Let's Talk with Maggie Toussaint

Beat the Summer Heat

June 13, 2024
Photo from the author’s personal collection

With summer upon us, there are many who bask in the summer heat. One of my favorite summer activities is going to the beach. The offshore breeze makes the air cooler, and for me, the beauty and natural sounds of the beach fill me up on the inside, restoring and recharging my soul.

Is it any wonder then that my Magic Candle Shop Mystery Shop (which I write as Valona Jones) twins also go to the beach to recharge? Tabby and Sage are psychics who can wield energy. This is by its very nature a talent that can do great good…or great harm. The trick for these sisters is to pace themselves so they don’t get caught short with dangerously low energy levels.

Tabby is all about pacing herself, but when life intervenes, she can plunge to an unhealthy low of energy. Sage, on the other hand, can never have enough energy. Her body doesn’t naturally recharge at night like her sister’s does, so she’s always asking Tabby to “top her off.” Tabby generous complies. When Tabby isn’t around, Sage takes what she needs from others.While Sage is a secondary character, her choices affect my sleuth, Tabby, and create natural tension as Tabby sorts out the mystery, hidden aspects of her talent, and her personal life with Quig.

Image from author’s photography collection

The series begins with the general theme of Tabby being the “good” twin and Sage being the “bad” twin. Each sister has their role down pat, or do they? As the series rolls out, each faces challenges that force them to examine who and what they are. How they respond to story elements shapes their true character, and it becomes less about the role they’ve always played in the family and more about who they really are.

Many of us balk at change. We often fight it, ignore it, or even run from it. Because the status quo is who we are, what we are.
During this five-book series, Tabby and Sage’s character arcs explore their family roles. I have often wondered why some people are perceived as good and others as bad. Have you considered that optimists haven’t been tempered by life the same way pessimists have been? In a nutshell, that’s the question I undertook to explore with these characters.

Do circumstances justify actions and attitudes?

On the TV show Dateline, people are often surprised, appalled, and never the same once something terrible happens to someone they love and/or the bad guy is revealed. There’s a loss of innocence, a wariness that comes into a victim’s family post-trauma. A brokenness.

With that in mind, consider the twins in this “darker” cozy series. In book one, SNUFFED OUT, we learn they’ve lost their mother recently (father abandoned the family when they were five), inherited the family Book and Candle Shop, and know diddlysquat about their psychic talent. Thanks to their mother overprotecting them and hiding them from the paranormal community, they have no one to guide their magical development. They must learn everything through trial and error.

Photo from author’s personal photo archive

By book two, IN THE WICK OF TIME, it is apparent they have found a way to keep the shop afloat, have fraught relationships with love interests, and have figured out a few things about what they can and cannot do energetically.

In TALLOWED GROUND, a September 10, 2024 release, their character arcs undergo another shift and their paradigm of good and bad is put to the test. (cover shown is a mock up. Cover reveal will occur later this month)

Circling back, what does character growth have to do with it being too hot? Authors are expected to put characters in harm’s way to test their limits so that they must grow to overcome the obstacles they face.

When the twins feel the heat of life, they rush to the beach. They love the seashore in all seasons, even though they have to share it with more people in the summer. But, they have each other, and they know when to take a step back from the “heat” they find themselves in, and that creates turning points to drive the series.

TALLOWED GROUND will be on preorder next month. In the meantime, for a chance at a copy of IN THE WICK OF TIME, share one way you “beat the heat.” The winner will be announced next Tuesday. Print books are available for US residents only; digital copies have no restriction.

While you’re here, check out our June giveaway, with two books going to one winner. The contest runs from June 1-22 with multiple ways to enter. CLICK HERE for the contest.

Want to learn more about author Maggie Toussaint? Visit her WEBSITE.

Posted in Let's Talk, with Maggie Toussaint • Tags: , , , |  22 Comments


22 thoughts on “Beat the Summer Heat

  1. The beach or any place I can see a body of water is my salvation from the heat.

  2. Walking on the beach solves almost everything! Doesn’t matter if it’s the height of summer!

    1. Yes. It hits me in every one of my senses. The scent, the taste of the salt breeze, the crunch of sand under my feet, the wind blowing against my skin, the sound of the waves breaking, the birds, and so much more. I love beaches with dunes, but those are going to become harder and harder to find.

  3. I was never one to bask at the beach for hours each day, but now that I’m living in a landlocked state, I really miss not being able to walk along the water’s edge early in the morning or at dusk and drink in the tang of the salty breezes.

    1. I hear you. I get to see the rising tides each day and it is like having a dollop of sunshine with every meal. Interestingly, one of my kids feels the same way about the mountains. Different strokes!

  4. I’m not close to the beach, darn it! But I can sit outside on the deck in the shade and read and listen to what’s going on around me.

    1. A bit of immersion in nature is good for all of us, no matter if seas or mountains are involved. We have a bit of shade with rocking chairs in one area of our yard. Often we sit out there and just chill out. The backyard birds and the shorebirds sing the sun down for us.

  5. I’m not near a beach, though I have loved them when I WAS (for their beauty as well as the cooler temperatures). Now, I do appreciate a nice place in the shade, or, if indoors, just being by a fan 😊

    1. I agree that shade and cool air are important for our survival. I recently did something foolish on a hot day. Though I sat in the shade with a fan blowing on me, I stayed out for several hours, and that turned out to be several hours too much. Temperature regulation is a bad body subroutine to lose!

  6. I am more of an indoor person, and the place where I live does not get too much “heat” during summer – the highest around mid to high-70, probably because it is close to the ocean. As such, I normally read with my furry baby who always curls up on my lap and enjoy a glass or two of iced-coffee or iced-tea. No AC is needed, really!

  7. I live in Northern CA where the weather gets into the 100s during the summer! That means reading inside with the air conditioner on!!

    1. I hear you, Linda. Some days down here, the humidity is so high that the real-feel of the air is out of control! What’s important is that you take care of yourself and that you find ways to relax. I’ve already done a lot of reading to beat the heat, and I’ll continue to “goof off” like that throughout the hot days. I’m also looking forward to watching the summer Olympics in a few weeks.

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