Nicola is the main character of Too Wyrd and the Runespells series. She is a single mom, herbalist, Heathen witch... and she is fluent in both Sarcasm and Snark. While Nicola is clever and intellectual, and a pretty strong witch, she has a lot of self-doubt and she isn't exactly what you would call "in shape", although after the events of Too Wyrd, she starts thinking that a spin class wouldn't kill her.
Nicola's loyalties are strictly based around her friends and family. While it's very difficult to earn being one of her close friends, she will often go to bat for others who aren't quite as close, but have earned her respect. Even Nicola doesn't know how to categorize those people in her life who she finds "worthy" of her loyalty but aren't her "friends".
Of course, there are different priorities to this, and Nicola would throw everyone she knows under the bus for her daughters, Ella and Maria. Nicola believes in her responsibilities as a parent: to give her children the skills and psycho-emotional support for them to be as excellent a person as possible. This means tickle-fights, reading bedtime stories, and a firm routine of chores, including learning to cook and to help make the potions Nicola sells online.
Nicola has a strained relationship with her mother, who, after Nicola's father left, was a single mother, herself. Grandma loves the girls, and the girls love Grandma. Unfortunately, that's really all Nicola has in common with her mother.
The tall, blond gay man who is the platonic Yin to Nicola's Yang brings a slow-burning determination and patient diplomacy to her life. Joseph is like the roots of an oak, twining into and around the community, where Nicola is the brief, in-your-face blooming of flowers. Joseph grounds her.
Joseph's entire life has been the slow and steady type. The only child of an older couple, he was raised with love and a bedrock of family values that crossed religious convictions. Joseph got his Bachelor's in Communication. After his parents died, just a few years ago, he quit his job in sales and went to work for a local radio station. He also writes a column for the newspaper that is quite successful.
The only thing that one could say is missing in Joseph's life is love. But that wouldn't be entirely correct. He had found love once, nearly a decade ago.
Dan was just right for Joseph, with the same steadiness to him but just an edge of wildness. Dan was an activist, and he traveled a lot to help organize protests and Gay and Pagan Pride events. One day, he flew into Austin–Bergstrom International Airport to begin a week of event planning, rented a gas-efficient two-door, and within a few blocks, was side-swiped by a truck and died.
It was a complete accident. There was no one to blame. It's hard to lose a loved one, but when it happens so randomly, so faultlessly...
Joseph is fine, for the most part. He keeps himself busy with the goings-on of the Pagan community, and with the radio and newspaper stuff. He enjoys watching his friends blossom in their lives.
But he's a bit more... muted than he was before. Some of the gloss has rubbed off of his heart. Perhaps he will start looking for another love, some day, but for now...
Sometimes, Joseph can still remember the feel of fingers on his face, the sound of a baratone voice, the smell, the comfort.
Maybe someday, but not now.
Mercy is one of the legendary Valkyrie, blonde-haired, blue-eyed warrior women. Once known as Eir, she now goes by the modern translation of that name, the merciful one or Mercy.
The Valkyrie are manifestations of Odin's Will. They were created with certain characteristic tendencies, such as being merciful or the stormy moods of Kara ("stormy one"), but walking the world for so many centuries has given them full-fledged personalities. As manifestations of Odin, they are absorbed into the All-father and re-manifested when they are mortally wounded. And despite having personalities, they do not have souls.
Mercy is the kindest and most patient of her sisters, which is why she opted to take up a position among the homeless youth when the Valkyrie showed up to track the goings-on around Keith and the Runespells.
Mercy carries a large bowie knife that transforms into a sword during battle. While many of her sisters find the sexualized art surrounding the Valkyrie insulting, Mercy just thinks "sexy armor" is hilariously impractical.
One of Nicola's old friends from Indianapolis is Hound Dog, mid-twenty-something street kid who keeps an eye on the younger homeless in Indianapolis.
Hound Dog's story is sad, but not unusual. He grew up as Jonathan Hendricks, middle class and a bright kid with a lot of potential. When he was 13, he opened up to his loving, supportive father about being gay.
Unfortunately, the love and support turned out to be conditional on Jonathan being "normal". Not even a year later, Jonathan was on the streets, having run away from an increasingly hostile home environment.
He soon made friends, particularly with a kind old Jazz musician who said Jonathan looked like a young Elvis. Jonathan started singing the first Elvis song he could think of, and "Hound Dog" became his nickname.
Hound Dog has had a few opportunities to get off the street. However, he won't take them until he knows he'll be able to help the other street kids when he does.
Out of all the characters, Hound Dog is likely the only one who would be considered pure of heart.
A gritty detective, world-weary but with a hero's heart - if you can find it underneath all the bitter skepticism. That's Detective Ames.
Ames is bitter because he has worked his butt off in a thankless job, but keeps getting passed over for promotions. Younger cops with fewer scruples do the brown-nosing thing, and Ames' dogged adherence to his personal honor code isn't very endearing to the bosses. Maybe they feel threatened by his dented and dull, but still-white-under-the-soot armor?
Ames could have gotten his precious promotion years ago, but it hinged on solving a big-publicity case. Now, I'm not saying evidence was or was not planted to make the charges stick, I'm just saying Ames refused to bend the rules, even for something so important.
He lost a few friends over that. In fact, most of the department steers clear of Ames due to his by-the-book lawfulness. He seldom bends any rules, and he almost never breaks them. Of course, lying on a report is technically breaking the rules, but Ames is smart enough to know that putting "demon and Valkyrie battle" on a police report wasn't going to do anyone any good at all.
Perhaps the powers that be in the department have realized that Ames' experience has him uniquely qualified to run a new division - Special Research Investigations - which focuses on... odd cases where... specialized talents and unusual research may be required. He got his first real taste of that in Slings & Arrows, where he helped Hound Dog with a strange problem.