had been a vampire.

The reporter from Cleveland rose from his table. He’d come in for a sandwich and attempted to chat Jo up. She could be incredibly charming when she wanted to be, but she delivered only stiff politeness to the reporter.

“Thank you, ladies.” He nodded to Kristen and Mary.

“Have a good day,” Kirsten automatically replied with a smile.

He exited the café to a series of boos from the crowd that drowned out the ringing of the bell on the door. That left Rose Gleason, Jo’s closest friend in town. She sat in the right front corner of the café, sipping her cinnamon latte, and also watching the protesters across the street.

Jo joined Kirsten and Mary at the left window, her attention on the crowd as well. “Let’s clean up and close up shop, ladies. We’re not going to get much more business today.”

“Isn’t that giving in to these assholes?” Kirsten stared at her great-aunt. It wasn’t like Jo to act intimidated by anyone.

You can protect yourself, Jo said silently. Hell, even Rose can swing her cane like a pro polo player. But Mary won’t defend herself if that crowd gets physical, and I don’t want to see her hurt.

She had a point.

Kirsten turned to Mary. “Let me give you a ride home.”

For once, Mary didn’t argue about being in a car. She merely nodded before she grabbed her bucket and continued wiping down the tables.

* * *

Twenty minutes later, everything had been swept, cleaned, and put away.

“Rose, I’ll drop you off at your place,” Jo said as three of them put on their jackets. Mary placed her black bonnet on her head and wrapped her black shawl around her torso.

“I walked up here by myself,” the seventy-year-old Normal snapped. “I can walk home.” Rose strolled the four blocks from her old Victorian to coffee shop every day there wasn’t rain, snow, or ice.

“Miz Rose,” Mary said gently. “Not even I’m foolish enough to walk home with those people across the street. There’s no sense courting trouble when it is avoidable.”

Rose glared at her overtop the bright orange rims of her spectacles. “Maybe a good whack over their heads would knock some sense into those idiots.”

“That’s assault,” Jo said. “And you know those assholes will press charges.”

Rose’s eyes narrowed behind her glasses. “What’re you going to do? Hex me if I don’t obey you?”

“Maybe I will, you old fart,” Jo growled. Even though they were born the same year, Jo aged more slowly being a witch, which meant she could have passed for Kaley’s mom.

Or Rose’s daughter.

Kaley leaned close to Mary and said not so quietly, “Is this what we’re going to be like in fifty years?”

“Probably.” Mary giggled. “But I will not be wearing such colorful eyewear—”

Glass exploded into the café from the left picture window.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Release Day from Hell

I fucked up. Dammit, I fucked up big time.

Fae and Felonies was supposed to be released today. Amazon requires that we upload the final version four days before the release date. In my rush to get the book uploaded, I grabbed the wrong damn file.

And once you hit the publish button, you are locked out until midnight (UTC) on the release day.


If you had a preorder or you are the one person from Australia who bought the book, check to make sure there are twenty-one (21) chapters. If not, you have an incomplete version.


Seriously, get your money back. I am so, SO sorry for my fuck-up.

If you really want the book, re-purchase it at the lower price. Yes, I changed the price to $2.99 to make up for my fuck-up.

Frankly, this is embarrassing as hell. And I swear I will do a better job in May.

Thank you for your patronage, and again, I apologize to those loyal readers who got the wrong version of Fae and Felonies.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Fae and Felonies - Chapter 4

This will be the last chapter before Fae and Felonies are officially released next week.


Kirsten threw Mom’s car into gear back out of the parking space as soon as Kaley slammed the passenger door shut. “What’s the rush?” she said as she buckled the seatbelt.

“Got some errands to run.” Kirsten glanced at her sister as she cruised across the lot to the exit. “You want me to drop you at home first?”

“I thought we were picking up parts for the ’69.”

Kirsten could hear the suspicion in Kaley’s voice. She checked traffic both ways before she turned onto State Route 39 and headed into town.

“And I know the auto parts shop isn’t your favorite place.” Kirsten hesitated a second before she added, “I was a jerk last night. I’ll help you with trig when I get back.”

“You’re going to the sheriff’s office, aren’t you?” Kaley accused. “Are you trying to get Julia to run a background check on River?”

“Since when are you on a first name basis with a fairy?” Kirsten checked her speed and eased up on the gas pedal. A speeding ticket wouldn’t make a good impression on her future employers.

“That’s racist, and you know it,” Kaley spat.

“Oh, Goddess.” Kirsten groaned. “Another stray?”

“You know the saying about flies and honey.” Kaley’s phone buzzed. She pulled it from her bag and checked the screen.

“I’m not the one who texted Jo first thing this morning about the fae,” Kirsten grumbled. “Half-fae,” Kaley murmured as her thumbs danced across the glass of her phone.

“So that’s how he was able to cross the county line.” Kirsten tightened her grip on the steering wheel. It figured the Unseelie would find a loophole in the accords to slip an agent of theirs into Holmes County.

Kaley looked up from her phone. “Mom wants us both home.”

Kirsten flipped the turn signal and tapped the brakes to turn into the sheriff’s department parking lot. “Tell her we’re on our way.”

“I’m not lying for you,” Kaley snapped.

“You want that help with trig?” Kirsten parked the car and turned to her sister.

“I’m already grounded.” Kaley scowled at her.

“So you can blame this on me.” Kirsten yanked the car door latch. “Wait here.”

But Kaley was already scrambling out of the car. “Oh, no, you don’t. I’m coming with you.”

“Why?” Kirsten watched her sister across the top of Mom’s sedan.

“Because in the U.S., you’re innocent until proven guilty.” Kaley slammed the door. “And you’re being a racist dick. Someone’s got to defend River.”

For some reason, her accusations sliced deep into Kirsten’s soul. Was she treating River exactly like the Normals treated her ancestors? Burn them at the stake first and not even bother asking any questions?

“All right.” She shrugged as they headed for the front door. “You can make sure we’re doing this by the book.”

Deputy Russ Collins sat at the duty desk. His freckled face lit up when they entered. “Well, if it isn’t the Trouble Twins! What you two doing here?”

Kirsten leaned on the counter. “Is the sheriff or Deputy Wolford here?”

“Sheriff just left on a call, but Julia’s here.” Russ held up his right index finger before he pressed a button on the huge phone set. “Deputy Wolford, you have visitors.” The PA echoed through the building.

The phone set buzzed and a red light blinked. Russ picked up the handset. “Front desk.” After a second, he winked. “Kirsten Wilson and her sister Kaley.” He hung up. “Go on back, ladies. You know the way Kirsten.” He pressed another button and the steel door to the offices buzzed and clicked.

“Thanks, Russ.” She waved, crossed the few steps to the door, and yanked it open. Kaley followed her into the back offices.

Kirsten stopped before the correct door and knocked.

A muffled “Come in” filtered from behind the wooden door. She turned the latch.

Julia Wolford sat at her desk. She paused typing on her keyboard and smiled. “Hey, girls! What’s up?”

Kirsten shot a look at her sister before she said, “Is the joint supernatural taskforce aware a half-fae moved into Holmes County?”

Julia leaned back and folded her arms over her chest. “No.” She cocked her head. “What about the accords? I thought fae were prohibited from coming here.”

“The accords only apply to members of the Courts,” Kirsten said.

Julia’s lower jaw twitched. “So, only folks who are full-blooded fae.”

“Yes.” Kirsten nodded.

The deputy stared at the pile of paperwork on her desk a moment before she looked up again. “Could he be lying about being part-fae?”

“No.” Kaley shook her head vigorously. “The word of a fae is like a Blood Seal for us witches. It’s a magickal guarantee. They will literally be destroyed if they break their word.” “It doesn’t mean he’s not up to something,” Kirsten said.

“His mom’s a Normal,” Kaley bit back.

“A U.S. citizen?” Julia’s attention flicked between Kirsten and Kaley.“I don’t know,” Kirsten said at the same time Kaley said, “Yes.”

Kirsten stared at her sister. “How would you know?”

“His mom was born and grew up here in Holmes County.” Kaley scowled. “I actually talked to him instead of accusing him of shit like you and Donny did.”

Kirsten tossed her hands up. “You’re the one who raised the alarm this morning!”

“Maybe I was wrong.” Kaley’s fists clenched. “His mom took a promotion back here because his grandmother isn’t well.”

Kirsten inhaled deeply and tried to relax the muscles in her own shoulders. “Maybe you’re right and he’s telling you the truth. Or maybe he’s here for another reason.”

“Let me guess.” An amused expression crossed Julia’s face. “You want me to do a background check on them.”

Kirsten nodded. “Maybe find out who his dad is? Can we find out who his mom works for, too?”

“We can try on the father, but Ohio law won’t let a woman put just any random guy’s name on the certificate.” Julia shrugged. “And you’re assuming she knew his real name and face. If he wore a glamour…”

Kirsten hated to admit it, but the deputy was right. “The name he gave the school was River Martin.”

Julia paused in writing down the name. “Wait. Any relation to Cissy Martin? She’s the owner of The Hair and Now. Had a heart attack at the end of summer.”

Kirsten turned to Kaley. “Well?”

She raised her hands. “Hey! I just talked to the guy. I didn’t take a complete family history.”

Kirsten shoved her irritation down with a lot of effort. Her sister could be so frickin’ obtuse at times. “You just said his mom took the position here partly because of his grandmother.”

“But I don’t know for sure if it’s Cissy Martin.” Kaley waved her hands. Her frustration slammed into Kirsten’s psyche. Kirsten inhaled deeply to calm herself. They were feeding off each other’s emotions again. A problem at times while they were growing up. A comfort at others. But with puberty came distance as they each tried to deal with adulthood and the weird mix of emotions that came with the hormonal changes. Understanding the reasons didn’t make the emotions any easier to deal with.

She turn back to Julia. “Can you see what you can find out? We’ll talk with Mom and Jo about the situation tonight, and I’ll call you with an update tomorrow.”

The deputy smiled. “Sounds like a plan, but don’t you two or your mom and aunt do anything in the meantime. Last thing, you guys need is a harassment complaint by the Martins.”

Kirsten and Kaley both nodded.

Once they left the building and were settled in Mom’s sedan, Kaley glared at Kirsten. “What the hell is wrong with you? You’ve bitched about Donny all these years, and now River?”

“You call me racist again, and I’ll hex you with acne so bad you won’t be able to show your face until next year.”

“Then stop acting like one,” Kaley snapped back.

Kirsten jabbed the button to start the car. She wasn’t racist. Was she?

With Donny, it was complicated. He teased her unmercifully when they were little. Nor did she like the way he followed Kaley like a puppy. And Kaley led the poor guy on. It wasn’t right.

But this River Martin? Her witchy sense was tingling. There was something more going on than a promotion and an elderly relative needing help. And darn it, she was going to find out what.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Fae and Felonies - Chapter 3

Here's another unedited sample of this month's release.


While Kirsten headed to the girls’ locker room to change, Kaley strolled out to the football practice field with her backpack slung over her shoulder. She may not have Kirsten’s brains, but neither did her sister have her social finesse. Kirsten had totally blown any chance of getting information from River Martin with her attitude.

But they wouldn’t have too many more days of fairly decent weather. Not with the sun shining and the air warm enough to sit outside to study. With football over for the season, coming out to the practice field would provide her a little privacy to think about what to do regarding River.

Or it should have.

Another figure sat on one of the benches at the side of the field. A figure with a shock of white hair. Maybe the Goddess was giving her the chance to fix the situation. She headed toward River.

He looked up at the same time his magick jabbed at hers and slammed his textbook shut. “Aw, hell no!”

“Whoa, man.” Kaley held up her palms. “I heard what happened. I came over to apologize. My sister was not born with any manners.”

He paused in shoving his textbook into his backpack, but his piercing blue eyes narrowed when he looked at her. “And why should I trust a witch?”

“My dad says trust has to be earned.” She looked across the brown, dormant grass of the field to the bare dark trees beyond before she returned her attention back to River. “He’s a Normal, so I do understand a little of your position. Our coven constantly questions me and my sister. So no, I don’t expect you to trust me. Not until I’ve earned it.”

“Your coven acknowledges you and your sister as witches though,” he said.

“May I sit down with you in order to have a proper conversation?” Maybe using a more formal request would pacify him. He shook his head. “Why are you trying to sound like my grandmother?”

“I was trying to remember my etiquette,” she stated neutrally.

“All right.” He scooted over on the bench. “But can you drop the weird act?”

“No problem.” She straddled the bench so she could face him. The cold of the plastic-coated metal seat penetrated her jeans, but she did her best to ignore the discomfort. “Do you know about the Unseelie prohibition in Holmes County under the I.C. Accords?”

“The who to the what?” He genuinely looked perplexed.

A thread of unease wound through Kaley. “Goddess, please tell me your fae parent told you about the International Council.”

“Don’t know my dad.” Bitterness iced River’s words. “He knocked up my mom in a one-night stand. Disappeared after that. She never saw him again. Mom’s a Normal.”

Kaley stared at him. “Well, that was a crappy thing to do. How did you find out you were part-fae?”

“I…did things.” He stared at the tips of his shoes. “When I was little. It wasn’t until the Rainier Outing when I was in kindergarten that Mom figured out what my dad must have been. We’ve picked up a few things here and there since then.”

The Outing. When the Normals discovered the existence of the supernaturals living among them. When the covens and packs along the Puget Sound banded together to save the innocent citizens who couldn’t evacuate when Mount Rainier erupted, the volcano where Glass Lake was now.

“Wow,” she said softly. “That must have been rough on both of you.”

A derisive sound came from low in his throat. “You have no fucking idea.”

“What brought you and your mom to Millersburg?”

“She grew up here.” River looked up at her. “Her mother didn’t want anything to do with us for years. She’s pretty religious, and she acted like Mom had done something terrible.” A half-smile, half-grimace twisted his mouth. “It didn’t help when she saw me stop a vase in midair I’d knocked over.”

Kaley giggled. “I get that. We had to be on our super-best behavior around Grandma Wilson. No magick whatsoever.” She sobered. “I don’t get why you moved here three months into the school year.”

“She got a big promotion about the same time her mom started having health problems. The promotion meant she could work from home.” He shrugged. “It happened overnight. We’re staying at the Holiday Inn while her company packs up our house in Indianapolis.”

“Man, that’s got to suck leaving all your friends behind,” Kaley murmured. She couldn’t imagine what she’d do if Mom or Dad got a better job somewhere out of state. Or even another part of Ohio, and they had to move.

“Yeah, it did.” River grimaced. “Big time. Especially senior year.”

“But you have heard of the International Council?”

He nodded. “They’re like the supernatural version of the United Nations, right?”

“Kind of. They have a little more bite than the U.N.” Kaley smiled. “And in some cases, that’s literally.”

“The werecoyote with your sister outside of the library—” He paused as if he wasn’t sure he wanted to broach the subject. “He said my kind killed his dad. Is that what you meant by these accords?”

“Sort of.” She stared at the trees again, not sure why she suddenly felt uncomfortable. Maybe because it felt like she was accusing him personally. “Before I was born, there was a rash of Normal murders in Holmes County. They were committed by a wanagamesak—”

“A what?”

“A Native American water spirit. It got stuck.” She linked her fingers together. “Bonded to the bones of the shaman of the tribe it protected. The Winter Queen’s assassin cut a deal with Donny’s dad for the bones, and they made the wanagamesak kill people.” She turned to River, watching his reaction. “When they got caught, the queen’s man left Donny’s dad to the vampires and their allies.”

River whistled softly and shook his head. “Sounds like his dad got what he deserved.”

“Not disputing that.” She shrugged. “Anyway, a local Normal attorney killed the assassin and negotiated the surrender and expulsion of the Unseelie who survived the fight. In the resulting political mess, the non-fae factions insisted on an amendment to the accords that no Unseelie could step into Holmes County for as long as it existed.”

“Wait.” His white-blond eyebrows disappeared under his shaggy bangs. “A Normal killed a full-blooded fae?” Disbelief tinged his voice.

Kaley laughed. “Yeah, that shocked the crap out of everyone.”

“So the accords…” River exhaled gustily. “That’s why you looked totally freaked out this morning.”

“Yeah,” she admitted.

Cold wind gusted across the field, ruffling their hair. Normally, she would have blocked the air without thinking about it, but the jangling edges of River’s power against hers felt like a risk that wasn’t worth the reward.

“Let’s go inside,” she suggested. “I’m not as smart as Kirsten, but if you can help me with trig, I can help you with everything else.”

A faint smile crossed his face. “I don’t know if I should be seen hanging out with the bad girl cheerleader.”

“Excuse me?” Her voice rose.

He shrugged again before he stood. “I heard you took out the head cheerleader. That’s the reason she’s in the wheelchair.”

“Oh, my Goddess!” Kaley jumped to her feet. “That is so not true!”

“So, you didn’t kneecap her a la Tonya Harding?” he said as they walked toward the main building.

“Who’s Tonya Harding?” She looked up at him. He was definitely teasing her, but she wasn’t quite sure how to take it. “A former Olympic skater.” He glanced at her and grinned. “She was accused of being part of the plot to kneecap her biggest rival.”

“Amelia did it to herself,” Kaley grumbled.

“She deliberately took a steel pipe to her own knee?” Yep, he was definitely laughing at her.

Kaley stopped and whirled to face him.

River paused and looked back at her.

“She tried to hit me,” Kaley ground out. “No magick. No tricks. I just ducked. She overbalanced and hit the concrete floor of the girls’ locker room knee first. If she hadn’t tried to pick a fight, she would have been fine.”

“All right.” He nodded. “The Normals are dangerous but stupid. I’ll keep that in mind.” His cocky attitude made her laugh.

“C’mon. I’ll buy you a pop.” She beckoned, and they headed inside. For all of Mom and Jo’s warnings, River didn’t seem that dangerous. In fact, he reminded her of Donny. Someone trapped between two worlds and in desperate need of a friend.