Mysteria Lane is a set of four short stories written by four different authors with all the stories based in Mysteria, CO.
Mysteria was created by a demon in an accidental act of kindness. Many if not most of the residents are beings with some kind of difference like fairies, vampires, werewolves, witches, etc. As it’s a small town everyone pretty much knows everyone else or at least what they are.
The adventures in Mysteria start off with Distaining Trouble by Mary Janice Davidson. Whithering, Derisive and Scornful Desdaine are triplets that have been causing trouble since the day they were born, Sunnyside up. Now, entering their teens, they haven’t stopped causing chaos and problems and with three of them working on it, things can get interesting. On this particular day they have decided to harass the mailman while sunning themselves on the town’s wishing well. Things were going well for the triplets though not for the mailman, when their mother caught them. In the next few moments of releasing the mailman and dealing with an irate mom, Withering falls into the well. Thad Wilson seeing what was going on ran out of his pizza store to just stop short of falling in the well himself. Everyone expected Whithering to come right out of the well as it wasn’t very deep but to everyone’s surprise a monster climbed out followed by a grown-up Whithering with a sword killing the monster. What took 5 seconds in Mysteria time was several years for Whithering. While she finally found her way home, she had changed while her sisters had not. Thad had a problem too. While the triplets were only in their young teens, Whithering was not and he was definitely attracted to Whithering.
Damon, new father and ex-demon, and his wife Harmony, Mysteria’s minister, needed a nanny. Their son, Damon Jr. had powers that were just beginning to emerge and neither could work and take care of him at the same time. Lucifer knowing how much power the baby had decided to send one of his demons to fill the nanny position and kill the baby. This is the story written by Susan Grant, Nanny from Hell. The demon sent, Shay, has always had a soft spot for humans and love. She knows if she doesn’t do what Lucifer sends her to do, he will terminate her as in she will no longer be. Shay’s deepest wish is to have a soul and live a “normal” life but she drives into Mysteria to follow her orders only to crash into the town well and be meet by Quel, demon hunter. Quel smells Shay a long way off but after the crash can no longer smell a demon. He wants to know this Shay person better and figure out what she really is wanting in Mysteria or does he just want to know her better? Shay looks at Quel’s eyes and sees a man from the past but can that be possible? Lucifer couldn’t care less and wants Damon Jr taken care of and if Shay can’t or won’t do it, he’ll send a demon that will!
Gena Showalter’s A Tawdry Affair comes next. Glory Tawdry had a crush on Falon. She wanted him enough to make a major fool of herself when she showed up on his doorstep wearing nothing but a coat. He not only turned down her offer but made sure she felt ugly and unwanted. Glory couldn’t help that she was a bit curvy. That wasn’t Falon’s problem. Falon was attracted to Glory but Glory and her sisters are witches and he stays as far from witches as he can. Falon had a former girlfriend who was a witch that when they broke up put a spell on him forcing him to work for another witch for a year until she would remove it. He never wanted to be in that position again. If only Glory wasn’t a witch! Glory not knowing this background gets her sister to make her a magic pen. Any scene that Glory writes becomes something that Falon becomes part of. She not only writes him into scenes but puts herself there, minus several pounds. Falon doesn’t take kindly to this and goes about trying to get the pen from Glory. With each of them attracted to the other, will they ever stop long enough to talk or will they continue this battle to stay apart?
Summer’s magic doesn’t work right so when she comes back to Mysteria, she works at the local high school, which is a magic free zone. See while Summer doesn’t cast magic, anyone doing magic around her gets it changed from what they cast which can cause major problems. On a field trip to the local art gallery, Summer meets Colin, a vampire. He presents himself all dark and moody, kind of like Rochester in a Jane Austin novel. That impression changes when one of Summer’s students tries to cast a spell and sends Summer and Colin temporarily into a painting with sunlight. Colin sees Summer as his sunlight, brightening up his life. Summer, however, sees Colin as everything that she should stay away from. She has her eye on a fairy she grew up with and hopes to be able to make the move from friends to lovers. Will P. C. Cast be able to get Summer and Colin together in It’s in His Kiss?
The four authors who wrote these stories are all excellent authors. Their stories usually are very well written and interesting. While these short stories are okay, they don’t seem to have the depth that is normally seen with these authors. One of the factors in that may be the length of the stories. On average these stories are well under 100 pages with one only being 60. That doesn’t give an author many pages to develop a really good storyline with details. It’s almost as if as soon as you get into the story, it’s over.
For the most part, the characters are not well defined. Again, this may be due to the length of the stories. For the most part, the characters are superficial with little to no background. The most well developed character is Shay in Nanny from Hell. Because Shay sees a previous lover in Quel, we get a glimpse into Shay’s past and why she won’t betray Lucifer. We do not get more than a few lines of background on Quel or the rest of the characters.
The stories felt rushed. For the most part, they only covered a couple of days and the authors tried to cram as much as they could in the few pages that they had. There seemed to be no time for characters to reflect or even think.
Still, the stories were cute. The characters are lovable. I just wanted more, more information, more background, more time! Each of these short stories could be turned into a full-length novel and be excellent. Instead, they are a glimpse of what might have been in a town I’d love to see more of.