Death Sparkles — Murder and Mayehm in Nine Voices!

And Faith Dincolo, who wrote “Persephone’s Progeny” in this collection, passes the baton to me.

One of the joys about working with a group of writers is how differently we are inspired by the same foundation.

“The diamond necklace dangled from the dead woman’s hand.”

What I find exciting about this anthology is in how many different directions this prompt took each of us, yet still had that single sentence as a fulcrum. Contemporary, mystery, gothic, horror, science fiction — this collection has it all.

I admit, the first few drafts of this story were very different. They had to do with a small town beach community and a woman murdered less for the diamond than for other reasons.

The story didn’t work.

In the middle of the night, the character of Fiona Steele plopped down on the edge of the bed, woke me up, and said, “Yo, writer girl! Wake up. Got something to say to you.”

And there it was.

The first draft poured out quickly. It needed serious rewriting, smoothing out, getting rid of qualifiers, tightening — all the stuff you’ve got to do to make something submission-ready. The terrific writer, KT Wagner, was kind enough to be my Trusted Reader on it, and pointed out a few more flaws that got smoothed out. For a short story experience, it was terrifically satisfying.

Fiona, I promise, will be back. She’s definitely got more to say!

And so we circle back to Kelly Whitley, who started us on this journey of DEATH SPARKLES.

Excerpt from “Sea Diamond” in DEATH SPARKLES:

I felt the presence rather than the dramatic “a shadow fell across the bar.” Although dim inside The Wicky Cog, the lighting was uniform and didn’t create shadows with only me and my erstwhile companion as patrons. Even the bartender was virtual, until the next transport landed, or until the clock chimed Happy Hour. Time measurement differed from system to system, but Happy Hour was universal.

“What’re you doing on Sandegarde?”

“Drinking.” I didn’t even look up. I recognized the voice, I recognized the vibe.

“There are a hundred and forty bars just in this station, Steele,” he retorted.

“And why did I walk into yours?” I shot back. I looked at him now. For a cop, Rowan Wilde wasn’t bad. Not bad-looking, with the dark hair and blue eyes, strong physique, a brain to match, and wasn’t so bound by the rules he couldn’t see reason. On occasion. “Between jobs.”

“Good. I need your help, Fiona.” He sat on the stool next to me and tapped the screen on the bar surface, ordering his drink. An instant later, a panel opened, and a glass of beer rose up to meet his hand. I wasn’t sure what time it was, heck, I’d been traveling so long, I wasn’t even sure what time management segment it was, but the sight of Rowan Wilde drinking in a nearly empty bar, and the fact he’d used my given name rather than just my surname told me he was worried.

“Am I gonna need another drink for this?”

“Rather you didn’t. I need you on your game.”

“I’m always on my game, dickhead.”

He grinned. “Nice to know you’re still so fond of me.”

I let that pass. Not going down that road right now. Water under the bed, and all that.

DEATH SPARKLES is one of the top 100 sellers on, and is available here.

Devon Ellington
publishes under a half a dozen names in fiction and non-fiction, including the Jain Lazarus Adventures ( and romantic suspense as Annabel Aidan. Visit her sites and her blog on the writing life, Ink in My Coffee,

Kymber Rowean

Please give Kymber Rowean a warm welcome to A BIBLIO PARADISE! She’s in the year-long writing intensive, and the book we’re talking about today was released a few weeks ago. I’m delighted to have her here as a guest!

Devon Ellington: What was the spark of inspiration (no pun intended) for this story? And how did it grow from the original idea?

Kymber Rowean: Would you believe the first spark came from a childhood movie of a little known witch and a famous wizard? From there, I started tinkering with the idea of how this powerful couple would have to join forces against a greater evil while shifting through the different types of magic abilities at their disposal. The next thing I had to decide is if the protagonists were schooled or were gifted with elemental magic. Still not satisfied, I decided to play with fire or rather cold fire. I gave Kayla, the gift/curse of cold fire and created a powerful pair of brothers who could douse her flame. The protagonist came at a time when I was dealing with an emotional vampire who sucked the life out of my writing and that’s how the hag was born.

DE: Did you find any initial resistance to a menage story, rather than the more common two-person couple with a traditional HEA, or had you done market research before starting the story?

KR: When I first started compiling the notes of the story, I noticed that it lent itself to a ménage story, due to the nature of the magical roles. I settled in and researched some sites, which published ménages and never looked back.

DE: What kind of research did you need to do for the story? What kind of world-building?

KR: With Kayla’s talent, I wanted her to work in a field where she could use what’s considered a destructive force to help others and so began her career as a fire investigator. I read newspaper articles on fires and exploring a variety of websites, which dealt with fire investigation.

I wanted a town that offered a little bit of everything, horse country and a coastline large enough to boast a few sunken ships from the eighteen century. My witches needed a reason to settle and stay in Slone, Texas besides the acceptance of ménage relationship and gave them the responsibility of guarding a portal into the demon realm. I read a number of magic books and research a variety of protection spells, for that was the Ian and Duncan O’Rourke’s task, strengthen the wards on this side of the doorway.

DE: Is this a stand-alone, or will be see more of Kayla, Ian, and Duncan?

KR: The first book is a stand-alone, but I have feeling they’ll make their appearances as the hunt continues for the other pieces of the ‘the Goddess stone’ are sought. Besides, they are the curators of a gallery for magical items….

DE: . . .which opens the door to all sorts of future possibilities. Wonderful! What was the most interesting thing you learned about the process of fire investigation? The most surprising? The most disturbing?

KR: Probably the most surprising fact, I learned is that no matter how hot the fire burns or how destructive we believe the blaze is, forensic fire science can trace the fire back to its origins. For me, the most disturbing part is that I learned that many arsonists actually stand in the crowd watching the destruction of the fire oblivious to the danger they’ve caused. Another interesting fact in the investigation process is that police and other officials often search the crowds for familiar faces especially if there have been a series of fires.

KR: What are you working on now?

KR: I’m in the editing stage of the first book in series of eco-warriors who travel through time in effort to undo the sabotage that destroys the future. The first book is entitled Angel’s Wings and the government’s efforts to repair the atmosphere.

Blurb for WITCHES’ DUEL:
Fire investigator Kayla Flynn escaped the temptation of the O’Rourke twins a year ago, now she’s returned to Slone, Texas for the town’s annual Halloween Festival.

Mages Ian and Duncan O’Rourke have until All Hollow’s Eve to unite Kayla’s magic with their own, forming a ritual tri-bond and sealing the dimensional doorways they guard.

Can they stop the hag before she frees her master and has her revenge on the world?

Kymber Rowean lives in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois with her husband, daughter, son and his Golden Retriever.

Between her duties as DG–domestic goddess–and when the need arises and a happy event occurs she crochets baby blankets for expectant teachers and family members. She believes a family who cuddles and reads together grows with love.

Writing for her is like breathing, she can’t go a day without plotting, or working on one or more stories, whether it’s a devious villain, alpha males or heroines determined not to fall for their charms until they’ve earned their happy ever after.

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