Once upon a time (as the story goes), I had an idea for a novel. I sketched out the concept, and I sent an email to my agent with a two paragraph summary that began, “Jane Madison has a problem. Or two. Or three.” I ended up writing Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft.

While I was writing Jane’s book, I thought it was a fantasy novel. When it was published by Red Dress Ink, it was called a chicklit novel. “Chicklit”, though, became a dirty word in publishing, so when I released it with Book View Cafe, I called it a light paranormal novel.  Skip forward a dozen years, and Girl’s Guide is now firmly rooted in the “cozy paranormal” genre.

I’ve had an amazing time writing Jane’s story, which has spun out to five full-length novels, a couple of novellas, and a short story (with more to come!)  Along the way, though, I started to ask myself:  What about David?

I knew from his first Mr.-Rochester-esque appearance that David Montrose was Jane’s warder, her astral protector who guides her in her quest to use her powers. He was somewhat stiff in Girl’s Guide, a guy who followed the rules — until he didn’t. He kissed Jane when he had no business kissing her. He taught her the basics of witchcraft when he absolutely should not have taken on the role of instructor. He read her the riot act multiple times, until he didn’t show up at one of her key magical workings.

So, what was going on in David’s life?

David Montrose only appears in half a dozen scenes in Girl’s Guide. I had a lot of space to explore his independent story. From the Washington Witches Series, I knew he had a long-standing conflict with his boss at Hecate’s Court. And I quickly realized he was estranged from his father, one of the most respected warders in the history of American witchcraft. Before long, I discovered David’s best friend was a wolf shifter. And then the fire-wielding salamanders came into focus…

I ran into a few challenges writing The Library, the Witch, and the Warder. The timeline needed to match Jane’s story exactly. David had to make his appearances in Girl’s Guide, saying exactly the same lines at exactly the same time. But he also needed to meet his obligations to friends and family. He had his own substantial problems to resolve. And he had to have an excellent reason to miss out on Jane’s most important show of magical power.

My paramount concern was that David’s story had to stand on its own magical feet. It had to be read-able, separate and apart from the Washington Witches Series (or the Washington Vampires Series, my other books set in my Magical Washington Universe). Readers had to be able to enjoy David’s tale without being obligated to read all the rest of my cozy paranormal novels.

When I finished writing David’s story, I summed it up for the back of the book.  I’d known the first sentence of that blurb from the moment I started writing The Library, the Witch, and the Warder:  “David Montrose has a problem. Or two. Or three.”

Here’s the complete blurb:

Former warder David Montrose has a problem. Or two. Or three.

He’s been fired from his job protecting the witches of Washington DC. Now, he’s stuck working a dead-end job at Hecate’s Court while he tries to redeem his reputation and put his life back together.

Which would be a decent plan if things weren’t so…complicated. His new boss is a tyrant. His father says he’s disgraced the family name. And instead of sympathizing, his best friend is trying to drag him onto the front lines of an all-out supernatural war.

Just as David gets a glimpse of the elusive work-life-magic balance, he’s summoned back to warder status. His unexpected new charge is a captivating witch who possesses the strongest powers he’s ever seen. David already has enough on his plate. How can he possibly juggle work, warfare, and warding Jane Madison?

He’d better figure things out soon. Jane’s safety—and all of magical Washington—depends on him!

You can read the first chapter by clicking or tapping here.

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