|Margaret C. Morse (left) and Wendy Fallon at the Left Coast Crime 2016 awards banquet|
Debut paranormal mystery author Margaret C. Morse used her experience as a criminal defense attorney to create her protagonist, lawyer Petra Rakowitz, who turns into a witch during her first murder case. When not fashioning a magic world, Margaret enjoys cooking, gardening, and bird watching. She shares her Phoenix home with her husband and seven rescue dogs. Learn more about her and her book at her website.
Behold the Inner Princess: The Adventure of the Left Coast Crime Awards Banquet
Attendants flung open the doors to the Regency Room. I squeezed between tables set for seven hundred diners. Books by authors hosting tables decorated place settings. Guests carrying glasses of red wine and amber bottles of beer jostled me. The roar of voices ricocheted off the walls.
The seven ladies seated at my assigned table each wore glittering diadems. The jeweled circlet would look good on me. I plunged my hand into my goodie bag. Silver crinkle paper snaked about my fingers. I pushed aside a book and clasped the crown.
The minute I slipped the diadem on my head, the world sparkled. The cacophony of voices turned into a buzz punctuated with laughs. The crystal gleamed. The silverware (seven pieces, which to use?) shone. Seven faces around the table beamed at me. I adjusted the circlet, so it looked more like a crown and less like a headband. I became a Princess, ready to rule.
Since I was at a banquet, I settled for “Please pass the bread and butter.” I relished the rich, dark bread. Refreshed, I chatted up a sister royal, a mystery writer from Los Angeles, originally from New York, who wrote about Florida. She asked eager questions about my paranormal mystery, which made her my new best friend. Yet the thrill of bling overrode authorial pride. My hand groped in the gift bag, seeking the magic wand I saw my seatmates waving. A rod topped with a silver star—I flourished it at my plate. A salad appeared.
I relinquished the wand to eat. My magic power ebbed. Released from the spell, I remembered the real me—middle class, nerdy, introverted, practical. True, I wear jewelry, earrings and rings, but I don’t bedeck myself with glitter. Lacking any fashion sense, I’m in awe of ladies who artistically fling scarves around their necks and bosoms. I envy women who create dashing outfits, which I define as not blue jeans and a T-shirt. I’d never be one of the Princesses with long flowing hair, who actually walked in high heels, flashed ruby and diamond rings, and stacked their wrists with gold bracelets.
I wasn’t Princess material. I pushed the wand away. My hand lifted to wrench off the crown. But wait, I am not totally earth bound. I am a writer, the creator of Petra, my protagonist who struggles to control her new magic powers. I made up a world. I deserved magic in my own life.
I flicked the wand. A waiter whisked away my salad plate. With a plop, my book, Murder Casts Its Spell, appeared before me.
“Will you sign it?”
I touched the crown. I’d always wear it.
(Note: Thanks to authors Rochelle Staab and Tammy Kaehler for hosting the table!)
Murder Casts its Spell
In a society divided into those with magic and non-magic powers, Petra finds herself on the non-magical side of the equation, instead opting for a career making sure that all people—powerful or powerless—get the justice they deserve. Her ideas of justice are tested when Petra's first murder case falls into her lap after her lead investigator is arrested for killing his ex-girlfriend. While Petra wants to believe he's innocent, her client conveniently keeps "forgetting" to tell her anything that makes him look bad. Suspects begin to pile up, including one who would kill to keep his secret and one who tempts Petra to let her guard down and fall in love again. And the fact that the accused is a wizard sends the press on a hate campaign, claiming his powers are enough to make him a danger to society. Petra might agree that magic can be unpredictable...especially when she suddenly possesses those powers herself for the first time. With the Wizard Council threatening to lock her up for her inability to control her new power, and her client's life on the line if she doesn't prove him innocent, Petra has to make the real murderer appear before she herself disappears.