Author: Amy McNulty
Narrator: Danielle Daly
Length: 7 hours 4 minutes
Series: A Spooky Games Club Mystery, Book 1
Publisher: Crimson Fox Publishing
Released: Jan. 5, 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Dahlia Poplar is a genuine witch, an unofficial gofer, and Luna Lane’s only cursed resident.
With a werewolf best friend, a vampire ex-boyfriend, and a ghost for a hanger-on, Dahlia is far from the most unusual dweller of her sleepy small town, but she’s the only one unable to leave. Dahlia has to perform at least one good deed per day – or she’s one step closer to turning to stone.
Fortunately, the residents of Luna Lane have plenty of tasks for Dahlia to complete to avert the curse until Cable Woodward, fetching professor and nephew of her elderly neighbor, stops by for the semester on sabbatical. Attempting to help Cable’s uncle work through the trauma of losing his wife, Dahlia uncovers the man’s collection of board games, which leads to him reminiscing about the long-forgotten Luna Lane Games Club.
Dahlia reestablishes the Games Club, only to find evidence of a number of horrible demises connected to the original group. While trying to uncover the truth about the deaths, Dahlia has to fight off her curse, protect her elderly neighbor from becoming the next victim, and most vexing of all, keep Cable from figuring out Luna Lane’s supernatural secrets.
Only, with eerie board games like these, there may not be a loser – or even a winner – who survives.
Amy McNulty is an editor and author of books that run the gamut from YA speculative fiction to contemporary romance. A lifelong fiction fanatic, she fangirls over books, anime, manga, comics, movies, games, and TV shows from her home state of Wisconsin. When not editing her clients’ novels, she’s busy fulfilling her dream by crafting fantastical worlds of her own.
Danielle Daly hails from Long Island, New York but hopes you can’t tell that when she’s reading to you. Grateful for her many years of experience in narrating stories for various short story fiction podcasts, the opportunity to narrate audiobooks for a wider audience is a dream come true.
Q & A with Dahlia Poplar from Broomsticks and Board Games
Mysterious Questioner: Dahlia Poplar, hello and welcome. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me for this secret chat. It’s so incredible to speaking to a witch. I know you couldn’t meet me in person, so we’re doing this interview over Zoom.
Dahlia: Yeah, sorry. I can’t leave my hometown, Luna Lane.
MQ: What, not ever?
D: No. I’m afflicted by a curse that keeps confined to the woods around Luna Lane. If I try to go past a certain point, I’m just repelled backward.
MQ: That’s awful! How did you come to be cursed like that?
D: (She sighs.) It’s a long story. It involves a wicked witch and a grudge against my mother—who was also a witch and practically a saint. And it’s actually not even the main aspect of the curse. (She shows me her left arm, which is covered in what looks like a shiny, silver scale tattoo from her upper arm down past her elbow.) Every day, I have to complete a good deed—without my magic—or I’ll grow another stone scale. One day, I might turn completely to stone.
MQ: Those are real scales?! That looks uncomfortable.
D: (She rubs her arm.) Yeah, well, most days I remember to perform a good deed. I mean, if I don’t, I’ll turn into a statue someday, so I better not let myself get distracted, right? I should probably keep my nose out of my potions book, right? (She laughs nervously.) And Luna Lane may only have 300 residents, but everyone is so nice. They always find something for me to do.
MQ: Sounds like a real friendly place.
D: It is. And it’s a safe haven for werewolves, vampires, mummies, spiderwomen—you name it. At least a quarter of our town is paranormal. Oops. I shouldn’t have said that… It’s kind of a secret. In fact, my neighbor’s human nephew is here for a visit, and it’s been all kinds of trouble trying to keep him from finding out.
MQ: My lips are sealed. This interview will only be uncovered by the most brilliant of audiobook-loving sleuths, I promise. So… werewolves and vampires, huh? Do you think I could interview any of those?
D: Well… (She scratches her cheek absentmindedly.) My best friend’s a werewolf. Faine Vadas. She’s a sweetheart—and she doesn’t have a moment to spare, between running Hungry Like a Pup, the town’s café, and wrangling her three young children. And the whole turning-into-wolves-at-the-full-moon-thing. The vampires… Well, I avoid them.
MQ: Why? (Shudders.) Are they dangerous?
D: No! No, I don’t mean that at all. They only drink blood from volunteers here in Luna Lane. It’s just that… Draven, the one guy vampire here, is my ex-boyfriend. (She winces.)
MQ: I can see how that would be awkward. What’s it like dating a vamp—
D: No comment.
MQ: But that sounds like it might be worth discussing.
D: (She clutches the desk in front of her.) No. Comment.
MQ: Okay… Um, our time is running short. Anything else you’d like to share with us? What’s witch life like, outside of your daily good deed?
D: Well, I think I’m the only witch who has to do a good deed daily—though I haven’t met many other witches. But I don’t get up to much. My mom left me an inheritance to pay my bills and the good deeds take up a chunk of my days. I brew potions, trying to break the curse on me—
MQ: Any luck yet?
D: No, obviously not. (She gestures to her scaled arm.) I can cast enchantments by saying my desire aloud backwards.
MQ: What do you mean?
D: (She waves her hands over a collection of dirty flasks beside her.) YDIT! (The flasks glow with magic and sparkle, perfectly clean, settling next to each other in a straight line.)
D: And I hang out with Broomie. Short for Broomhilde. She’s my enchanted broomstick. (Sure enough, a flying broom darts across the screen.) She likes to eat cornhusks. (The broomstick curls—actually curls—around Dahlia’s shoulders like a cat. Dahlia pets the broom’s brush, and the brush actually seems to be vibrating. Purring!)
MQ: Is that… Is that broomstick alive?
D: Of course! (The broomstick’s brush jumps up like a head and it seems to kind of sigh indignantly with a vibration of bristles.)
MQ: Oh, uh, sorry. Hi there, girl.
D: (She laughs. The broomstick goes back to purring.) Isn’t she adorable?
MQ: Um… Yes? (Checks the time.) I guess we have to go, right? You said you have a Games Club meeting to get to?
D: Oh, yes! We’re playing a cursed board game.
MQ: A cursed board game? What’s that like?
D: (She’s already standing. I realize she’s not even using a computer or a phone to talk to me. Is this magic?) No time to explain. Thank you for chatting with me! ESAELER TNEMTNAHCNE! (She waves the image away.)
MQ: Oh, okay… Thank you…?
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