Happy Sunday! I am basking at home with air conditioning after a week of baking at my top-floor office with the broken AC. I’m off a couple of days and by the time I return, it should be fixed. Then the elevator will be taken out for a while in July, but I’ll wait to complain about that later.
And Happy Father’s Day! My dad passed away in 2001. He was a sweet, kind, sort of quiet but funny man and, yeah, I was more than a bit of a Daddy’s Girl. Anytime my mom got exasperated (often) and said, “We’ll just wait until your daddy gets home,” I knew I was off the hook. LOL. Anyway, I struck gold in the dad department, and even though we lost him too soon, I’m always thankful to have been blessed with him for a father.
So, in looking at my various and sundry books, however, there aren’t a lot of good father figures. Shane in LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP has a good father figure in his uncle, but the most stable dads in all the books belong to Alex and Jake Warin. Their dads, brothers Tom and Eddie Warin, who co-own Warin’s Hardware in Picayune, Mississippi, know nothing of their sons’ preternatural lives. They’re small-town shop owners, overshadowed by their Steel Magnolia wives, and I know a whole bunch of Toms and Eddies from growing up in my own small, Southern town.
So, from RIVER ROAD, we have DJ and Alex going to Alex’s mom’s birthday dinner at a time when Jake was still fighting off his loup-garou and had poor self-control….
The family gathering wasn’t that bad really, at least not until the fried chicken and mashed potato leftovers were all put away and everyone had finished their hunk of Liz’s coconut cake, which had always been Norma’s favorite.
I’d been roasted and grilled by every female in the family and emerged battered but intact. My Alabama roots gave me some street cred in Picayune that helped make up for the deficiencies of growing up in sin city, a.k.a. New Orleans.
During the process of dumping leftover peas and broccoli casserole into plastic containers and burping the lids, Jake’s sister Juli informed me in no uncertain terms that she knew Jake liked me too and I better not be stringing him and Alex along or she’d have my hide even if I was some hotshot FBI chick from New Orleans and, besides that, they’d expect our kids to be raised good Southern Baptists and not fish-eating Catholic New Orleanians. And she said all that without taking a single breath.
I didn’t know where my Methodist roots fit into the grand scheme of things or exactly whose kids she was planning for me to have, so I just nodded. What’s a wizard next to the wrath of a former Picayune High School cheerleader protecting her males and their future progeny? I‘m not that stupid, at least not most of the time.
Plus, I had a flash of insight that calmed my fear. The fried fowl wrapped in tinfoil wasn’t the only chicken here today. Cluck cluck cluck. Alex wanted me here, pretending to be his girlfriend, so the women would quit asking him when he was settling down. Since Jake was divorced it freed him from the family’s suspicion of his eternal bachelorhood.
Juli and I emerged from the kitchen and joined the rest of the adults in the big family room. Things were winding down, and the TV had been turned to the local news—or at least news from Hattiesburg, the nearest station.
A tiny blonde girl with wispy-fine hair and honey-colored eyes, , no more than four, tugged on Juli’s arm. It was Corey, her oldest.
“Mama,” she trilled, pulling harder as Juli tried to shush her. “Look.”
Our eyes followed her chubby finger toward the front window, from which we could see across the porch and into the yard. Backlit by the late-afternoon sun, Jake and Alex stood nose to nose, arguing intensely. I didn’t think they were discussing Aunt Liz’s coconut cake.
“I bet they’re fighting over you,” Juli said, loud enough for the mamas, Norma and Liz, to hear. I’d have given her a good, hard magical zap if I could’ve gotten away with it. “You need to break it up before they start throwing punches.”
I considered slipping a silencing potion in her glass of iced tea. I had all the basic ingredients in the portable potions kit I kept in my purse and it didn’t take any curing time. A quick trip to the bathroom and I could have it ready.
Tom Warin, every bit as tall and but not quite as brow-beaten as I’d imagined, spoke up for the first time. “Those boys been fighting their whole lives. It ain’t like this is the first time and it won’t be the last. Just let ‘em go at it. They never hurt each other too bad.”
His pronouncement made, he retired to an armchair in front of the TV and ignored the storm brewing in his front yard.
His brother Ed, shorter and obviously the source of his son’s dimples, chuckled and leaned his own chair back to assess the situation. “Nothin’ serious.” He returned his attention to the TV. “They ain’t even bleeding yet. Looks like a cold front’s headin’ in next week.”
Ah, good ole clueless dads, bless their hearts.
Now, did you win a book this week? If you see your name, please email me at suzannej3523 at gmail with your mailing info.
JESS won a $5 Amazon Gift Card for commenting on the BIG MAGIC blog epic. Just need the best email for you.
BN100 won a print copy of T. Frohock’s Los Nefilim collection. Physical address for this one, please.
JANIE M won this week’s Reader’s Choice giveaway and chose ALLEGIANCE OF HONOR. If you’d rather choose a different book, that’s cool too. Just email and let me know title and format.
That’s it for today! Come back tomorrow for a new Reader’s Choice contest and, later this week, some guests (Robin D. Owens will be here on Tuesday) and some silliness!
Also, I’m planning a series of blog posts about various publishing things, so if you have any ideas or burning questions, please leave them in comments or email me. So far, I’m planning to talk about the Kindle Unlimited program and the impact it’s had on authors and also a post about indie publishing and what it is and isn’t—and how it’s changed how we all do business. I tend to think readers aren’t much interested in what goes on behind Oz’s curtain in the publishing world (oh the horror stories I could tell), but I could be wrong. Are these of interest to you as readers?