Please join us in welcoming author Rhys Ford today on the Dim Sum Asylum blog tour. We’re so pleased to be bringing you Part Seven of the tour ficlet, so enjoy, and also be sure to pay attention to the Rafflecopter giveaway for the chance to win some great prizes.
Thank you for joining me on the Dim Sum Asylum tour! And a huge thank you to the blogs who are letting me rent their space for the day!
Now a little bit about Dim Sum Asylum the novel. It was originally a short story in Charmed and Dangerous, a fantastic anthology created by JCP. When I was invited to contribute, I couldn’t type yes fast enough and so, the original short Dim Sum Asylum was created. Other authors have taken their contributions and expanded on them, delivering full length pieces, but I hadn’t planned on doing that… mostly because of time.
Then Lynn West, the Editor in Chief of Dreamspinner Press, said to me, “I want that story.” One does not simply turn down Lynn and to be honest, I really enjoyed writing Roku. There was a lot about the world and his life I couldn’t fit into the short story and expanding Dim Sum Asylum would give me that chance.
So I folded it into the queue and after a few months of unstitching the short story and weaving in the pieces I’d always longed to put in, Dim Sum Asylum, the novel, was born. This is my first urban fantasy romance and I had a blast writing it. A lot of romantic tension, a bit of suspense and murder, plus a whole lot of magical creatures and fantastical people. Oh…and there’s Bob the Cat.
Did I mention this blog stop’s giveaway? Because there is one. Check out the Rafflecopter widget and enter to win a $20 gift certificate to the online store of your choice–one winner–or an e-book of choice from my backlist (*excludes Dim Sum Asylum) to three winners!
This tour is a serialized story featuring Roku MacCormick, the lead in Dim Sum Asylum, and will be told over the blog tour stops.
Wok This Way (A Dim Sum Asylum Short)
Turns out salted tea leaves with leftover spaghetti seasoning found in the back of the pantry breaks a spell like nobody’s fucking business. Either that or Murgatroid couldn’t maintain her protection circle and the backlash was must more powerful than either one of us could imagine.
And, as the saying goes, I can imagine quite a lot.
“Agnes Murgatroid, you are under arrest for practicing arcane arts while under—” was as far as I got.
The ley lines under the Market blew first, shooting concrete, food and everything else up into the air where they crossed. Someone nearby—another witch—began her own counter spell, harnessing the wild magic pouring up out of the ground. Others joined her, voices and languages mingling until the threads of sound became a tapestry, weaving tight around the chaos, hemming it in. Murgatroid, however, was still on the loose but the witches and casters pulling back the magic were also dimming the light pouring out of my birthmark wings under my skin.
I blinked, getting the world back to rights, just in time to see Murgatroid’s fist coming straight for my nose.
I tried not to ever punch a woman or anyone really because I grew up with a mother who’d reminded me I could do some serious damage with my fists and temper. But sometimes, the best defense is a good offense especially when there was a barrel of peppers doing an Independence Day celebration a few feet away from me and about forty people trying to extract themselves from a molasses drip of a spell. Murgatroid wasn’t going to go down easily.
So I ducked and struck first, pushing her back into a display of stuffed hamsters who then began to dance and sing about Kung Fu fighting and breaking the law. Her feet shot up into the air, skirts flying as she went over and someone behind me began swearing at me for hitting a woman.
Some people may have a problem with that. God knows, the hefty pink-winged fae in the Hawaiian shirt did—the same faerie whose wife was shrieking because she was trapped up against a flying monkey’s perch while it picked through her hair—and he decided he needed to take me down.
Yamada caught him in mid-leap, his massive arms wrapping around Hawaiian Shirt’s waist and with what seemed like a shrug of his shoulders, twisted the fae up and around. His pink wings flowed out behind him and his face rippled with panic as Yamada tossed him aside.
“Go!” Yamada yelled at me. “I’ve got this!”
Murgatroid gave me a good run but I was ready to cuff her. Pushing aside the hamsters, I grabbed at her arm and she hissed at me, wielding one of the dancing stuffed toys in her hand. She smacked me across the face with it, a puffy swat on my cheek and I pulled her up, lifting her off her feet. She was a skinny thing, barely a hundred pounds but getting her clear of the hamster pile meant she could get at me and while I had one arm immobile, that left her with the other to wreak some havoc.
And havoc she delivered.
Murgatroid lay her hand on my shoulder and sent a shockwave of electricity through my nerves and down my spinal cord, trapping me in a seizure.
I tasted blood, probably from my biting my own tongue but I couldn’t let go. It seemed like she was killing people on purpose this time or maybe she didn’t even know there’d been deaths but her good luck charms were anything but and I couldn’t risk her getting loose again. Even if it meant me overloading and turning to a side of Peking dragonfly in the middle of the Market floor. As hard as it was to move, I didn’t know how long she could last pouring her magic into me or even if she’d ever stop considering the Market’s floor was a cat’s cradle of ley lines and witch runes.
“Gods, why won’t you let go?!” She screamed into my face when I dropped her down to the floor but I kept my hand clamped over her wrist, trembling from another hit of white fire to my system. “Why the hell—”
I shoved the handful of salted tea leaves I’d managed to get out of my jacket down her gullet then clamped my fingers over her lips and whispered the one cantrip I could always pull off so long as I was touching someone.
And she did.
It wasn’t a big sneeze but I didn’t need it to be. It had to be just enough to push any of the counterspell components I’d stuffed into her screaming mouth up into her sinuses. From there, I would let nature take its course.
I threw the strongest counter chant I had at her, invoking the spell worked leaves to work with the natural fluids in her sinuses and watched her dance.
I felt Murgatroid shudder in my grasp then began to choke, spitting out as much of the tea leaves as she could but it was already too late. With a dribble of grainy black tea leaking out of the side of her mouth, her magic folded in on her, finding the chinks in her control to grab hold of her unprotected nervous system.
This time I let go, letting Murgatroid drop to the floor, and stepped back. Leaning over to rest my palms on my thighs, I stood by, panting hard and watched Murgatroid’s magic shake her apart then fizzle out, leaving her a sweaty, sobbing mess on the Market’s concrete floor.
A hand slapped my shoulder, nearly sending me to the ground and I looked up to find Yamada standing next to me, chewing on a cooked Bucephalus pepper. Offering me a taste, he grimaced at me when I turned him down with a shake of my head then patted me on the back, gentler this time.
“Well, looks like you got her,” he said, nodding to the twitching woman lying in a pile of stuffed dancing hamsters. “How about if we go catch some lunch?”
“So she gave out these charms to cooks she felt were threatening her boyfriend’s business?” Captain Gaines, my godfather and current boss rocked back in his chair, studying me from across his desk. “Then sent airsail squids to kill them?”
“DA’s going for manslaughter since she hadn’t planned on killing them,” I corrected, slouching in the wide armchair he’d put in the corner of his office. “After giving out the charms, the plan was for to make the victims sick by delivering them a few of the rainbow-swirls to cook with but she hadn’t planned on her screwed up magic. Because she’s cued the spell to aggravate the effect of their venom, they reacted violently and instead, they bit the hell out of the cooks handling them.”
“And since the venom’s toxicity was amplified by the alleged good luck charm…” Gaines began.
“It overloaded their systems and well, you saw what it did to their bodies,” I finished. “But we got the names of the others with the charms and they’ve been secured. The librarians are going to study the spell then nullify the charms once the case goes to court. If she pleads, then one will be kept in stasis while the rest are destroyed.”
“And the judge?” He tilted his head, a questioning eyebrow creeping up his forehead. “How is he doing with this?”
“He’s resigned, I think. She crossed a line too far even for him and he spent too many decades upholding the law.” I shrugged at Gaines’ resigned sigh. “He’s doing okay. There’s a grandson who is moving in with him to help out. From what I hear, he’s sane and doesn’t want to turn people into frogs. That’s got to be good for something.”
“Yeah. It is.” Gaines slid a folder across the desk, letting it come to rest at the edge near my elbow. “Do me a favour after you’ve gotten some sleep. I want you to check up on a protected species nest. From the report the Endangered Animal Protection department sent me, they’re pretty isolated and out of any harm’s way but I want to be sure no one can get to them. The EAP’s going to put up a shielding barrier but it’ll be a couple of days until they can get someone out there.”
“Am I supposed to be taking Arnett with me on this?” I snagged the folder from the table, opening it up to review the report. “Oh, I know this nest. It’s the one we found the other day…those crested dragons.”
“Yeah, take Arnett,” Gaines grumbled at me. “And tell him for me if he doesn’t start shaping up soon, he’s going to find himself on the wrong end of my good side. Because between you and me, that man’s just asking to be shot.”
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About the Book
Welcome to Dim Sum Asylum: a San Francisco where it’s a ho-hum kind of case when a cop has to chase down an enchanted two-foot-tall shrine god statue with an impressive Fu Manchu mustache that’s running around Chinatown, trolling sex magic and chaos in its wake.
Senior Inspector Roku MacCormick of the Chinatown Arcane Crimes Division faces a pile of challenges far beyond his human-faerie heritage, snarling dragons guarding C-Town’s multiple gates, and exploding noodle factories. After a case goes sideways, Roku is saddled with Trent Leonard, a new partner he can’t trust, to add to the crime syndicate family he doesn’t want and a spell-casting serial killer he desperately needs to find.
While Roku would rather stay home with Bob the Cat and whiskey himself to sleep, he puts on his badge and gun every day, determined to serve and protect the city he loves. When Chinatown’s dark mystical underworld makes his life hell and the case turns deadly, Trent guards Roku’s back and, if Trent can be believed, his heart… even if from what Roku can see, Trent is as dangerous as the monsters and criminals they’re sworn to bring down.
About the Author
Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series, including Murder and Mayhem, a 2016 LAMBDA finalist. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.
She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Yoshi, a grumpy tuxedo cat and Tam, a diabetic black pygmy panther, as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people.