Welcome to This Month's Newsletter
We're excited to offer our newsletter subscribers and Facebook Group members, the first exclusive Jinx Hamilton novella, Granny Witch! Told in Tori's voice, the story is a prequel to the events in book one, Witch at Heart. You'll meet Tori's grandmother and find out why Tori wasn't quite as surprised by Jinx's acquisition of magical powers as some people expected her to be.
Things That Go Bump in the Night
Rana's Haunted Experience
I grew up in a small town in West Texas with a population just a little north of 2,000. The place was so tight knit, everyone knew everyone’s grandparents — and sometimes great-grandparents. Newcomers were, to put it mildly, something of an oddity.
An elderly couple lived across the corner from us. When Dick died, Elsie, who was, in my mother’s estimation, “the silliest woman who ever lived” went to the local nursing home. The house went up for sale.
The new owners were interesting people. The wife had suffered polio has a child and was in a motorized wheelchair. Her husband, Earl, set about making the house handicap accessible for her.
My Dad bonded with the new neighbors instantly because Jean had an assistance dog named Copper who may have been the smartest creature of any species I’ve ever known.
One Friday I came home from college to find Earl standing in his front yard swearing at the front door. I walked over and asked what the door had done to him.
That’s when he admitted that every time he left the house through that door, it locked behind him. “It’s a brand new door, perfectly level, with brand new hardware — that I’ve changed three times. There is no way that thing can lock behind me.”
About that time, Jean drove up. After she use the hydraulic lift to get her chair out of the van, she rolled over and very calmly opened the front door — which I had also tried not 5 minutes before.
It was locked for me, too, but it opened for Jean.
They invited me in for a glass of tea. While we were sitting in the living room talking, Copper ran to the foyer, sat down, looked up into thin air and began wagging his tail.
“He’s just started doing that,” Earl said. “I have no idea what he’s looking at.”
“I think I might know,” I said a little hesitantly. (You don’t want the neighbors to think your nuts until you’ve given them irrefutable evidence of the fact.)
“What?” Earl asked.
“The man who used to live here was better than 6 feet tall,” I said, gesturing toward the attentive dog. "Copper has his full attention on something just about that tall."
Earl's eyebrows shot up. “You’re not seriously suggesting that dog is looking at a ghost are you?”
“Look,” I said. “Dick was really set in his ways. You’ve changed almost everything in this house and you didn’t ask his permission. He loved dogs and he had beautiful manners around women. None of these things are happening to Jean. I think he’s ticked off at you. Maybe you should apologize.”
Let’s just say my theory wasn’t afforded a lot of credence. Several weeks passed before I ran into Earl in the yard again.
“How’s the front door situation going?” I asked.
“It hasn’t happened again,” he said a little sourly.
“What did you do to fix it?”
He shifted uncomfortably. “I did what you suggested and had a talk with Dick. I apologized for changing everything and asked him to stop locking me out. After that, the door has been fine.”
“And what about Copper?”
“He’s still sitting in the hall looking at noth . . .”
To my great amusement, he paused, cut his eyes toward the house, and rephrased.
“He has a nice visit with Dick every day.”
I managed not to laugh until I got home and recounted the chain of events to my father. Then we both cracked up.
Earl might have bought the house, but Dick was still firmly in charge.
Have your own haunted story? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like your experience to appear in a future edition of the newsletter.
Authors in REal Life
Last month we featured Patti's most recent escapade, a fractured shoulder courtesy of an abortive attempt at skiing.
Here's an example of Rana's tamer hobby: photography. This is a shot from an encounter with a Great Blue Heron.
Nearby, a child spotted the bird and said solemnly, "Mama! BIG duck!"
The latest Jinx book, To Teach a Witch, is now available on Amazon in ebook and paperback formats.
As usual, Jinx has her hands full. The HBH kids are knee deep in the Howard McAlpin murder case, just as Jinx has a wedding to plan.
Generally she counts on getting by with just a little help from her friends, but sometimes a little help is entirely too much!
If you see a character name in the "Ask the Character" articles below that you don't recognize, read at your own risk! We never want to ruin a story for anyone, but to answer some of these questions over the range of the series, that's always a danger. You have been warned!!
Ask the Character
Reader Question: Can I ask Brenna how she feels about getting a family after all these decades.
Brenna: Having a family after centuries of using my magic to harm others defies description. I am grateful, humble, and filled with joy.
When I lived in the Middle Realm with my friend Aquila and we learned of Irenaeus Chesterfield's scheme to kill the Mother Tree, I expressed both my desire to help and my conviction that I would be rejected.
Aquila encouraged me to make the offer anyway. I did not believe such kindness possible, but I was wrong.
This experience has taught me that redemption is possible for anyone if you are willing to admit your mistakes, make amends where possible, and be at peace with whatever answer you receive.
Had my family rejected me, I would have been sad, but I would not have returned to my evil ways. Aquila also taught me the value of forgiving myself and doing good for the sake of good.
Working with Jinx, Tori, and the others, I will continue my journey toward redemption. There is much still to be set right.
Ask the Author
Reader Question: What happened to the being that returned from the house with Jinx in To Haunt a Witch?
Juliette: Sylvia, the sylph or "helper" spirit that returned to the lair with Jinx and the others went back to the Middle Realm once the Agreement was lifted.
She didn't hate her life there so much as the fact that she was not allowed to come and go as she pleased.
This is true of many of the nonconformi. Their forms and abilities make them unable to hide their identities in the human realm, but their curiosity keeps them coming back!
We got this idea from the phenomenon of cryptid sightings: creatures like phantom cats in the UK, the Skunk Ape in Florida, Ogopogo in Okanagan Lake and a host of others.
"What if?" can be an author's most useful question. We looked at all these sightings and asked ourselves, "What if they're tourists from another realm getting into trouble because they don't know the customs of the place they're visiting?"
From that idea, the whole nonconformi plot line developed.