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For any of our readers who haven’t heard, the authors of Cozy Mystery Magazine have gotten together to write a compilation of short Christmas stories called A Cup of Cozy 2. As a special treat for our readers, today and every Wednesday until Christmas, the book will be offered free.
Today I’m going talk a little bit about my story, called Malicious Intent. This story is an introduction for a new cozy series I'm working on.
I’m sure by now our blog readers know that I love Agatha Christie’s character, Miss Marple. I wanted an older sleuth in my books, but I also wanted a younger woman and a child. After some debate, I decided the main character would be a younger woman named Lily Kennard who is in her early thirties. She’s personal assistant to a wealthy widow named Daphne Beasley. Her two partners in crime are eighty-year-old Florence Beasley (Daphne’s sister-in-law) and ten-year-old Maddie Beasley (Daphne’s granddaughter).
Lily retired from the Navy. She took on the job of personal assistant because she wanteda total life change. She has an interesting past that challenges her walk with the Lord. Over a period of time, I’ll be revealing her background and the reasons she struggles emotionally. . .and she also has romance in her future.
Lily is interesting, but it’s Florence who brings life to the stories. She’s the coolest and most interesting not-main-character I’ve ever written. Her personality takes over the pages. And she’s old enough not to care what people think, so she’s fun to write.
Here’s a short excerpt from my story:
Florence frowned. “You say Martin Weatherby will be there? Not just little kids? I don’t feel like listening to a bunch of little girls screaming. Makes me clack my dentures from stress.”
“Yes, Mr. Weatherby will be there,” Maddie said. “It’s the adult and children’s choirs, plus all the people in the play.”
Florence tapped her red polished nails on the granite island top. Maddie stared at her like an eager little puppy. I began humming the theme song from Jeopardy.
“You know what? I think I’ll go,” Florence said.
“Oh, yay!” Maddie clapped her hands, and then began putting dough on a cookie sheet.
Florence’s sudden change of mind made me suspicious, but when Maddie flipped a raw cookie on the floor, I became distracted.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I think I’m too excited.”
“Why don’t you let me finish loading this cookie sheet for you, Half-Pint,” Florence said. “You go get ready.”
“Okay!” Maddie cleaned the dough off the floor then scampered from the room. Florence spooned raw cookies on the last pan, humming Silent Night under her breath.
“I thought that song annoyed you,” I muttered as I removed another batch of finished cookies from the oven.
“That was five minutes ago. As an elderly woman whose mental faculties have been questioned over the past year, it’s my prerogative to change my mind at a moment’s notice. It’s important to be consistent in my inconsistency.”
“Right.” I moved cookies from the pan to a cooling rack. “I forgot about that dementia thing you claim to have. Whatever. So, spit it out. Why are you suddenly so happy and eager to go?”
Florence lifted her chin and put her hand on her chest. “I’m going to do what my dear grand-niece asked. Attend the Christmas party. That way I can miraculously morph from Scrooge to Tiny Tim and bless everyone.”
“The day you become Tiny Tim will be the day I become Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” I faced her over the island. “You have an ulterior motive.”
“You think you know everything, don’t you?”
“I know you.” I stuffed a warm cookie in my mouth and savored the melting chocolate chips.
“Okay, I’ll tell you if you must know.”