Tag Archives: witches

Vacation day one: Author problems

I worked on Lizzie and the hat this morning, and am struggling with a few different things. This usually means it’s time to jump stories.

As I take this series further, I’m getting great mileage out of expanding the supernatural world around Lizzie St. Laurent. If you’ve followed the series, Good Liniment is a prime example. The witches coven is fertile ground to spawn new tales.

I’ve done some of that, but don’t want it to become a theme. I never want to feel like I’m dialing it in because I have access to more powerful characters to help Lizzie in her efforts.

My intent is for Goodbye Old Paint to be more light-hearted and geared more toward the humor side. Past tales did this with a scoop of graphic violence, but this one doesn’t really need that.

I finished my chapter this morning, and the monsters behind the story have all been dealt with. Problem is that I’m at just over 30,000 words. I want all these to come in at slightly over 40K. That’s one hell of a denouement.

I added a section about Night Bump Radio and that always seems to fit into these stories. What’s left is returning some of the blackmail to the government agents who forced Lizzie into this project, a gig with her band, then a girls night with her new besties. (Two witches)

At the outside, I could include an epilog about the government domestic spying. Kind of like horror films always show you the real monster still exists.

Including any or all of these things feels right, but I don’t know if there’s 10,000 words there.

Part of the fun of writing an ongoing series is all the new ideas. I came up with a cool character that’s going to force me to dive into philosophy, and a monster that’s kind of gruesome and unique. Fortunately, I have years to think about them and find a plot for them.

I’ll have to figure out how, with my monster killing the homeless people and leaving no evidence behind, how is Lizzie ever going to get on the trail in the first place. Right now my options are Detective Joe Yoder, or Kevin the vampire. Maybe something else will come to me in the next year.

I need to figure out my new unaffiliated witch/circus midget/former philosophy professor and what kind of monster Lizzie will be chasing to lead her to his door. Then it’s all going to lead to a bipolar talking toilet, because it is one of those stories.

I’ve started cheat sheets for both characters so I don’t forget anything.

It really does feel like time to switch back to Mari’s story in the swamp. Maybe something will pop into my head while I’m being more serious.

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I couldn’t stop myself

Today was one of those rare writing days that only seems to come along once per year. I even goofed off before I got started. Old What’s Her Face bought me some New Orleans style coffee with chicory, and I took my time to enjoy it. Made a trip around the yard to water plants, and checked in on my Story Empire friends for a while.

I knew either story could lunge forward today. They were both at that point where I could really accomplish something. I was feeling kind of upbeat and went for Goodbye Old Paint. Lizzie and the hat it was.

Mari’s story is a little more grim, so I’m saving that for a different day.

I still believe in torturing my main characters, so Lizzie didn’t get completely off the hook. I’ve done a lot to her over the volumes, so today I gave her a curse.

This volume is intended to be a little more light hearted than before, but it’s still dark humor. Basically, she started turning into a toad. I peppered this with moments of normalcy that eventually faded into madness. Many bugs were eaten.

The hat freaked out, and couldn’t find his go-to guy, Dash Goodman. In desperation he called Joyeux DuPont. I already set some of this up in a previous session, so the phone number was easily available.

A bit of research at Good Liniment, then Joyeux picked up Lizzie and the hat and whisked them away to visit with a new character. In her classic fastback Barracuda, no less.

Mad Mellinger is my kitchen witch, and between her and Joyeux, they conjured up a cure for Lizzie. It’s pure madness, I promise. I was inspired by those videos where someone is returning home after wisdom tooth extraction. The ones where they say all kinds of stupid crap. Lizzie has a lot to live down now.

It’s important to view my witches as an outsider, because Lizzie isn’t one of them. On the rare occasion I need them to flesh something out, I used the hat in kind of a Dr. Watson role to ask a question.

I’m super excited about all the goofy crap I included in today’s session. From Lizzie trying to make a burrow while under the spadefoot curse, to a couple of Deez-Nuts jokes, it was a great day.

Since Joyeux has plant based magic, and is basically an herbalist, it was easy enough to have her provide the magical ingredients for Mad to cook up. That worked out quite well.

I always try to keep my witches to a certain plan. Their houses are kind of unusual and isolated from everyone else. I’d already written Joyeux’s converted water tower about a month ago. I decided Mad lives in a converted barn. It’s a pretty cool repurposing of an old building.

They have wands, and they aren’t like other writers use. Dash has an old pipe wrench. I noted once before that Joyeux uses a garden dibble. It might seem pretty simple, but Mad’s wooden spoon just seems to fit her magical style. I also peppered her location with some fat hens, and a few beehives, but they weren’t more than scenery.

There’s an egg scrying scene, and I’m going to have something similar before Mad’s section ends, but this vision is for Lizzie.

I even added a section that reveals Joyeux is from Detroit. It’s a long shot, but if I ever write my Detroit story, it could now tie into the hat universe with a bit of magic involved in that plot.

Right now, I have two loose plans that could support the hat series. One is the Detroit story, and another involves Dash Goodman going solo in his own story. Don’t know if I’ll ever get to them, but they’re ideas, anyway.

I want to get this one to the point that Lizzie is aimed back at what caused her curse, with a vengeance. That means spending the night at Mad’s place, driving back, then dealing with some real world problems. After that, I’m going to pick up Mari’s swamp story once more.

I never noted my stopping place last time, but by the miracle of WordPress, I did note it here last weekend. Today’s word count is – not joking – over eight-thousand words. It’s bound to be full of typos, and too many words, but I’ll deal with all that tomorrow morning.

Right now, I think I need to find something to watch on one of the streaming services and veg out.

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I was supposed to read today

I’m a couple of books behind right now, and have some serious reading I need to get on with. I earmarked this holiday for that purpose, but it never happened.

Things were flowing so well for Lizzie and the hat, that I couldn’t help myself. The wild goose chase continues, but she accomplished some things today that should help her out with her assignment.

Joyeux had to turn Lizzie down cold. The device she wanted to borrow is still in use, and Joyeux can’t spare it right now.

Help came via Cyrus Yoder, but it was Destiny the elemental that made her new device. It’s a mallet. The old fashioned kind that looks similar to half of a rolling pin. I can’t wait to see what kind of monkey business I can concoct with that device.

Cyrus is still grouchy and reserved. Dash is still helpful when he’s allowed to be, and Noodles made his first appearance. He’s going to have a bigger role in this story, but I never got that far.

Fallout from a giant flood is part of the influence in this book. Lizzie is broke. (When isn’t she) Venues for her band are struggling, so the hat booked the band into a junior high dance. I’ll probably get to that bit on my next writing session.

It was a good four-day author stretch. I moved both Mari’s and Lizzie’s stories ahead. Mari’s word count is at 23,800. Lizzies is at 12,500.

I’d like Lizzie’s story to remain at that short novel size. So she might be 25% finished. Mari’s story is intended for a full sized novel, so perhaps 25%, but it might come in a bit shorter.

I expect things to slow down with the changes being made at my workplace. It’s okay. I have two complete novels in the can right now, add these two, and I’m in a pretty good position.

I’ll need to set aside some time to add the cartoons to The Midnight Rambler, and do a final editing pass on it before fall. I will also take time to edit book one of my space opera, which still needs a title.

I might have to use my headphones and read during the evenings. They tend to drown out whatever Old What’s Her Face has on television so I can concentrate.

I hope all of you who got a holiday found a way to enjoy it.

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Strange thought today

My family has never been one for Hallmark holidays. I haven’t heard from any of my kids today, and it really doesn’t matter.

I’ve been dwelling on the idea that last year I called my father and wished him a Happy Father’s Day. It was the last time I would ever do that, and I kind of wish I could today. Strange idea, but if you follow this blog or read my fiction, you can consider the source.

Aside from that, it was another low word count day. I feel much better about it, though. The wild goose chase has begun. Lizzie and the hat left Good Liniment in search of Joyeux DuPont.

Joyeux has a cool new house I wanted to describe. The witches in this series are kind of eccentric. They have to fit into modern society, almost hide among us. When they’re at home they can be themselves. I try to make their homes something just a degree off the standard. We’ve seen Evelyn’s 1960s rancher and Cyrus’ Victorian. You will soon see Professor Lagomorph’s modern architectural nightmare.

Joyeux bought an old water tower. The kind that used to house city offices in the lower levels. She’s in the process of turning it into her home.

I rarely blurt out what any witch’s strong discipline is, except in the case of Dash Goodman. There are enough clues for readers to figure them out. Joyeux is turning the water tank into her personal greenhouse, and it’s already filled with some cool things. I think readers are going to like her. She got a brief intro in Good Liniment, but will get more of a chance to shine in this story.

If you’re a fan of Noodles, the pet creature, he’s going to shine in this one, too.

While it was a low volume day, I feel better now that the chase is on. This one should pick up the pace now, and I have tomorrow available, too.

Call your dad and wish him a Happy Father’s Day while you still can.

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Tattoos & Portents

Hey, everyone, we have a visitor today. Judi Lynn is here to tell us all about her new book, Tattoos & Portents.

Judi is an author friend of mine, and we would both appreciate you checking out her wares, maybe visiting her blog, and using a selection of those sharing buttons. Such activity really helps an author make a splash with a new release.

Here’s Judi to tell us all about it:

Hi, Craig! And thank you for sharing your blog with me today. I’ve come to promote my new book, TATTOOS & PORTENTS. It’s a supernatural mystery. I love mysteries and urban fantasy, so tried to combine the two genres for the Muddy River series.

You’d think writing about witches, shifters, and demons, I wouldn’t do any research, but I ended up doing more than I expected. For one thing, I wanted more than the usual supernaturals to settle in Muddy River. Hester and her coven find the remote area first, and I needed a reason for them to travel to southwest Indiana and choose a location near the Ohio River that’s inconvenient to most mortals. The idea that came to mind was that they were fleeing the witch trials that obsessed most of Europe, Great Britain, Canada, and eventually Salem. They’d learned that mortals fear anything unknown to them, and when mortals were afraid enough, they became dangerous. Most of the supernaturals who run to hide have lost family members. They want to stay as far from mortals as possible. To the point that the witches cast wards to keep enemies from passing their borders, and the Fae cast an illusion spell so that mortals can’t even see Muddy River.

Witches weren’t the only ones persecuted, though. Every supernatural was in danger, so werewolves, demons, sirens, and vampires find Muddy River, too, and they all join together and get along. They have to, because they appoint Raven, a fire demon, as the area’s enforcer. Anyone who steps out of line is banished or turned to ashes. I did a little research on demons and found their origin started with Lillith, Adam’s first wife in the Garden of Eden, who eventually left him. Druids settle close enough to the town that they’re friendly neighbors. I knew a little about Druids but not much. I ended up researching their sacred trees, healing wells, and background. I never realized how learned Druid priests were. They could often speak several languages and were asked to preside as judges over difficult cases for kings and rulers of other areas. They didn’t write about their religion, though, passing its truth down from one person to another, so I could only include the things I found in articles. Neighbors farther to the south, across the Ohio River, are women who belong to a voodoo community. I only included the basics about voodoo in my stories because their magic, though Nature based like the witches’, feels so foreign to Hester.

But enough about research. In TATTOOS & PORTENTS, it’s nearing the end of December. And while most mortals in the area celebrate Christmas, the witches celebrate Yule. Unfortunately, this year, Hester and Raven learn that a voodoo priest is capturing witches, and they have to interrupt their festivities to find the witches and rescue them, and eventually battle the priest and the army of undead he’s creating.

https://amzn.to/3bfv20F

Blurb: Why are people returning to Muddy River with Celt tattoos on their arms and non-stop dreams? When Hester uses her magic to help a sleepless friend, she discovers that the dreams are pleas for help from witches who’ve been captured by armies of undead. A voodoo priest has created them, but for what purpose? And how can she and Raven find him to stop him?

Thanks so much for hosting me, Craig! I appreciate it.

Bio for Judith Post

Judi Lynn lives in Indiana with her husband, a bossy gray cat, a noisy Chihuahua, and a parakeet. She loves to cook and owns more cookbooks than any mortal woman would ever need. That’s why so much food sneaks into her stories. She also loves her flower beds, but is a haphazard gardener, at best. She writes cozy mysteries for Lyrical Press and paranormal mysteries on Amazon.

My blog & webpage: http://writingmusings.com/

My author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JudiLynnwrites/

Twitter: @judypost

On BookBub at Judi Lynn with a link to Judith Post (for my urban fantasies): https://www.bookbub.com/authors/judi-lynn

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