I didn't realize I'd gone so long without posting on the Damsel Under Stress commentary. I guess I got sidetracked by so many other things and never quite had the time to read and think.
But I picked the book up again this morning. In Chapter 14, we're still in the middle of the disastrous dinner date at the fancy restaurant, after Katie and Owen's planned simple night out got hijacked. Amid all the wacky hijinks, there is a plot clue hidden (and that's actually something that sets up the new book). It's funny, as I was rereading this, I was thinking back to my thought process in writing it, and it was all about how the idea of the perfect date isn't a one-size-fits-all thing. A super-fancy, celebrity-filled restaurant might be great for some people but miserable for others. The comparison that came to mind was the way they come up with these "dream" dates on shows like The Bachelor (I've never actually watched, but it's difficult to escape the imagery) that sound pretty painful to me. There's this ideal of what's supposed to be romantic, but if that's not the kind of person you are, it's not going to work. Then I got to the passage where Katie has the exact same thought.
That's where a lot of the Ethelinda stuff came from, the idea that a fairy godmother who wasn't keeping up with the times would come up with some crazy ideas of what was romantic. Then when that didn't work, she might look to popular culture for ideas, and that would be equally disastrous.
And then we're back to the plot, where Katie has to temporarily lose her magical immunity in order to see what's going on with the enemy's ad campaign. This is where the magical folks could use more "normal" people on their side, since all they have are either magical people or immunes. It's easier to make an immune normal than it would be to take away magical powers, so in order to see how Idris and his gang are hiding the ads, Katie has to step up. As we learned in the previous book, this also makes her vulnerable to magic.
We get a contrast between the "dream" date and the date that's truly ideal for Owen and Katie when they have dinner at his place while watching for one of the Spellworks ads on TV. It's just burgers and TV, but they get to talk about their childhoods and interests, and it feels comfortable and genuine.
Meanwhile, they're getting ready for a costumed New Year's Eve party. I recall going through a lot of different ideas for how a really wacky magical party would go, and I settled on costumes because that creates a lot of opportunity for intrigue. Still, it can be kind of a pain coming up with a costume at a non-traditional time of year for costumes. One company I used to work for once had a costume party for Christmas, and that was a challenge. I imagine it's less difficult in New York.
And Katie has come up with a way to fight an extremely ADD villain: distract him. I actually don't remember how that plays out, so I'm looking forward to reading on.
We end with a cliffhanger in which it looks like Ethelinda might be about to spill the beans to Katie's friends about her magical life. Stay tuned (or read ahead) to see what happens next!