I can hardly believe it's August. Summer is slipping away. I've been busy lately with working on my books.
In addition to readying book three of the Poppy Blue fantasy series, Tricks and Treats, for release, I've also been revamping books one and two. Nothing major will be changing, but I'm making a few small tweaks. A couple of typos are being fixed, and I'm also introducing new covers.
While I love the art on the first two covers, with the beautiful redhaired woman, I decided I'd go for something a bit punchier, I suppose is how you could put it.
I went for a simpler image -- in the case of Giving Up the Ghost (book one), a love potion with hearts and pink-red fumes drifting upwards, and used a more playful font for the title.
Again, the contents will be the same (aside from remedying a few typos), but I'm hoping this new look will better reflect the spirit of the books, with a bit of a playful and modern vibe that hints there's humor, heart and a bit of magic between the covers. Books one and two (Giving Up the Ghost and Plenty of Trouble, respectively) will be rereleased with the new look shortly, and then book three will follow quick on their heels.
Book four, tentatively titled A Spot of Bother, is also in the works.
I'll also be posting the first chapter from the third book here on my website shortly.
And you can see the new cover image in this post. I invite you to give your opinion in the comments.
Here's a bit of something-something from my forthcoming book, Tricks and Treats. In this excerpt, Poppy finds her mother Fiona prying for too much information about her love life, and Poppy decides to divert.
I could see Mom wasn’t going to be swayed by my refusal. I needed to distract. I picked up a catalog that was on the kitchen table.
“You know,” I began. “I came in here the other day and saw Tom looking through one of these. I think he was Christmas shopping.”
“Oh.” My mother raised an eyebrow. “Was he looking for something sparkly?” As much as Mom loved a surprise, she loved knowing what kind of gift she was getting even more. It allowed her to shop for complementary companion pieces. Or to tell any of us to choose a different color. The woman knows what she wants. Even more so, she knows what she doesn’t.
“In fact, he was.”
Mom smiled serenely. “What was he buying?”
“Well, I’m not sure he was buying, but he was circling these plaid flannel pajamas as well as some sort of stirrup pants with ‘sexy’ written across the butt in rhinestones.”
Her face fell. “What?”
“Oh wait, it wasn’t stirrups. It was sweatpants.”
Mom’s chair protested as she lurched upwards, sending it screeching across the floor. “Tom!” she bellowed as she made her way to the bathroom, presumably to interrupt his shower.
“What was that all about?” Jordan asked as I stood and put my cup in the dishwasher.
“She got to prying too much, so I diverted her.”
“What set her off?”
“The sweatpants. Mom loathes them. Unfortunately, Tom had to take the bullet, but I’m fine with that."
I haven't posted in a while but I assure you I've been busy.
I've been polishing book three of my Poppy Blue series. This one is called Tricks and Treats, and in it Poppy arrives at her shop one morning to find it trashed. Was it a burglar? A joke gone haywire? A crabby ghost? Or something else entirely?
To add insult to injury, all kinds of other things are going sideways for Poppy, including her magick shop's wares going off (Who wants a chocolate candle that smells like poop? Hopefully no one.) and other spills and spots of trouble.
Stay tuned in to find out what's behind the mayhem, and along the way Poppy's relationship with Roger is building, Poppy's mother Fiona is up to her usual trouble, and Jordan has a love interest.
I'm also working on some shorter stories about some of the other characters.
One is about the hiring of Vanessa, how she came to work for Fiona and then for Poppy. Readers will meet the witchy mother-daughter duo through the eyes of their new hire, and it will be a window into more of their magic.
Another one in the works is a flashback to nearly a decade earlier. In it, college student Poppy awakes one morning to find Fiona has let herself in. Why, you ask? Because Fiona has fought with her boyfriend Tom and moved out. Poppy and her two housemates now find they've got a fourth one who is most unwelcome with her overbearing magic and unsolicited advice. They'll have to figure out a way to get Fiona out of their house and back with Tom.
I have plenty more ideas, but Tricks and Treats as well as the hiring of Vanessa and the fourth roommate from hell stories are the ones I'm most focused on for the near future.
I assure you that more is coming. Lots, lots more.
One incident in my first book, Giving Up the Ghost, is based on a true event.
In truth, most of what happens in the novel is made up, but sometimes influenced by the odd real-life event. The characters are mostly invented, but influenced by real-life people.
Some people have told me they see me in Poppy. Perhaps. Some of me is in there, but she's more outspoken and I think more confident than I ever was at that age. (Also, enviously, thinner, and with better hair.)
Emily, the owner of Emily's Eatery, is fictional, but I loved the idea of a coffee shop owner who instinctively knows what her customers want. (I did base her in appearance on another Emily I know, who's a tall, sunny blonde who I think customers would be happy to shoot the breeze with for a few minutes while waiting on their daily java and scone.)
Fiona is based on my mother, however. She's not a clone of her, but she damn well likes her sparkles and being blonde and her cigarettes. She's also an unfiltered personality, for the most part. And Tom Wheeler is loosely based on my mom's on-again, off-again boyfriend from the years we lived in Gould City, Michigan. Real-world Tom was a feisty match for my feisty mother, and they sparred with humor and affection. And yes, the real Tom loved sweets as much as the fictional version. At more than one event I had been sent to the dessert table to procure him another piece of cake or slice of pie, to bring his total sweets intake to two, three, and even four servings.
But, back to the real event.
It's not as exciting as what's in the book (I hope). It happened when I was maybe eight years old.
I only heard about it after the fact.
For the novel I played up the zaniness and took it to 11 (thanks, Spinal Tap). There was a lot of humor in the original drunken St. Patrick's Day occurrence, but my mother was not left abandoned by the roadside. She was not wearing a sequined dress. And she most certainly wasn't picked up by one of the town gossips.
I only heard the story -- via plentiful retellings -- but if memory serves correct my mother was merely a passenger in Tom's truck or car while he took a leak alongside U.S. 2 in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
I believe they'd been out to check out a lead on a truck, or perhaps some fishing equipment. That part isn't important. But Tom had started drinking early that day -- I believe my mother was serving as designated driver -- and he was plenty sauced by the time they returned home that afternoon.
Tom, his bladder full of beer and whiskey, decided he wasn't going to wait.
My mother pulled over to the side of the highway, he stepped outside and relieved himself.
He also was wearing a derby hat, or a bowler hat, because, well, why not?
Cars honked their horns as they whizzed by, and Tom peed and tipped his hat to all passing traffic.
In my book, it's retold over beers at a dive bar and I wanted it there because one, I thought the story was funny and a way to show something of Fiona and Tom's natures, but it also was a fork in the road for Tom. Would he choose whiskey or would he choose Fiona? (Spoiler alert: He chose Fiona.)
And I can never see a derby hat without thinking of that one St. Patrick's Day. Tom, at this point, is long gone (RIP), but I can still hear him singing an Irish tune and calling my mother an ornery woman, all while he has a twinkle in his eye.
Book two of my Poppy Blue paranormal fantasy series, Plenty of Trouble, is available now as an eBook as well as in paperback. In this novel, flame-haired hedgewitch Poppy discovers her aunt and cousin are coming to town for a visit.
This has Poppy's headstrong mother Fiona in an uproar, and Poppy finds herself trying to manage her mom's outbursts, stoke a budding romance with handsome Roger, work with new hire Jordan Keep who has some curious magic of his own, and figure out why strange things keep happening when her diva of a cousin is around. Throw in a botched curse, and Poppy's witchy world is experiencing plenty of trouble.
Book three, Tricks and Treats, will follow. There, Poppy arrives at her shop one morning to find it ransacked. She then sets out to learn who, or maybe even what, is responsible for the damage.
Flame-haired Poppy Blue runs her own magick shop way up north in Sault Ste. Marie, a tourist stop and college town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Mostly she sells candles, crystal balls and some touristy items, reads a few palms, and has regular chats with her father's ghost, but Poppy is also a hedge witch. Like her mother, the strong-willed and highly opinionated Fiona, she performs occasional feats of the amazing and the uncanny, largely on instinct.
One day a woman visits Poppy’s shop, worried for her son, Roger, who has never gotten over the death of his sister, Ivy, in an auto accident. Poppy discovers Ivy's ghost is still around, tied to this plane by Roger's unresolved grief – she can't move on until Roger moves on – and she wants Poppy to help. Poppy wants this too, both to get Ivy out of her hair – she's as thoughtless and impatient as the teenager she was when she died – and because the red-haired witch is very attracted to Roger.
Soon Ivy is exploiting Poppy's abilities and compassion, discovering some fringe benefits to being a spirit and disrupting Poppy's life – and prospective love life. Can Poppy convince Roger to give up the ghost?
Available now as an eBook and paperback on Amazon. com, or as a paperback on Createspace.com.
To read the first chapter, visit my Snippets page.
I'm Magenta Wilde, author of the Poppy Blue paranormal fantasy series, and the forthcoming Happily Hereafter series. Hint: It involves ghosts.