In the Wick of Time (Magic Candle Shop Mystery)
by Valona Jones

About In The Wick Of Time

In the Wick of Time (Magic Candle Shop Mystery)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Savannah, Georgia
Crooked Lane Books (October 17, 2023)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1639105077
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1639105076
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BSKWTKZN

Tabby Winslow will help her twin sister Sage with anything and everything—and that includes putting out the flames of suspicion when Sage’s boss is found murdered in this magical mystery, perfect for fans of Amanda Flower and Sofie Kelly.

December in Savannah, Georgia, is a sight to behold. With all the festivities—including the traditional riverfront luminary display during the boat parade—twin sisters Tabby and Sage Winslow are busier than ever setting up for the big celebration. But that isn’t the only thing on the sisters’ minds. Both Sage and her fellow employee Mary Nicole are vying for the sought-after assistant manager job at the plant nursery. But when Loren Lee, their boss, is found dead, and Sage becomes the police’s favorite suspect, both Winslow girls know that they’ll need more than a flicker of magic and their sisterhood to solve the murder and clear Sage’s name.

Soon, Tabby realizes that this is just one of the many problems they have. If being a suspect for murder wasn’t enough, there are more magical problems that they have to fix: Sage’s boyfriend is having a paranormal experience of his own he can’t control, there’s an energy vampire searching for his supposedly lost cousin, her cat suddenly dislikes her, and oh—every time Tabby hiccups, she turns completely invisible. The suspect list grows with each day and it seems everyone has a reason or a connection to Loren Lee.

Tabby and Sage are burning the candle at both ends—but will it be enough to keep their friends safe and find this killer? Or will they be burned by their efforts?

Guest Post

The Magical Realism of Twins

By Valona Jones

When writing a paranormal mystery, I prefer to have a strong basis of realism interwoven with the magic. My Magic Candle Shop Mystery series now has two books in print, digital, and audio format. The first is SNUFFED OUT, and the second is the newly released IN THE WICK OF TIME.

The point-of-view character in the series, Tabby Winslow, has a fraternal twin sister. For those who are wondering about the word “fraternal,” it means they shared the same womb but they came from different eggs. (Identical twins come from the same fertilized egg.) I selected fraternal twins because having inherent differences adds to conflict and realism in the story.

Tension and conflict drive a story. So, if all characters in a book are sugar-and-spice nice and everyone shares the same opinions, there’s no story. Creating characters with different personalities, as well as likes and dislikes, adds to the family dynamic, along with sibling rivalry.

Tabby and her sister Sage look different, think differently, and have different personalities. They also have different magical abilities. I’ll begin with the physical characteristics first.

Tabby is shorter than her sister. Sage got the math genes and the green thumb, along with dark hair, green eyes, and a need to be in the spotlight. Tabby got the creative genes, dirty blonde hair which she wears in a ponytail, big brown eyes, and she prefers an even keel over chaos.

The series starts with the thirty-year-old unmarried twins getting a crash course, trial by fire actually, in learning how to run their family’s The Book and Candle Shop in Savannah, Georgia, an event predicated by their mother’s death and their aunt moving to Florida. As it happens, their shop is situated over a mass grave of yellow fever victims, which became a paranormal battery and a safe haven for several generations of Winslows.

All of this reality frames the magic in the series. For starters, most people have an awareness that twins often share a silent form of communication. In this series, Tabby and Sage call their telepathy a “twin-link.” While telepaths come in varying strengths, the twins were overprotected by their mother and aunt, and thus are playing catch-up when it comes to the ins and outs of their talents. They only share thoughts with each other. Since they are untutored in the “how” of this their range is quite short, only a mile or so, at best.

Both twins are energy manipulators. This means they read auras and can give or take energy from anyone. As you might imagine, being rash with this psychic gift can cause harm to the twins or others. Some who have similar talents are called energy vampires or energy thieves. These sisters walk a fine line to keep their secret safe. On the flip side, sharing energy allows them to help people in need, something Tabby does naturally and Sage does grudgingly.

Tabby recharges naturally at home each night (they live above the shop on a fictional street, Bristol Street, in downtown Savannah, one of the most haunted cities in the U.S.). However, her twin sister is unable to fully recharge on her own. She’s always asking Tabby to “top her off” because she’s afraid of dying like their mom who cut it close energy-wise too many times. Tabby never refuses her sister. Sage’s constant energy loss keeps her on edge, which makes her a tad grumpy and selfish.

Tabby has an additional paranormal gift. She can bend light to make herself invisible. This comes in handy with her sleuthing, but there’s an energy cost, so she must pay strict attention to the burn rate. Strong natural daylight costs her more energy to go invisible, so she can’t manage it for more than five minutes. Darkness makes it easy. She can go ten to twenty minutes at night with no worries at all. 

In the new release, Tabby has days when her invisibility switch is suddenly turned on and off by hiccups, which scares her silly. If anyone other than family were to see her rapid-fire changes, her secret would be out. How she figures this out and overcomes this affliction is one of the secrets of the new book.

And there you have it: psychic twins in a haunted town who share a telepathic link and the ability to manipulate energy. One twin can bend light to become invisible. It’s magic, and it’s real!

About Valona Jones

Valona Jones, also known as Maggie Toussaint, writes paranormal cozy mysteries set in coastal Georgia. A former scientist, she’s drawn to the study of personal energy. She sharpened her people-watching skills as a lifelong introvert and had a bank vault of personal observations when she began to write fiction. Her newest release is In The Wick of Time, book 2 in the A Magic Candle Shop Mystery, preceded by Snuffed Out, which released Jan. 2023. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime with more than twenty-five published works of fiction. She lives in coastal Georgia, where she’s seen time and tide wait for no one.

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