I have written three novels with Miss Havana as the main character (The Substitute, Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! and The Training Bra), but I have not put Miss Havana’s entire face on the cover of my books or presented her complete image in any blog. The reason is that Miss Havana’s defining nature is her spirit, not her appearance. In each novel, she is described as stunning beautiful and, to be honest, I always have a picture downloaded from the Internet that I use for a “model” when I describe her in each book. The picture itself, however, is never revealed to anyone, except in words. The focus of each book is on the transformation of her spirit from one state to another.
What makes Miss Havana intriguing is that she is so darn evil at the outset (in The Substitute) that even the devil is captivated by her. Fortunately, she does have a few redeeming features that garner God’s attention, so she gets multiple opportunities to botch life as a living being. That’s a good thing because she doesn’t live very long in any of the books. If she begins as “flesh and blood”, she will soon be murdered – you can count on that. Why? Because the fun begins when she is in the spiritual realm.
Miss Havana’s spiritual appearance remains as it was while she lived, but she is free to haunt whomever she chooses. And when she does haunt the living, she can see their soul. In some cases, she is disgusted by what she finds, in others, not so much. Sometimes she acts to stamp out evil in violent ways; sometimes she doesn’t. There is always mayhem, but I try to present it in ironic and comical ways. In fact, her most violent bloodletting in Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! is part of her spiritual transition, and she learns the hard way the world is the way it is for a reason.
Miss Havana is an enigma who exists in the gray area between good and evil. She often acts in evil ways, but always with the best of intentions. The mayhem she causes on “the surface” as a spirit generally results in damage to Lucifer’s realm, but not always. She also manages to offend God a few times. Even the best of intentions can go terribly wrong, and both God and the devil have often put their face in their hands while shaking their head wondering what manner of tornado they are dealing with.
Although Miss Havana begins as an evil soul in The Substitute, she is on a path of continuous spiritual growth and redeems herself with a single selfless act that saves the world near the end. In between, she becomes Lucifer’s mate and produces a female child, Lilith, who is more evil that either of her parents … and who eventually overthrows them both. In Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana!, she exasperates the Proprietor of purgatory and the light creatures that carry out the Proprietor’s instructions. As she muddles through probation, she offends just about everyone before failing completely. She does, however, learn some spiritual lessons about love that causes God to give her another chance at life.
In The Training Bra, Miss Havana is returned to the surface as an eleven-year-old girl named Shelly. She is innocent but, unknown to her, she retains some of the powers she wielded as the Queen of Darkness in hell, and as the fake Angel of Death while she ran rampant in purgatory. Lucifer snuffs her out by the time she reaches age eighteen, and then the eternal battle continues above and below. In this case, the “eternal battle” is both the battle of the sexes and the battle between good and evil. This time, however, she scores brownie points with God because she tricks the devil into working for God’s kingdom. In addition to shaming the devil for eternity, she also manages to save the world (again). It’s complicated.
I am now working on the fourth novel, called The Trophy Wife. Like the other three books, The Trophy Wife has the potential to cause enough laughter to bring a reader to tears. In the prior books, whenever Miss Havana meets with God, she bats her eyes and asks, “Is there a Mrs. God?” He has ignored her advances in the past, but this time she catches his attention. Remember, her spirit is getting more tolerable all the time. I am weaseling her way into God’s heart, so she can become His main squeeze. I intend they should have a child together named “Angel”, and that will set the stage for the fifth novel called, Sisters, where Lilith and Angel collide.
I have posted excerpts from The Substitute and Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! in the past on various blogs, but I have never posted excerpts from The Training Bra … until now. The Training Bra is currently in the edit cycle at Solstice Publishing. It should be ready for release in about six months, so that will give all of you enough time to read the first two before the third is available. A PG-rated excerpt from Lucifer’s point of view is provided below. This scene takes place after Lucifer kills Otto, a mobster, to gain access to his stunning wife, Alice. Alice subsequently blows Lucifer’s host body to pieces with a ten gauge shotgun, and Lucifer kills her as his final act of vengeance. The spirits of all three end up in hell. "Mr. Fixit" is mentioned at the end of the excerpt. That's the name of the knife Lucifer used to kill his father.
Even though it is pitch-black and lava-hot in hell’s waiting line, I recognize a familiar smell ahead. The ceiling is only three feet high here, forcing supplicants to eternally stoop, so I lean forward in my crouched position, moving my nose forward ever so slowly until I bump something soft—it feels like collagen cottage cheese but smells like Alice. Did I miss something? I thought she was firmer than that. “Alice? Is that you? I can’t tell for sure because your ass feels dimpled.”
“Fuck you. It’s the humidity.”
Still a lying bitch I see. I decide to attempt pleasant conversation while I wait for Croco to find me. “I trust you had a pleasant journey because I have a feeling you won’t like your extended stay.”
“Asshole! Shooting you must have got my heart pumping so fast it exploded, but screwing you sure didn’t. You were lame. Your whole family sucks.”
I slip my hand forward to cop a feel and she bites my fingers. “Come on, Alice, there’s no sense being a bad sport about this. You need to relax.”
“Well, we don’t have to make this just about us. Have you heard anything from Otto?”
After a brief silence, Alice responds. “Not that I give a crap, but I did hear a bellow way ahead that sounded like him. Then there was a hissing sound just before a rancid odor of burning flesh drifted through.”
I’m about to give her a playful little push into the searing hot broken glass walls when Croco taps me on the shoulder. “Boss? You’re early. Did you bring any beer?”
A disgusted look crosses my face but I know Croco can’t see it in the dark. The bastard only thinks about his own needs. What about me? “Why in My Home would I bring you beer, Croco? Have you ever done anything special?”
“No, Boss, but the Solstice is almost here. I just thought—“
I cut him off before he can build up any expectations. This is My Home, not the surface. We actually have a job to do here. “Solstice is just another work day, Croco, and I hope you’re ready for it. Get me out of this line. Alice has an attitude as stinky as her butt.”
As Croco escorts me toward the front of the line, I hear Alice shout her last words, “Fuck you asshole!”
We soon enter Croco’s den, and I put my feet on his coffee table as I settle in. “It’s good to be home, Croco. Everything is right on track on the surface. Is everything ready here?”
He doesn’t answer. Instead, he motions me toward a small peep hole he uses to look out into the Great Hall of Judgment. “You might want to watch this, Boss. It could be important.”
I strain my eye trying to see what’s going on in the flickering torchlight. Lilith is in a discussion with someone. Then it hits me. To my horror … I see Miss Havana standing before the throne. “Why is the bitch here, Croco? What’s going on?”
The beast shakes his head, making his jowls slop back and forth like one of those wet string mops. “Can’t say for sure, but I know she’s in training—something to do with the horsemen and the apocalypse.”
“Really? I set those three bastards loose an eternity ago because I couldn’t manage them. Insolent and independent—that’s what they are. They never fit in. Maybe Lilith will try to get control of them now. It will be fun to watch her fail.”
I see my ex-mate still has a great afterlife body. I shudder with delight as I study the smooth curve of the back of her neck, picturing in my mind how wonderful it would be to shove Mr. Fixit straight up through the back of her skull.
Thank you, SASD, for hosting me today. And thank all of you who made it to this point. If you are interested, you can find reviews of my books and the first chapter of each at http://cookinwithmisshavana.blogspot.com/. Further, all of my books are available for purchase at http://www.amazon.com/James-L.-Hatch/e/B005CQB6E6. BTW, if you haven’t “friended” me and would like to, please feel free to do so. My facebook URLs are provided below.
James L. Hatch
Author for Solstice Publishing, xoxopublishing.com and Eternal Press