September 11th

I had dreams all last night of 9.11
Not horrific dreams of the actual event, but sad dreams of the aftermath, like seeing where UA 93 crashed and thinking not only of those passengers but of the two fighter pilots who were on a suicide mission to take that plane down if need be.
I remembered the heavy silence that afternoon as I did a training run, a moment in time where there wasn’t the drone of planes overhead descending for BWI, National, or Dulles.
I remember thinking of all the work colleagues and friends in NY who were in a state of shock and mourning.
I remember running the Marine Corps Marathon six weeks after the tragedy and stopping, gut-wrenched, to see the gaping hole in the Pentagon, very aware of the fighter jets up and down the airspace over the Potomac and the armed Marines along the race route.

That was the start of my secret love affair with the Marines. Events all over were being cancelled, rightly so, because of concerns over security. Thirty thousand people gather each year to run the Marine Corps Marathon. It’s such a popular event that there’s a lottery system to get a race bib to run. I expected them to cancel. It was too soon after the most horrendous terrorist act on American soil for the race organizers to pull together the needed procedures and security to keep thirty thousand runners plus staff safe. We’d be too big a target in the nation’s capital that had just seen our Pentagon hit.

Clearly I underestimated the Marines.  They held their race. And for the first time since those planes hit the Twin Towers, I felt safe. These guys were dedicated and ready to ensure our Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. And that included being safe to do the seemingly little things like run 26.2 miles around the Capitol.

Mixed in with those were dreams of how one act of kindness can set in motion events that can change the world, how one person can make a difference, if not on a global scale, then through one individual at a time. Mourn. Remember. Enjoy the little things that make life worth living. And resolve to be a light in this world.

Wooden Nickels Teaser

Book 1 in the White Lightning Series releases in one month! Get ready for Moonshine, Mobsters, and Magic Users, but to hold you until September 18th, here’s a sample:

The tall man peered over the bed of the truck, and with the subtlest of gestures, Hattie pinched the light around the brandy cases. She wasn’t as close to the cases as she’d like to be. Every inch of distance between her and her illusions meant more effort. Which meant more sickness once it was over. It was too late to close in now. Any motion toward those bottles could be construed as ill intent, and might even draw a gun from the G-men’s holsters.

The man’s eyes swept along the bed of the truck. She could feel his gaze on her illusion, rolling like a ball up and down the fabric of the pinched light. Just as the nausea began to swell inside her belly, the tall man scribbled something on his pad and turned away.

“Looks in order,” he declared as he took a step back.

Hattie released a breath and waited for the right moment to drop the illusion.

“Hang on,” the double-chin blurted. “What kind of oil?”

The tall man shook his head a couple times, then turned with a lifted brow.

“Olive oil. You know. For cooking?” Hattie told him.

Short and ruddy took a step toward the truck, reaching for the crates. Hattie redoubled her light pinch, hoping he didn’t pull the bottle fully out of the crate. Continue reading

Maryland and Crabs

In Wooden Nickels, Hattie and Raymond sit down to bowls of she-crab soup, but soup isn’t the only thing you’ll find crab in here along the Chesapeake Bay.

t’s one of the things we here in Maryland are famous for – blue crabs. Yeah, yeah, technically our southern neighbors in Virginia have crabs in their section of the bay as well, but everyone knows the ones from up in the Maryland section are far superior to those from Virginia.

Part of that is probably because Maryland is where the famous spice in the tin can is from – Old Bay Seasoning. Old Bay wasn’t created until 1938, but long before then people were steaming (not boiling, *shudders*) their crabs in a combination of paprika, peppers, garlic, and other spices. Just as lobster was considered a poor man’s food, so was the blue crab. They’re vicious little monsters, and once they latch onto you with their claws, they’re not easy to detach. Plus there’s a lot of work that goes into picking the small amount of not-so-filling meat from all the shells. Although Native Americans, Colonists, and African Americans have consumed them in the past, the blue crab didn’t become widely eaten until the late 19th century, and even then recipes were less about picking through a heap of steamed crabs dumped on a table, and more about getting a container of already processed crabmeat and adding it to stew, soups, or sautéing it in wine. It wasn’t until 1930 when the Baltimore ‘crabcake’ became famous that the food really took off.

As gross and messy as it might be, I love getting a bushel of steamed crabs, and picking through them on a hot summer day, suffering through painful papercut-like slices on my fingers from the shell fragments, and digging through sections to make sure I’ve gotten all the yummy crabmeat out. I’m a purist, but friends like to dip the meat in melted butter or an additional dab of Old Bay before eating it.

Preorder your copy of Wooden Nickels at the following distributors, and fall into the world of 1920’s prohibition-era Baltimore!



Moonshine, Mobsters, and Magic Users

Hattie Malloy is a boat-legger.

Not a bootlegger, but a boat-legger. She smuggles booze up and down the waterways of the Chesapeake Bay, using her illusion magic to keep the G-men from getting wise to her cargo.

Those who have never seen the Chesapeake Bay might not realize its grandeur. The Bay is the third largest estuary in the world, and the largest in the US. With it’s brackish mix of fresh and saltwater, the Bay is roughly 200 miles long with more than 150 major rivers and steams as well as over 100,000 smaller tributaries contributing to its waters.

Think about that from the perspective of a boat-legger for an instant – more than 100,000 little, marshy, out-of-the-way rivers and steams to duck into and hide from the feds when you’ve got ten barrels of moonshine that need to go from Havre de Grace down to a dimly lit slip in Virginia with only the moon and the stars to guide your way. The Bay’s width ranges from 4 to 30 miles, so if you hang close to the coastline, you can see that Treasury boat coming, and pull in to safety. And although there is a deep trough running down the middle of the Bay, its average depth is only 21 feet, making it ideal for smaller boats.

Forget about bootlegging booze in an old truck, racing down narrow dirt roads in the middle of the night to make a delivery. A boat and the Bay are the keys to your success— and to staying out of the hoosegow. Well, a boat, the Bay, and a gift for creating illusions.

Wooden Nickels – White Lightning Book 1 releases September 18. Take advantage of the special preorder pricing at the following retailers:


One Imp to Rule Them All

The final book in the Imp Series is now available, and I’m a bit of a wreck over it all. I’ve loved bringing Sam’s antics to life. Six years ago I published A Demon Bound, and it’s been an amazing ride. But as much as I want to write other books and worlds to share with you all, it’s so difficult to close the door on a series that’s so close to my heart. Know that Sam will have cameos in new upcoming Imp World series as well as some short stories and novellas of her own, but this next year is going to be devoted to bringing you my amazing White Lightning Series, as well as four new novels in the Templar series. I’ll also be putting out some short fun paranormal romances early next year. The Imp World will continue late 2019 with a new series, Poseidon’s Daughter—which will be set in Chicago with Dar, Asta, and some new characters you’ll love. And yes, Sam. She’ll be making an appearance in book 1 as well as some of the other books in the series.

So, without further ado, here’s The Morning Star. I hope you enjoy reading it because I sure as heck enjoyed writing it.

Amazon UK: