Casual Curses and Meticulous Magic
The Gramarye Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Highland Press
Date of Publication: September 24, 2014
Number of pages: 292
Word Count: 92,000
Cover Artist: Iris Hunter
What happens when a dysfunctional witch and a tough PI work together to save an aging apartment house filled with ghosts, dragons and one oversexed house plant?
Spirits, spells and mayhem…Magic rises in the Gramarye
Melian Devlin is a witch who often resorts to exotic and slightly illegal methods of acquiring money to maintain the 300-year-old Gramarye, the stone apartment house that’s her heart and home. Her life is a series of skirmishes that occasionally end with her behind bars.
Titus Moran is a no-nonsense PI who makes big bucks busting insurance fraud schemes. So how did he wind up in a tortuous battle to keep Melian out of jail? Did the delightful young witch with her gray eyes and magic at her fingertips enchant him—or does the Gramarye hold greater mysteries.
Titus will enter a new exciting world when he joins Melian in her quest to save the Gramarye. Melian will fumble along in her usual impulsive way, leaving a trail of disasters behind her. If they’re lucky, they might survive.
Chapter 1 Excerpt
Melian Devlin considered her arrest late Friday evening an ill omen, a portent of dire thingsto come. At the very least, it would ruin her weekend. Her bad luck had continued after her arrest when she’d found herself standing before Judge Franklin P.O. Merkle. Merkle’s exact words were, “You again?”
He’d set her bail at an obscene five thousand dollars.
Psychic readings weren’t illegal in the City of Ashburn, Florida, but selling magic potions skirted the legal line of medicine, hence her arrest. And then there was the sticky issue of not having a business license—again. Minor infractions. So why did Merkle have such a burr up his ass? Maybe because he was working late on Friday? The malicious cop with an aversion to psychics hadn’t helped either.
Standing behind bars at ten o’clock that night, listening to her Great Uncle Will royally chew her butt, confirmed Mel’s dismal assessment of the situation.
“Psychic?” Will’s deep voice rumbled the word. His tired eyes watched her from a weather worn face. “Mel, honey, you ain’t no psychic. You’re a witch. You’re supposed to use magic.”
He shook his head. “I understand why you can’t get a regular job, but can’t you find something irregular you’re good at? Or at least something legal?” He glanced over his shoulder and pitched his voice lower. “You should’ve marked a cop soon as he walked in the door, then spelled him out of making an arrest. You’re allowed basic self-defense. I taught you that.”
Mel winced at Uncle Will’s words. He had taught her. She was simply incredibly incompetent at casting spells and making potions, and utterly terrified of making a mistake. What if she hurt someone? Pretending to be a psychic and selling a few harmless herbal elixirs was easier—and safer.
They’d put her in a simple holding cell inside the precinct station after she’d seen the judge. The arrangement gave detainees a chance to post bail before they moved them to the main jail downtown, something Mel had hoped to avoid. Prospects didn’t look good.
The sparse cell had a single bench bolted to the floor and air filled with the odor of acrid, nose-searing bleach. Her cellmates, two tough prostitutes, sat on the bench staring straight at the wall. Imperfect witch she might be, but she could still deal with the bullying they tried when she first came in.
“Will, please,” Mel begged. “Go talk to Milo for me. Give him an IOU. I’ll get the money some way.” Milo the Bail Bondsman, her father’s second cousin, usually handled her bail. Milo hadn’t returned any of her numerous calls.
“Yeah. Sure.” Will laughed, but it didn’t sound funny. “Gettin’ money some way is what landed you here. I can hear Milo now. Cousin Melian? She told my Granny Panopoulos to put all her money on a horse named Show-Too in the third race and—”
“I told her thirty dollars to show on the number three horse, not… Oh, hell.” She wrapped her hands around the bars to steady herself.
Granny Panopoulos had cried to Mel about not being able to pay her mortgage and buy food in the same month. She figured Granny could lose thirty dollars and learn an excellent lesson about the futility of gambling. How was Mel to know the woman had fifty thousand dollars tucked in her mattress and a persistent bookie looking over her shoulder? Oh, right, she was supposed to be a psychic.
“Okay, girl, here’s the deal.” Will shoved his hands in his pockets like he always did when he had to deliver bad news. “I’ll get you out on Monday—” “Monday?”
“Yep. I’m not going to call Milo on a Friday evening or ruin his weekend. And I don’t trust anyone else.” Will’s head bobbed. His sorrowful expression tore at her. His eyes remained bright and his mind-dagger sharp, but time had worn his aging body. He loved her, and she shouldn’t have troubled him.
“Ya’ know Mel...” He sighed. “Honey, you’re twenty-seven years old. Couple of days and nights in jail won’t hurt. ‘Bout time you learned a lesson. Past time, in fact. While you’re there, think about having to stay longer, what might happen then.” He turned and shuffled out of the room.
Mel leaned her forehead against the cold hard bars. What a stinking mess. She wasn’t a true psychic, but the power, the magic she lived by, occasionally gave her glimpses into the situations surrounding people. A haphazard thing she couldn’t control, but between it and the potions, she made a little money—as long as some cop with an attitude didn’t arrest her.
Mel had paid little attention when the nervous young man with dark, curly hair entered her low-rent storefront room four hours ago. He had a sweet, shy smile and almost pretty face. Not a hint of a cop in him. He paid her forty dollars for a reading and asked her if he would ever find true love. His precise words. “True love.” That alone should have tipped her off. She felt sorry for him and tried to sell him a magic potion. Only a twenty-dollar mixture of Vitamin B and Ginseng, but with the power of suggestion, it might be enough to adjust his outlook on life. He was far too good-natured and attractive to be alone. Then his partner had charged in and gleefully busted her. It didn’t take much to make some cops happy.
First, tell me a little about your book :)….
Casual Curses and Meticulous Magic is an urban fantasy. It has quirky characters and a strong romance between the protagonists, a dysfunctional witch and an OCD insurance fraud investigator. They live in Ashburn Florida, a magical refuge for the few remaining witches in the world. Their magical world is threatened it’s up to the protagonists to save it.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know?
I always knew I wanted to make up stories live in a magical world. Writing is as close as I can come.
What inspired you to write your first book and what was it?
My first book is still hiding in my computer. When I started to work on it, I quickly realized that I had a lot to learn about the craft of writing. I loved my story and felt I couldn’t do justice to it so I put it aside. There is no specific inspiration simply a love of storytelling.
Are your stories based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My stories come solely from my imagination. If people or events in my life were as exciting as those in my stories, I’d go outside and play, not sit at a computer and write about them.
How do you choose when/which characters die in your books?
I rarely kill off characters in my stories. When I read a book where a great character is killed off, I feel so cheated as a reader.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I fight the procrastination battle like all writers. As for the stories themselves, I have difficulty with love scenes. They make me uncomfortable and I don’t write them unless they are very important to the story.
What book are you reading now? Or what genre?
I read a lot of contemporary urban fantasy because it is my particular genre. I also like to read history books. Real history, not historical romance.
Who designed the cover? And do you help with them?
My cover was designed by Iris Hunter of Paranormal Cravings. I had some input in the process, but she did fantastic work.
If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?
I think I would like to be Cassandra Archer, the kick ass heroine of my first published book Viper Moon. Cassandra is funny and at the same time deadly serious about life and her role in it.
*I want you to know I am DYING for Cass to have a little peek in another book somewhere! I miss her, because you were right, she is beyond awesome!!*
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would encourage readers to break out of their favorite genres and explore the world of books available today. A historical romance reader might not think paranormal romance is for them, but they might just find a new world in the pages.
About the Author:
Lee Roland is a full time writer who lives in North Central Florida. She loves the peaceful rural area where she shares a home with three small dogs who think they are pit bulls and an evil cat with sharp claws.
Lee writes stories of urban fantasy and paranormal romance where strong men and women battle the wickedness hiding under the surface of the modern world. Her characters are passionate in life and love and are formidable enemies to the malevolent criminals in their worlds.
Her first series, the Earth Witches, was published beginning in 2011 by NAL. Her website, www.leeroland.com offers samples of the Earth Witches books and information on their world. There are short stories and news of any upcoming books and events.
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Happy reading and alter gators!