I’ve been a big Jim Butcher fan for a while, especially when it comes to the Dresden Files, but I’m going to use the fact that it’s almost Halloween as an excuse to mention the books one more time.

I’ve been a big Jim Butcher fan for a while, especially when it comes to the Dresden Files, but I’m going to use the fact that it’s almost Halloween as an excuse to mention the books one more time.

For those who aren’t familiar with the books, they’re probably best described as Urban Fantasy, featuring the many adventures of Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only wizard private investigator. They’d be worth a second look based on the concept alone, but Butcher does a fantastic job of peopling the stories with realistic characters and keeping his plots moving with engaging energy.

I have no complaints about the readability or quality of the novels, whatsoever, but there’s something about those stories that still bothers me. My admittedly unusual quibble is completely tangential to the contents of the books themselves. If I’ve got my anecdotes correct, Butcher, who lives in Independence, originally set the novels in Kansas City, but his editor convinced him to move them to Chicago, because (and this is where I really get annoyed) Laurel K. Hamilton’s already famous Anita Blake series of Urban Fantasy novels is set in St. Louis.

So, apparently, Missouri is only allowed to have one paranormal investigator IN ALL THE VAST REALM OF PUBLISHED FICTION. Really? REALLY? Because Missouri has always seemed bizarre enough for me, I have to tell you.

But, changing topics quickly before I get seriously out of hand in my ranting, none of this should be held against Jim Butcher, who has produced an excellent series of books and will undoubtedly continue to make more of them. Instead, my ire is directed instead at the vague, sort of depressing but alarmingly prevalent idea that Kansas City doesn’t quite measure up in terms of serving as a useful and valid backdrop for good fiction.

So, because I’m much more interested in remedying things that irritate me instead of continuing to whine about them, I’ve done the most reasonable thing I can think of to address the miserable lack of Kansas City fiction in general and Kansas City urban fantasy in specific.

I made a little story of my own, set right here in Independence, just in time for Halloween. Sadly, I didn’t get it done in time to even attempt to get it published in a traditional format by this weekend, but through the ever-increasing miracles of the internet, I’ve got digital and printable copies up for sale at http://tiny.cc/LocalMoon. 

I’m not going to go on a long weird tirade about how awesome I am, but if I’ve done my job correctly, “Local Moon” is a quick, fun story about some likable but unfortunate werewolves who, spookily enough, could be living right in our midst, not in . . . Philadelphia, or some other random place.

And, if my little adventure in self-publishing fails to move you, you can always heal with a cup of hot cider and a critically acclaimed Dresden Files book over the weekend.