Bonnie Elizabeth is the author of over a dozen paranormal mysteries and contemporary fantasy novels. The Frost Witch sage combines her love of cats and magic.

For many years Bonnie blogged as her Siamese cat before turning to writing fiction novels. She is a current member of the Cat Writer's Association. She is currently at work on a paranormal women's fiction series, which, naturally, includes cats.

She can be reached on her website

Unfair Magic by Bonnie Elizabeth

Witches take familiar competitions far too seriously when murder happens at the fair!

Appointed as a judge for working feline familiars at the local fair, Jade Owlens expects to enjoy getting to know some new cats. She's not prepared to expose a murderer.

First, the head of judges threatens what could happen if she gives a ribbon to the killer. Then her sister is arrested for the crime.

If that's not enough, Jade is attacked in her own home.

Someone wants very badly to win a competition and they don't care how many people they have to kill to do it!



  • "It's a nicely tangled mystery, with interesting characters, human and feline. Waverton seems like an interesting town, and this is a potentially very nice cozy mystery series. I really enjoyed it."

    – Reader review
  • "A delightful tale about witches and their familiars. If you love cats, dogs, and horses and enjoy a good paranormal cozy, be sure to grab this one!"

    – Reader review



Murder marred my first time judging feline familiars at the local fair.

It's an honor to be considered for a judge position at the witch fair. It's an even greater honor to be chosen. For someone as young as I am, relatively speaking, it's almost unheard of. I'm not quite thirty and most of the judges had been on the fair circuit since I was a child. In fact, I watched my mom show in front of them in the casual feline class.

Local witch, LaDona Edwards had judged all three feline familiar classes and two of the ordinary classes since before I was born. She's a force of nature with long steel-gray hair that she keeps in a single braid that hangs down to her butt. She wears floral skirts with plenty of ruffles and still wears Birkenstocks with wool socks, though I have heard she uses spelled wool. She's kind of an anomaly not only for this era, but in rural Central Kentucky, though I expect she wouldn't raise an eyebrow someplace like Portland, Oregon.

At any rate, when she came to see me at the anniversary celebration of the opening of my cat cafe, I thought she was just making nice. But apparently, one of the working feline class judges was having back surgery and wouldn't be able to work at the local fair.

Many of the judges travel around to the various witch fairs that happen between April and October. Not all of them can make all the fairs so they pick locals to sit in on certain categories. If LaDona decided she liked me this time, I'd be on the rolls and whenever there was an opening on the panel for the working feline class, my name would come up.

Chances were, I'd never be able to leave and go to another fair, but just being part of the Waverton Fair was an honor I couldn't pass up.

Me, Jade Owlens, owner of Jade's Café, which has its own familiar feline room in the back, just like an ordinary cat café. I suppose the fact that I worked so closely with my familiar Mason, a big old ginger and white bi-color who rules the room with a velvet paw, was a big reason I'd been picked. The other was probably because I was used to having to work with people. I'd heard that the people showing can be intense and demanding.

Waverton's fair happens in mid-October and it's one of the latest witch fairs. I'm not sure how that happened. It's not as if Kentucky has great weather into October, particularly in Waverton. We're west of London, Kentucky and a bit south. The two-lane highway that takes you here wanders and curves through plenty of rolling hills. Because of that, we tend to be cooler than London or Lexington and summer is a popular time for people taking day trips to get out of the heat and humidity.

It's one reason I set the café up to appeal to ordinary people as well as witches. While most familiars, even those orphaned by the death of their witch, prefer to go to another witch, some like the idea of being part of an ordinary cat-loving home. They think of it as retirement.

Waverton itself isn't exactly an ordinary town any more than my cats are ordinary felines. We're the familiar capital of the United States and we're actually known around the world. We get quite the diverse set of witch tourists looking to do research at our specialty library or at the local university which caters to our specialization in familiars.

The library, of course, has a look-away spell on it for when ordinary folks come to visit. I'm not sure what they see, but whatever it is, it's far less interesting than the library is to a witch. Our fair is pretty much like that too. Ordinaries come in and see the ordinary tables and the familiars, which are all animals, and that's about it. They don't even consider going into the competition building due to spells. Anyone selling something in the fair booths that doesn't have an ordinary counterpart typically spells their booths to keep non-witches from noticing them.

The fair isn't long, just Wednesday through Sunday. I think the first two days are mostly for judging the crafts and foods. My sister, Julia is talented with cloth and sewing and she always enters. This year she entered an apron that she spelled to help people cook more flavorful foods. She also entered a quilt spelled to enhance er… romance in the bedroom, if you get my drift.

This meant that while I was bouncing around, excited by the whole fair idea, Julia was stressing out about winning. She works at a fabric store that also sells her crafted items. A win would get her a huge bonus because it would bring in more witches that would want to see her stuff and learn her spells.

Wednesday didn't require a lot from me as a judge. The working felines were showing on Saturday. It's another reason this was such an honor. Working class is a big class and those judges are typically well-known. Casual classes were on Wednesday, which were the least interesting because just about anyone could enter.

If there were less stressful competitions, casual classes were it, though I knew from when my mom entered, even that could be fraught. People take showing their familiars seriously.

Wandering around the fair, looking at who was selling what, I paused by my friend Trinity's table to chat with her. She worked at the specialty library and they always had a booth. This year it was towards the back of the big vendor building. The long, low building looked like a crappy warehouse from outside with metal sides and roof. It was so long that if I wore a Fitbit, which I don't, I'd definitely get my steps in each day. I'd left Mason home because I was mostly enjoying the sights. He'd join me for the pre-judging meetings with the other two working class judges, and then for the actual judging. Familiars have a role as important as their witches.

The library booth was next to the booth for the university and across from a couple of bookstore booths. The area smelled of old paper and the fresh sawdust that covered the dirt floor. I caught traces of burning from the chimney-shaped outdoor heaters that were spread around the space. Fans on the ceiling circulated the air. Given that there wasn't really any insulation, it was probably good that the fair wasn't earlier in the year. Far easier to heat than to try and cool it down.

While the fair wasn't all that busy yet, I noticed three or four people standing around the heaters, though it wasn't terribly cold inside. I had on a plain black turtleneck under a light fleece and I was almost too warm.

"Jade!" I turned to see Lyn Upton walking towards me.

Lyn and I had gone to school together, from kindergarten onward. She was more into athletics than I was so we didn't hang out the way I hung out with Trinity or even my other best friend, Natalie.

"What's going on?" I asked.

"I heard you're judging the working felines," Lyn smiled, a little too big and a little too eagerly. "I guess Medina and I will see you in the ring."

I noted the casual jeans and the red fleece she wore over a blouse that had the name of her pet sitting business on it. If I remembered correctly, she had a little place to keep pets on-site but she also did home visits. Medina, her familiar, probably worked with the on-site pets.

"I guess I will," I said.

"I don't know if you remember Medina. She's an Abyssinian. I got her before you opened the café, of course, or I'd have come in and visited there," Lyn paused as if waiting for an acknowledgment. Her blonde hair, tied back in a ponytail shook a bit as she waited.

I just smiled, not sure what to say.

"I just adore her, of course. And she's so good when I have skittish cats on-site. I'm sure you're aware of how helpful that can be, what with your familiar, Mason. I'm sure you'll find all sorts of things they have in common."

I smiled again and made a general sort of noise that I hoped was friendly. I had no idea what I was supposed to say.

Lyn gave me another smile and then led into, "How is the café business going?"

"Good," I said, which was true enough. I did feel good about my business. I noticed that Lyn's face looked a bit haggard and I wondered if married life hadn't agreed with her. I'd heard she and her husband were trying for kids, but it had been several years and they still didn't have any.

A few other people were talking loudly about the fair and their own familiars. Someone was looking for calming kennels and loudly demanded to know where he could find them. I didn't know so I didn't respond, but Lyn did and was eager to be helpful.

I took that moment to slip away from her, waving at Trinity, though I felt badly for just heading off. Still, the encounter with Lyn made me uncomfortable. Unfortunately, that wouldn't be my only uncomfortable encounter that day.

A few minutes later, having left the first vendor building, I entered the craft building. I could admire my sister's work there. This building was quieter, though it had the same metal walls and roof. No vendors sold items here and voices didn't carry as far thanks to all the quilts hanging from the ceiling. It still smelled like sawdust but also like cloth with a stray hint of lily.

From across the way, I heard one of the horses whinny. It made me want to giggle, so I knew that the horse familiar was particularly happy. Familiars come in all flavors, though I couldn't imagine having one as large as a horse. They were popular, of course, this being Kentucky.

I wandered through the quilts, looking at Julia's competition. I reached out to a few of them to see what sorts of spells were woven into them. I got snatches of tingling from the spells, but my sensations didn't actually tell what the spells did. I had to actually read the back of the little cards, something ordinaries would never think to do. Another spell, of course.

I was alone in the aisle I was walking down. The quilt in front of me was particularly striking. Someone had created a repeating pattern of applique horses. The spell on it was to increase the bond with a familiar, which was an interesting choice. The browns and golds of the fabric the horses were cut from contrasted nicely with the border in greens and golds. All in all, the quilt was quite striking.

A woman in a sweatshirt with an embroidered cat walked into the aisle from the other direction. She paused before the quilt while I was still admiring it, looking at the stitches, noting how finely done they were. Having a sister who quilts had taught me what to look for.

My cat-loving companion crossed her arms like she was some sort of quilt judge. Her lips turned down in a frown, particularly when she read about the spell on the back.

"I'm not sure a horse quilt would work with felines," she said, turning to me, her head held so high she could almost look down her nose at me. It was too bad she was shorter than I was.

She was a little older than me, too. She didn't smile when she spoke. It was clear she didn't like the quilt, although why she'd singled this one out to comment on, I didn't know. Maybe just having someone standing there to listen to her was all it took.

"The colors are nice, though," I said.

She sniffed a bit. I took a dislike to her, even though we should have had a bond given we were both cat lovers.

She looked more closely at the lanyard I wore around my neck that had my name and the fact that I was a judge on it. This would get me into places ordinary fair visitors wouldn't. It also meant I got a parking lot in the judge's lot behind the competition building. It wasn't a huge perk, but it was all gravel and if it started raining that would save my shoes.

"You're a judge?" the woman sounded incredulous.

I nodded.

"You look too young," she said. It was the same sort of implied criticism that she'd made about the quilt. "I can't believe LaDona would go for that."

I shrugged.

"I guess you'll see me in the ring," she said. "My familiar and I enter working felines." With that, she sniffed and strutted away.

A group of people came down the row talking. I heard a few oohs and ahhs over a couple of the quilts. I bit my lip, wondering if rude people were part and parcel of being a judge even when I wasn't in the ring. I hoped not. I wanted to be able to enjoy the fair and enjoy the honor of picking the finest working felines.

Lyn had already ruined by exploration of the first building and now I'd lost interest in the crafts. Fortunately, as I was leaving I ran into one of my best friends, Natalie. While normally that would have been an upswing on a particularly miserable day, this time it was more than fortunate.