July 20, 2015

Why I Love Maggie Maddock

   When I first came up with the idea for The Witches of Dark Root, the concept was more in the character. I wanted to create a character that wasn' particularly nice, but at least interesting. I had just come off writing The Universe is a Very Big Place and the Main Char in that story was Spring Ryan, the sweet nice innocent who for the most part allowed the world to tell her how to live her life.

Now, I admit there's a lot of biography woven between the comedic passages in Universe. I was always the sweet girl, the pretty blond girl, the compassionate one. And because of that I often found myself entangled in not-so-healthy relationships with no idea how I got there. Eventually, I'd put my foot down and that would be that. Relationship over. Not necessarily the best way to live, but that's a story for another day.

So when creating Maggie Maddock I wanted a completely new type of character. No nice girl here. She needed to be biting, sarcastic, witty, intelligent, and fiery. She couldn't balk at a challenge or let anyone walk over her. In fact, she was determined never to get close enough to anyone to get hurt (and of course she did).

But even scarred, Maggie was a fighter. And it would take more than a childhood ghost or a bad boyfriend to keep her down. She wasn't as pretty as Eve or smart as Ruth Anne or as kind as Merry, but she has determination and spirit, and was ultimately the rock that brought her family back together.

I really had to tap into Maggie to write this. In fact, it took me several months of just trying out voices until I found the right one. And (once again, irony) I was startled to find that it was my voice, the one I used to have before society told me to always be polite, accepting, and gracious because its rude for a woman to speak her real mind. And as I tapped into that part of me I also realized I  missed it. There's power there when you stand your ground. And though Maggie is often misguided and has a hair trigger temper, she also has real power beyond the metaphysical, abracadabra kind.

Maggie isn't the strongest witch in the Daughters of Dark Root because she's the most magical; she's the strongest because she's the most authentic. I think that's why she's so interesting. She speaks her mind, even when her opinions aren't popular. She stands up for her family and friends, even when she's fearful. And she'll never fail to tell  you when you aren't playing fair (even when she isn't necessarily playing fair herself).

One thing I hadn't counted on when writing her story-was how much she would change. Over the course of the series, she's not only evolved, but become sympathetic (at least in my opinion). Yes, she's often angry but readers find  out its because she's guarded. And yes she's a smart ass, but readers find out its because she's afraid of being exposed. And yes, she'll complain about every task put upon her, but if she's doing it for the people she loves (including herself) she'll put her entire self into the task.

I love Maggie so much that it's hard to leave her and Dark Root at the end of each book. She has become a part of me but her complex character is relatable to most women. She's jealous, possessive, self-righteous, sarcastic, and apathetic. She's also sassy, generous, humble, shy, insecure, loving, and even nurturing.

Maggie is a never-ending, constant swirl of emotion, teetering and tottering the line (just like her warlock father), hoping to achieve balance. But at her core she is a character driven by love, love of self, community, and family. (and sometimes even a dead guy she's brought back to life)

July 14, 2015


I survived the weekend with my mother. Well, five days actually. It was nice 'in retrospect' meaning I was glad I was there but Im happier to be a grown up living on my own.

She made 'casserole' and I felt bad because I started laughing when she presented it to me. I told her I didn't eat much meat lately so she layered tortilla chips, macaroni and cheese, creamed corn, and more cheese into a huge yellow pile and baked it. Why did I laugh? I don't know. Maybe its because I havnt eaten anything marked 'casserole' since I was a kid. Or maybe it was because my mother was back in her role playing mom and I was back in mine playing obnoxious, eye rolling teenager.

Parents are great to visit. I love them. But staying with them is trying at times. She lectured me on clothes and makeup and I told her she didn't understand the times.

There is one thing we agreed on: Netflix is awesome.

At least there was something to bridge the gap.

July 8, 2015

Mothers and Daughters

It's 5 in the morning and I'm sitting on an Amtrak train, on the way to see my mom.
I feel sick.
Being alone with my mom for several days, just the two of us (and her purse dog), is difficult for me.
But I love my mom. Should it be so hard?

After everything I've written about mother/daughter relationships I still don't fully understand them. I keep writing, hoping I'll understand.

Maybe its the way my mom thinks everything is a conspiracy (The Republicans know she's outing them and are therefor thwarting her efforts to get online by stealing her Wi-Fi)

Or the fact that she labels everyone (Allz I know is that I once met a (insert racial/ethnic background here) family and they were (insert typical stereotype).

Or maybe its the part where she starts to tell a story and ends up telling about ten different stories, never giving me closure on the first one.

It could be any of those things. But perhaps all daughters feel that way. It might be a generational thing.

But if I really dig deep I know the truth, the source of my difficulties. It's because my mom's rewritten my history for me. The childhood I remember is not the childhood she remembers. We live in two different realities and until those realities are reconciled it will never be easy to go for a 'long visit' because these visits are laced with tales that never actually happened.

Maybe she should be the writer instead of me.

July 3, 2015

The Daughters of Dark Root Series

The Daughters of Dark Root Series.

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Meditations on The Shadows of Dark Root

I may have gotten a bit metaphysical during the creation of The Shadows of Dark Root. I always knew I wanted Maggie and her companions to j...