Black Water Magic by Leslie Scott Genre: Paranormal Urban Fantasy
Teagan Blackwater’s biggest problem used to be hiding her relationship with a demi-demon from her grandmother, Nola, the most powerful witch in all of Florida.
When Nola is murdered, Teagan learns how insignificant her secret really was. And how rare it is she only had the one. Firewater Springs is a small town, and every one of its residents seems to have secrets of their own. Including the friendly cop Teagan had a crush on in high school and the Demi-demon she’s been sleeping with.
But the person with the most secrets was Nola herself, and Teagan needs to unravel them to break a curse and solve Nola’s murder. It’s no secret Teagan doesn’t feel up to the task, but she is the new Swamp Witch of Firewater Springs, so what choice does she have? Everyone is counting on her.
The rain started as a few drops, the big fat kind that came with a tropical system. They sizzled and evaporated into little puffs on the hot asphalt. Then it came heavier, a pitter patter of big drops. This shower was beyond strange. There wasn’t a storm churning around in the gulf. In fact, there wasn’t even a raincloud in the sky. The droplets manifested right over our heads, no doubt by magic. And the highway? Completely dry. Not a single car that passed had its wipers on.
Not believing my own eyes, I stepped out beneath the canopy that spanned the entire sidewalk in front of the shopping plaza. As I did the rain slammed down in an abrupt torrent. Hidden in the roar of the water was the wail of something…preternatural.
“Oh snap!” Oliver stepped out beside me and shivered, as the temperature had dropped at least thirty degrees in just a manner of seconds. He leaned close enough to shout over the rain, “Do you hear that?”
The keening grew louder, like a banshee caught in the tempest. I doubted Oliver’s next shiver had anything to do with the cooler air.
“Over there.” I motioned to the only space that didn’t have one of the charred, disfigured signs and the general direction of the screeching.
We made our way to the empty shop. Nobody followed us, though the other four crowded in the open doorway and watched us with enough excitement to freak me out. That definitely didn’t make me feel good about any of this. Portia didn’t seem the type to scare easily, but even her face had grown ashen.
I pushed open the unlocked glass door and stepped into an empty space, save for a broken dust mop and several chunks of canvas-covered furniture. The rain outside echoed off the bare walls, and the remnants of a beaded curtain shivered in an empty interior doorway.
The bellowing wail came to an abrupt stop and Oliver reached out and gripped my shoulder. The scent of mildew and dust permeated and tickled my sinuses. I sneezed and rubbed my nose to stop a second. I took a few steps into the shop, and my breath became visible as the temperature dropped.
“Wait.” Oliver froze next to me and squeezed. “Teagan, go outside.”
My best friend rarely issued commands. The husky, reverberating sound of his voice wasn’t something I’d heard before. He was scared.
Before I could turn to leave, a deafening paranormal scream pierced the complex. Nothing about the feral, inhuman sound was of this world. I dropped to my knees and covered my ears as the sound scorched through my head. The windows rattled, the sound of the rain disappeared. I was consumed with a deafening shriek that stole my breath and left my body twisted with agony. And when I thought I couldn’t take anymore—it stopped.
Oliver snatched me by the arm and jerked me outside, where he took out a baggie of black salt and haphazardly sprinkled a fair amount of it over me. I sneezed again, all the while my ears ringing and the downpour raging on.
Mr. Howard ambled from the doorway to us. “Power’s out now.”
“I suppose that’s my fault, too?” I huffed a sigh.
“Yup.” He spat at my feet. “Damn witches. She knew what you were; you set her to crying again, didn’t ya? Right after we got clear skies. Guess I’ll go get my poncho and wade out for more sandbags.”
By now, the rain had exploited the weaknesses in the awning and mini waterfalls were sprouting up every few feet.
“Her who?” I looked to Oliver and wiped the dirt and dust from my knees.
“The ghost.” He was panting. “A witch’s ghost.”
My heart sank. A ghost, we could banish. A witch only remained if she was cursed, which made getting rid of her almost impossible. Damn it. This rain was going to last a while.
Award winning author, Leslie Scott thrives in the middle of chaos. Not because she home schools her son and rides herd over the family's zoo of indoor pets or listens to her soul mate wax poetically about all things car and related. Oh, no. That's nothing. The real chaos is the characters in her mind, elbowing and tripping each other to get to the front of the line so they can be the next romantic couple in one of her stories. Her family is her passion. Writing is her dream.
This answer comes two fold. For starters, we have the easy answer. Blackwater is my protagonist’s last name and … she’s a witch.
The more complicated answer is: the idea came to me, at a bar. Quite literally, a bar my parents owned in Huntsville, AL. And that bar was named after a song by Jim Stafford which was written about an old Cajun legend about a swamp witch. I actually didn’t know about the song or the legend until I started writing the book. So, don’t expect Black Water Magic to have anything at all to do with either of those things. More, it harkens back to that bar.
Blackwater Hattie’s was an eclectic biker bar erected in an old Burger King building. My stepmom ran the place and my dad was like some sort of unofficial mascot who held a weekly metal night and filled the place full of would be head bangers (side note, my dad loves music and is a really amazing blues harp player). It consumed their lives and was likely the demise of their marriage. However, it had a super cool mural of a swamp witch on the front windows (remember when Burger King building had all of that glass on the front) to black them out.
There was also a tiki bar on the back patio, which was really just a fenced off piece of the old parking lot. The place was a total dive, but one we all loved.
After publishing a few novels, I found a bunch of old pictures of that place (which much like my dad’s marriage, had been bulldozed) and felt rather nostalgic. And from the nostalgia, the story for Black Water Magic was born.
If you are reading this, consider yourself clued in to an important Easter Egg in the Black Water Magic universe. Lyrsa, the bartending vampress, bares a striking resemblance to Lisa – my favorite stepmom (I’ve had quite a few of them) and best damn bartender in the south.
Follow the tourHEREfor special content and a giveaway!