What They Are Saying...

"This book was a fast easy read, and a fun romp. All in all, the book charmed me."

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

There's still time!

Looking for that unusual gift to give a friend this Christmas or Hanukkah? Why not let me entertain them for you!

Out now, and still available to get before the holidays!

Book one of the Witherspoon Mansion Mysteries, The Dead Man's Deal:

When Winki Witherspoon lost her husband, she inherited his hidden New Orleans mansion, and his magical talent. Can she learn to use it and find her husband's killer before she, too, is destroyed?

Book two of the Witherspoon Mansion Mysteries, The Cook's Curse:

While New Orleans mourns the suspicious deaths of a famous chef’s family, Winki Witherspoon reveals something more sinister than a gruesome vengeance. Someone wants to destroy the world.

And, please, don't forget your Amazon review. See y'all in 2017!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Lagniappe

Lagniappe: pronounced lan-yap. In New Orleans it means "a little something extra." A freebie. Typically a small bit of gratis, like a surprise hor d'oeuvres or an after dinner espresso.

I'm partial to the idea. So I wanted to offer you one as well. 

A while ago, I wrote a short story for the Winki Witherspoon series, a bridge piece between the first and second book. I wanted to give readers a day in the life at  the Witherspoon Mansion. The Trouble with Trolls. I'm offering it now to you. Free.

Winki and her staff host a Halloween party, inviting the neighbors to join the festivities. What could possibly go wrong?

Just write a comment below, or leave a message on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JaxDNOLA/). Tell me what format you'd prefer (sorry, no print version here) and some way of contacting you. I'll send it right off.

It's just a little something extra.

Oh, and in case you missed the big roll out:

Both out now on Amazon!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The wait is over!

It's finally happened! It's finally here!

After two years of sweat and tears, you can finally purchase the second book of The Witherspoon Mansion Mysteries, The Cook's Curse. Out now on Amazon. Just click the link or book below.

Mon Dieu! What are you waiting for?

Monday, October 24, 2016

An Interview with Hercule Poirot - Snarkology Halloween Hop 2016

After the release of the first book, The Dead Man's Deal, two years ago, readers have wondered about one particular character, the great Hercule Poirot. I've decided to interview him, so we all can get a better insight into his wee mind. Keep reading to find out how to participate in the Snarkology Rafflecopter, or win a free copy of the latest book in the series.

Let me set the setting: I sit in a chair with my Samsung pad on my lap already displaying questions. Hercule, on his chair, stands most of the time, but scurries about occasionally when answering questions. It's a little unnerving.

Me: Greetings!
HP: Bonjour.
Me: (His French accent is quite thick.) Are you actually from France?
HP: Oui. I was born there. Only fitting I now live New Orleans, is it not? There are still some French speakers there. Especially among my kind.
Me: I'm glad you brought that up. For those who don't know you, how do you describe your kind to our readers?
HP: Benevolent. Important. Necessary.
Me: No, I meant, what are you?
HP: Un cafard.
Me: English, please.
HP: A cockroach.
Me: Wait, why benevolent, or important, or necessary? Most people find cockroaches disgusting.
HP: That is because they don't know us.
Me: Roaches are universal. Everyone knows them.
HP: Oui? Do we bite?
Me: Well, no—
HP: Do we sting?
Me: Okay, that's true—
HP: Do we spray you with skin-eating venoms?
Me: Ew!
HP: So, why the fear? It is misplaced. Face the fact, if we were covered in a pretty red shell with black polka-dots, just like the wee ladybug, you would adore us.
Me: Um, let's … move on.
HP: As you wish.
Me: I have some questions from fans I'd like to ask you. Leon from Edmunton, Alberta wants to know who's your favorite actor?
HP: What kind of question is that?! I'm a cockroach. I care not about actors.
Me: But he's a fan—
HP: Next!
Me: Here’s a good one for the holiday. Jennifer from Sunnyvale, California, wants to know what you’re wearing for Halloween this year.
HP: Hmmmm, let me think about this. Last year I went as a horse—
Me: You went as a horse?
HP: Mon dieu, of course not! Are all the baboons so gullible? I went as a cockroach. It is what I wear every year. Clearly, you primates are afraid of it, and it fits me perfectly. Next question. And this time, make it a good one.
Me: Okay, let me see, ah. Francine from Barcelona, Spain wants to know if you have any pets.
HP: (There’s uncomfortable silence for several moments.) Look at me. What could I possible have as a pet, hm? An ant? Or perhaps a flea?
Me: I'm just asking what people—
HP: Are they morons? What other kinds of questions do you have?
Me: Like, what's your favorite color? What's your favorite song—?
HP: These are insipid questions! Only monkeys would wonder about such nonsense. Ask me something important.
Me: (a bit flustered) I'm open to suggestions.
HP: Like, when will the new book come out?
Me: That's a good one. When will the new book come out—?
HP: Why are you asking me?! You wrote it!
Me: But you just … fine. The new book, The Cook’s Curse, will be out this November and available to purchase on Amazon.
HP: That didn't take long. What has it been, two years?
Me: It was a complicated process.
HP: Enough with the questions. I have something to announce regarding the new book.
Me: You do?
HP: Yes. I was given permission to offer a free copy to one of your readers.
Me: Excellent! How will that work?
HP: Just write in the comments below something clever, and I will pick someone at random. This I do by setting a one minute timer. Then I run around on a printout of the names until the timer goes off. Whoever I'm standing on when the bell rings is the winner.
Me: Sounds … disturbing. And a little gross.
HP: Once done, you send them a notice, and work out details.
Me: What format are you offering?
HP: Whatever format they choose. I would recommend a paperback, myself. It's more expensive.
Me: Thank you for that.

There you have it. Leave a comment below, including how best to contact you, and on November 1st Hercule will select one lucky winner to receive a free copy of the new book, The Cook's Curse.

Want more ways to win? 

Underway is the The Snarkology Rafflecopter Give-a-way for a change to win $100 of Amazon, B&N, or iBooks gift cards. Click to enter to win!  The Snarkology Rafflecopter Giveaway

Thank you for visiting my imagination. Now, keep on hopping!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Sneak Peak Time!

The wait is almost over. This November the second book in the Witherspoon Mansion Mysteries will be available for purchase on Amazon. ...THAT took forever.

Get ready for The Cook's Curse.

Want a free copy?

Starting October 26 this website will participate in the Snarkology Halloween Hop. If you enjoy fantasy reading -- and who doesn't?! -- I strongly encourage you to participate. There will be many raffles and give-a-ways, including HERE! Yes! Some lucky visitor will win a free copy of The Cook's Curse. Stop by here sometime between October 26 and October 31 to find out how!

New Book, New Cover! Let's all Oooo and Ahhhh!

I wanted the new book to have a certain look and feel, and I wanted it to match the old book. So, I found an amazing artist, Tim Neil, to do (and redo) the cover art for both books. I couldn't be more pleased. 

Tim is a local artist in New Orleans. We've worked together in the past, and that experience proved to me he was just the man to bring the mansion and its patrons into the future. His use of color is astounding!

Here's is the unveiling!

Just one more thing...

I will be giving away a small short story of events between the two books titled Troll Trouble. Details on how to get it will follow. Just watch this space!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Save the date!

It's time. Time for change. Time for more.

I'm about to embark on a new journey, and enter the world of the indie author. (That sounds hipper than self-published.) A nail biter, to be sure, as I've never handled the logistics before. But liberating. I'm free to easily update and publish whatever I want, whenever I want. 

And I have much to say.

The second book in the Witherspoon Mansion Mysteries series is on its way. To celebrate its arrival, I will release a second edition of the first book, The Dead Man's Deal, as well as a short story of the events that happen between the two.

New stories! New artwork! Watch this space as I'll posted details soon.

So save the date: Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Also called Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. 

Fitting, don't you think?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


I have a secret. 

You may have noticed the quiet that’s settled on this blog of late. My apologies. But there’s a reason for that. Change is in the wind. 

I would love to tell you the specifics, but like anything worth waiting for, some secrets must be kept.

A number of folks have asked me questions like, “Will there be a second book?” and “What will happen to Winki next?” and “Why are there no ‘B’ sized batteries?” Not sure why I get that last question… Apparently, I look like a battery aficionado. 

But the first two have exciting answers. To find out for yourselves, all you have to do is be patient and watch this space.

-Jax Daniels

Find me: http://jaxdaniels.com (well, duh)

PS. not a battery aficionado

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Spider Security

I set the book I was reading aside and looked up at the spider crawling across the ceiling toward me. Was a time when such a maneuver on a spider's part would end in disaster -- for the spider. These days, I welcomed the little things.
“Annabelle, is that you?” I confess, while I work with a number of the wee beasts, I still can't tell them apart.
“Yes, my lady,” she said, tumbling down a web to dangle in front of me. Her happy voice reminded me of a Disney character, high pitched and cheerful.
Most would describe Annabelle as a household spider, with long black legs and bulbous body. I knew she had more talents than simply catching flies, however, like talking. And marital arts training.
I shook my book. “I have a question.”
She looked at the book title. I could see her fold her little arms. “I can't promise any answers.”
“I haven't read this story since I was a kid. Now, however, the premise of a talking spider means more to me since I came to the manor.”
I waited for her to respond. “And?” she finally asked.
“And, well, is it a true story?”
“Keep in mind it involves a talking pig, too.”
“So…” I pressed. “Pigs don't talk?”
“Well, they might. My point is that not all spiders talk, and not all pigs talk, and not all stories about talking spiders and pigs are true. Sometimes,” she giggled, “a cigar is just a cigar.”
“Then, this isn't a relation of yours.”
“I will neither confirm nor deny any knowledge or involvement with pigs, talking or otherwise.”
“Ah.” Arachnid double-talk.
We have many eight-legged creatures in my home, some of whom keep watchful perches in the corners of the rooms. I've been told that many more occupy the attic though I have never seen them myself, where they lie in wait, should my house be invaded or attacked. I have, however, seen them in action -- thousands of them appear from nowhere and swarm on unwelcomed visitors.
I shook the book again. “You might be right. This bug didn't seem to be a security spider. More like a publicist, or a good PR spider.”
“Really? She did save the pig, didn't she? How is that not security?”
I eyed the book again. “Fair point.”
Which begged the question. “How many homes have security spiders, anyway?” I shook the book again. It didn't seem to me that the farm in the story had any talent (or magic) to speak of. So why would the spider be there?
“I don't know exactly how many homes have watch spiders. But those that do are easily identified.”
I smirked. “Walk in and get attacked?”
“No.” She turned her little head. “You really don't know?”
“No. Know what?”
“You don't have to enter a home to know they have spider's watching. They are clearly marked from the outside.”
“Yes,” she said as she climbed her thread. “Follow me and I'll show you.”
Annabelle made her way along the ceiling and I followed, out of the library, through the sun room, then the game room, into the living room and to the entry way. She climbed down towards the front door, stopping on the transom that grandly arched above it.
“Don't you see it?” she asked.
Beveled Spider Web Transom with Mahogany Door and Sidelites  |  Lincoln . MassachusettsI shook my head, stepping onto the porch. To be honest, I was looking for a literal sign. Something that read, “Danger! Attack Spiders! Proceed with caution.”
“The window, my lady. What does it look like to you?”
Then it dawned on me. The window itself looked like a giant spider web, with arced bits of wood all around the window. “Good gravy! I noticed it before, but I never knew it was a sign.”
“Any home that has such a window has a spider system.”
As I looked at the window I pondered what the bug was saying. In New Orleans, we have hundreds of older houses, shotguns homes, creole cottages, manors, and mansions, and many of them have similar transoms. And only a small few (and by that I mean three) were part of my… community.
“You're saying that any house with a spiderweb transom has spider security?”
“That's exactly what I'm saying.”
“Do they know?” I asked, a bit concerned.
She laughed. “Do they need to?”
Yes. I would have to say so.

Check the window above your front door. Perhaps you, too, have a battalion of security spiders living in your home. Aren't you the lucky one!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Smith and Wesson

Of the people that work for me, I know the least about the two I affectionately call my mad scientists. Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.
The two are inseparable. They dress almost identically, clad in white lab coats every time I see them. They eat together. They work together. I believe they spend all their free time together. Even their rooms in the servant quarters connect via a large pocket door.
The two differ greatly, however, in most every other way. The barrel chested Mr. Smith stands tall, erect and proud, evidence of his military service. He looks fit, though I’ve never seen him exercise. He keeps his brown hair pulled back into what has recently been labeled a man bun. He paints his fingernails black. His voice pitches higher than you’d expect of a man his size. You hear it often. He talks a fair bit.
Not really Mr. Wesson, but close!
Conversely, Mr. Wesson’s shorter-than-average stature sports curly blond hair points which in every direction, much like Harpo Marx. I know he is quite fit, as I spar with him on occasion through the tutelage of my personal trainer, Annabelle, a spider. (You read that right. More on her another time.) Curiously, I couldn’t describe Mr. Wesson’s voice since I’ve never heard it. He says nothing. Ever. In fact, I’ve always thought—but never confirmed—that he and Mr. Smith have a kind of private language, as they have constant conversations, where Mr. Smith talks and explains and queries and jokes, and Mr. Wesson does little more than clap, or nod, or point to his computer.
Given their joint nature, I call them “they” frequently.
They claim there is no such thing as magic, and that every bizarre and amazing thing I have witnessed in my world can be explained through advanced science. But they sheepishly smile when they confess they don’t quite know just how this or that was done. Yet.
They work in the basement of my home in New Orleans. The shiny metal laboratory surfaces support a myriad of test tubes and glass bottles of all shapes and sizes, Bunsen burners, computers and monitors, a Jacob’s ladder (you may have to Google that), and a machine that goes “ping.” In this space, they design and develop weapons and charms (we call gonzos, heaven knows why) and enhancements to my motorcycle leathers. (I have a complicated life.)
When they aren’t working directly for me, they create illusions for magicians all over the world. In fact, it’s my belief that they once were stage magicians. I base this on how I find their lab, which requires me to traverse a small maze of faded and worn boxes, gadgets, gizmos, hoops, platforms, and large colorful balls, all of which has old text that reads either “The Amazing Zingo” or “The Mysterious Mr. Moustafa.” I imagine that each of them used those names, and that they first met perhaps in a circus or some side show, and that separately, neither could amount to much, but together they became a formidable duo.
My basement, like my house, configures itself as needed -- whatever you need, the house simply provides. (Yes, you read that right. More on the house another time). When the two men need a laboratory, that is what the basement becomes. When I need a sparring ring, that is what the basement becomes. When they want me to run some nefarious obstacle course, that is what the basement becomes.
Here’s the kicker. When the mad scientists need their lab, you have to go through the ginormous maze of magic tricks. Each and every time. Sparring ring? Entire basement. Obstacle course? Entire basement. Cockroach convention? Entire basement. (Read right… another time… Geez, someone ought to write a novel.) It’s as if the existence of the lab hinges on the history of the men. That, for them to be productive, they have to be reminded of where they came from.
Every time I walk through it, I intend on asking them. Once I see them, however, with their noses buried in some problem, or eating while lunch and chatting, or analyzing my blood work, I realize it isn’t really my business. They would have told me if I needed to know.
Some things are best left a mystery.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

It's Festival Season! Hogs for the Cause

[REPOST -- Hogs for the Cause starts April 1, 2016!]

The first signs of Spring always brings joy to people across the country. Few of you, however, get to enjoy it “New Orleans” style. Spring to us means Festival Season! From now until roughly late October most every weekend has some kind of haps. And this past weekend was no exception. I attended the Hogs for the Cause.

Hogs for the Cause is a music and bar-be-que festival (that would be the “hogs”) that raises money for families dealing with pediatric brain cancer (or, the “cause”).

In 2015, there were over 82 vendors that participated, and they raised over $700,000. That's some pork!

Yes, that's bacon on top
I attended last year. Being diligent, I decided to walk the place first, sussing out the delectables before committing the precious stomach space. As I did so, two things became quite apparent. Firstly, there was genuinely no foodstuff you couldn't make that didn't require bacon. This stretched the culinary spectrum from cracklin' cornbread (for those of you who aren't from the south, cracklins are also pork rinds), to bacon cupcakes. I had the chocolate cupcake (the guy serving me was trying to pass off the vanilla – the nerve!). Corn on the cob cooked in bacon grease, brussel sprouts with pork belly and apricot jam (sooooo goooood), and bacon ice cream. Yes, you read that right.

The second thing that struck me was the names of the vendors. You've never seen more pork and porcine puns this side of the Pecos!

The Pig Lebowski

I love the smell of pork in the morning!

Mr. Pigglesworth

Deuce Pigalow, Pork Gigolo

Porque Du Soleil, a grilling act!

That guy knows everybody!

Pork Fiction

Wasting away again in Hogaritaville...

The smell of smoke hangs so heavily in the air, you need to wash your hair and clothes when you get home! WARNING: Not a good place for vegetarians!

But great for kids and families.

You said it, brother!

Ain't nothin' can't be "porked" here!

Hogs for the Cause is April 1st and 2nd, 2016. If you've ever thought of taking a trip to New Orleans because you'd like to see our party side, but just can't bring yourself to deal with Mardi Gras or the famous Jazz Fest crowds, I sincerely encourage you to join us for this.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

REPOST: Winki Goes To Mardi Gras

REPOST: Tis the Season!
It’s hard explaining this time of year if you’ve never experienced it. Sure, you’ve seen stuff on TV, about parades, beads, debauchery, drinking, and all the while, women — and men — behaving badly.
But it’s not typically like that. Most of the parades start waaaaaaay uptown, beyond the manor, and wind their way down Magazine and Napoleon before turning onto St. Charles.
“From there,” I finished explaining to Jack, who stood at my side, “they still have miles to go before they finish on Tchoup.” Tchoupitoulas, for us locals.
Jack, being quite tall, scooched behind me, politely letting two women, each just tall enough to ride the “big kid” rides at Disney, get a better view. One of them yelled, “Throw me somethin’, mistah!” at the looming, pink float that lumbered passed us.
“I know that, ma’am,” Jack hollered to be heard over the roar of the crowd, the effort almost costing him his British accent. “I have seen Mardi Gras before.”
“Ah, but you were a cop before, not a participant.” I gestured across the street from us to the neutral ground of St. Charles. Typically, that large green strip of grass only supported streetcars filled with tourists, runners, and the occasional dog walker. Now it was stuffed with tents, bar-b-ques, coolers, shade structures, boom boxes powered by portable generators, tarps, a thousand ladders topped with small children, and tens of thousands of people standing, waving, jumping, and shouting. “Out here, it’s all about families. Days of block parties. Free entertainment, free stuff. Music, food, —”
“And drink.”
I stood with my heels firmly planted on the granite curb, my toes dangling into space over the street. I leaned into Jack as the high school band marched by, the bass drummer in his enthusiasm nearly whacking us with his mallet. Jack pulled me closer into him, just in case.
Exploiting the darkness the Krewe of Bacchus had wonderful illuminations, emphasizing details of each float. The next one coming was a clown, its eyes, nose, and mouth shimmering in multi-colored LEDs. But the parade had stopped, not uncommon, and the bass player remained before me, thumping away.
“It’s like a big tailgater,” I added.
“Ah,” he said loudly, “but tailgating is a way to entertain oneself while waiting for the game. What are they waiting for?”
“Lent?” I shrugged. Not a real answer, but it quelled my healer.
Finally the band moved on, followed by a pickup truck pulling a trailer fitted with cannons shooting confetti, bubble machines, and fog makers. Behind it plodded the next float, the clown one. As it approached, the krewe members atop it showered us with beads, doubloons, and whatnot.
The crowd helped keep the chill of the night air at bay. That, and my puffy down coat, scarf, knit cap, fleece pants, wool socks, and insulated gloves.
Hey, I’m from New Orleans. Anything below 62 degrees is downright nippy!
The float riders, too, were bundled up, wearing warm clothes beneath their costumes. Even their faces, hidden behind various masks or, in the case of this float, veils covering their noses and mouths. From the curb, we could only see their eyes.
The eyes are important. Don’t just wave your arms and jump up and down; if you want to get something from a rider, look them in the eyes. That connection often yields rewards.
I scanned the riders on the lower tier of the float, the ones closest to me. One already had his eyes on me. I smiled and waved. He gave a nod, reaching for something below the float’s railing. As he neared, he leaned down to pass me a cluster of beads rather than tossing it. I reached up.
Jack rudely grabbed my wrist, yanking me back into him. At the same moment the two short women also grabbed my arm, one tearing the glove from my hand, the other jerking me toward the rider. I became the rope in a tug o’war, Jack pulling me into the crowd behind us and the women pulling me closer to the rider.
It took me a moment to realize… the rider wore no glove.
No longer holding the beads, his arm reached out for me.
Touching in my world is a no-no. Very bad things can happen if you’re touched by very bad people. Sadly, my world was rife with very bad people.
Since my toes weren't on the earth, I had little to leverage myself backward, other than Jack's arms. The float inched forward, the unwelcoming hand got closer, and I stood unmoving, balanced between Jack and the women. Panic filled me.
“Stop!” I screamed. The float in front of us did. So, too, did the world immediately around us; the crowds, the music, even beads in mid-air. Everything in a hundred foot radius stood completely still, except for the women, Jack, and myself, who remained battling over my arm.
My talent has no effect if you're touching me.
Realizing something had changed the women looked around, confused by the sudden silence. It was enough to allow Jack and me to wrench free from their grasp. Hysteria filled their eyes as Jack and I shoved our way into the crowd. I stomped my foot and muttered “Go” under my breath. Around us, everything and everyone moved again.
We hurried away, squeezing ourselves onto the sidewalk, leaving a wake of erupting commotion. The people who fell just outside my time-stopping talent, those who didn’t freeze, freaked at the people who had. The two women pointed at me, jumping up and down, shouting, “Witch! Witch!”
Some folks looked at me. “Yeah,” I nodded rolling my eyes, “I wish.”
Jack shuffled me along. I looked back at the float. The rider lifted his veil. I recognized the chiseled jawline, the groomed facial hair, and the perfect lips that formed into a pucker and blew me a kiss.
I stopped Jack. I blew a kiss back. Nice try.
“Was that…?” Jack stammered.
“Yes,” I nodded. “Good to know. Malador’s in Krewe of Bacchus.”
Next year, I’ll make a point of saying a proper hello.