Hi all! As I’m writing this, Alex Powell is driving down from Prince George to stay the night here, and then tomorrow we are heading down to Seattle for Gay Romance Northwest!
We’re going to be in Seattle for a few days, so if there’s anything you think I should check out while I’m down there, please let me know in the comments!
Finally, since this post is a little short, I’m going to include and excerpt from Witch, Cat and Cobb, my f/f fantasy novella coming out in October. Please enjoy, and I hope to see you in Seattle this weekend!
I awoke to yelling outside my window. Disconcerted for a moment, I threw the blanket off and tripped over a pile of broken wands, then climbed up onto the tower of books under the windowsill to poke my head out, squinting in the bright sunshine.
It was the witch who was shouting. She was wearing a purple nightgown with the sleeves shoved up and wielding a broomstick at some invisible foe in the garden.
“I said out! You’ve ruined my cabbages with your bloody little swords! Try sticking each other with them sometime!”
“Is everything alright?” I shouted, and the witch looked up at me, her eyes wide and her hair a mess.
“Does it look alright?” she shouted back, and whacked her broom against the ground once more. I could have imagined it, but I thought I heard tiny, high-pitched squealing as she did so. “No!” she yelled at the ground. “I don’t want to hear about property titles!”
I pulled my head back in the window and looked around the room. The cobwebs and clouds of dust that I had kicked up in my scramble to the window would have looked pretty illuminated by the morning light were they not so disgusting. I thought about shouting out the window that the room was filthy, but thought better of it, as the witch obviously had enough on her plate that morning. Instead I hauled myself over to the door and went into the bathroom.
I figured out how to use the facilities by snapping my fingers fairly quickly, and spent a few minutes trying to salvage the mess that was my newly short hair in the mirror before giving up and heading out into the kitchen. The witch was there. She had changed into a very nice black and blue dress and had tamed her hair considerably, and she was currently pouring tea into a small shallow bowl for Fen to drink.
“Good morning,” she said evenly as I entered. “Please, sit. Tea.”
They sounded more like orders than suggestions, so I merely nodded and sat quietly at the table as she poured me a tankard of tea. I looked around at the kitchen, noticing that most of the counters, shelves and even the table we were sitting at had been molded from the same pale-orange clay used to make the walls of the house.
“Did you make this place?” I asked as the witch poured herself a mug of tea and sat across from me.
She nodded. “I’ve never been much of an architect, I’m afraid, but it stays together alright.”
“It’s not very elvish,” I commented.
The witch stared at me over the brim of her cup. Her eyes were a deep purple and her brows sharp and intimidating. “No,” she said. “I suppose it isn’t.”
Fen sneezed into his tea.
“Don’t expect to be the beneficiary of my hospitality for long, cat,” said the witch, giving him a sharp glare before returning her gaze to me. “And I’m not in the business of providing free room and board either. What is it you intend to do with yourself now that you’ve run away from all your responsibilities?”
“I don’t know,” I admitted, taking a sip of the tea. It was a rich black blend with a hint of sweetness to it. “I didn’t assume I’d stay away forever. Just until the Saishen Prince is married to someone else.”
“You’re engaged to the elf prince?”
“Yes.” I rested my chin on my fist. “It’s supposedly a long overdue political move. My father was supposed to marry the Saishen princess twenty years ago, but she disappeared.”
“I know that much,” said the witch. She stood, taking the black teapot from the fireplace and pouring a large dollop of it into her cauldron. “I do go into town occasionally. But I haven’t been in a few months, so your engagement must have been fairly recent. Hmm.” She leaned over the cauldron and sniffed, before making a critical face and turning to the table to sift through the herbs.
I took another sip of tea and crossed my arms. “They eventually gave up on the princess, and my father married my mother, and then he died only a few years later. Maybe an alliance between Priia and Saishen just isn’t to be.”
The witch selected what looked like a bay leaf and dropped it into the cauldron, prompting a display of pink and green sparks and a loud bang, followed by a poof of grey smoke. “So dramatic.” She coughed, waving the smoke away with her long sleeves. “So, you expect me to allow you to stay here, free of charge, for however many months it takes them to decide that you are dead and marry the Saishen prince off to someone else. Then what, you’ll return to the castle and marry whatever prince they pick out for you next? What’s so bad about the elf prince?”
“She doesn’t want to marry a prince at all,” said Fen from under the table where he’d taken cover from the smoke. “She’s dreaming of a princess.”
“Shut up, Fen!” I snapped. “She doesn’t have to be a princess.”
“Right,” said Fen. “You would have married that serving girl if she hadn’t run off with the duke.”
I scowled at him. “I liked you better when you didn’t talk.”
“And as for you,” said the witch. “Fen, is it now? Silly name. Who chose it?”
“I did,” I said quietly.
The witch looked stricken for a moment. “Oh. Well, it’s an alright name for a cat, I suppose.” She turned back to Fen. “You want to be human? What will you do for me?” She took a step towards Fen, who cowered under the table.
“What do you expect me to do for you?” he squawked. “I’m a cat! Very little in the way of things cats can do, actually. You’d be surprised.”
“Pest control,” said the witch.