Wednesday, May 27, 2020

An "I Need Something to Cope" Extravaganza!

The Seasons of Magick Anthology is currently on sale for $0.99. That's $7 off the regular price! The sale price will be available until 11:59 p.m EDT on June 24th.

Amazon, all countries
Barnes & Noble
Google Play

I'll be running sales through the rest of the year because I know I'm not the only one with their nose buried in a book in order to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those who are subscribed to my newsletter will get first notice of any sales. In fact, they'll get a couple of special discounts on books that I won't announce to the general public. You'll miss out unless you're eagle-eyed and fast!

So if you haven't subscribed to my newsletter yet, drop me a line through the CONTACT ME! form.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Off Sale

I've temporarily removed the three Millersburg Magick Mysteries from sale on Amazon.

I could fill several blogs with the reasons, but it comes down to COVID-19. This was supposed to be a light-hearted series, a la Scooby-Doo but with real magick. The final results are not what I hoped to accomplish with this series. Add in some mistakes because my head's not in the game. Top it off with supporting friends who've lost loved ones in the pandemic. It all equals to an emotionally fried mind and soul.

I'm planning to re-do this series. It's not normally what I would do as a writer. But y'all deserve my best efforts, and I don't think I delivered. Millersburg Magick Mysteries will be re-released later the summer.

In the meantime, I'll finish Hero De Jure because this story puts me in a much better headspace. Well, superheroes and lemon Oreos do.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Magick and Murder - Chapter 4

This is the last sample before Magick and Murder's release on Friday.


Standing in canned fruits and vegetables aisle at the IGA, Kaley checked her list again and made a face. “Now where the heck is the cranberry sauce?”

“End cap.” River Martin pointed to the other end of the aisle. “All the canned pumpkin is down there, too.”

It was kind of weird shopping with him like they were a couple. Which they weren’t. At least, not officially though Donny and Mandy Jenkins teased her about it. Kaley consulted the list. “Then, we need green beans, fried onions, and mushrooms.”

“Whole, cut, or French-style?” he asked.

“Whole. Six cans.” She grabbed two canisters of the crunchy fried onions.

“Pieces or slices?”

“Slices. 2 small cans or one large.”

River paused with the large can in his hand. “What do these go in?”

“The green bean casserole, silly.”

He frowned. “No one I know puts mushrooms in green bean casserole.”

“They use cream of mushroom soup, don’t they?”

“Yeah, but…”

“Your people dance around mushrooms. That’s the reason they’re called fairy circles.” She waved her hand nonchalantly. He shook his head and made a face at her. “That’s so racist.”

She cocked her head. “How?”

“Do you make jokes about Donny Fryer peeing on hydrants? Do you make cracks about Carmen Alonzo driving a taco truck?” “Oh.” Kaley winced. “I didn’t think about it that way. I’m really sorry.”

“Not to mention fairy is right up there with the n-word.” River made a slashing motion with his hand. “That’s a good way to find yourself at the pointy end of a sword.”

“The pointy end of a sword?” She grinned.

Red flooded his face and ears, which were decidedly round like his Normal mom’s were.

“You know what I mean,” he said.

“Do tell.” She giggled.

River ignored her comment and tugged on the basket end of their shopping cart. “What’s next on the list?”

“Nice try in changing the subject.” But she consulted her list. “We also need raisins for the mincemeat pie.”

River made a face. “Mincemeat?”

Kaley rolled her eyes as they walked to the end of the aisle where the dried fruit was. “Dad loves it, and Mom made a point of asking Grandma Wilson for the recipe before she passed away. Personally, I’m not a big fan of meaty and sweetie in the same dish.”

“So no pineapple with your ham?” He grabbed a bag of the store-brand raisins.

“That’s the one exception,” she muttered.

Her phone buzzed, and she pulled it out of her jeans pocket. A sick feeling ran through her as she read Kirsten’s message. A ton of curse words ran through her mind. She whirled around, examining each face. Where would the next threat come from?

“Hey.” River grabbed her arm. “What happened?”

She couldn’t say a word past the lump of fear in her throat. She’d never been afraid of people in her hometown. Not before today.

River gently cupped her right hand and raised it so he could see her phone screen. His eyes narrowed, and his lips thinned.

“Let’s get your mom’s groceries,” he said softly. “That’ll be one thing off her mind. And Grandma and I will definitely be at your house on Thursday.”

Kaley swallowed hard and nodded. “She’s bringing the sweet potatoes, right?”

He grinned. “With lots of marshmallow fluff.”

“Fluff? No mini-marshmallows?”

“Trust me, you like this better. More marshmallow to potato flavor.”

“All right.” She nodded again.

River released her hand, and she found herself missing his touch. She shoved her phone back in her jeans pocket and snatched up Mom’s list to cover her discomfiture. “Let’s grab the cranberry sauce and pumpkin before heading to the dairy section.”

They raced as quickly as they could around the other shoppers and collected the remainder of Mom’s grocery list. Except when they reached the check-out lanes, other shoppers stared at her. However, it wasn’t the usual friendly faces of people recognizing one of the senior cheerleaders from her letterman jacket.

The elderly woman in line in front of Kaley gave her an odd look before she crossed herself. Now, what was that all about? Kaley frowned It wasn’t like she was wearing pentacles, and there was no way the woman could know about her steel triquetra key chain. The elderly woman slammed the divider down after her items and glared at Kaley as if daring her to move it.

She swallowed her unease. They just needed to get the groceries rung up and paid for so they could get the heck out of the grocery store. She and River unloaded items of the cart onto the conveyor belt.

Thankfully, they were in Shannon Murphy’s lane. Shannon had been Kaley and Kirsten’s babysitter when they were little. Her husband passed away shortly after he retired, she started working at the grocery store, more to do something than to supplement her savings.

“Hey, Shannon.”

“Hey, kiddo!” Shannon’s wide smile helped ease the tension in Kaley’s shoulders. “Your mom gotcha doing the Thanksgiving shopping, huh?”

“Yeah, she’s doing things up big since she’s afraid Kirsten and I will never come home for a holiday again.” Kaley grabbed her stack of reusable bags and started sacking groceries.

“And your friend?” Shannon said coyly.

“River, this is our friend Shannon.” Kaley chuckled at her former babysitter’s antics. “River is Cissy Martin’s grandson.”

“I’d heard Heather and her boy had moved back here. Nice to meet you River.” Shannon nodded to him.

“Ma’am.” He moved to the end of the line and started putting the cold items into the insulated bag.

“Kaley Wilson!”

Goddess, what now? She steeled herself before she turned to face Mrs. Ryder. “Yes, ma’am?”

“Your mother is just as dangerous as you are!” Mrs. Ryder shrieked as she waved her phone in Kaley’s face.

“What?” Kaley couldn’t make out anything on the video playing on the phone with Mrs. Ryder’s jerky motions. River inserted himself in front of Mrs. Ryder and grabbed her wrist in mid-swing. “Watch what you’re doing.”

“Let me go,” she spat.

“Then quit trying to hit Kaley,” he bit back.

“What’s going on here?” The store manager Mr. Bickle strode toward Shannon’s aisle, a distraught expression on his face. “Why are allowing those people to shop in your store?” Mrs. Ryder screeched.

“What people?” Mr. Bickle looked thoroughly confused.

“That bitch put a hex on my daughter!” Mrs. Ryder pointed at Kaley.

“Your daughter tried to hit me, and I ducked,” Kaley protested. “It’s not my fault she’s a clumsy cow and screwed up her knee.”

“Ladies, please.” Mr. Bickle looked like he was about to cry behind his wire rims.

“Of course, you get it straight from your mother!” Mrs. Ryder shook her fist at Kaley.

Shannon waddled from behind her register. “Do we need to call the police, or are you going to leave quietly?”

“You’re going let that little bitch stay?” Mrs. Ryder’s shock that someone took Kaley’s side was mirrored by a few other people. Everyone else simply appeared disgusted.

Shannon crossed her arms and glared at Mrs. Ryder. “That little girl ain’t the one causing a scene in public. You are. Now, once again, do I need to call the police?”

Realizing Shannon was the proverbial immoveable object, Mrs. Ryder turned to Mr. Bickle. “Are you going to let your employee insult me like that?”

The manager seemed to find his backbone. He straightened and glared at Mrs. Ryder. “The only one tossing out insults and creating a disturbance is you.”

“I’m going to report you to the owner,” Mrs. Ryder said.

Shannon pointed overhead. “Make sure you tell him about the security video capturing your performance when you call him. Oh, wait. Isn’t Ron Schneider your ex-husband?”

Mrs. Ryder blinked rapidly, shocked by the turnaround in circumstances. More than half of the crowd watching the drama tittered. Seeing no allies, she pivoted and marched out of the grocery store.

Shannon waddled back to her register. Kaley tried to breathe normally as she slipped Mom’s debit card into the reader. It took a couple of tries to get the PIN right. She could feel all the eyes on her. Finally, the device beeped, and she pulled out the card.

River had bagged the rest of the groceries and loaded them into the cart.

Shannon handed Kaley the receipt and gave her a reassuring smile. “You tell your mom and dad hello for me.”

“I will.” Kaley waved. “Happy Thanksgiving.”

“You too, darling.”

Kaley and River headed for the exit. She sagged when she saw Mrs. Ryder still in the parking lot. Amelia’s mom was speaking with a man Kaley didn’t recognize.

He was a few inches taller than Mrs. Rider. He wore a leather jacket and jeans. His dark hair was just long enough not to be a buzz cut, but too short to be a crew cut. But the most prominent feature was a jagged scar down his cheek. The pair looked toward Kaley and River with ugly expressions on their faces.

Kaley and River quickly loaded their bags into the back of his blue PT Cruiser. Mrs. Ryder and the gentleman with her were still staring at them.

“Take a selfie,” River whispered.


He wrapped an arm around her waist and held her so their backs were to Mrs. Ryder and the stranger. Her body immediately warmed at his touch, but she did as he asked and took a picture of the two of them.

“Can you do a close-up of the guy with Mrs. Ryder?” River whispered.

Kirsten swallowed and changed the settings. River nodded when he saw the resulting photo. “Send a copy to me.”

“Why?” “In case anything happens to your phone. Get in the car,” River whispered. “I’ll take care of the cart.”

“Don’t do anything stupid,” Kaley whispered back.

“Who? Me?” River shot her a devilish grin.

That expression sent a shiver through her. No wonder Olivia Burke looked at him like a prime Angus steak. Kaley could see why River’s mom had fallen under his dad’s spell. She nodded and climbed into his car.

It never failed to amaze her how clean the interior of his Cruiser was compared to the cars of all the other guys in school. And it always smelled like cedar and baklava inside though he didn’t have an air freshener anywhere. She had checked.

Fae magick jabbed Kaley’s psyche, and despite the need to raise a ward, she concentrated to keep her own power from reacting to the alien sensation. River opened the driver side door and slid into the Cruiser. A self-satisfied smirk tilted his mouth.

She crossed her arms. “What did you do?”

“Nothing that’ll harm anyone.”

“What. Did. You. Do.”

“You’re not the only one who has talent with air.” He grinned and backed out of their parking space.

As they drove past Mrs. Ryder, Kaley could see the tires on her Cadillac. Especially the flat front left tire.

While she didn’t blame River, that was going to come back to bite them in the ass. Especially with the Humanity Now protesters in town.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Magick and Murder - Chapter 3

The latest unedited chapter of Book 3 in the Millersburg Magick Mysteries series.


Kirsten scrambled to her feet. Mom and Jo stood side-by-side. Fireballs glowed in their hands. The crowd murmured, their hate and fear evident, but none of them dared to take a step forward.

“You dare to threaten us in front of officers of the law?” Simon sneered.

“You assaulted a citizen of Millersburg.” Police Chief Patricia Hall marched toward the standoff.

She wasn’t alone. Three more officers followed her. In the distance, sirens wailed. The chief must have called the sheriff’s department for backup. She stopped beside Kirsten.

“Are you all right, Ms. Wilson?” Chief Hall eyed her with a bit of worry.

Kirsten rubbed her diaphragm. “I had worse from a Tri-Valley player during last year’s tournament.” It hurt to take more than a shallow breath, but she was pretty sure nothing was broken.

“Would you like to press charges?”

“She’s a child,” one of the women in the crowd said.

“I’m not the one dumb enough to assault a child in front of five law officers,” Chief Hall replied mildly. “Or her mother.”

“She tried to kill us.” Simon jabbed his right index finger in the direction of Mom. Several of his cronies nodded and muttered in agreement.

“If I wanted to kill you, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” Mom said calmly.

“I want to file charges,” Jo spat. “Take a look at what these asshats did to my window. One of them threw a stone through my window. They’re damn lucky they didn’t hurt anyone.”

Chief Hall eyed the window and turned back to the crowd. “One of you want to take responsibility, or shall I charge everyone with disorderly conduct?”

“We have a right to defend ourselves,” Simon shouted.

“You don’t have a right to vandalize property and tie up downtown traffic,” Chief Hall said. Someone in the direction of South Mason Street honked their car horn as if to emphasize the police chief’s point.

“You can’t violate our first amendment rights!” Simon shouted. That seemed to be his method for dealing with things when he knew he was losing.

Kirsten counted to twenty before the chief smiled and sweetly said, “If that’s the way you want to play it, Mr. Simon.” She raised her voice. “Officers, every protest participant get a ticket if they don’t get back on the sidewalk in ten seconds. Ten, nine, eight…”

Most of the protestors scrambled back to the sidewalk in front of the courthouse, everyone except for Simon and a couple of others.

“Seven, six, five…” Chief Hall continued. Kirsten held her breath.

“Get on the sidewalk,” Simon said over his shoulder. Even as the last of his followers retreated, he stood toe-to-toe with Mom. “You are going to hell.”

Mom clenched her fists and extinguished the fireballs. “As a member of the press, I also have certain first amendment rights. You’d better remember that.”

Her statement broke Cory’s paralysis at the confrontation. He started snapping more pictures. Kirsten couldn’t blame the guy. The most excitement in town was usually high school games, car accidents, and the occasional fire.

“Two, one.” Chief Hall reached for her handcuffs on her utility belt. “Warren Simon, you are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent—”

The rest of what she said was swallowed by a chorus of boos and jeers from the protestors. Sheriffs’ deputies joined the police officers to form a wall between the crowd and the street. Eastbound traffic started to ease down Jackson Street while Chief Hall cuffed Simon.

Jo extinguish her fireballs as well, pivoted on her heel and marched back to her café. However, Mom and Simon continued to glare at each other.

Kirsten grabbed Mom’s arm and tugged on her. “Come on. Let’s get out of the street before Chief Hall has to arrest us, too.”

“Yes, run while you can, witch,” Simon spat.

Mom stepped closer to him. “I’d be very careful about who I threaten if I were you.”

“Rachel, step back,” Chief Hall barked.

“C’mon, Mom.” The last thing Kirsten wanted was to fight publicly with her own mother, but better that than getting into a brawl with the police or the protesters. No one would look good in that situation.

Mom relented, and the two of them retreated to the café. Kirsten glanced over her shoulder. Chief Hall escorted Simon to a squad car, but she stopped and exchanged words with Sheriff Birkheimer.

Inside the coffee shop, Jo took pictures of the damage to her store with her cell phone while Kirsten settled Mom in a chair on the other side of the dining area. Mary hurried back to the cooler and retrieved a bottle of water. She brought it over to Mom who accepted it with a tired smile.

“Thank you, Mary,” Mom murmured. All the tension flowed out of her, but she gripped Kirsten’s hand tightly. “I’m glad you kept your head out there, honey, but you shouldn’t have confronted those idiots.”

“Me confront them?” Kirsten squeezed Mom’s hand. “I seem to recall it was you and Jo tossing threats and fireballs. Besides, I was only trying to get Jo back inside before she did something stupid.”

“Me do something stupid?” Jo lowered her phone. “I didn’t start throwing rocks.”

The bell hanging on the door rang. Everyone jumped. Sheriff Birkheimer appeared poked his head around the edge. “Can I come in, ladies?”

“That depends,” Jo folded her arms over her chest. “What are you planning to do?”

“Now, Jo, you know I’m not your enemy.” He removed his hat and ran his hand over his short brown hair. “I’m here to make sure you guys are all right, and take your statements regarding the broken window.”

He pulled out his notebook and pen from his pocket. For the next half hour, he asked questions of the four people in the coffee shop when the rock crashed through the window. Another deputy came in and took pictures. Jo’s phone rang, and she disappeared back in her office to discuss the damages with her insurance company.

“Why are you really keeping us here, Jimmy?” Mom adopted the same cross-armed, wide feet posture Jo had when he came in. “You, of all people, know a reporter shouldn’t be part of the story, Rachel.” His tone was calm, but there was something in his eyes.

“Warren Simon wants you to file charges against Mom, doesn’t he?” Kirsten said.

“His lawyer has already called the mayor and the county commissioners.” Sheriff Birkheimer was obviously not happy about the situation from the way he fidgeted. “If we file charges against him, it’ll be all over the national news that we didn’t hold a witch to the same standards as a Normal.”

Mom jabbed her left index finger in Kirsten’s direction. “They threatened my daughter!”

“But they didn’t throw a fireball at her.” The sheriff played with the brim of his hat.

“No, they threw a stone through my aunt’s shop window!” The unfairness of the entire situation galled Kirsten, even though she knew how this would end.

“Did any of you get pictures or video of the jerk who threw it?” he asked.

Kirsten sagged. Mom, Mary, and Rose all shook their heads.

“They’ve got video of Mom throwing the fireball, don’t they?” Kirsten hugged herself.

“Yeah.” Sheriff Birkheimer grimaced. “Damn thing’s already been uploaded to the Humanity Now website and getting hits. It doesn’t make you look good, Rachel.”

Mom muttered a two-word phrase Kirsten had never heard her say, but it definitely applied to the protesters. Mary covered her mouth with both hands, her eyes wide.

“Tell Jo I’ll swing by with the incident when I get my coffee in the morning.” The sheriff replaced his hat and nodded to everyone. He and the deputy with the camera left.

“What do we do about the window?” Mary asked.

“We clean up the glass and see if we can get a delivery from the lumberyard in the next hour,” Kirsten said. She head for the back room of the store to fetch the broom, the dustpan, and the huge heavy-duty rubber trash can.

Simon had definitely been trying to goad Jo into doing something stupid. Unfortunately, Mom delivered what the Humanity Now idiots wanted. Now, they knew why, but what on earth did they do to stop the organization form using that blasted video against all supernaturals?