Greetings, folks. Buckle in, this post will be a bit long and all over the place. But first, a picture I took in Australia of a birb! I do quite love Australia’s birbs. So many, so nice! This birb was PINK. And we all know how I feel about pink.
Anyway, please do not edit, comment on editing, or do any editing type things in this post. Nothing here has been edited. And I mean NOTHING. This is out-of-the-box raw. If you don’t like that, look away.
A mountain of paperwork, some dating to twenty to thirty years prior to my birth, took over the RV’s table and threatened to spill onto the floor. An amused Jake lounged on the couch and observed me face off against my foe. In his effort to combat the scorching heat and humidity of a Georgia summer, he’d removed his shirt. A rather enticing gleam of sweat proved difficult for me to ignore. If I wanted to get down to the bottom of the crime group after my dead head and why, I had to conquer the pages in front of me.
I needed to stop delaying my work to enjoy Jake and his bare chest.
The work might win at the rate it insisted on piling up.
Some were my adoption records, most of which had been flagged as forged. It’d taken the Inquisition and the black market working together to learn that very little of my documented life was real. The Inquisition suspected a kidnapping. The black market agreed, but they gave the idea of me being kidnapped as a baby a rather strange twist.
They suspected someone had taken me in an effort to hide me, likely from those behind the Greenwich case. Everyone associated with the files had died, and there was no information on my biological family. Nobody knew anything, not even in China or Tibet.
I questioned why everyone believed those behind the Greenwich case might want an infant from Tibet—or more accurately, why they might want something from my Tibetan parents.
I also questioned why I appeared to be American rather than Tibetan. My DNA didn’t lie, however.
There was nothing American about me.
Someone of good standing with China had inquired, and upon learning the background of the situation, China had given the Inquisition everything they knew about my situation.
On paper, I existed. My family did not. According to officials in China and Tibet, the town associated with my place of birth had been wiped out due to a natural disaster ten years before I’d been supposedly born, which had revealed my documents had been a clever forgery.
My supposed birthplace’s remote location had helped with the trick, but it had been a trick all the same, one designed to get me safely into the United States, where I’d been granted citizenship as an infant.
The United States, upon learning of the forgery and with a little prodding from the Inquisition, had issued me a new birth certificate and natural citizenship. China had done the same.
Both nations had opted to maintain the names on the original form at my request.
As long as my parents had names on a sheet of paper, they existed somewhere. I’d been give a promise if I found out they had different names, I could change my official records to match—if I wanted.
The fox in me wanted to scream over yet another abandonment. I withheld judgment. The Inquisition and the black market both made good points, and until I discovered the true story about my birth and life in the United States, I wouldn’t judge my mother and father.
Instead, I would cling to the thin hope I had a chance to experience what it was like to have parents who truly cared about me and wanted me to thrive and live.
The pile contained more about Ma’s story, too—and what had driven her to murder her baby and go on to try to kill me. Each fragmented piece of the puzzle added to my heartache. When everything came together, I feared the final story, one that told a tragedy of a father who’d suspected but couldn’t prove the fate of his child and of a mother so obsessed with perfection and religious adherence she would slaughter her children to preserve her soul’s sanctity.
I tried not to think about the matter of souls much. I couldn’t imagine anywhere other than some dark and terrible hell for a woman who’d destroyed her family over an infant’s illness and my refusal to become her version of perfection.
In a way, I resented that time did its work. I struggled to believe that last summer had slid into fall, we’d spent winter driving Mellisa and Amelia insane with our posturing, winter had faded to spring, and spring had once again bloomed into summer. According to Mellisa, we both had a way to go before either one of us counted as mentally and emotionally healthy, but I’d made good strides on the physical front.
Jake couldn’t count my ribs anymore. He tended to act like he still walked on thin ice, which annoyed me. The realization I’d recovered faster than he did kept me quiet and patient.
I’d come to terms with my ma’s betrayal in record time, focusing my efforts on learning about my past.
Jake struggled to find a balance between me, his future, and his parents, which slid further and further into the past category. The weekly calls had degraded to monthly, and it’d been three months since he’d considered initiating contact with his mother.
I gave it a few weeks before he decided to take the next step and find us a new pack, one where Mellisa and Amelia would enjoy unconditional welcome. In the year since we’d left from Baltimore, I’d grown more sensitive to the work he did to protect the women from the brewing resentment.
I considered the paperwork, my husband, and the problem of the wolves he needed as much as I did. My fox had come to understand she could thrive with only Jake, and she sought out the comforting presence of his wolf often. She’d also learned to distrust certain wolves although she adored others.
Jake’s father may as well have hung the moon in her sky, second only to Jake. Jake’s mother, on the other hand, reduced her to chitters of fury, which she sometimes expressed as screams of frustration in my head.
Some decisions were easier to make than others.
It took me three tries to find the right starting spot for this book. Fortunately, I only made it 400-600ish words per failed attempt to realize it wasn’t right before finding the spot that works well for the character and the tone I’m after.
Here is the opening sentence of the book: When I became bored, trouble happened.
Like Double Trouble, the book starts with a character on the wrong side of the law coming onto the scene. Unlike Double Trouble, there’s nothing innocent about Kelsie. She’s a big furry ball of feline, and she wants to have a good time… and hates getting bored.
That poor cop I have saddled her with. He’s going to be taken on quite the ride.
Behind the failed attempts were even more failures at just starting this book. I’ll be honest, with how life has been lately, I have not been in the mood for Magical Romantic Comedies. I’ve been more in the mood for stuff like Dead Weight, mystery layered on more mystery with a fun cast of characters binding everything together.
I’m already itching to work on the next book in the Magic, Mayhem, and the Law in Precinct #153 series. And honestly, I’ll be starting it several months ahead of my normal cool down time. I have to reread Dead Weight to pluck out the stuff Jace got wrong, (yes, Jace is not correct about everything because nobody ever is) and make sure the right characters locate those issues.
I’m expecting another 150,000 word monster, and Partner-in-Crime will continue layering on more mystery upon more mystery upon more mystery while gradually moving the crazy train in the right direction.
This series definitely isn’t going to be for everybody, nor do I want it to be for everybody.
1: Trust nobody, especially me.
2: My characters are human, so they make mistakes. These mistakes will result in you thinking one thing but the reality is another, just like real life.
3: I recommend a little notebook if you like tracking clues. I have one, too. I am absolutely guilty of sliding in truth with falsehoods in a single line of text.
4: The real mystery is not necessarily the who of it, but the why, the how, and the future of the why and how. This may help redirect you to collect the correct clues regarding this series.
5: If you hear a muffled scream, my forensics sciences text books are starting to arrive. It’s just me being crushed by college non-fiction titles. Try not to worry about it.
I am so excited to write a mystery, because half the fun has been trying to figure out how investigations would work in a world of magic. It’s HARD.
Investigations is hard enough in a world WITHOUT magic.
I will make a little confession here… I really wish more readers were showing up to ENJOY the book rather than to criticize the book. It makes me sad to think about how much joy people rob themselves of simply because they have to hunt for mistakes, errors, or… remove their joy through their own will.
I spot a LOT of errors in books nowadays, even in traditionally published stuff. If the writing is otherwise good, I accept it, move on, and do my best to enjoy the book. If the book is so full of basic spelling errors that I want to scream, I quietly move on. Key here is quietly.
Anyway, moving on… if you are an author and are interested in participating in a book promotion for Whiskers on Kittens, please fill out this form. There are no strings attached, and while I would be very appreciative if you helped promo Whiskers on Kittens, it’s not necessary.
Onto Dragon*Con! I will be in attendance, and I have panels on the Friday, Sunday, and Monday. I will be doing short mentor groups 1-on-1 with some authors (8 total) who sign up via the Writing Track on Saturday and Sunday. I will be signing for one hour on Saturday, so bring your book or stickers then! I’m looking forward to meeting everyone there.
For my last bit of random business, I am trying to wean off social media, and will only be posting book news, some photos I take, and similar. If you want to interact with me directly, I recommend my discord server. The rules basically boil down to “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”