Iris, a public-school educator, is the author of four detective novels and has been published in numerous professional and community journals. Catherine, a retired attorney and practicing psychic arts specialist, is working on a mystery novel.
The Magic Tree
© 2021 Iris G. Leigh and Catherine E. Cullen
Iris G. Leigh and Catherine Cullen have teamed up to write this book and two plays.
The Magic Tree reveals lonely, twelve-year old Dahlia (Deli) who believes she’ll never fit in with the others in middle school. She lives with her single-parent mom, who works two jobs, has a million rules, and forbids Deli to tell anyone she’s alone most evenings. Trying to please her mother is impossible and Deli often finds herself the target of undeserved anger. Her dad has a new family, and only comes by once a week. With Angry Mom and Wednesday Dad for parents, Deli finds comfort with Binky the cat and her diary.
Deli’s life transforms when Ruby, the new girl, is seated next to her in class. She invites Ruby to lunch and they discover they are both quirky. Ruby comes from a close-knit family with a mom who puts magic in their food and a dad who can anticipate everyone’s needs. Deli finds them intriguing and becomes a regular at their dinner table. Over time the girls confide in each other. Deli shares her Jewish heritage and the silences in her family about relatives who were in Concentration Camps. Ruby discloses she comes from a long line of witches and is learning the craft from her mother. Both girls are careful with and learn to respect each other.
They are studying The Diary of Anne Frank in school and Deli feels connected and overwhelmed by the experiences she is reading about. She begins to feel emotions that are new to her. She realizes she is relating to a girl dead for many years. After the girls visit an out-of-the-way pond on Cape Cod, Ruby is reluctant to tell Deli about the magic she feels in a large oak tree. On their second trip to the beach, however, Ruby finds a ring hidden deep in the hollow of the tree and they find themselves involved with a long-ago World War II story.
The tree has been waiting for years for girls like Ruby and Deli to entrust the ring to them. An old woman visits Ruby’s mom to have her tea leaves read and relates the story of her fiancé disappearing without notice in 1941. The girls and Ruby’s mother connect the ring to her story. As Deli and Ruby handle the ring and an old love letter, they see images of a sad young man hiding the ring in a tree hoping to return to his love. Through their magic, they also link his story to Deli’s family. The girls use their new-found powers to find out what happened to the man.
As the girl turn thirteen, Deli prepares for her Bat Mitzvah and Ruby starts her formal studies in witchcraft. The girls mature and their friendship grows, as they share what they’re learning with each other. Deli realizes her new-found powers, and they embrace their evolving abilities to help others. As for The Magic Tree, it will always be there. It is a part of who they are and who they will become.
Crystal’s Solutions Cab Company
© 2020 Iris G. Leigh and Catherine E. Cullen
An apprehensive mystery writer and an underemployed lawyer come up with an idea to raise cash. Crystal’s Solutions is about a post-pandemic car service set on the Enchanted Sandspit of Cape Cod. Ellen is no ordinary attorney, she’s also a gifted palm reader; and the cast of eccentrics she drives, often require at least one of her services. Her partner, a germophobic mystery writer, can’t break from obsessive pandemic cleaning rituals, and helps run the business without leaving her house.
This leads to misadventures and a fast-paced story line that includes get-rich-quick schemes, double crosses, kelpies, and loan sharks. No one is who they say they are and Ellen and Beth find themselves unraveling deceptions while maintaining their integrity. This farce illuminates how alliances and humor layered with complex human emotions, can produce a recipe for friendship and resilience.
© 2020 Iris G. Leigh and Catherine E. Cullen
What happens when a lonely woman believes her robotic vacuum, Lenny, is romantically and aggressively interested in her?
Lily finds herself the target of Lenny’s admiration. Calling her friend Diedre, a lawyer and witch, she begs for help. Dierdre offers to cast a spell and file a restraining order on Lenny to curtail his unwanted amorous behaviors.
Deirdre, however, is unaware Lenny is not an over-zealous human. The charade commences as she and the deputy try to serve papers on what they eventually discover is a vacuum-robot. Lily, however, eventually regrets she foiled his adoration for her.