Urls for Mudflat books and 9-Weathering Magic Chapter 1























*SPICE and SORCERY, Book 4  












































Xavier’s Crown, a story


In the 8th novel of the Mudflat Magic series a game player enters an online game in search of a gold crown and disappears from Seattle. Xavier is now unable to leave the game, possibly caught forever in a magical world unless he can find his way back to the real world.










Mudflat Magic Books 1,2,3


 Tyrant Trouble

Welcome to Mayhem, Baby

 Barbarian Toy Boy











If your favorite site isn't shown here, go to the site and look for the book you want to see by title.















Weathering Magic
     Mudflat Magic 9
Weathering Magic
Mudflat is a neighborhood of families who have magic in their genes. It is passed down randomly. A few residents have strong magic, many have minor magic, and some have no magic at all.

I was walking home from the Neighborhood Center where I work, wondering what marvelous supper my guy was putting together for us, when a man came running out of a doorway and crashed into me. Hard.
He didn’t pause. Kept running.
 Wish I could say I kept standing, but no. As I certainly was not expecting to be attacked, I ended up a messy pile on the sidewalk.
He maybe didn’t intentionally knock me down.
If that was the case, wouldn’t you think he would stop and help me up? Maybe say ‘Sorry’?
I could understand if I was simply between him and wherever he wanted to run and I was busy daydreaming, which I often do, and not paying attention and should have seen him. Well, I did see him, sort of, as a dark shape running away from me and as I fell I also saw a second man, but he wasn’t any easier to see than the one who hit me.
It’s late autumn now and in Washington State that means the sky is getting dark by five o’clock.
It was a while before I learned why the jerks didn’t stop to help me.
All I could tell the police later was that the two guys were large. How tall were they? What did they look like? What were they wearing? Which way did they go?
Don’t ask me. I screamed, dropped my purse or maybe the strap slid off my shoulder when my arms flew out and I dropped the sack of groceries I’d been carrying home. I twisted my ankle trying to stay upright, held out my hands to break my fall, scraped a hunk of skin off each palm and then slid across the sidewalk and ended up lying face down staring at the cracked concrete in the sidewalk. That’s all I saw.
Except. I did see there were two of them. So one of them should have seen me and stopped. What made me cranky was that neither of them stopped.
I managed to pick myself up slowly by pressing down on my torn palms, tried not to shriek, got one knee and then the other folded under me, got to my feet, felt a pain in my ankle and stood motionless for a few seconds to be sure the ankle would not collapse. After locating and picking up my purse I found my grocery bag, pushed stuff back into it and was glad I hadn’t bought anything breakable like eggs. I started to rub at my bruises and then realized I was in front of the pawn shop.
The door was open. Pawn shop doors are never open except when someone is going in or out.
Right, two guys had just done that, gone out, and if John Nardel, the manager of the shop, knew who they were I was going to do a lot of screaming at somebody. As the same people use pawn shops repeatedly, pawning something the last week of the month and giving their names before they get their cash and then retrieving their item the first week of the next month right after payday, the clerks know them.
I started by marching into the shop and shouting, “John, who was that? They knocked me down!”
So much for shouting. I didn’t get an answer. I set my grocery bag on the counter, yelled John Nardel’s name a couple more times thinking he might be in the storeroom at the back of the shop, and then I shut up and looked around. And saw that the cash register drawer was open and empty.
That’s when I heard a moan.
I looked around again and switched from angry to alert. Had I walked in on a robbery? I had no idea what to do if a thief was still in the store.
Moans, there was someone moaning. I discovered the source of the moans when I leaned across the counter, looked down, and there was John Nardel lying on his back on the floor with his face covered in blood.
“John! What happened?” I ran to the end of the counter and around it to reach him.
He’s always been a smart guy, not friendly but always sensible and well organized. What he does is manage the shop very efficiently. He peered up at me through half closed eyes and said, “Call the police.”
“Are you all right?” I squealed.
Anyone else would have shouted at me for asking such a stupid question. All John said, in a voice that was barely more than a whisper, was, “Carmody. Call the police.”
“Oh! Yes!” I dug my phone out of my purse, dropped it on the floor, swore, picked it up and called 911. That got me someone who kept asking questions like, “Are you safe? Is there anyone there with you? Can you explain what happened?”
“Police! I need the police! Now! And maybe an ambulance.” I stared at John. He had his eyes closed.
“Are you injured?” 911 asked.
“No! But he is! Listen, I need the--”
She cut me off, saying, “The police are on the way.”
John whispered, “I don’t need an ambulance.”
He did. I didn’t say so but anyone could see he did. And even I, who am not good in emergencies, could figure out he was in pain. Okay, I’d let the cops tell him they were sending him to the hospital.
The sirens came first followed by a cop car braking at the curb. Two cops jumped out and ran into the shop.
They looked at me and I said, “There’s been a robbery. The man on the floor behind the counter, he’s the manager and he’s injured.” They followed where I pointed, ran around the counter and knelt down on the floor to talk to John. Then a second cop car squealed into the curb, lights flashing.
The cops took turns asking me endless questions I couldn’t answer beyond telling them my name is Claire Carmody and I live a few blocks away and then about getting knocked over by two guys running out of the shop. Yes, obviously they were thieves.
Between questions I managed a phone call to Tarvik to tell him where I was and what was going on.
Then there was the arrival of an ambulance, followed by John’s insistence that he didn’t want to go to the hospital and the ambulance guys picking him up and carrying him out and seeing to it that he did.
After the ambulance left I got more questions from the cops and drew a blank on what had happened other than me getting knocked down and coming inside and finding the cash register drawer open and empty and finding John on the floor.
And then I remembered something else. “I know who owns this store.” I was relieved to finally have information for them that might be useful. “Should I phone him so he can come lock up?”
The cops looked at each other and at me and one of them said, “We know Rock Decko. We’ll call him.”
Once again I was useless. Or maybe I should phone Rock and tell him his next call would be from the police, I thought. Or not.
The thing is, as soon as the cops said Rock’s name and did that quick look at each other they decided they didn’t have any more questions for me and told me I could leave.
“You go on home, ma’am. We’ll lock up,” they said.
By that time my guy Tarvik had arrived and was fussing over me, upset by my bloody hands. He has the sort of face people trust and he was doing things like running to the storeroom and returning with a damp towel and washing my hands. The cops were probably relieved to have him there to take me anywhere as long as it removed me from themselves.
Tarvik and I walked home with our arms around each other’s waists. I said, “Maybe I should ring Rock real quick, just so he knows why the police are phoning him.”
“They’ll tell him why they are phoning, won’t they?”
“Uh, if he answers. I mean, he can see on his phone who’s calling.”
“Then you don’t have to phone to tell him.”
“Well, if I call first and tell him what’s happened then he’ll answer when they phone. Or if they wait and drive to his place he’ll know why there’s a cop car in his driveway.”
“Why does it matter?”
“Because he’s not going to answer the phone or the door to cops unless he knows why they are trying to reach him. Yeah. Wait a sec.” I unwound myself from Tarvik’s arm and dug my phone out of my purse.
Rock answered on the second ring.
“Hi, Claire, what’s up?”
“Long story but here’s the fast version because the cops are going to be phoning you or be at your house in a few minutes.”
“What? Hey, doll, did you say cops?”
“Yup. Your pawn shop got robbed and that’s all I am going to say because if I tell you more the cops will want to know how you know. When they call, don’t let on that you know.”
“Robbed? Where’s John?”
“Uh huh. That’s a question to ask the cops. Bye!”
Tarvik did his Tarvik thing, swung around in front of me and skipped backwards while hanging on to the grocery bag he had insisted I couldn’t carry with my scraped hands.  The skipping backwards thing is something he often does so he can look me in the face while I continue walking forwards.
“Did you just now phone Rock to tell him you couldn’t tell him anything? Did I hear that right?”
“Otherwise he’d be heading out his back door, leave town and not return until he finds out what they want. If he does run they will figure he is involved.”
“Involved in what?”
“I dunno, maybe paying someone to rob the store or torch it or some other stupid trick to get insurance money.”
“Rock wouldn’t do that.”
What I said was, “Of course not.” What I didn’t say was ‘You are right about that. Rock tries to keep his crimes out of Mudflat.’ Tarvik likes Rock and doesn’t want to know his friend is a thief.
Have I mentioned that my guy is part elf? His father was half elf and his mother was maybe a bit elf so that makes Tarvik a bit more than a quarter elf. It's not something I broadcast in Mudflat where there are a few people who practice black magic and would want to find out if a hair or fingernail or a cup of blood from Tarvik could be used in their own experiments. If you don’t believe elves exist, forget I mentioned it.
I think the elf in him explains the way he does that whirlwind thing, skipping backwards and never bumping into anything. He’s a blue-eyed blond, about five and a half feet tall, same height as me, but muscular and has a dancer’s coordination. I’m his opposite, a thin brunette who is always tripping over something. I don’t know why he loves me but I do know he does.
We went home where Tarvik washed my hands again very gently and added a skin cream that is supposed to aid healing and then settled me on the couch and brought me a glass of wine. I don’t know if wine aids healing but it definitely lessens pain. Next he insisted I do nothing else until supper was ready.
“I can help,” I said and he said, “No, you can’t. You stay right where you are and if you want anything call me. Should I turn on the TV? What would you like to watch?”
So I don’t know why he loves me but I certainly know why I love him.
  We had supper with his two cousins, Nance and Alakar, who live with us and with my cousin Jimmy who was also at the table but doesn’t live with us, thank heaven.
Nance is a cute little blond teenager with a round face, dimples, and light freckles everywhere. She fusses around me almost as much as Tarvik does, refilling my wine glass and asking what else she can do for me. “Poor Claire,” she said, “that’s terrible, those awful men knocking you over.”
 “If you hadn’t walked right in front of them it wouldn’t have happened,” Alakar said. She is beautiful, small with red gold hair, and is about the same age as Tarvik.
Okay, she is maybe a little hard to live with sometimes. Like she thinks I must have seen the robbers and kept right on walking toward them until they knocked me over.
Nance frowned at Alakar and then smiled at me. “You saved Mister Nardel’s life. If you hadn’t gone into the shop he could have been there on the floor all night and probably bled to death. “You’re a hero, Claire.”
“Hey, cuz, maybe they’ll catch the crooks and you’ll get to identify them. Do they pay you for that?” my chronically unemployed cousin Jimmy asked. I had visions of Jimmy running around town at night hoping to observe a robbery. Could that be a new career for him?
 By the time we finished supper I thought the hospital might have some information about John Nardel’s condition. I phoned them and they did.
Whoever answered said they were keeping him overnight and yes, he could have visitors. Tarvik and I did that next, left the cousins to clean up the kitchen and drove to the hospital to see John. Well, actually we went to talk to him in case he needed anything. I was bruised with nothing serious enough to stop me going to work the next day. I work as a temp, not a full time employee, so I don’t get sick leave. Or damage leave.
John manages the pawn shop all by himself. The shop is owned by the Decko brothers. If John couldn’t work for a while they could either close the shop or go in and run it themselves.
Rock wouldn’t know how and his brother isn’t available.
The hospital is large and confusing, a rambling building that has had wings added on to it over the years. We went to ER and were told John had been moved from the ER to a room and to get the number at a desk on another floor. It takes a while to get a room number for a patient and then find someone who has a half second to give directions to the room. We got lost a couple times and asked whoever we saw and are all hospitals so confusing?
We finally found John in a single room and on a bed with a slight tilt that didn’t get him to a sitting position but almost got him halfway there. He had a bruised face and a bandaged head. He’s a tall, thin guy with a typical Nardel nose, runs in the family and he inherited it. His sister inherited the family magic.
And that’s about all I’ve ever known about John, that he doesn’t look tough or particularly capable of defending himself, but he is very smart and said to very good at his job.
We pulled up chairs next to his bed and did the dumb thing of asking how he felt and got an honest answer.
“Rotten. They’re making me stay here overnight because I have concussion. Carmody, thanks for coming in the store and looking for me. I tried to stand up and knew I’d pass out if I kept trying.”
“Did  you recognize either of the robbers?”
“Never seen either of them before. They came in wearing masks, had guns, hit me on the side of my head with a gun, emptied the cash drawer and ran out. How did you happen to see them?”
“I was walking by and when they ran out they bumped into me and knocked me over.”
“Were they still masked?”
“What kind of masks?” I asked.
“What kind?”
“John, were they like Halloween masks? Bright colors? I think I’d remember Halloween masks if I’d seen them.”
“They wore dark bandanas pulled up to their eyes. And dark caps with the brims pulled down. Why?”
“They came running straight at me. I sort of saw the shape of the guy who bumped into me, broad shoulders and taller than me. He was leaning forward so I don’t really know his height. I don’t remember anything on his face. It was so dark I couldn’t see his features. Nothing useful as far as the cops were concerned.”
A nurse leaned into the room and said the doctor would be there to see John in a few minutes, so we visited a few minutes more and told him everything we’d heard the cops say.
Being snoopy and also knowing I could push one of the owners, I asked him if he had health insurance.
“Never needed any before this but we get in some expensive stuff and attract some odd customers. I wouldn’t work there without insurance.”
Tarvik told John to phone us and we’d come back to drive him home whenever he was ready. When the doctor arrived we left.

“How long has John worked at the pawn shop?” Tarvik asked me when we were driving home.
“Several years. I’m not sure. The Deckos own it and John manages it and does all the work. Darryl bought it as an investment and has Rock listed as a partner. It would never occur to him to actually work in a shop himself.”
“Will John be able to work tomorrow, do you think?”
“He might get sick leave. Sounds like he ought to use it and stay home for a day or two.”
We watched the news for reports of the robbery but there weren’t any. Right. Nobody got killed and a pawn shop isn’t in the Nordstrom class.
Go to https://mudflattoyboy.blogspot.com to read Chapter 2.