Friday, November 27, 2009

Fluff and Puff Vs Black Friday

“Why couldn’t we stay home?” Puff whined from his spot in Jazz’s Marc Jacobs pink leather tote, as she wove her way through the hordes of people that pushed around Jazz.

“Because you might come in handy.” Jazz had the grim determination you only saw one day a year. The day after Thanksgiving when serious shoppers came out to do their holiday shopping.

Jazz was there armed with credit cards, ready to do what it took to get all her shopping out of the way.

Fluff’s ears curved over the top of the bag, then his eyes peeped over, widening at the mob around them. “I’m going back to the car.”

Jazz tightened her hold on the bag. “No, you’re not.” She pushed her way into Nordstrom on the quest for the perfect gifts. It wasn’t long before she found a leather jacket for Nick, an even cuter leather jacket for herself, sweaters for Stasi and Blair, a wrap for Thea and she was still going strong.

“I want a pretzel,” Puff demanded.

“Later.” Jazz’s gaze narrowed as she spied a plum silk top across the store. She made her way there, but someone else saw the top too and there was only the one. “Create a diversion. Trip her,” she muttered, unceremoniously dumping them out of her bag.

“Pretzel,” Puff reminded her.

“Yeah, yeah.” But her mind was on the prize.

The slippers growled their way among the shoppers, who tended to stay out of their way, yet not one screamed or fainted as their magick protected them.

Jazz remained behind them, watching the woman destined to lose the top, because IT WAS JAZZ’S. She started to throw out a freeze spell, but she made a promise not to use magick when shopping. Sigh! She quickened her steps and practically slid across the floor reaching out for the top the same time as the other woman.

“I believe this is mine,” the woman said frostily, practically jerking Jazz off her feet as she pulled on the hanger.

“I was here first.” Jazz was happy to see that Fluff and Puff were on either side of her new enemy. She wanted this top, damn it!

Just then the woman yelped and released the hanger. Puff slid back, looking proud of himself.

“Now I get my pretzel.”

“After I finish my shopping.” Jazz glared at the woman who looked ready to pitch into her. “Not getting this top isn’t the end of the world,” she told her before she walked off.

“Pretzel!” Puff raised his voice.

“You promised!” Fluff added his two cents.

“Give it a rest. I said I’ll get you guys pretzels after I finish here. Oooh, pretty!” She squeaked to a stop by a large rack of silk dresses.

Fluff and Puff didn’t say another word, but sulked big time as Jazz finished her shopping in the store and added more large shopping bags to her arms.

As she exited the store, alarms went off big time.“What the –“ Jazz looked around to see who’d set off the security alarm when a hulkish type man came up to her.

“If you’ll come with me, ma’am,” he said quietly, taking her arm in a hold that said to come with him or else.

“What’s the problem?” She so wanted to zap him good, but she knew it wouldn’t be a good idea.

“We believe you have items you haven’t paid for.” He steered her toward the offices.

“Oh believe me, I paid for everything and have the receipts and depleted charge card to show for it.” If she wasn’t on probation, she would have used a spell to get out of there without any fuss, but she knew the man was wrong and there was nothing she loved more than showing a man he was wrong. “So what exactly didn’t I pay for?”

Once in the office, she set her shopping bags down and looked the part of a disgruntled shopper. After all, she had sales to plunder! More gifts to buy! And there was that gorgeous dress she saw in the paper that she knew would be perfect on her.

The security officer reached into one bag and pulled out two fluffy items.

Jazz stared at Fluff and Puff and laughed. “Are you kidding me? They’re mine. I brought them with me for when my feet get tired.” She gestured with her stiletto boots.

“Sure, lady. We all don’t believe in taking tags off our own items.” He dropped them on the desk, where, damn them, they didn’t move an inch and acted as if they were literal footwear, and picked up a phone. “And we have zero tolerance against shoplifters here.”

Jazz picked them up, gasped at the fifty-dollar price tag and glared at them hard enough to cause steam to come out of her ears. “You little shits,” she gritted. “You reveal yourselves now.”


The guard shook his head and picked up the phone.

Ten minutes later, Jazz was escorted out of the office by a police officer. When she glanced over her shoulder at the slippers still lying on the desk, she saw Puff slowly close one eye in a wink and mouth the word pretzel.

So a word of warning. If you’re at the mall and see bunny slippers, have a pretzel ready. They prefer the cinnamon sugar ones.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jazz and Irma Cook Thanksgiving Dinner

"I have to do what?" A horrified Jazz stared at the pale-skinned turkey lying on the counter.
"You have to reach inside the cavity and take out the giblets." Irma peered over her shoulder sending a shock of cold through Jazz’s body.
When Jazz broke down and asked Irma to help her cook Thanksgiving dinner, she had no idea it would involve putting her hands inside a raw turkey and pull its guts out. Can you spell euww!
She settled for sticking her hands inside two plastic bags before sticking them inside the turkey's butt. She kept her eyes closed and mouth scrunched up as she scooped out the innards.
"This is disgusting!"
"Perhaps if you'd cooked more often and not been out there doing witchy things, you'd know what to do in cooking a proper meal."
"Spare me from self-righteous spirits," Jazz muttered, dumping the giblets and the neck in the sink. She quickly peeled off the bags and dropped them in the trash.
"And don't forget to wash your hands thoroughly since you just handled raw poultry."
Jazz paused in wiping her hands on her jeans and reached for the hand soap instead.
"How big is the turkey?" Irma asked, pursing her Tangeed lips. While she now wore clothing designed for this century instead of the last, she still enjoyed some of her 1950s make up.
Jazz stared at the pale bird. "Big."
Irma sighed. "No, how many pounds."
"I don't know. I didn't exactly put it on a scale!"
"Then look at the wrapper! You determine the time it takes to cook it according to the number of pounds. We always bought our turkeys at the Farris Turkey Ranch. Such beautiful birds too."
Jazz ignored Irma reminiscing about the good old days when she was still alive. "Yeah yeah. Okay, the bird is twenty-three pounds since Krebs wants lots of leftovers and Stasi and Blair are coming down for dinner."
"Are you stuffing it? If you are, it will take longer to cook."
"Stuffing it? I just took stuff out of it!" Witches normally didn't get headaches but Jazz was well on her way to a doozy.
"And you make up a nice stuffing to put into the turkey cavity. There's cornbread stuffing, oyster, herb. Take your choice."
"Then I choose Stove-Top which I can put in the microwave and it doesn't have to go anywhere near a turkey's nether regions."
"That's not stuffing! That's pieces of Lord knows what in a box!"
Jazz studied the red and yellow box. "The box stays stuffing, it's stuffing."
Under Irma's guidance Jazz had the turkey rubbed with butter and herbs, placed in a large electric roaster, and the timer set.
"Off the counter!" She ordered Fluff and Puff as the bunny slippers scampered up to investigate what was going on. She gave each them of a piece of licorice root for a treat and watched them retreat to a corner of the kitchen.
"Brown sugar, molasses is nice and miniature marshmallows for the top of the candied yams," Irma told her. "Are you making cranberry sauce?"
Jazz held up two cans. "Jellied and whole-berry."
"You modern girls rely too much on canned goods. I always bought my cranberries and made my own sauce with ginger and a hint of orange peel." Irma's face seemed to fill the entire screen. "Does that jar say gravy? You can make it from the drippings! You picked up butter and cream for the mashed potatoes, didn't you? And I mean real butter, not that oleo or what you call margarine now. We had to use oleo during the war and it had no taste. Also did you pick up the makings for the green bean casserole? That's a classic dish for Thanksgiving. The French-fried onion strings make it look so fancy. Please don't tell me that tube holds biscuits? I made my biscuits from scratch. Harold said they tasted light as a feather."
"Light as a feather biscuits sure didn't keep your husband in line, did it?" Jazz muttered.
"Maybe if you worried less about eliminating curses you'd have a man to cook for! Look at that! You're not even using real whipped cream for the pumpkin pie."
Jazz flicked her fingers at the screen and muted the audio. She smiled at the picture of Irma talking away. "Ah, silence."
All too soon, she realized she did need help. She flicked her fingers at the screen again.
"You are a very rude girl," Irma huffed. "You asked for my help and I was only too willing to give it, yet on a whim you shut me off. Perhaps I should return to my program. Rachael Ray is coming on soon. She knows how to cook a Thanksgiving dinner."
Jazz briefly considered zapping Irma back to the garate, but since she needed the spirit's help, she didn't dare. Irma was a ghost who could hold a grudge with the best of them and Jazz wasn't even halfway through preparing dinner. She looked at the cans, jars and bowls scattered across the counters. Nothing had ever looked so intimidating.
And all because she wanted to do something nice for Krebs this year and give him a family-type dinner.
"Fine, I'm sorry I muted you. I lost my mind." Which she had in planning this dinner.
"I forgive you." A lit cigarette appeared between Irma's white-gloved fingers. "Now, you need to melt some butter to use in basting the turkey."
Jazz's head spun with the rapid-fire instructions Irma shot at her. And every time she started a new task she was tempted to use her magick.
"No wonder Samantha Stevens kept breaking her word in not using her magick," she muttered, mentally envisioning the potato peeler under six feet of concrete.
By the time the timer for the turkey went off, Jazz was ready for a nap.
"Where's our feast?" Krebs asked, coming into the kitchen with Jazz's sister witches, Stasi and Blair on his heels. "Do you want me to carry the turkey into the dining room?"
She waved her hand at the roaster. "Knock yourself out."
Except as Krebs lifted the turkey out of the roaster it looked more pink than golden.
"What did you do to it?" Irma demanded from the TV screen.
Jazz was horrified. "I cooked it! 5 ½ hours at 225."
"You cook it at 325!" Irma shouted. "That bird is still raw."
With a flick of the wrist, Jazz shut off the TV, faced the turkey, saying "Forget the book. Forget the look. Damn turkey needs to be cooked, because I say so damn it!"
In the wink of an eye, the turkey turned a well-cooked golden brown. Just as fast the food disappeared from the kitchen, leaving it clean and neat and reappeared on the dining room table.
Jazz snatched up a dark green bottle and marched into the other room. "I'll bring the wine."
Hopefully your Thanksgiving will be filled with good food, good friends and family and maybe a glass or four of wine.

Happy Thanksgiving from Linda and Jazz

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Wishes

May you have a wonderful day filled with friends and family and all things you’re thankful for.And when thinking about that first Thanksgiving, just remember a few things.No gas or electric ovens – just a fireplace or fire pit.No microwave ovens – horrors!

No refrigerator to store things and keep them cold.

No hot and cold running water -- if you wanted hot water you filled up a big pot and set it over the fire.

No central heat -- unless you count the fireplace.

No coffee pots, no Corning Ware or Pyrex, no electric mixer – no electricity at all!You have to kill and pluck your turkey before you toss that baby in the roaster.

Ditto for a ham, but without the plucking part. Could someone really want to cook Babe?

No grocery store to run to for those last minute items.

And no TV to keep the little ones occupied while you’re cooking, although they would be doing their own share of chores.

And, sob!!!! -- NO CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!!!

I’d say we have a lot to be thankful for!

So when you give thanks for family and friends and your health, don't forget to be thankful for modern conveniences.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Time for a Barbecue

He'd told her not to go into the canyon by herself! But did she listen? No! The damn woman would be the death of him yet.

As he neared the edge of the ledge he heard sounds that he knew he'd still remember to his dying day. He slowly peered over the edge and found what he had hoped was legend instead of fact. The fact was like something out of nightmare.

Megan's back was against the canyon wall while four ungodly creatures fanned out in a semicircle, cutting off any hope of escape. Ugly didn't even begin to describe what he saw. From this high up he could only hazard a guess as to size, but they couldn't be more than five feet tall to Megan's 5'6". Under the moonlit sky, the coarse fur on their scrawny bow-backed bodies appeared to be a silvery black and their rough-skinned faces looked like a mutant abomination you'd see in a zoo of horrors. Nothing nastier than chupacabras.

What worried him the most was the razor-sharp claws they extended toward Megan. One swipe of those claws could split her open like a melon. He wouldn't be surprised if the spiky spines tracking down their backs were just as nasty.

It wasn't just the rotting meat smell that came off them that sent bile rolling up his throat. The idea of what they could do to her before he had time to intervene scared the spit out of him. He noted that Megan's face was contorted in a frozen mask of fear as she faced down the monsters.

He had to give her credit for staying put and not trying to run for it. He sensed they were toying with her as a cat toyed with a mouse before pouncing. He didn't want to think what they'd do once they grew bored with their victim.

He knew he had to move and move fast. Moving backward quietly and making sure not to dislodge any pebbles, he made his way back to their back packs.

He rummaged through them and found what he was looking for then made his way back to the edge. He looked down and in a split second he saw Megan's face turn upward. Not by a flicker of an eyelash did she betray his presence. He shot her a quick reassuring grin.

"Rock and roll," he whispered, as he tossed the rope over the edge and rappelled down the canyon wall. The minute his boots hit the earthen floor, the creatures turned as one and hissed a strident warning at the unwelcome intruder before two of them advanced his way.

He grinned as his adrenaline hit a new high.

"Hey, guys, welcome to the barbecue," he shouted as he set off the four phosphorous flares and tossed one at each creature. The animals ignited in a blinding light. If the hissing was bad on the ears, their screams of agony were even worse.

Megan covered her nose as the smell of burning meat filled the air. "If this is your idea of a barbecue I am so glad I'm a vegetarian!" she shouted back at him as she ran around the burning animals and leaped into his arms.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Writing and Playgrounds

Writing is … fun. Writing is … work. Writing is … insane.

Writing is … play.

What is writing? All of the above.

But for me, it’s more a playground. Some fun, some kinda scary, and some nauseating. Remember the merry-go-round you’d push and push until you got so dizzy you feared the worst? That’s writing.

My Hex series is different since there’s a different witch in each book. Although I do bring the previous witches back just because I can’t let them go.

The book I’m working on now, The Best Hex Ever, is a playground of ups and downs. A lot of visits to the slides, swinging high and crawling through the multi-colored tunnels.

Witchy Maggie is a lot like Jazz, but she likes to blow things up more. Since she’s a Guardian for all creatures, she’s there to protect the weak and knock down the nasty. She does it very well too. She’s the fort you explore. Climbing to the top and looking out all sides to see something different. Always something new to find when you’re the adventuresome type.

Declan is a half fire demon that makes me think of the swings. You pump up and down (get your mind out of the gutter!) and your stomach does that whoosh! thing and you’re breathless all the time.

Maggie’s BFNWF (best female not witch friend) Sybil, who’s a calming Fae but also has the teeter-totter attitude in that while you feel relaxed around her anything can happen.

And Snips, Declan’s imp assistant who’s like one of the small animals you’ll ride. He’s so organized he’ll get your to your destination even if your imagination thinks you should be somewhere else.

Let’s add the messenger ferrets for the compound Maggie lives in. Highly caffeinated and mega attitude. They’re more like a nonstop game of tag.

That’s why when I talk about writing, I call it playing. I’m playing with my characters, not writing them.

We’ll have the playground all to ourselves where anything and everything can happen.

Lots of laughter, some tears (luckily, band-aids usually aren’t necessary), a need to stop and catch my breath.

Some days are rainy and gloomy, but the playground is always there with the sun shining. And other days the moon is full and there’s some sexy dancing going on there.

And when the writing goes tough, it’s easier to think of it this way than just slogging through it.

What about you? Do you try to view a task as more play than work to make it go easier?


Monday, November 9, 2009

Here Kitty Kitty

Maggie looked around the room that belonged in a museum then back to the man seated on a high backed chair that she swore resembled a throne. Gorgeous was an understatement where he was concerned. Midnight black hair, cobalt blue eyes and a body made for a centerfold. She reminded herself she was here on business, not to mentally seduce the man who was paying her to design a summerhouse for him.

But it didn't stop her from dreaming, did it? Judging from the smile in his eyes, he was equally interested. No so his feline companion. Since she wasn't fond of cats, she had no idea if it was Persian, Siamese or something else exotic. She only knew the bronze -furred, green-eyed creature looked at her as if Maggie belonged in her litter box. Maggie made a mental note to stay out of claw's reach. The cat had draped itself along the chair arm where Dante could stroke the cat's back in slow strokes that Maggie imagined were trailing across her own skin. She really must get out more!
"If you don't mind I'd like to look at the area again," she said with a wary smile in the cat's direction. "Of course." Dante smiled back. She rose from her chair and made her escape. She'd barely taken three steps out of the room when she heard a woman's voice.
"Are you honestly sure you want to use her?" the woman asked.
"She's lovely, don't you think?" Dante said.
"Only if you like them flat-chested and mousy."
Flat-chested and mousy? She was a respectable 34B, thank you very much and had just gotten highlights that cost a small fortune.
Curious, Maggie crept back toward the room and peeked around the corner. A tall woman lounged, there was no way you could say she was merely sitting, on the chaise by Dante's throne, uh, chair. Her hair was the same rich bronze shade as the cat's fur. Even her form-fitting silk dress echoed the same luxurious color.
I wonder if she dyes her hair to match the cat, was Maggie's catty thought as she carefully backed away and moved to the rear of the house to finish her work. When she returned to the room, Dante was alone with only the cat for company.
Maggie felt her smile slip. She swore that damn cat smirked at her.
"Did I hear voices?" she said. "If you have company, I can come back another time."
"No, that's all right," Dante assured her, running his long-fingered hand along the cat's back. "There is just myself and my cat."
Linda Wisdom copyright 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Favorite Winter Recipe

With cold weather here it's nice to have an easy recipe that's perfect for the season!

Working Woman's Meat & Gravy

2 lb stew meat-less is okay too
1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can water
1 can mushrooms--optional
1/8 cup ketchup
salt & pepper to taste--I use a little Schilling Season All and garlic pepper

Combine all ingredients into crock-pot, cook on low setting for 8 hrs or high setting for 4-5 hrs. Serve over rice.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009