How in the name of the goddess’s favorite sports bra am I going to do this Magical Librarian job? I have no idea what I’m doing. And the woman who’s supposed to be training me is…well, let’s just say she’s distracted and leave it at that. I guess I’ll bumble through. It’s become something of a trademark move for me.
My name is Naida Griffith and I’m a sorceress. I actually found that out not too long ago. I’ve lived with an undefined something burning in my belly for a while, feeling as if something wasn’t quite right under my skin. Then, on my eighteenth birthday I started getting headaches. Bad ones. And random stuff started following me around.
Recently I was approached by a group called the Société of Dire Magic to become Keeper of the Artifacts. A magical librarian. Given that magical artifacts have taken to following me around, I decided I might have an aptitude for the job. So I said yes.
But in the first few days, I’ve been flogged by flip flops, bludgeoned by gnomes, and discovered a corpse in a suitcase. Then there’s the woman who’s supposed to be training me. She’s…interesting.
Will I survive the training long enough to get the job as artifact librarian? You might as well ask me if a caterpillar gets manis or pedis. Who knows? But I know one thing for sure. This gig is hard. I’m going to do my best to succeed. Or die trying.
When Sebille suggests I open the bookstore up to a small holiday party, I foolishly agree. How was I supposed to know that the hobgoblin would decide it would be fun to hide everybody’s stuff? Or that we’d be hit with a freak winter storm that confined everybody inside for the duration. Or that a “You’re me but who am I?” spell would be released inside the shop, switching everybody’s identities and creating general chaos and hysteria?
I could probably deal with all that if it weren’t for the fact that my friend, Lea…the one person who could possibly reverse the spell…was ensconced in SB the parrot, with no opposable thumbs for spelling.
And me? Of course, I’m sitting fat and squishy inside Mr. Slimy. Thank goodness Rustin isn’t currently in residence, or it would be really crowded in here.
Who spelled my party? What do a pair of Santa’s elves have to do with it? And why have old enemies suddenly become new friends? I apparently have a little holiday mystery to solve inside Croakies, and I have no idea how I’m going to solve it with everybody mixed up and some of us human.
It isn’t every day that you find yourself staring at a
frog’s squishy butt bulging from the underside of a sink drain. I would have
felt better if I’d believed it would never happen again. However, because I
appeared to be frog-cursed, there was a strong possibility I’d eventually end
up lying on my back under the sink, eyeing the posterior region of Mr. Slimy
Sighing, I gave the squishy bulk a tentative poke with my
finger, earning a forlorn, “Ribbit!” for my efforts. Something trickled
downward, hitting my cheek and dripping down to the paper towel I had draped
under my head to keep “under the sink” cooties off my hair.
I realized, too late, what had just dripped on me.
“Argh!” I shoved out from under the sink and bent over while
grabbing frantically for more paper towel to wipe frog pee off my cheek. “I
can’t believe it!”
The figure lounging against my refrigerator grinned. “You shouldn’t
poke a stressed frog, Naida.”
I glared at the source of almost all my problems.
Okay, I know I previously said that about Mr. Wicked, my
adorable kitten who was probably better at being an artifact keeper than I was.
But I’d reassessed the players and decided Rustin Quilleran, former witch and
current frog squatter, was definitely more trouble than my sweet little kitten.
I mean, Wicked was curled up on his pillow, purring happily.
Rustin was driving a fat frog bus that got itself jammed in
my drain and peed on my face.
I’ll let you do the math.
“Not funny. You need to keep a better lock on the contents
of your bladder.”
His grin widened. “I think you have a mistaken view of my
ability to control your wedged friend,” he told me. “I’m just a passenger on
that particular bus.”
Which, normally I’d be happy about. I mean, when Rustin had
gotten stuck in the frog because of a spell his horrible family had performed,
I’d felt terrible. We’d tried everything to get him out of there. But, in the
end, the evil Jacob Quilleran had interfered, making certain poor Rustin didn’t
escape the fate Jacob had locked him into.
I still hadn’t found out why Rustin’s Uncle Jacob had felt
the need to lock him in a frog.
Rustin wasn’t being very forthcoming with the information.
I hurried past him, into my bathroom, where I put soap onto
the wet paper towel and scrubbed my cheek until I was in danger of removing a
layer of skin cells along with the frog pee.
“What are you doing here, then? Standing there laughing isn’t
helping at all.”
Rustin shrugged. “I was bored. Your life is generally good
for a few laughs. I’m happy to report that this morning has been no exception.”
I barely resisted zapping him with my almost worthless
keeper magics. I pretty much had only enough oomph in my zapper to curl
someone’s hair or make them pee themselves.
Trust me when I tell you I’d had enough of making stuff pee
for the day.
Flinging the soiled paper towel into the trash, I glared at
him. “I’m so glad I could entertain.”
“Me too.” His grin never wavered.
A part of me was happy to see it. I’d been so worried that
Rustin would lose his humanity because of his enforced incarceration in the
frog. But his cousin Maude and his very powerful Aunt Madeline had been working
on reversing the spell. They hadn’t managed yet to free him. But they’d created
a metaphysical barrier between Mr. Slimy’s ─ a.k.a. the frog’s ─ consciousness
and Rustin’s so he could maintain his power, brain capacity, and
humanity…basically his soul.
That was as good a result as we could have hoped for under
Even though that meant, as Mr. Slimy’s current foster parent,
I was also the unlucky owner of the ethereally handsome and eternally snarky
witch who was stuck inside the frog.
You thought I was kidding about the challenges of my life,
The bell jangled downstairs in my bookstore, and I glanced
at my stuck amphibian.
“Ribbit.” Slimy’s sticky tongue snapped out and snagged a
massive fly that had tried to make a break for the window above the sink.
I looked at Rustin. “Keep an eye on the squishy, green bus.
I have to go see who’s downstairs.”
He nodded, casting what appeared to be an affectionate
glance toward Mr. Slimy.
I shook my head. How anybody could be fond of a frog was
Although, I realized as I bounced down the steps to the
first floor, that I’d begun to form an attachment which transcended disgust. In
fact, I almost dreaded the day Madeline managed to find a way to extract her
nephew. I was going to miss him.
Unlocking the door that separated the bookstore from the
artifact library behind me, I blinked in surprise.
Had I just had a Freudian moment? Was I going to miss the
witch? Or the frog?
I shrugged, shoving the question aside for another time. It
would probably be an easy choice.
Sometimes it's the unlikeliest pair who form a bond, as in my new paranormal cozy series, Enchanted Inquiries. In Book 1: Tea & Croakies, we're introduced to a magically gifted cat and a frog that's possessed by the spirit of a wronged witch.
Unlikely friends? Yes. But friends none-the-less. Circumstances, mutual relationships, and natural affinities all work together to create a bond that withstands treachery, mishap, and deadly challenge to strengthen a natural connection into something inexplicable but good.
Other relationships are less inexplicable…erm…more explicable? LOL I'm talking about the relationship between you and the book characters you learn to love. That's part of the magic in a well-written book. You can find new friends, immerse yourself into their lives and root for them, cry for them, laugh with them until you form such a bond you can't wait to see them again.
That's what it means when you hear readers lament, “I didn't want it to end!” Writers sometimes overlook the importance of that sentiment. We have limited time, limited resources, and stories banging together in our heads trying to escape. We can't write everything for everybody. It's just not possible. Sometimes we have to make an emotional decision to end a series. Sometimes it's a purely business one. But whatever the reason, we do ourselves a disservice not to heed the cries of people who've bonded with our characters. We need to cherish that bond. Rejoice in it. Because it means we've truly touched the hearts of our readers.
An awesome thing.
There's one relationship element you might not consider as a reader. The writer's bond with the characters. You see it in the progression of a series. The way the characters grow, become three- and four-dimensional, and the way the author treats them as they move through their days, their lives, the phases of their stories.
We bond with our characters too.
This is why first books in series don't usually rate as well as subsequent books. In the beginning, we're just getting to know our characters like you are. No matter how much thought we put into them before we write them, they don't stick to the dossier we have of them in our heads. They evolve and morph as we put them through their paces. They grow into their own people. The story changes them into what they were always meant to be.
So embrace those book friendships. They're fun and healthy and ultimately oh so satisfying. But understand that authors deal with much the same thing when we create our characters. In many ways, they're our friends, our confidants, our not-so-cheap therapy! LOL And when we share them with you, we're entrusting you with a little piece of our hearts. I mean, isn't that what friends do?
Happy sleuthing, everybody! xx
Begin the Journey – Grab a Copy of Tea & Croakies
I knew when I woke up with a migraine that things were going
to get interesting. As a magical artifact wrangler, it’s not an unusual way to
start my day. But I had no idea how bad it was going to get.
Until I found a frog sitting in my teacup.
Even that, I could explain to myself if I had to. After all,
I have a creative mind. But when the frog started talking to me, yeah, I was
pretty sure I’d taken the wrong kind of pill that morning for my headache.
only I’d realized then what I know now. The talking frog was just the beginning
of my problems. And quite a beginning it was!