Kim McDougall

After decades of writing, I’ve left many good bits and pieces on the cutting room floor, so to speak. Sometimes, it’s just a snippet of description or a conversation. Some could be backstory that I needed to write for me to understand a character. Other times an entire chapter needs to be trimmed, no matter how much I like it. If it doesn’t fit or just has no real purpose, it must go. Before I published Dragons Don’t Eat Meat, I wrote 4 entire drafts set in Kyra’s world. That’s 4 completely different novels. None of them worked for me, and I’m glad I waited until I wrote the novel I really wanted.

But that means I’ve got a lot of extra verbiage hanging around. Even though some of these snippets didn’t fit into the story, I thought you might have fun reading them. So here is one of Kyra’s first encounters with Jacoby, the fire dervish.

Kyra Meets Jacoby

I rang the doorbell of a cottage in a quiet Pointe Claire neighborhood, in the west end of the ward. Midmorning. Kids at school, professionals at work. The street was calm except to my ears. I felt the magic of a brownie’s heart beating furiously as it hurried to a burrow across the street. In a tree hanging over the lawn, a bird tucked a twig into a newly made nest with the faintest scraping of bark. As a young girl, this heightened sense had driven me to the brink of madness. Now it made me a great exterminator.

The door opened to a woman in a ratty blue housecoat. She was neither old, nor young, but beaten down by life. Mousy hair flattened one side of her head as if she had just woken from an unmoving sleep. She eyed me warily.

“Kyra Adams. Valkyrie Pest Control.” I flashed an official-looking badge. Along with my uniform shirt, the badge put people at ease, empowered them to open the door to a stranger. That and a mild glamor let them ignore the three-foot sword strapped to my back.

The woman mumbled something and turned down a hall. I followed, checking my manifest.

“You’ve got raccoons? Is that right, Mrs. Henderson?” 

“Uh-huh. Coons in the chimney.” Her eyes shifted uneasily in the dim living room. An unearthly giggle echoed from above. I glanced at the fireplace. We both knew there were no raccoons. Mrs. Henderson mumbled something about coffee and hurried away.

I crouched on the hearth. Thanks to a run-in with a rock troll last month, my neck creaked with pain as I peered up the flue. I shone my flashlight into the dark space. Yellow eyes peered back at me.

“Hello, pretty Kyra-lady.” The creature shifted, showering me with ash. His long fingers hung onto the bricks like suction cups.

I sighed. At least I wouldn’t need a coon trap. Those critters could be vicious. 

…Read more…


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