I didn’t set out to be funny when I began the Monster Haven series. The story lines themselves can get pretty dark, though, so the characters keep things from getting too angst-ridden and depressing. They lighten the mood.
Book one, Monster in My Closet, dives right into the weirdness. Zoey grabs a toilet brush as a weapon on her way down the hall to confront an intruder. To her surprise, she finds Maurice, the closet monster she was terrified of as a child. Reading the newspaper. And baking muffins. Why? He’s currently homeless and needs a place to live. We’re also introduced to a pygmy dragon with a cold, a skunk ape who smells like flowers and a family of brownies setting up house in the linen closet.
In the second book, Pooka in My Pantry, the pooka looks a bit like Danny DeVito and hates wearing pants. Only Zoey can see and hear him, which makes for some funny moments when other people are in the room. At the office, Zoey has to stop her best friend from sitting in the waiting pooka’s lap. Friends don’t let friends get felt up by the supernatural. Especially when the supernatural’s not wearing pants.
Stakes get higher by book three, Fairies in My Fireplace, but nobody can be serious giving a dog a bath—even when the dog is a hellhound with a nasty case of mange. Sponges fly, the hellhound’s splash zone is huge, then THUNK. Somebody shoots a tranquilizer dart into a passing thunderbird. The enormous bird lands on Zoey’s VW Bug, squashing the car flat. Kam—a djinn recently escaped from her master—pokes the unconscious thunderbird and informs it that it can’t park there. She wasn’t helping with the dog wash, by the way. She didn’t want to ruin her dress—a replica of Pat Benatar’s costume from the ’80s “Love Is a Battlefield” video.
Golem in My Glovebox was tough to lighten up. Creepy little girl, gruesome deaths, mind control. I had to bring in some extra craziness. In one of my favorite scenes, Zoey and her reaper boyfriend, Riley, meet with an O.G.R.E. squad—the police of the Hidden world—in a skeezy bar in the middle of nowhere. Included in the group are the world’s shortest giant, the world’s tallest dwarf, two actual ogres and a siren with social anxiety disorder. Gris, the government official they brought along—a pint-size golem hiding in Zoey’s magic handbag—and the O.G.R.E. foreman, Frankie the Imp, run off to the men’s room to negotiate. Zoey is left to wonder about her life choices and whether she’ll ever see her purse again.
Book five, Demons in My Driveway, releases soon, so I can’t give away too much without spoiling it. But Zoey and her team are trying to avoid the zombie apocalypse. The harbingers of the apocalypse come chanting up her driveway, Hidden creatures failing in their attempt to appear human: a female gargoyle in a blue polyester pantsuit, a satyr in shirt and trousers, a harpy in an overcoat. They’re not fooling anybody.
The final book in the series, Phoenix in My Fortune, isn’t out until next March. But I’ll tell you a secret: it begins with a bucket of purple house paint, a pygmy dragon and rainbow-toe socks.
I still don’t set out to be funny. But apparently, my mind is a ridiculous place.