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reblogged: A Difficult Funeral, aka a scene from Dowser 1.5

October 17, 2014

I noticed that a few visitors to my blog found this piece of flash fiction from Sept 20, 2013 today. I’d practically forgotten all about it. I think I’d intended on writing more shorts, but then just focused on the novels. I thought you might get a kick out of it, so I’m reblogging.

———————–

This 1300 word flash fiction — inspired by the Spin the Wheel of Conflict challenge issued by Chunk Wendig — is set three weeks after the events in my urban fantasy novel, Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic. As such, it contains SPOILERS for that story. Please read the following at your own risk … wow, that sounds ominous.

Also, this has not been professionally edited or proofed (yet), but I hope you enjoy getting a glimpse of Jade in between novels none-the-less.

———————-

A Difficult Funeral

I hadn’t been sure what shoes to wear. What shoes I was supposed wear to the funeral of the man my sister murdered and then ate.

Actually, I had that order wrong — consistently — in my head. But I couldn’t seem to bear the understanding when I reversed it.

So, yeah. Shoes. And cupcakes. I baked cupcakes. A new recipe, but I didn’t mention that part to anyone.

It wasn’t really a funeral, as in a ceremony set in a church or anything formal. Rather a day set aside by the family for grieving … for saying condolences.

Gran had insisted we make an appearance. But now, faced with the dingy around the edges Georgian mansion of the Novaks, I wasn’t sure I could do it. I wasn’t sure I’d make it out in one piece. Mentally. With Gran and Scarlett by my side, no one would lift more than a sneer to me. If that. The Godfrey coven was formidable. A fact I’d only just learned even though I’d been a de facto member for twenty-three years now. I’d chosen boots instead of shoes. My black Babycake Minis, to be exact. The Vancouver spring had been unusually warm and dry. But today, it was appropriately threatening to rain.

“Ten minutes,” Scarlett murmured to my right. I was getting a crook in my neck from staring up at the house. The Novaks were old money, as old as money got in Canada. But I hadn’t known that until Scarlett turned the car towards Shaughnessy five minutes before we’d arrived. I’d hoped the drive would take longer.

Scarlett brushed her fingers down my arm. Her charismatic magic tingled in a wake across my skin. I should have worn a sweater, not just a black lace scarf. And the boots were wrong too. Not formal enough.

Gran stepped forward, and I automatically followed. She’d rolled her long gray braid in a bun today. That was as formal as she got. Scarlett, of course, outshone us all — in her navy dress that was cut just so and the perfect length — as always. Her strawberry blond hair gleamed against the gray backdrop of the cloudy day.

“Should we be here?” I asked and not for the first time. No one answered me. They’d stopped after the first two times.

Other cars lined the curved driveway. We’d parked at the curb. Vancouver boasted a very small Adept community, but this was still a tiny turnout. And we were late.

As we approached, I could feel the magic of the Adept gathered in the house even with the familiar taste of Scarlett and Gran beside me.

Something caught my eye and I looked toward the blooming rhododendron bushes edging the property. The vampire, Kett, showed himself to me and then slipped further into the shadows. His presence didn’t help. Sienna had tried to kill us all not three weeks ago. I didn’t need the reminder.

A necromancer opened the door. Not Rusty’s mother or sister, who I’d never met, but some familial connection. I could tell by the underlying taste of her magic. An aunt, perhaps.

She smiled tightly at Gran. “Pearl. Thank you for coming.”

“We won’t stay,” Gran answered.

We stepped into the entrance way. It was marble. Stairs, the carpet runner down the middle worn with use, swooped up from in front of us to the second floor. A few more Adepts —  their magic tingling my senses — stood through an archway that led to the drawing room. They’d all stopped to pretend they weren’t staring at us.

Someone — deeper in the house — was weeping. The handle of the plastic tray I was holding cracked in my hand. The cupcakes tumbled to the side. Three landed on the ground before I steadied the tray. A boy, his features painfully similar to Rusty’s, darted forward to pick the cupcakes up.

“Oh, so sorry,” the necromancer aunt said. “I should’ve taken those. You’re lovely for bringing them.”

Her apology hit me in the gut. I smiled. My clenched jaw shot pain into my temple, which was good as it cleared my head a little. “My condolences,” I said as I passed the tray to her. I kept the broken piece of plastic clutched in my left hand. The boy — a cousin I guessed from my little knowledge of the familial line — placed the three squashed cupcakes on the tray and then carried the whole thing through to the drawing room.

The person — a girl, I thought — was still crying. It was obvious that no one but I could hear her.

“Those cupcakes won’t last five minutes,” the necromancer said. I was fairly certain I was supposed to know her name though she was from out of town.

I wondered if she was here for moral support during the tribunal that was set to start Monday. I hoped so.

“Danica?” Gran asked.

“Of course. Please, this way,” the necromancer said. She turned to lead us into the drawing room.

I followed Gran. Scarlett stopped to speak to someone I hadn’t even noticed as I passed. I felt muffled, as if I was wrapped in gauze. Even all the magic swirling around me barely made an impression. Normally, I’d be getting a buzz off being around this many of the Adept.

The room was filled with pictures. Literally every inch of the wall and table space was covered in family photographs. Some black and white dated way back. Some showed the characteristic yellowing of the seventies. Even more were obviously recent additions. And if they weren’t of Rusty then they contained someone who looked like him. Obviously, genes ran true in the Novak clan.

Gran bent over a woman sitting on an overstuffed, floral print armchair by a bay window that overlooked the lush green of the side yard. Danica. Rusty’s Mother. However, it was me Danica locked gazes with over Gran’s shoulder. Her red-rimmed eyes were the shape of Rusty’s, and her hair a shade lighter. The underlying tone of her magic — sugared violets — the exact taste of her son’s. She wasn’t the person weeping. The weeping that was suddenly all I could hear, but then maybe that was just because everyone had just dropped the pretense of conversation.

The boy from before passed Rusty’s mother one of my cupcakes on a china side plate. She accepted it and didn’t drop my gaze as she bit into it. Then she smiled at me. A tight smile full of pain.

Some people thought I laced the cupcakes I baked with a bit of my magic. These chocolate carrot cake with chocolate cream cheese icing cupcakes I called, Solace in a Cup.

I turned and left. It was rude and probably unforgivable according to Gran, but I still couldn’t hear anything but the weeping. My own tears were lodged in my chest, collected around the permanent pain that was all I had left of my sister, because how could I cry? How could I mourn for a sister who’d murdered her boyfriend all because she wanted to be special? Because she wanted to be more special than me. So Rusty was dead because of me. Because I was stupid, slow, and foolhardy.

And still I couldn’t cry.

I stepped out into the fresh air. It had started to rain.

I began to walk home. The vampire followed never showing himself, but always at my back.

It was cold comfort.

I looked down at the piece of broken plastic in my hand. It had sliced the skin of my palm — cut that would have needed stitches on a human. The wound, released from the plastic shard, instantly healed.

I wished that Sienna had stabbed me through the heart instead of twice in the gut, because at least that would have a chance of healing.

Before she ate and then killed Rusty.

Well, at least I had the order straight now.

I See Me, Oracle 1 – Synopsis

October 17, 2014

Oracle_1_eBookThe day I turned nineteen, I expected to gain what little freedom I could within the restrictions of my bank account and the hallucinations that had haunted me for the last six years. I expected to drive away from a life that had been dictated by the tragedy of others and shaped by the care of strangers. I expected to be alone.

Actually, I relished the idea of being alone.

Instead, I found fear I thought I’d overcome. Uncertainty I thought I’d painstakingly planned away. And terror that was more real than anything I’d ever hallucinated before.

I’d seen terrible, fantastical, and utterly impossible things … but not love. Not until I saw him.

(tentative) Release Day: Thursday, October 30, 2014

Want to be the first to know? Make sure you’ve signed up for the new release mailing list.

Oracle 1 – Cover Reveal

October 11, 2014

It’s my birthday today. To celebrate, I thought I would share the cover of  I See Me, Oracle 1 with you as a treat.

I’ll have a synopsis and release date for you next week (hopefully), but for now, you (and I) will have to make do with your first glimpse of Rochelle:

 

Oracle_1_eBook

 

This gorgeous art is the combined-genius of Irene Langholm and Elizabeth Mackey. I’m truly blessed that both of these talented ladies agreed to work together to launch the Oracle Series.

More treats to come …

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, INDEED!!

What do you think?

Kelly’s box of chocolate

September 26, 2014

I have been exceedingly blessed in the last few years by lovely readers who have become supportive friends, some of whom I haven’t even met in person yet. I’ve talked about Gertie and her cupcake support committee herehere, and here (one for each Dowser book). I also still have Karen’s trinket hanging on my monitor where I get to see it every morning.

And then there is lovely Kelly. She sent this:

wrapped box for blog

 

<3 I’ve made a screensaver out of the above image <3

I knew a treat was coming, because Kelly and I had been trying to meet for a hot chocolate last month – yes, we know each other in real life, however our paths do not naturally cross :( But life was insanely busy with moving and family. Kelly finally convinced me that she should just mail the package to me as a house warming gift.

This is what was so brilliantly packaged inside – yes, brand new chocolate!!!

unwrapped box for blog

 

Five freaking kilograms of Ocoa by Cacao Barry to be exact!! That’s 11.02 pounds for my American friends. I, of course, immediately opened, poured, and tasted :)

bowl of chocolate for blog

 

This huge box of “support” will get me through writing a couple of more Dowser books, at the very least. I’m thinking of making brownies, cupcakes, and perhaps some Chewy Gooey Chocolate Cookies with it.

In fact, I’m designing up some new cupcakes for Dowser 4 and I’m seriously thinking of using this chocolate to make them, then sending tasters to Kelly for her approval. That won’t even dent this box of goodness – yes, I’m greedy and selfishly-bent when it comes to good chocolate.

Thank you Kelly, for all your support and the chocolate. It is – you are – very appreciated and cherished!

Read-a-long with the author: Cupcakes (Etc) – Chapter Four

September 11, 2014

Okay! My thoughts on chapter three of  Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic. I tweeted my fav quotes as I came upon them, but I’ll share a digest below as well.

Cupcakes _2nd book cover

WARNING: I assume there may be spoilers in the comments – because this is hopefully going to be a discussion – but I’ll try to keep my main post pretty spoiler free. Though, as the chapters progress, I’m sure that will change.

HUDSON … HUDSON … HUDSON!

OMG, Hudson. Sigh.

But first Jade:

 … I batted at the phone with my foot, but the screen didn’t recognize my toes’ right to shut off the alarm.

And Kandy :)

“Yes. Your magic is tasty.” This time the wolf did show her teeth when she smiled. I thought that might indicate the conversation was moving in the wrong direction … the woman-eating direction, and not the good kind.

Then Hudson!

Out of the corner of my eye, as I hung my head upside down, I watched him spread his long fingers palm down on the mat by his feet. He reached easily ten inches across — with each hand — and I desperately tried to block the image of those hands across twenty inches of my body.

And again:

“Ah, but you’re the one who already wouldn’t agree to firsts without lasts,” he said. Ever so lightly, he touched the small of my back to direct me up the street toward Whole Foods. “And by lasts, you meant forever, didn’t you? Wolves, you will find, understand all about forevers.”

And again.

 “Kandy will watch over you while I’m gone. I’d like to take you to dinner.”

“You’re guarding me?”

“Kandy is guarding you. I’m attempting to date you.”

No wonder Jade swooned for him so hard!

What are your thoughts on the fourth chapter?

Read-a-long with the author:

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four – above

Chapter Five – to be linked

Read-a-long with the author: Cupcakes (Etc) – Chapter Three

September 11, 2014

Okay! My thoughts on chapter three of  Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic. I tweeted my fav quotes as I came upon them, but I’ll share a digest below as well.

Cupcakes _2nd book cover

WARNING: I assume there may be spoilers in the comments – because this is hopefully going to be a discussion – but I’ll try to keep my main post pretty spoiler free. Though, as the chapters progress, I’m sure that will change.

Dancing and wild magic and Hudson. Oh, Hudson, Hudson.

I wanted to press myself against him. I wanted to taste him with my actual mouth, not just my magical senses. I wanted a different kind of build and release, but that wasn’t how I played this game.

Everyone knew that witches didn’t run with wolves.

Noooo!!! Why does Jade have to be to moral … and, reading into her actions here, why is she so scared of magic, specifically her own?

And then HIM. It’s interesting to me that some readers finish book one having leaped to the conclusion that Desmond/McGrowly is “typically” gorgeous and gruff. In my mind he’s not. He truly scares Jade. That should tell you a lot about her (especially as the books progress).

But Jade can’t ever admit anything completely straight-up, can she? Not early in the first book – LOL

I was pretty sure he was going to eat me, but only after he played with me for a while. And not in a satiating, mutual bliss sort of way. This one liked to hunt, and he kept what he killed.

And, just when you think the rest of Jade’s night is going to be smooth sailing, the vampire shows up again. Damn, vampire.

I was becoming uncomfortably aware of the yawning darkness of the vampire-filled night behind me. Okay, so it was just one vampire. He was one too many.

What are your thoughts on the third chapter?

Read-a-long with the author:

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three – above

Chapter Four

Read-a-long with the author: Cupcakes (Etc) – Chapter Two

September 11, 2014

Okay! My thoughts on chapter two of  Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic. I tweeted my fav quotes as I came upon them, but I’ll share a digest below as well.

Cupcakes _2nd book cover

WARNING: I assume there may be spoilers in the comments – because this is hopefully going to be a discussion – but I’ll try to keep my main post pretty spoiler free. Though, as the chapters progress, I’m sure that will change.

Side note: I’ve noticed as I do these blog posts that I’m obviously I’m fixating on Jade as I read rather than the plot, but that’s cool. Since this exercise is about getting me back in Jade’s head before I tackle Dowser 4 again, it’s good that she is grabbing my attention.

If you have thoughts/questions about the plot though, let me know :)

Okay, so … reading between the lines (at this point) Jade is surrounded by dysfunctional relationships. She has her head deep in the sand about it, though. On a personal note, Jade is a lot like me in this instance – loyal to a fault and willing to give and give …

Jade’s break-up with an ex-boyfriend is cast as a joke here, but this simple passage could really be read into if you were so inclined.

It had been an expensive lesson. Don’t break up with people when they’re in your home and holding onto fragile, expensive stuff.

The second section that stood out for me was a conversation between Rusty and Jade. She just has such an amusing way of distancing herself from things that utterly terrify her … sarcasm – and chocolate – are her coping mechanisms.

“I’d prefer to not be bitten at all, rather than just have my death avenged.”

“Right. Well, if he was crazy, there’d be bodies everywhere.”

Oh, that was comforting. Insane vampires were slaughtering fiends. Since I hadn’t noticed anyone dead, I must be first on his list.

I absolutely adore the entire scene in the club bathroom – is it okay to love a scene I’ve written so much? Jade is certainly nothing like the vampire expected her to be.

“I thought you weren’t going to bite me tonight,” I said, pleased that my voice sounded much calmer than my mind.

He tilted his head and gazed at my neck … actually, at my carotid artery. My pulse sped up; I was surprised it could get any higher.

“I wasn’t,” he murmured.

“Well, watching my blood move through my veins isn’t going to be helpful, then.”

And this:

Well, that was terribly flattering news. I’d always wanted to feel odd.

And add Sienna to the mix:

“And you were … what? Giving him a blow job in the bathroom stall?”

“Yes, Sienna. I was giving a vampire a blow job, because that’s all vamps really want from a girl.”

What are your thoughts on the second chapter?

Read-a-long with the author:

Chapter One

Chapter Two – above

Chapter Three

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