My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

Sometimes Better Than Blogging: Guest Blogging | Jane Friedman https://buff.ly/3rJlIcF #writerscommunity #bookmarketing #blogging

9 Ways To Originalize Your Story Idea | Writers In The Storm https://buff.ly/2ywOgQI #writerscommunity #writingtips

How to get a book sponsor – Build Book Buzz https://buff.ly/3mfVtcE #writingcommunity #indieauthors

How to Get Accepted by a Writing Mentorship Program | Jane Friedman https://buff.ly/3ftDyxv #writingcommunity #indieauthors

20 Incredibly Useful Resources for Aspiring Authors https://buff.ly/2JJdajV #writingcommunity #indieauthors

Should You Publish Your Book Traditionally or Independently? — Well-Storied. https://buff.ly/3rc0Fin #writerscommunity #bookpublishing

How to Publish Your Book Independently – Author Media https://buff.ly/3rQ9f6X #writers #indieauthors #bookpublishing

10 Decisions Every Indie Author Needs to Make – Author Media https://buff.ly/31K9Igj #writers #indieauthors #bookpublishing

What Is Foreshadowing In Creative Writing? – The Romance Bloke https://buff.ly/2Pyf8Zh #writingcommunity #writingtips

The Writer and The Ellipsis http://trbr.io/JVeRI8D #writingcommunity #writingtips

Bonus: Defeating Writer’s Block

What Is The Writer’s Block? 8 Solutions To Defeat It. https://buff.ly/2Z9iQuT #writingcommunity #writingtips #writersblock

Motivation to Write: 7 Winning Strategies | Now Novel https://buff.ly/3wgbeEL #writingcommunity #writersblock

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

Mixtus Media — The New Rules for Instagram Hashtags https://buff.ly/2WEq473 #writerscommunity #writerslife

20 Literary Agents Actively Seeking Writers and Their Writing https://buff.ly/31ozZ2q #writerscommunity #writerslife

To Avoid Rejection, Take the Writer Out of the Story | Jane Friedman https://buff.ly/3gUMjhe #writerscommunity #writerslife

Everything You Need to Know About Working With an Editor https://buff.ly/3hrtMKx #writerscommunity #writerslife #amediting

What To Consider Before You Self-Publish A Poetry Book, Chapbook, or Collection of Poems | Self-Publishing Relief – Self-Publishing Relief https://buff.ly/2Gs0FZU #writerscommunity #poetrycommunity

What—and How Much—Belongs in Your Novel? https://buff.ly/2DqZadn #writerscommunity #writetip

12 Ways to Organize Your Book Ideas Before You Start to Write https://buff.ly/2F4dMjB #writers #nonfiction

How to Change Your Kindle Keywords, by Dave Chesson – Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris https://buff.ly/2R6ixf9 #writerscommunity #indieauthors

Why quality counts – Build Book Buzz https://buff.ly/3iHMSx7 #writingcommunity #selfpublishing

8 Blogging Tips for Writers to Find Success https://buff.ly/2F9dmbU #writers #bloggers

Bonus: In the Age of COVID

» COVID-19 and Publishing: A Fall Update https://buff.ly/2ZbAeOB #writerscommunity #writerslife #selfpublishing #COVIDー19 #WFH

6 Tips to Create a Memorable Virtual Book Launch | Jane Friedman https://buff.ly/2CdihH3 #writers #lockdown #WFH

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets

 

I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me @roxannesmolen for more tips.

The Power of Short Sentences (and white space) https://buff.ly/30vkgQT #writers #writetip

Blogging Tips For New Bloggers: You’ve Started a Blog – Now What? | Coach Your Tribe https://buff.ly/2AZZXR7 #writers #bloggers

A Writer’s Guide to Patience, Practice, and Persistence https://buff.ly/2zPd1s5 #writers #writerslife

Freewrite: How to Write About Traumatic Events Without Adding Trauma https://buff.ly/37sIYmB #writers #writetip

The 10-Novels Rule https://buff.ly/3hsu6cy #writers #indieauthors

Development of Characters: 6 Intriguing Ways we Change | Now Novel https://buff.ly/3fuwYn8 #writers #writetip

Meeting the Muse | Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog https://buff.ly/2C1OhO3 #writers #writerslife

How Readers Pick What to Read Next – Written Word Media https://buff.ly/2MXYfCv #writingcommunity #writerslife

Constructive Criticism: Reviewing the Writing or an Assessment of You? | Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog https://buff.ly/2UOSD1L #writers #writerslife

How to Write a Series: 5 Fundamental Tips for Expanding Your Story https://buff.ly/2AXxFGK #writers #writingadvice

 

Bonus: Working from Home

10 Writing tips during writing slumps / lockdown #writingtips #amwriting https://buff.ly/2YjP9oE #writingcommunity #lockdown #quarantine #WFH

How Authors Are Approaching Book Promotion During COVID-19 https://buff.ly/3bOgjJJ #writingcommunity #bookmarketing #quarantine #wfh

5 Ways For Authors to Stay Focused During COVID-19 – Written Word Media https://buff.ly/2Y4shL6 #writers #writingcommunity #quarantine #pandemic #wfh

Writing, Pitching & Promoting in the Age of the Coronavirus | Jane Friedman https://buff.ly/3edINyc #writingcommunity #quarantine #pandemic #WFH

15 Ways Authors Are Using Instagram to Overcome Physical Distancing Challenges https://buff.ly/2wGsRnk #writingcommunity #bookmarketing #pandemic #quarantine #wfh

How I Hosted a Socially Distanced Book Event | Jane Friedman https://buff.ly/3edqUPR #writingcommunity #indieauthors #quarantine #wfh

Virtual Book Launch Events: 8 Ideas from Authors https://buff.ly/2VNn890 #writingcommunity #indieauthors #quarantine #pandemic #wfh

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets

 

I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me @roxannesmolen for more tips.

How to Take the Sting Out of Query Rejections | Jane Friedman https://buff.ly/30L0uzd #writers #writingcommunity

How To Write The First Draft Of Your Novel https://buff.ly/2OFueuc #writingcommunity #writingtips

How to Overcome Writer’s Block: 14 Tricks That Work – Global Connections for Women https://buff.ly/2ZvOLm0 #writingcommunity #writingtips

Tips for Using Instagram as an Author https://buff.ly/2PaBSMa #writingcommunity #writerslife

Writing Cliffhangers: Suspense Examples from Books | Now Novel https://buff.ly/2M5qG39 #writingcommunity #writetips

The Top Ten Publishing Industry Trends Every Author Needs to Know in 2020 – Written Word Media https://buff.ly/305sxc9 #writers #indieauthors

It’s a Performance: Reading Your Work in Public https://buff.ly/2U3UujB #writingcommunity #bookmarketing

How to Start Blogging: A Definitive Guide for Authors | Jane Friedman https://buff.ly/2QP2Ji1 #writers #bloggers

What Do You Need In a Winning Author Website? https://buff.ly/2Gkrig1 #writers #indieauthors

5 Ways To Choose A Pseudonym | Writers Write https://buff.ly/2U53AwE #writers #indieauthors

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets

 

I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

5 Writing ‘Rules’ Authors Should Try Breaking • Writer’s Edit https://buff.ly/2EsslM1 In truth, there’s really no such thing as an unbreakable rule of writing. #writingcommunity #writetip

Amazon Self-Publishing: How to Publish on Amazon Step-by-Step https://buff.ly/2vBjth9 You no longer need to go through painstaking efforts to land a book deal which locks you into unrealistic deadlines and cuts you out of most of the earnings. #WritingCommunity #bookpublishing

A Simple Book Marketing Timeline for Holiday Sales https://buff.ly/2TGdzpR For indies, the price of advertising goes up and sales are harder to come by because the market is more competitive. #indieauthors #indiesareworthit

How to Promote Your Book Before It’s Published https://buff.ly/2Z3JNjZ A good reminder of the pieces we need to get in place long before our book is launched. #writerscommunity #writerslife

Metadata isn’t the enemy of self-publishing authors – if anything, it gives them more control over how their work is sold. #indiepub #ampublishing http://bit.ly/2R7gaba

Gone Fishing: How to Hook Readers with a Better Book Description https://buff.ly/30njJOc Book descriptions are your way of quickly grabbing the reader’s attention. #writingcommunity #writingtips

Copyediting Jobs: How to Estimate Hours and Pricing https://buff.ly/2L0EKaN Copy editors have a propensity for meticulousness and perfectionism. #writingcommunity #amediting

Finding Story Ideas Romance Hasn’t Exhausted: 7 Sources | Now Novel https://buff.ly/2TMcD3q How do you find novel ideas for romantic stories? #writingcommunity #writetip

9 Ways To Bring The Funny In Your Fiction https://buff.ly/2IWOrrB Trying to be funny involves taking a leap of faith. #writingcommunity #writetip

Should you respond to negative book reviews? – Build Book Buzz https://buff.ly/2Mq9zsT Readers leave negative book reviews for many reasons. #writers #writerslife

 

Bonus: Blogging

How to Start a Successful Blog https://buff.ly/30rtw5O Blogs aren’t just fun to read. Many people who start blogs are able to pull in serious money. #writers #bloggers

What Should Be Your Average Blog Post Length? – Shane Barker https://buff.ly/2T425Lt Take a look at some statistics on average blog post length. #bloggingtips #writingtips

Blogging Tips To Keep The Blogger Sane https://buff.ly/2H8wrbP Keep These Blogging Tricks Up Your Sleeve! #bloggingtips #writingtips

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets

 

I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

 

A Writer’s Guide to Plot Twists https://buff.ly/2IGmViA  Plot twists require skillful misdirection. #writerscommunity #writingtips

I’m An Author… Do I Need A Blog? https://buff.ly/2KQmft3  If you’re deciding whether or not to start a blog, read this first. #writerscommunity #writerslife

How to Write a Novel Using The Three-Act Structure https://buff.ly/2yhMja7  The three-act structure is just one of many story structures that you can use. #writerscommunity #writingtip

World Building: Writing the Natural Environment https://buff.ly/2Unok04  Environment is a key part of the setting. #WritingCommunity #writetip

Knowing When to Fly: Leaving Your Critique Group https://buff.ly/2WdxJYA  The only person who can tell you your writing is valuable and important is you. #writerslife #WritingCommunity

A Blank Page – Tips on Starting a New Project https://buff.ly/2V3HrQX  A new project is exciting. It can also be scary. #writerscommunity #writingtips

How To Start Writing When You Don’t Know Where To Start https://buff.ly/2IMMHBK  It doesn’t matter whether you focus on short stories or a novel, get started. #writerscommunity #writerslife

11 Creative Ways Authors Announced Their Book Launch https://buff.ly/2EgEJOp  Brainstorm creative methods to announce a book launch. #writerscommunity #writerslife

Writing: ALLi Editors’ Top Tips for Indie Authors https://buff.ly/2sLr0Id  Experienced editors’ tips they would like to share with indie authors. #writerscommunity #writingtips

9 Ways To Bring The Funny In Your Fiction https://buff.ly/2IWOrrB  When it comes right, it’s totally worth it. #writerscommunity #writetip

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets

 

I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

 

Schmoozing for Introverts: How to Network Like a Pro https://buff.ly/2Y4Yyj6  A writing conference may be your first professional networking opportunity. #writerslife #WritingCommunity

Favorite Tips for New Writers https://buff.ly/2FgPZZU  Get more done with less stress! #writerslife #WriterProblems

Eight Ways Writers Can Combat Imposter Syndrome https://buff.ly/2WdBBbF  Confidence in creativity is a balancing act. #writerscommunity #writerslife

Fiction editing https://buff.ly/2TLfexw  HOW DO I WRITE A SYNOPSIS? #writerscommunity #writerslife

The Art of the Book Event: 9 Tips https://buff.ly/2TrecSn  Help for your next book signing. #writerscommunity #writerslife

How to Overcome Writer’s Block: 14 Methods https://buff.ly/2JCMt1B  Remember that an outline is a guide, not a last will and testament. #writerscommunity #writetip #writersblock

How to Start a Blog (Simple Guide for Beginners) in 2019 https://buff.ly/2FoIJex  This article walks you through setting up a WordPress blog. #writers #bloggers

4 Pacing Tricks to Keep Readers’ Attention https://buff.ly/2HSrIwo  Even the greatest story can struggle to keep readers’ attention if the pacing is off. #writingcommmunity #writetip

How to Plot a Novel (Using our Easy Plot Template) https://buff.ly/2WNAbWF  The single hardest part of the whole novel-writing process. #WritingCommunity #writingtip

Using a Novel Outline Template: 5 Tips for Better Story Prep https://buff.ly/2TetRV7  Try a flexible outlining process to brainstorm your story’s core elements. #writers #writingtips

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets

 

I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

 

Book Publishing: Are You Keeping Up? – Part 1 https://buff.ly/2W0apgE  Book publishing best practices are evolving quickly around us. #writerscommunity #bookpublishing

25 Ideas for Your Author Blog https://buff.ly/2HdH2nD  One thing that keeps some people from blogging is that they’re not sure they’ll be able to think of enough things to write about. #writers #bloggers

27 Quick-Fix Self-Editing Hacks That Will Instantly Make You A Better Writer https://buff.ly/2u05Iar  Print it out and hang it near your work space for easy reference. #writerscommunity #writingtips

7 Ways for Social Marketers to Avoid Social Media Burnout https://buff.ly/2EjqV5g  Set clear boundaries between yourself and social media. #writingcommmunity

Great idea, but no clue how to start? Here are 8 Tips for Writing About the Unfamiliar https://buff.ly/2XTHGf9  Writing about something that you have no clue about is scary. #WritingCommunity #writingtips

Seven Ways to Get Other People to Respect Your Writing Time https://buff.ly/2XpRZYg  Consider whether it’s crossed a line into being abusive. #WritingCommunity #writerslife

12 Steps To Writing Iconic Heroes https://buff.ly/2T8hf1F  If you use these steps correctly, you will easily be able to create a strong character and storyline. #writerscommunity #writetip

(Mostly Undiscussed) Tips for Beginning Authors https://buff.ly/2XVXy0F  Never stop learning to be a better writer. #WritingCommunity #writingtips

Beat the Author Blues: How to Manage Writer’s Doubt https://buff.ly/2VW75mK  Kick writer’s doubt, stay positive, and keep writing. #writerslife #WritingCommunity

Did you know that there’s a whole community of book lovers on Instagram? @BookBubPartners has a great article about using Instagram as an author: https://bit.ly/2Chs8c3  #bookmarketing #pubtib

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets

 

I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

 

What’s Flashy About Flash & 6 Places to Submit Your Work https://buff.ly/2VFLVsJ  Authentic surprise, especially in literary flash fiction, is often subtle. #writerscommunity #writingtips

Cliffhangers: How to Write a Story Your Readers Can’t Put Down https://buff.ly/2B14pfZ  Readers crave answers to their story questions and they’ll keep turning the pages to get them. #writerscommunity #writingtips

How To Get My Book Into the Desired Categories https://buff.ly/2SUpCOp  The workaround for authors and publishers on KDP. #writerscommunity #writerslife

Editing for Authors: 7 Ways to Tighten the Story and Cut Costs https://buff.ly/2HiHlgh  We should always be growing, learning, and sharpening those skills! #writerscommunity #writingtips #amediting

How To Write a Blog — Tips From Our Readers and Users https://buff.ly/2Jc2tHk  Blogging takes time, effort, and constant care. #bloggers #writers

25 Ideas for Your Author Blog https://buff.ly/2HdH2nD  One thing that keeps some people from blogging is that they’re not sure they’ll be able to think of enough things to write about. #writers #bloggers

So You Wanna Design Your Own Book Cover, Eh? (PHSH Tutorial Intro) | 0 to 100 https://buff.ly/2Hj1P9x  PHSH = short form for Photoshop. #writerslife #bookcovers

5 Things You Should Do Before Self-Publishing Your Novel https://buff.ly/2XXvKcj  One of the best ways to make sure your novel succeeds is to build your author platform. #WritingCommunity #writerslife

Book Marketing: Social Media Tips For Introvert Authors https://buff.ly/2G1V0bC  It’s okay to start with baby steps. #WritingCommunity #socialmedia #bookmarketing

Taming the Synopsis: 4 Steps for Perfecting One-Page and Long-Form Synopses https://buff.ly/2XKzHRA  How to write a synopsis. #writetip

Sample Sunday – The Bear, The Werewolf, and The Blogger

The Bear, The Werewolf, and The Blogger is the fifth book in my Amazing Wolf Boy series. Its predecessor had a lot of violence, as werewolf books sometimes do, so in this book, I decided to focus on non-violent issues. No werewolves were harmed in the making of this book.

The story takes place in 2008. It’s fun to look back and see all the changes we’ve been through. Today, blogs are commonplace. Not so much in 2008. Early bloggers were celebrities. So, I pitted Cody, my teen werewolf, against Storey Evans, a popular blogger who views herself as an investigative reporter.

When she was young, Storey witnessed her father being torn to shreds by a pack of werewolves. The horror of that night turned into a vendetta. She now runs a blog called Noneties—The Non-Human Entities Among Us. She is obsessed with exposing werewolves and other shapeshifters for the good of the public.

Now the blogger is after my werewolf, and he must outwit not only her but the multitude of monster hunters who follow in her wake. He does so with his usual bumbling humor.

If you read the previous books, you’ll remember that I like to use authentic Wiccan rituals in my stories. In The Bear, The Werewolf, and The Blogger, however, I detailed a Native American wedding instead. I hope you find it interesting.

And now, without further ado, here is an excerpt from The Bear, The Werewolf, and The Blogger.

BWB eCover

THE BEAR, THE WEREWOLF, AND THE BLOGGER

ONE

July 25, 2008, Loxahatchee, Florida

Brittany held my hand as she led me to the back porch. The stench of chlorinated water permeated the air. The filmy curtains stirred, letting in snatches of starlight. I slipped my arms around her. She pressed against me. Her lips found mine. Her kiss was grape-soda sweet. The wolf within me stirred, and it was all I could do to keep from transforming right there.

She pulled away, fumbling with her shirt. I stilled her fingers and undid the buttons. One button. Two buttons. She wore a bathing suit underneath. I slid my hands down the warm contours of her waist. With a little sigh, she pulled away and turned her back. I closed my eyes.

She gasped. “This feels so good.”

I unzipped my jeans and let them drop. I wore an old bathing suit. It was too small to begin with, but after Brittany’s kiss, it was noticeably snug. The only way to hide my bulging enthusiasm was to get into Aunt Lynette’s new hot tub. But as soon as my nethers hit the hot water, I was off like a rocket. My eyes crossed.

I said, “Uh.”

“Cody? Are you all right?”

I said, “Uh.”

“Don’t be such a baby. The water isn’t that hot.” She splashed me.

Behind us, a voice drawled, “That’s enough, you young’uns. This water’s for meditating, not splashing.”

I moaned and slipped sideways off the little plastic seat.

Aunt Lynette approached carrying a flickering candle. “Move your hairy legs, werewolf. This here tub’s supposed to hold six people.” She set the candle on the edge, climbed in opposite us, then dropped a muslin pouch into the water.

I sat gingerly beside Brittany. “What’s in the sack… er, the bag… er, what’s that?”

“Calming herbs,” she said. “We got to keep you under control, wolf boy.”

“I’m under control.” I glanced at Brittany. “Mostly.”

Just then a whiff of the stinking herbs hit me in the face. I sneezed. Brittany laughed and splashed me again.

Aunt Lynette leaned back. “This will be good for our rituals.”

“Better than that blow-up pool we had,” Brittany said. “Is Myra coming in?”

“She’s cleaning up supper.”

I stretched my arms over the top of the tub.

Brittany used my bicep as a pillow. “This is so relaxing.”

I felt like a teabag.

Aunt Lynette said, “I hear tell you’ll be moving soon.”

Not if I can help it.

“Actually, it’s been delayed,” I said. “There’s been some trouble at the construction site. Someone stole the kitchen sink.”

Brittany giggled as if incredulous. “The kitchen sink?”

“Yep. Still in the crate.”

Aunt Lynette said, “Where are you gonna be living again? In a barn?”

“An old stable. At the Richardson place.” I smiled at Brittany. “It’s supposed to have a hot tub, too. But only for two people.”

She gave an exaggerated pout. “I still don’t like the idea of you living so close to Ayanna. I’ve seen how she looks at you.”

Ayanna had had a crush on me since the day we met.

“She’s a member of my pack. And a friend,” I said. “But she knows it won’t go further than that.”

Brittany snuggled against me. “Better not. I’ll turn her into a toad. I’m a Witch Queen, you know.”

Aunt Lynette barked a raucous laugh. “Not yet you ain’t.”

Brittany cast her an angry glare. Aunt Lynette shot her one right back.

Uh-oh. Touchy subject.

Hurriedly, I said, “I thought Eileen was going to join us.”

“She was on the phone with a florist,” Brittany said. “Wedding stuff.”

“Ah.” I nodded. It was hard not to be excited about the wedding. William’s joy was contagious. What would it be like to have someone promise to stay with you forever? Even my own mother hadn’t managed that feat.

“In a Wiccan wedding, everyone would bring flowers to decorate the altar,” Aunt Lynette said. “Just go out to a field and pick ‘em.”

“Must be a beautiful ceremony,” Brittany said.

“We call it handfasting,” Lynette said, “and in the eyes of the goddess they would be one. But she insists on observing tribal ways.”

“They aren’t actually getting married, though, right?” Brittany said. “I mean it isn’t legal.”

“In the eyes of the American government, no, it ain’t legal.”

“It could be,” I blurted. “You can get married in Florida at sixteen.”

Aunt Lynette snorted. “Well, her aunt refused to sign off on her, and her poor mother ain’t here to tell her no.”

“They’re in love. Would you tell them no?”

“Durn tootin’ I would. They ain’t knowed each other but a matter of weeks. Takes longer than that to recognize love.”

“I disagree,” Brittany said. “I believe in love at first sight.”

I said, “I fell in love with you the first time I saw you crossing the parking lot at Video Stop.”

She smiled. “You never told me that.”

I kissed the top of her head.

“That’s smitten,” Aunt Lynette grumbled. “There’s a difference between being smitten and being in love.”

“Cody?” Myra called from the doorway. “Bob and Rita are here. They said they’d wait for you in the truck.”

I sat up straight. “They’re early. Or am I late?”

Brittany moved to stand up. “That was a short soak.”

“No, you stay. I can see myself out.”

“Okay. Remember, tomorrow’s Saturday. We’re going down to Tamiami with Eileen in the morning.”

“I’ll be ready.” I climbed out of the tub then leaned for a goodbye kiss. “Smitten you.”

“Smitten you, too.”

I balled up my clothes, picked up my shoes, and stepped out the back door. The night air felt cool on my overheated skin. Eileen and William’s impending wedding played in my head. Could there be such a marriage between Brittany and me? Every time I mention it, she just smiles. She says she loves me—but only after I say it first.

I circled the side of the house and passed the carport where Brittany’s lime green Beetle sat parked for the night. As I walked, I glanced around for Haff, Brittany’s dog. There was no sign of him. Probably out chasing rabbits. I approached my uncle’s truck.

“Hoo-whee, boy.” Uncle Bob waved a hand as if I stank. “What have you been doing?”

“Aw, they put some herbs in the hot tub,” I said. “I’ll shower when I get home.”

“We aren’t going home.” Rita turned her dazzling white smile on me. “The Richardsons invited us over for drinks and to see the latest improvements on the stone cottage.”

Oh crap. Was the thing finished?

“I’ll thank you to ride in the back,” Uncle Bob said.

As if I rode anywhere else. I climbed into the truck bed and settled in, still dripping, next to the toolbox. And just like that, we were off to see the Richardsons and the stable/cottage.

* * *

Dick, Chloe, and Ayanna Richardson lived on an old horse farm on the outskirts of the small town of Loxahatchee. No horses, of course. Horses weren’t fond of werewolves. Their house was Spanish style, as were so many others in the area—red-tiled roof, beige stucco walls, arched windows. It was a distance away from ours, which was one of the reasons Uncle Bob was so keen on moving into their backyard. By the time we reached the long, dusty slope of their driveway, I was dry, although still reeking of herbs. I squirmed to pull on my t-shirt and jeans without standing up.

Dressed in a colorful dashiki with a kufi cap, Dick Richardson stood in the yard admiring the row of spindly flowers lining the front porch. The weather-beaten plants looked more suitable for Africa than South Florida. Dick loved anything African. Behind the house, the silhouette of a huge baobab tree rose over the roof. The trunk was easily fifteen-feet wide. It was made of concrete and rebar, but it looked real.

Uncle Bob pulled his truck behind the Richardson’s mustard-yellow Winnebago, and Dick walked over to open the door for Rita.

“Halloo,” he rumbled. “Welcome, welcome.”

“Thank you, kind sir,” Rita said.

Chloe stepped out of the house. She was dressed as brightly as her husband. A turban tamed her thick hair. The two women hugged as if they hadn’t seen each other the day before.

“What’s that odd odor?” Dick asked.

“Cody,” Uncle Bob said.

All eyes turned to me. Like I was the puppy who had been rolling in it. Without another word, they traipsed around the house to the backyard, Rita and Chloe arm-in-arm and Dick and Uncle Bob side-by-side. I climbed down from the pickup and slunk after them.

The backyard was wide and flat. The only sound came from the splashing of the fake waterfall and the crickets around the koi pond. The only light was starlight. A shadow moved on the patio, and Ayanna glided silently toward me. She took my hand. We followed the adults to the dreaded stone cottage.

We’d started calling it the stone cottage because the walls were made of big round stones, probably excavated from the horse pastures. As homes went, it wasn’t bad. Low to the ground with small irregular windows. I wiped my feet as I stepped over the threshold. The living room smelled faintly of horses. There was no electricity and so no lights, but werewolves didn’t need light to see.

“What I wanted to show you is this,” Dick said with his booming voice.

Everyone crowded into the kitchen. The skylight above showed the starry sky.

“Well, what do you think?” Dick waved a hand as if performing a magic trick. “We have a kitchen sink. The workers cannot or will not say what happened to the original. But no matter. This is a nice upgrade.”

“It’s beautiful,” Rita cooed. She ran her hand over the tiled interior. It looked like a blue and gray mosaic.

“Imported from India by way of Home Depot,” Dick said. “I now declare this abode occupant ready.”

I groaned. Again, all eyes turned to me.

“I sense apprehension from you, young master,” Dick said.

Ayanna elbowed me and whispered, “Tell them.”

I cleared my throat. “It’s just that… Well, my father always says familiarity breeds contempt. We’re all friends now, but how friendly will we be when we start living together?”

“We’re more than friends,” Uncle Bob growled. “We’re packmates. And we’re moving in.”

He shot me a glare that struck me cold. His reprimand was not only in his eyes and words but in the link, the telepathic bond that connected the members of the pack. Uncle Bob was the pack master, but it didn’t seem to agree with him. The weight of command made him sullen and authoritarian. I nodded and took a half-step back, although I hated myself for doing it. Uncle Bob was my friend. What was happening between us?

“This calls for wine.” Chloe’s smile was as bright as her turban. “Come to the house. I believe Concepcion is ready for us.”

I led the way, fleeing the cottage as if it held my doom. We filed onto the patio of the main house.

The Richardson’s housekeeper, Concepcion, was lighting a pair of citronella candles she’d placed at either end of a platter of finger sandwiches. My favorite was her fairy bread. White bread heavily buttered and dunked in sprinkles.

I sat at the table and looked out at the silent yard. A few lightning bugs flitted around the flowers surrounding the koi pond.

Dick pulled out a wine bottle. “You won’t have tried this one. It is Ifrikia Rouge Reserve from Tunisia, produced in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.” He poured a measure into four glasses. The wine had a deep maroon color.

Rita took a glass, sniffed, and sipped. “It’s delightful. Tangy aftertaste. Is that… raspberry?”

Dick laughed and sat. “You have a discerning tongue.”

Concepcion came out with a couple of root beers for Ayanna and me.

Chloe passed over empty wine glasses. “Don’t drink out of the can, Ayanna. It is unseemly for a young lady.”

“Which brings us to our next announcement,” Dick announced. “In one week, our little flower will turn fifteen.”

“It is a milestone birthday,” Chloe said. “In Africa, the celebration would draw a hundred people. Or more.”

“Here, it is only us. But our celebration will be no less heartfelt. I invite you to join us next Friday for our party.” Dick raised his glass. “To Ayanna.”

“To Ayanna,” we answered in unison and drank.

Ayanna looked both embarrassed and pleased.

 

TWO

Saturday morning, I was up at daybreak. Time to meet the fam. It was an hour drive to the Tamiami Trail Indian Reservation, and Brittany and Eileen wanted to get an early start. Technically, my presence wasn’t necessary since I wasn’t a member of the wedding party. I was Support Guy. I combed my hair and tied it into a tail and put on my white dress shirt and good shoes. The ones that squeaked when I walked. No tie. I wasn’t worried about impressing the tribal elders. I just wanted to make Brittany happy.

Uncle Bob and Rita were still asleep, their bedroom door closed. My father slept on the couch where he’d put down roots ever since he left my mom. He snuffled a soft snore. I tiptoed through the living room and out to the front porch. Even at sunrise, the air was hot and muggy. Birds squawked in the trees, and rabbits stirred the underbrush. We lived in a sub-division that backed into a forest. Loxahatchee was in the northern tip of the Everglades.

I closed my eyes and stretched out with my senses. Brittany and I had a sort of link, a bond that tied us together. I felt her across the distance, knew she was on her way. Her presence was as warm as a hug. A few minutes later, the girls drove up in Eileen’s woody station wagon.

I bounded down the stairs and leaned in through Brittany’s open window. “Good morning. You look nice.”

She did, too. Her spiky hair was tipped in blue, and her lips were blue to match. She wore a dark, sleeveless dress that showed off the creamy paleness of her skin.

Brittany smiled. “So do you.”

She slid over on the bench seat, and I slid in. From the driver’s seat, Eileen gave me a strained smile. Not her usual laid-back self. I wanted to ask why she was bothering to get married when the preparations made her so miserable. Then I thought about marrying Brittany. I would endure anything to be with her.

Eileen was a nudist, but the last few times I’d seen her, she’d worn clothes. Today it was a sundress with bright green flowers. She was changing. For William. I wondered if someday she would resent it.

She backed the car down the gravel driveway, and we headed out. Eileen’s car didn’t have air conditioning. Worse, it only had AM radio, and the only station it got in was an oldies station. Brittany and Eileen sang along with the tunes. I didn’t join in, although I recognized a few of the songs. They brought to mind riding in the old convertible with Mom when I was a kid. She loved the oldies. But Mom lived in Massachusetts and I lived down here, so there was that.

We took I95 south toward Miami. Rush hour hadn’t even started yet, and already traffic was a nightmare. But we made good time, and soon we were taking side streets to the Reservation. Tamiami was more city than a town. Crowded and bustling.

“Wow,” I blurted. “It looks like anywhere else.”

Brittany laughed. “What did you expect? Tepees?”

My cheeks turned warm. “Well, no. Of course not.” Only I guess I kind of had.

“You’re thinking of the traditionals,” Eileen said. “They live west down Tamiami Trail. Look there.” She pointed to a four-story building with an orange overhang and flags out front. The sign said Miccosukee Administration Building. “That’s where I had to go to get permission to have the wedding on tribal land.”

“But William is a member of the tribe,” I said.

“They have a matriarchal society. Everything goes through the mother, and my mother was mostly Norwegian.”

“You should have the ceremony at home. At our house.” Brittany shrugged. “We have a nice, big yard.”

“Will wants it on the reservation. He wants us to live here.”

“Ah.” I nodded. “For all the free benefits.”

Eileen clucked her tongue. “There are no free benefits. You can rent a house pretty cheap, and the healthcare is good. Will gets a dividend check each month from the casino, but that’s money earned by the tribe. It’s not free.”

Brittany chuckled. “You sound like you’re already a member.”

“I’m starting to realize that I’ll never be part of the tribe.” She sighed. “I just want a place to belong, you know. Somewhere I fit in. Since Mom died…”

“You fit in with us. You have a home. We don’t want you to leave.”

“There’s no place for me there. Not now that Myra’s back. Whoever heard of a coven with four people? No one, that’s who.” Her sigh became ragged. “I love Will. I figured we’d get married sooner or later. Why not sooner? But Lynette wants me to have a Wiccan ceremony. Will wants tribal customs on tribal land. Lynette insists we marry on the new moon or the Goddess won’t bless us. Will says we can’t be ready that soon. I feel torn in half.”

We pulled into a sub-division. The houses were small, the yards large, some well-kept, others not so much. Just like any other neighborhood.

“Is this where Will lives?” Brittany asked.

“His mother.” Eileen stared out the windshield, her hands white-knuckled on the steering wheel. “I haven’t met his uncle yet. A mother’s oldest brother has a very important role in the family. If he doesn’t like me, I’m afraid the whole thing will be off.”

As we pulled into a driveway, William stepped outside. He also wore a white dress shirt, but his shirt was stretched over bulging muscle. Fitting, since he could turn into a bear. But that was a secret. I don’t think even his mother knew. He opened the door for Eileen then took her in his arms and kissed her like we weren’t there. Brittany smiled at me, crinkling her nose in the way that I loved.

I got out of the car then held out my hand for her. Sunlight caught her dark dress, drawing hints of deepest purple. She wore her usual combat boots and carried a kid-sized My Little Pony backpack for a purse.

A woman stepped onto the porch. Chelsea Osceola, Story Keeper of the tribe and William’s mother. She had long, black hair and wore a red-and-yellow patchwork skirt.

I gave her a little bow. “Chehuntamo.”

Her dark eyes sparkled as if she were suppressing a laugh. “Chehuntamo. It’s good to see you both again. Brittany, I understand you will be Eileen’s maid of honor.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Brittany said.

“Please come inside. Many of the family are already here.”

We followed Chelsea into the house. The living room was crowded. As we entered, everyone stood. I felt like I was at an inspection.

Chelsea said, “This is Brittany. She stands with the bride. And this is Cody, her plus one.”

That’s me. Support Guy.

A shriveled old man squinted at us through wire-rimmed glasses. “I see your auras. Oh, yes.”

My smile froze, belying the alarm that shot through me. Howard, William’s father, could tell I was a werewolf by simply looking at my aura. Was that an Indian thing? I couldn’t afford to have anyone else know my secret.

William and Eileen entered. The screened door banged behind them.

“And this is Eileen,” Chelsea announced.

A tall man stepped forward. He had bronze skin, gray-streaked hair, and wore a crisp dress shirt, long-sleeved in spite of the growing heat.

William said, “This is Michael, my mother’s oldest brother.”

Eileen held out her hand. “How do you do, sir?”

The man took her hand in both of his. “Eileen. We have many questions for you.”

“And we have questions for all of you,” William said.

Michael frowned. “You do?”

“I want my father to preside over the ceremony.”

Even Eileen looked shocked. A pervasive mutter rose.

“Nokosi!” someone spat.

Michael’s face darkened. “Your father is banned from tribal land. You know this.”

“I ask that the ban be lifted.”

The voices fell to shocked silence. Howard had been shunned after he got drunk one night and turned into a bear while in a bar. No one was hurt except Joseph Achak, his intended target. Still, he made a lot of people nervous.

“No,” one man said. “That isn’t possible.”

“He is not welcome,” said another.

“My father is a Navajo medicine man,” William said. “He is qualified to preside.”

Michael motioned at the shriveled man. “Barney can—”

William’s voice rose. “I am within my rights.”

From the back of the room, an elderly man said, “The council has already ruled on the matter of Howard Shebala.”

“If my father is not allowed,” William said, “then I will leave. That will be to the tribe’s detriment. The census is already dangerously low. This marriage is as important to you as it is to me.”

This was apparently jaw-dropping news to everyone but Chelsea.

“Coffee?” she asked us.

“I’d love some.” Brittany smiled.

We followed Chelsea to the kitchen, leaving William and Eileen to hammer out the wedding details.

The kitchen smelled like hot grease and sugar. Two women danced around as if choreographed. One fished doughy disks out of a countertop deep fryer while the other dusted them with powdered sugar.

Chelsea said, “These are my sisters, Marjory and Susan.”

“Hello,” I murmured.

“Frybread,” the younger of the sisters said. “Have one.”

My mouth watered. I wrapped a napkin around a six-inch round of hot goodness. A depression in the center held a spoonful of berry jam. I sat at a table that was piled high with paper plates and cups. Brittany joined me with her cup of coffee. A steady breeze streamed through the open window, making the checkered curtain flap. I couldn’t tell if it was hotter outside or in the kitchen.

“How long have you known Willie?” the oldest woman asked.

“Just a few months,” I said.

“Harrumph. He speaks as if he’s known you his entire life.”

“I’ve known Eileen for years,” Brittany said.

Laughter came from the backyard.

The woman cocked her brow. “Perhaps you would be more comfortable outside with the other children.”

Do we look like children?

Chelsea blushed and gave a sheepish shrug. “It’s cooler out there.”

We stood obediently. I snagged another frybread as we went out.

The backyard was a wide expanse of green. No fences. Children ran everywhere. One group played an informal version of lacrosse. Another group took turns climbing a tree and jumping from the branches. Brittany and I sat together at a patio table. A wide overhang shaded the porch, and ceiling fans kept the breeze moving.

Brittany sipped her coffee. A short distance away, a group of twelve-year-old girls huddled together, grinning and glancing over their shoulders at us. When they noticed I was looking at them, they giggled.

I sighed and leaned toward Brittany. “Look, I have something to tell you, and I don’t think you’ll like it.”

“Oh, boy.” She set down her cup.

“Last night when my uncle picked me up—”

A girl appeared at the table. She wore a pink dress and had ribbons in her braids. Her dark eyes trained on Brittany. “Is it true you’re a witch?”

Brittany smiled. “I am. But not the Halloween kind. I use my powers for good.”

The girl nodded. I gave her an indulgent smile, and she returned to the knot of giggling girls.

“Anyway,” I said. “Last night, we went to the Richardson’s and… The stone cottage is ready for us to move in.”

“Oh.” She looked stunned. “Did you tell them you didn’t want to?”

“Yeah. I said it was a bad idea and that it would ruin our friendship and—”

“Oh my gosh, it’s true?” Two more girls appeared at the table. “Can you put spells on people?”

“I can,” Brittany said, “but that’s not what being Wiccan is all about. We want to understand nature and live in harmony with the world around us.”

“Ooh,” they crooned.

I smiled and nodded as they slipped away. “So, yeah, I told them I didn’t want to. Then my uncle gave me the look. I really don’t see how I’m going to—”

Three other girls approached. They hung on each other as if needing support. “Can you ride a broom?”

“What kind of question is that?” I bellowed. “Go on. Get out of here. All of you.”

They squealed and scurried away, laughing.

I realized I was halfway out of my chair and sat back down. “You can’t, right?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. I never tried.”

The door creaked open, and William stepped out. He sat at the table with us. “Thank you both for coming. It means a lot.”

“No problem,” I said. “Did you get everything straightened out about your Dad?”

“I think I have them convinced.” He grinned.

“Excellent,” I said.

“Will you have the wedding here?” Brittany motioned to the swath of grass behind the houses. The lacrosse game was breaking up.

“There’s a nearby park,” William said. “The land must be consecrated, blessed every sunrise and sunset for seven days. The problem is, they play lacrosse there, too. We had to wait until after a scheduled game to start the blessings.”

“That’s why you couldn’t have the wedding this weekend.”

He nodded. “It’s the perfect place, though. Should be plenty of room. Eileen wants a maypole.”

I frowned. “Isn’t that supposed to be in the spring?”

William raised his eyebrows.

“Hey, you! Stop that!” Brittany leaped to her feet, glaring at a tall boy who was shoving around a smaller one.

The kid scowled at her then pushed his victim again. The boy fell. Like a shot, she was down the green slope and in his face. William and I hurried after her. Turned out, the tall kid wasn’t a kid after all—he was our age. He towered over Brittany.

She poked him in the chest. “Who do you think you are?”

“I don’t answer to the likes of you,” he growled.

“Is that right? You think you’re scarier than me because you’re Native American?”

His ruddy face darkened further. “I may be Native, but my people were here long before yours.”

One of the girls snickered. “Better watch out, Thomas. She’s a witch. Turn you into a toad.”

He took a half-step back. “A witch?”

“You hurt?” Brittany helped the younger boy to his feet.

“No, ma’am. Thank you, ma’am.” He stared wide-eyed for a moment then ran off. A group of lacrosse players ran with him.

William said, “On your way, cousin.”

Thomas snorted and trudged off. Three cronies trailed in his wake.

“You know him?” Brittany crooked her thumb.

“Aunt Marjory’s youngest.” William nodded. “He’s a bit of a bully.”

“I’ll say.” Brittany huffed out her breath.

“C’mere, fierce one.” I chuckled and kissed the top of her head.

The door slammed, and Eileen hurried toward us. “Y’all come in and get some brunch. Don’t you leave me in there all on my own.”

“Sorry.” Brittany hugged her.

William clapped me on the back. The four of us traipsed back to the house. I noticed Thomas and his cronies eyeing us from a distance.

Did that whet your appetite for more? I hope so. You can buy The Bear, The Werewolf, and The Blogger at your favorite eBook store or get it in paperback. And be sure to leave a short review. I’d love to hear what you think of it.