Oscar is the ersatz familiar of Lily Ivory, a natural witch with a vintage clothing store in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. Follow the characters in Juliet Blackwell’s Witchcraft Mystery series, including Secondhand Spirits, A Cast-off Coven, and the latest, Hexes and Hemlines.
So the other day I’m a little bit hungry and my mistress, Lily, tells me I have to stop eating her homemade chocolate chip-oatmeal cookies because she made them for a coven meeting. This is fair???
All in all, though, I like living with Lily. She sure as heck needs a guy like me in her corner, I’ll say that much. She had it pretty rough as a kid, and I know what that’s like – after all, I’m half-gargoyle and half-goblin, so you can imagine what it was like to grow up in the fairy circle with that kind of background. Anyhoo, Lily needs all the help she can get. She’s a powerful witch, but things get out of control pretty fast, especially since she never finished her training in the craft.
I like spending my days at Aunt Cora’s Closet, Lily’s vintage clothes store. I’ve learned a lot, just by hanging around. Of course when I’m there, I have to shape-shift into my pot-bellied pig guise so as not to scare off the customers. Humans. What are ya gonna do?
Sometimes Lily asks me why I couldn’t shape-shift into a normal witch’s familiar, like a cat or a dog or even a toad. (Me? A toad? Not gonna happen.) Lily says it would be easier to explain hanging out with a cat than a potbellied pig. Can you believe that? Some folks got no imagination.
Best thing about the store, hands down: the dressing room. That’s where women go to try on dresses made of silks and satins and lace-trimmed whatsawhoozits…it’s the best thing ever. I sure do like those human women. They don’t seem to mind when I sneak under the green velvet curtains to say hi – sometimes they’re a little startled, but usually they wind up fussing over me, sometimes even pick me up. Until Mistress finds me and throws me out…and makes me go sleep on my purple satin pillow. (Our friend Bronwyn bought it for me, because she appreciates my porcine ways – it’s even monogrammed!)
Oops…I got a little off topic. The thing I really wanted to ask you all: Do you agree that being a pot-bellied pig is *awesome*? Much awesomer than being a typical familiar? And don’t you think Lily should let me eat as many cookies as I want???
Nationally bestselling author Juliet Blackwell writes the Witchcraft Mystery series (Secondhand Spirits, 2009; A Cast-off Coven, 2010; Hexes and Hemlines, June 2011; Obsidian). If Walls Could Talk launched the Haunted Home Renovation series in 2010; Dead Bolt, the second in the series, comes out in December. As one-half of the sister duo dubbed Hailey Lind, Blackwell wrote the Art Lover’s Mystery Series--including Agatha-nominated Feint of Art and the most recent, Arsenic and Old Paint (September; Perseverance Press). A former anthropologist and social worker, Juliet has worked in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France, and is now a painter in Oakland, California. She served two terms as president of NorCal Sisters in Crime.
Visit me at www.julietblackwell.net or on Twitter and Facebook!