I've gone from stuffed up and coughing to mostly breathing, so I think the cold is on its way out. I'm not usually one for whom colds linger - normally it's a day a symptom and I'm done three days later. This one wanted to stick around.
Lots of good things today, actually, most of them random and small. One was a message from someone who read Light and asked me - get this - if Pilot was based on a real dog and did I have a picture? I sent the picture.
Somehow, and I say this with as straight a face as I can manage, I have managed to write a novel where everyone's favorite character is the dog. I have seriously screwed up my cat mojo.
Then, three former co-workers contacted me out of the blue, two to ask if I could write a reference letter for them (which I always find flattering, to be honest) and one to ask if I could sneak in some time for a coffee or somesuch since she was in town and would like to see me (and have me sign her copy of my book).
Good day all around.
"A Nose for Magic," by Eugie Foster
I mention this every time I talk about a story from Mortal Clay, Stone Heart, and Other Stories in Shades of Black and White, but I bumped into this collection entirely because of a blog post of Foster's where she speaks about the very real fear of her cancer diagnosis and the worry about managing to pay for treatment. So, before anything else, I will say this: if you are at all a fan of short fiction with a dash of the "other," go buy a copy of this collection - or all her collections. They're wonderful, and right now any extra income can only be less stress on an already incredibly frightening time.
Okay, on to the tale itself.
"A Nose for Magic" is - so far - the most playful of the tales in this collection, and I really appreciated its inclusion on that level alone - it starts with such a fun meet-cute, a woman who has had her paper basically ruined by her pet needs a techy guy to help her recover what was on the disk. But his nose is telling him all sorts of wonderful things about her - she smells wonderful, for one, and he can't seem to keep himself focused on what she's asking him.
Still, he manages to get the files sorted out for her, and that leads to a chat, and a chat leads to...
...Well, it leads to learning that someone has put a dark and evil binding on his soul (more or less) and that he's in deep magical trouble.
But she'd like to help.
It probably shows, but I loved this tale. It's fun, it's bantery, and there's more than enough tension in the scenes where the dark magic comes into play to keep the reader a little off balance. I want more from these characters, and can't help but wonder if Foster has used them again elsewhere.