Special Announcement: Mystery Giveaway!

For one week only, if you don’t already have it, you can get Mystery at the Fair free! Go to the August Book Funnel Mystery Giveaway at https://books.bookfunnel.com/free_mystery/wrllo9pt15.

There are 25 new to you books from 25 authors and every one is a winner. Get your free books today and discover great authors! Giveaway ends on the 25th of August. Don’t delay.

 

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Author Interview: Mary Ann Edwards

Author Mary Anne Edwards

Today I’d like to welcome Mary Anne Edwards. Born in Mercedes, Texas, Mary Anne has lived in Georgia most of her life. A life-long fan of authors such as Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Mary Anne decided to listen to the voices in her head and began writing her own series of traditional mysteries featuring Detective Charlie McClung.

The first book in the series, Brilliant Disguise, was released to critical acclaim in January of 2014. The next three in the series, A Good Girl, Criminal Kind, and Sins of my Youth were released soon afterward. The fifth book in the series, Flirting with Time, will be released in June 2017, with at least five more to follow.

Mary Anne and her husband currently live in Smyrna, GA with an ill-tempered Tuxedo cat named Gertrude. Mary Anne is active in the Sisters in Crime Atlanta Chapter and sits on the advisory board of Rockdale Cares, a non-profit advocacy group for the developmentally challenged.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Mary Ann.

 

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

I love to read. Yes, I know rather boring but I rarely get the chance to sit down and read. Before I starting writing full-time, I read a book a week. Now it more like a book a month.

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

My mother passed away February last year. I’d like one more day to her how much I love her and how thankful I am for her support and influence.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else? Yes, please! I like coffee with lots of cream and no sugar. I also enjoy a good cup of hot tea. I LOVE diet Dr Pepper, too much. I’ve cut back from my 2 liters plus a day habit to one soda a few times a week. I’m drinking lots of water now. I purchased an infusion pitcher. I’ve made all sorts of water like Pineapple Jalapeno Mint to simple Lemon Mint water.

4. What are you working on right now?

My fifth book, Flirting With Time: A Charlie McClung Mystery, will be released June 30th. I’m currently working on the sixth book in the series, Good To Be Kind.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

Hank Phillippi Ryan, bestselling author and award-winning journalist described my style of writing this way, “It’s as if Agatha Christie wrote Hart to Hart.” My books are traditional mysteries with romance and fun.

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Get a website or blog or both going right now. Start building your network before your book is released. Once your book is released you’ll have a fanbase ready to buy your book.

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

My ideas come from music and everyday life. Tom Petty’s music gets my writing juice flowing for some reason. I guess his music is my muse. LOL!

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

Facebook and Twitter are my two major hangouts but I have a website and I can be found on Pinterest and a few other places. Here are my links.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authormaryanneedwards

Website:  http://maryanneedwards.com/

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/maryanneedwards/

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MaryAnneEdwards/posts

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/maryanneedwards

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/maedwards58

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Anne-Edwards/e/B00HZ28TIQ

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpzz9_nQ5yzE60nW-LMkgUQ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7791576.Mary_Anne_Edwards

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mary-anne-edwards

Wiselike:  https://wiselike.com/mary-anne-edwards

Thank you so much for spending a little time with us today, Mary Ann. We really appreciate it.

And gentle readers, don’t be shy. Stop by Mary Ann’s sites and say hello!

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Author Interview: Devorah Fox

 

Author Devorah Fox and her pet dragon, Inky.

Today I’d like to welcome Devorah Fox. “What if?” Those two words all too easily send Devorah Fox spinning into flights of fancy. Best-selling author of award-winning books including The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam literary historical fantasy series and several thrillers, she also penned Mystery Mini Short Reads and contributed short stories to popular fantasy anthologies. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with rescued tabby cats … and a dragon named Inky. Visit the “Dee-Scoveries” blog at http://devorahfox.com.

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

Sleeping. Seriously, between running a business, writing new stories and promoting existing titles, and managing a house, there’s not much time for anything else. I do belong to two local book clubs and two writers groups. Occasionally, I paint. Our local art center has Wine, Whine, and Design nights. An artist guides us in creating an acrylic painting while we sip wine, eat snacks, and socialize. It’s very relaxing and three hours later, I have a finished painting, some of which have been even been suitable to display.

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

Alice Marks, a dear friend, terrific writer and author, who moved to a distant state. Before she moved, we did enjoy spending afternoons eating cupcakes (so NOT on our diets) and talking about books, ours and everyone else’s. We’re still in touch of course, by email and snail mail, but it’s not the same. We miss the cupcakes!

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Coffee. I do try to develop an appreciation for green tea, since it has health benefits. But coffee. I even like coffee-flavored beer.

4. What are you working on right now?

I have three works in progress. One is Blood Guilt, a police procedural with a paranormal twist. Another is Dying to Get Hung, a cozy mystery featuring Candy Wadsen, the heroine of Murder by the Book. The third is a new adventure for Mercedes, otherwise known as the superhero, Lady Blackwing.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

My stories feature memorable characters in whom readers really get invested. A common thread is that these characters are for the most part ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances and rise to the challenge, learning something new about themselves.

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Write a lot. It’s a worthwhile habit to write every day. Plus it’s a lot like training a muscle. The more you write, the easier it gets and the more skilled you become.

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

Ideas come to me, totally unbidden. Plot bunnies breed, well, like rabbits.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

email: devorahfox@aol.com

Website: http://devorahfox.com

Twitter: @devorah_fox   http://twitter.com/devorah_fox

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/DevorahFoxAuthor

amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B006L9BJAO

smashwords profile page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mbapub
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+DevorahFox

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/devorahfox

authorgraph: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/devorah_fox

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2751371.Devorah_Fox

Subscribe to my email newsletter: http://eepurl.com/LrZGX

Thank you, Devorah for stopping by today. We enjoyed chatting with you.
Gentle readers, I think you’ll enjoy going to Devorah’s website and social media pages. Stop by and say hello to her!

 

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Author Interview: Kittly Boyes

Author Kitty Boyes

Today I’d like to welcome Kitty Boyes to the blog. Kitty lives on the coast of Western Australia. She has three amazing children and six gorgeous grandchildren. Her debut novel, The Sins of our Mothers; published in November 2015 had readers asking for more so she published the second book to the series; Her Father’s Daughter in March 2016. Stay tuned for book III. Her Brother’s Keeper. Out in 2017. 

Make yourself at home, Kitty!

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favourite hobby?

I have a few so it’s difficult to decide which one is my favourite. I enjoy so many things life offers.  Is reading a hobby or a pastime?  I live for my next exciting book. There’s nothing quite like delving inside a world quite different to my own; where all my senses are alerted from laughing to feeling a little terrified or anxious hoping for the protagonists’ victory over an antagonist, yet knowing it must end with the good guys prevailing. Always. Yet the journey is what takes me there and moves me along. My real hobby, apart from renovation work and scrapbooking is writing.

2. If you had the opportunity – who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why.

Quite clearly for me my immediate answer is the family I’ve lost over the years. (Parents, two brothers and two sisters) I miss them and it’s more or less since losing each one, in particular my parents, that I’ve accumulated dozens of questions I want the answers to. Ahh, the thought of spending an afternoon with them conjures up familiar smells, old conversations and distant memories both good and not so good.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or domething else?

Coffee!  Iced coffee, hot coffee, cappuccino, espresso, with milk, black, instant, percolated, dripolated, pods or in cake. Coffee and walnut cake with a hot cuppa? Heaven.

4. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on book three to my series and revisiting the first two to make them the best books I can write. I wrote The Sins of our Mothers, published in 2015. I then wrote Her Father’s Daughter in 2016 but only due to people saying they wanted to read more about my protagonist Arina Perry.  At the time I didn’t think I had it in me to write another book, but I was pestered enough to give it a little thought at least. Then when I asked that all time question (What If) I had another story. Thus my third book is under construction, so far titled Her Brother’s Keeper and is almost ready.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

I’ve got no idea really because I write in a number of different ways from letters to friends and family, an opinion on Facebook, a post to my blog sites, a children’s story for different ages, a couple of non-fiction  wellbeing e-books and then my novels. So it varies I guess depending on the situation in which I’m penning something. And even though it all comes from the same place, the style is always different.

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Never give up!  Even though you may find that writing the story has its own share of difficulties, be aware that unless you can afford an editor and a graphic designer for your cover, which a lot of us can’t, then doing these yourself is very time consuming and has its own set of frustrations. Don’t give up! Ask for beta readers when your first draft is done. Edit, edit and re-edit until you’re almost sick of the sight of all those words, but continue because every single time you go over your book you find something else to fix, something else, even if it’s only the way you structured a sentence or two that when you fix it, you feel the satisfaction in making your story that much better each time. Come launch time, and you’re an indie Author (self-publishing to Amazon for instance) you need to find that other hat. The one that has Merchandiser Extraordinaire, Advertising Guru or World’s best Marketer on the brim. But never give up! Find a way to make it happen. If you’re filthy rich just hand your manuscript over to the experts and sit back to write your next exciting adventure. But even then be prepared for all the input needed here too. There’s never a dull moment that’s for sure.

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day to day life?

I tend to immerse myself. Once I get the initial plot thought in my mind I start writing and from there different ideas or better twists may present themselves both in my day to day thoughts doing chores or whatever but more so whilst I’m writing.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

I’m all over the place, just open your computer and there I am. Haha. I would welcome it if you chose to join me on some of these. There’s always an opt-out if you get sick of me. If you were to buy a book and review it too, you’ll be my new best friend. Most are only 99 cents USD. For now. Until I get famous.

https://kittyboyes.com is my website

kittyb2153@gmail.com is my email address

https://kittyboyeswordpress.wordpess.com is my books blog site

https://booknook1blog.wordpress.com  is another blog site for readers and writers

https://www.facebook.com/kittysebooks  My Facebook page

https://twitter.com/kitty_boyes My twitter URL

My books on Australia Amazon 

My books on American Amazon

My books on Smashwords

Thank you, Kitty for such a lovely chat.

Dear readers, don’t be shy. Take Kitty up on a visit to one or all of her sites. You’ll be glad you did!

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Mystery at the Dog Park Part 7 of 7: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Sadie – Available for adoption now from:
Annie Bamber
Outreach Programs Coordinator
(928) 474-5590 ext. 100
annie@humanesocietycentralaz.org
www.humanesocietycentralaz.org
Like us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/humanesocietycentralaz/
“Because They Matter”

Part 7 of 7. You can find Part 1 here. Part 2 here. Part 3 here. Part 4 here. Part 5 here. Part 6 here.

 

They hurried back to the tree line and sat down in the forest duff. “I can’t believe it.” Karen’s voice quavered. “What the hell?”

Jean, sitting next to her shoulder to shoulder, nodded. “I’ve never seen anything like it. My hands are still shaking.”

“Did you get pictures?”

“Yeah. Not that I ever want to see that again.”

“I know. We should get pictures of the license plates. I recognize that announcer from the diner.”

“Good idea.” Jean put her hands over her eyes. “I just need a minute.”

The announcer came on again, introducing the first fight of the night.

Jean closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Let’s get this done and get out of here. I don’t want to see a fight.”

“Good.” Karen stood up and gave Jean a hand. “Get the announcer guy’s truck first.”

“Yep. But it will be hard with the tailgate down.”

“Do what you can. A picture of him would be good too.”

“Agreed.”

They crept back out of the woods working their way around the parked vehicles, staying to the shadows, as Jean tried to get a position on the announcer and the truck. She got pictures of men taking bets and a good bit of the crowd, as she moved into place. Finally, staying low, she managed a shot through the fence of the truck plate. Then more of the guy himself, standing in the bed of the truck, narrating the fight. Jean did her best not to look but the sound of the dogs screaming and the people shouting was overwhelming.

She led Karen out of the crowd. They edged around the outside, taking pictures of all the plates until they were nearly back to the woods. That’s when the world lit up. Car headlights came on. Cruisers with their light bars flashed red and blue. A high-volume PA system came on and a male voice was shouting for everyone to stand still, they were all under arrest. Jean and Karen broke for the woods but three guys stood up and pointing assault rifles, yelled at them to halt. Jean put up her hands, Karen right beside her, did the same.

It was an hour and a half later when Chief of Police Nick White came over to the group of prisoners and picked them out. “Come with me.”

Jean’s stomach, already knotted with dread, did flip-flops. She glanced at Karen who gave her head a shake. Nick didn’t look like he was going to be happy.

Next to his cruiser, he turned on them. “What in the name of all that’s holy are you two doing here?” His hands went to his hips and he was glaring at them so hard Jean thought lasers would shoot from his eyes.

She held up her camera. “We took pictures. To bring to you.”

Jean saw Nick shudder as he drew in a slow breath. “Do you have any idea how dangerous that was?”

Karen nodded. “We do. Did. Well, they didn’t see us.”

He glared at her and she wilted.

“I should arrest you and take you with the rest of these…” he waved a hand. “Where’s your car?”

“Back up the road. Hidden.” Karen replied in a near whisper.

“Then get to it. Don’t let me see you for many days.”

Jean and Karen turned to hurry off.

“Wait.”

Jean’s heart froze along with the rest of her muscles. She turned around. “Yes?”

“Send me those pictures.”

She nodded, turned and scurried away with Karen.

When Karen arrived at Jean’s, Jean invited her in. “Come in. We’ll have a glass of wine and download these pictures. Get them off to Nick.”

Karen nodded. “Might need some of that scotch tonight.”

“Agreed.”

They poured their drinks and went upstairs to Jean’s computer. She quickly downloaded them, put them in a file, and copied it to a thumb drive.”

“You aren’t going to look at them?”

Jean shook her head. Karen looked white as the computer paper. “Nope. I’ll take this over to the station in the morning. I don’t want to see these pictures.”

“Good idea.” Karen slammed back the scotch. “I’ll go with you.”

#

At the Police Department in the morning, Jean and Karen asked for Lieutenant Oliver. When Paul came to the window, he glared at them. “Didn’t I tell you to stay out of it? Nick was incoherent. I’ve known him since grade school. I’ve never seen him so mad. He should have dragged you two in here to spend the night.”

Jean and Karen nodded together. “I know. I’m sorry.” Jean slid the thumb drive through the small slot at the bottom of the window. “We brought the pictures.”

Paul snatched them up out of the bin. “Good.” He took a breath and shook his head. “Why’d you do it?”

Jean shrugged as Karen shook her head. “We hoped to get pictures. For evidence.”

Paul scrubbed his face with his right hand. “I’d tell you not to do it again but I know that’s a waste of breath. Go on now before Nick sees you.”

The two women hurried off.

“Dang, Paul was mad too,” Jean said as she held the door for Karen. “I thought he was going to drag us in and put us in jail.”

“I’ve known Paul and Nick back as far as grade school, too. They’re usually so calm. I guess that’s what makes them good cops.” Karen got in the car when Jean popped the locks. “Let’s go take some dogs for a walk.”

Jean nodded.

A week later the woman from the dog park hurried up to them as they turned loose their temporary charges. “Thank you, thank you.” She gave them each a bear hug. “The police found Sandy.”

Jean and Karen both grinned. “How nice!” Jean said.

“Where was she?” Karen asked.

“Someone took her.” The woman said. “She was going to be used as a bait dog, they called it. Some horrible dog-fighting ring.”

Jean felt her stomach roll. Karen’s face went white. “What?”

The woman nodded. “They did a raid a couple of Saturday’s ago, and picked up a whole lot of little dogs. Poor Sandy was in the group. They just called me yesterday. I can get Sandy today from the Animal Control Office.”

“Good for you.” Jean said. “But we didn’t have anything to do with that.”

“Yes, you did. You went around town and asked about Sandy. The police told me.”

Jean and Karen exchanged glances. “Well. I’m glad we could be of some small help.”

The woman hugged them each again and hurried back to her friends at the picnic table. Jean chuckled. “So Nick and Paul gave us the credit.”

Karen grinned. “I guess so. I always knew they were great guys.”

The two of them followed their charges out into the yard. “Here Arthur. Here Arthur.” She wagged a brand-new tennis ball at him and he came charging over. “Get the ball,” she yelled and threw it. Every dog in the park went after it. She grinned. It felt good to help.

 

Thank You!

1186 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Mystery at the Dog Park Part 6 of 7: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Dos – Available for adoption now from:
Annie Bamber
Outreach Programs Coordinator
(928) 474-5590 ext. 100
annie@humanesocietycentralaz.org
www.humanesocietycentralaz.org
Like us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/humanesocietycentralaz/
“Because They Matter”

 

Part 6 of 7. You can find Part 1 here. Part 2 here. Part 3 here. Part 4 here. Part 5 here.

Trigger warning: Dog violence.

 

Jean was in her black jeans, a black t-shirt and a black sweatshirt, which she’d just bought today. It could be chilly out in the woods and she wanted it with her. She’d spent Saturday afternoon reacquainting herself with her big camera. Usually she used her little hiking camera or just her cell phone to take pictures. She made the house as dark as she could to practice shooting without a flash. Frustrated, Jean had to download a YouVid how-to video to get it right. She had a sandwich for supper and fidgeted as she stared out of her patio window watching the sun go down.

It was after six when Karen pulled up in her Jeep. “Ready?” she asked as Jean hopped into the car.

“Yes. I thought this afternoon would never end.” Jean buckled her seat belt. “I have everything. We just need to get there and not get caught.”

Karen pulled away from the curb. “That’s the trick. Isn’t it?”

They rode in silence, even after turning onto Forest Road 222. Jean watched behind them. “I see lights two switchbacks back.”

Karen nodded. “We’re almost down.”

Jean twisted in her seat to watch more comfortably. “Hurry, but don’t crash.”

Karen snorted. “Thanks.”

A minute later, “We’re down, now to find that spot.” Karen crept along, not wanting to miss the turn off. “Got it.” She pulled in and around the bushes and turned off the car and lights.

Jean spun around in her seat and watched out to the road. “They’ll be right along.”

They sat, hardly breathing, staring through the bushes. Even in the Jeep, they could hear the roar of a diesel truck engine. A moment later, they watched the lights pass, engine loud enough to make the Jeep shake. They sighed at the same time, then giggled with nerves. “Okay. Let’s get out and do some sneaking.” Jean gathered the camera and her sweatshirt. “Ready? Open doors, get out, close doors so as little light as possible shows.”

Karen nodded.

“One, two, three.” Jean opened her door, slid out and closed it as fast and as quietly as she could. “You there?” she asked into the dark.

“Yep. I’ve got my flashlight and a hiking stick.”

“I’ve got my camera and my flashlight.” Jean pulled the camera strap over her head. “I guess we’re ready.”

“We should cross the road here. Then keep to the woods along the way. If we turn off our flashlights when we hear a car, they’ll never see us.” Karen came around the end of the Jeep and waited for Jean.

“Sounds like a plan. I’m ready.”

The two women picked their way to the road and hearing nothing, crossed it, moving as far away from the forest road as seemed prudent. They kept their flashlights pointed down. It meant that they could only see a couple of feet in front of them but better than making themselves a target.

Jean’s heart pounded. Every step they made sounded like it could be heard in Greyson but without being able to see too far ahead, there wasn’t much they could do about it. As they moved forward, more and more cars passed on their left. Each time they shut off the light and hunkered down. With every car that passed, they grew more comfortable. “They can’t see us.” Karen whispered.

“They’re not looking.” Jean whispered back as a pick-up truck, every external light known to man lit up on the truck, passed by. It’s very hard for the human eye to pick out shapes in the dark unless they’re looking for them, are lit up in some way or are moving. It’s when we get to the ring that we’ll have to be careful.”

By the time they made the third of a mile, festivities were in full swing. From the edge of the woods they could see trucks surrounded the ring, lights on. At the moment, it was empty. One guy was selling beers from coolers off of his tailgate. Men and women were standing around the fence, laughing and joking, while others sat on the truck hoods, able to see over the heads of those standing.

Men and dogs were at the poles Jean and Karen had noted earlier, one dog tied per pole. People wandered among the tied dogs, as men debated the merits of the dog or the dog in relation to some other dogs. Jean took pictures of the dogs and their owners as best she could without a flash.

Karen pointed out that the men were giving their dogs rubdowns and checking their paws. “They’re treating them like boxers.”

“Yeah, but a boxer has a choice.”

She saw a number of smaller dogs, ones that didn’t look like fighting dogs at all. “I wonder why the little dogs?”

“No idea,” Karen whispered back.

They were interrupted by an announcement. They looked at the ring. From the back of a huge white pickup, a man stood with a microphone. “To start the evening, a demonstration by Bill Munson on training your fighting dog.

The gate farthest from them opened. Jean moved to get shots of the man in the ring. He led a German Shepherd. Behind him another man led a small terrier on a leash. Jean moved closer, standing on a fallen pine to get higher. Karen followed.

The man in the ring spoke without a microphone. He slipped the leash off the shepherd and began to talk. She was too far away to hear. Jean could see Karen straining to hear. The second man let the terrier loose. The first man called a command. Before she knew what was happening the shepherd ran straight for the little dog. She began snapping. The dog grabbed the terrier by the neck and with only a small squeal, the shepherd shook its head and tossed the small dog in the air.

The man called the dog back and snapped the leash in place. Jean stopped snapping and got off the log. Her hands were shaking so hard she was glad she had the strap around her neck. Karen was bent over, retching.

 

Thank You!

1025 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

 

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Mystery at the Dog Park Part 5 of 7: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Captain – Available for adoption now from:
Annie Bamber
Outreach Programs Coordinator
(928) 474-5590 ext. 100
annie@humanesocietycentralaz.org
www.humanesocietycentralaz.org
Like us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/humanesocietycentralaz/
“Because They Matter”

Part 5 of 7. You can find Part 1 here. Part 2 here. Part 3 here. Part 4 here.

 

It was Friday after school before Summer had something to report. Jean and Karen had continued to search for Sandy without luck but they became more observant of all the handyman and other contractor trucks parked in neighborhoods. They were especially suspicious of a truck just parked and the contractor sitting inside. Sometimes he was on the phone. Sometimes eating. None of them looked like they were casing the neighborhood where they were parked but who could tell?

Karen called Jean with the information. “It’s outside of town, to the south, down Forest Road 222 about three miles.”

“We should check it out.”

“Now?”

“Yeah.” Jean switched the handset to her left hand. “This is a chance to check out the place while it’s daylight.”

Karen took a deep breath. “What if somebody is there?”

“Put your hiking stuff on. We’ll just say we’re looking for new hikes?”

“I don’t know, Jean.”

“Better to go prepared, right? We don’t want to go tomorrow and not know what we’re up against. In the dark!”

“I guess. I’ll drive. Your Prius won’t like a dirt road.”

“Okay. See you in a few.” Jean hung up and hurried upstairs. This is perfect. We’ll scope the place out when it’s deserted and be ready for tomorrow night. She put on jeans and a tee-shirt. Then kicked off her flip-flops and put on hiking socks and her boots. Karen’s car horn sounded as she reached the bottom of the stairs. She grabbed her purse and keys and headed out the door.

“You were quick.” Jean put on her seat belt.

“I already had jeans and a tee on.” Karen backed out of the driveway and headed down the street. Just had to put my boots on.

“This is great.” Jean tapped a tattoo on her thighs with both hands. “We’ve gotten dull since summer.”

“We’ve not gotten into a fight with a crazy woman, you mean.” Karen shook her head. “I’m starting to think you’re an adrenaline junkie.”

“Nah. I just like things to be interesting.” She watched out of the window as Karen drove them south, out of town. “This is nice. I get to look around. Why is it I always drive?”

“Because you’re a control freak.” Karen laughed. “But I do drive sometimes.”

“True.” She watched another three blocks pass. “Do you know this forest road?”

“No. There are so many leaving the highway, unless it’s for something specific, I don’t try them all.”

Jean nodded. “So we’ll just cruise down the road, try to spot the place, take a look around.”

“Sure. Let’s say that.” Karen licked her lips. “I just hope no one is there.”

“Me, too.” Jean watched the scenery go by as Karen drove. It was six miles south of town where Karen slowed down and put on her turn signal. Jean perked up. “Alright.”

Karen waited for northbound traffic to pass, then pulled across the highway and onto the dirt road. “So far, so good.”

“It’s going to be hard to spot in the dark.”

“Yep. Probably a good thing we’re checking it today. Even if I am being a worry-wart.”

Jean grabbed the hand hold over the window as Karen’s Jeep hit a pothole. “Glad I didn’t bring my car.”

Karen nodded. “Sometimes the dirt roads are in really good shape, sometimes, like this one, not so much. Anyway, I set the trip odometer to zero so we can tell when we’re close.”

“Good idea.”

They traveled along the road without too many bumps until the odometer read 2.8. “We’re almost there. Keep an eye peeled.” Karen slowed down.

“That must be it.” Jean pointed to the right. The road had dipped down into a canyon about a mile from the spot. The landscape changed from high desert to wooded in the protected canyon. The spot didn’t have much to recommend it. There were no buildings. A chain-link fence circled the ring with a gate on opposite sides. Karen stopped the car and they got out. “Well, it’s secluded.”

Jean nodded. They walked around the fence. “What are these?” Away from the fence was rebar or pipes sticking up out of the ground, each one separated from the others by several feet. She crouched down to look as Karen walked up to her. She studied the dirt. It was rocky and pitted with small holes. She lightly touched a spot. “This is a chain mark. I think this is where they tie the dogs.”

Karen had her arms around herself. “I can’t help but think about these poor dogs.”

“Me, too.” Jean stood up and brushed the dirt off her hands. “Makes my stomach roll.” She looked around the barren area. “So we can’t drive up and park and come in. They’re going to know we aren’t fans. Did Summer say if they charged admission?”

“No. Just where it is. And you’re right. We can’t just walk in. We’ll have to park up the road and hike in. Then come around the back in the trees.” Karen pointed to the forest edge away from the road.

“That’s going to be tricky, the drive into the canyon was kind of narrow. We’d have to park at the top.” She turned to look down the road. “You know what’s that way?”

“Nope. But I brought the maps. Let’s see.” They went back to the car and Karen pulled USGS maps out of the cargo compartment. “Here’s the one.” She put the rest down and opened the map on the cargo compartment floor. She traced a line from Greyson to the forest road then along the thin line of the forest road. “We’re about here.” She pointed at a spot on the map. “If we keep going,” her finger traced the road, “we end up…nowhere. The road just ends. Probably at a canyon.”

“Darn it.” Jean leaned over the map. “Look, as the road reaches the canyon bottom, it opens up. We could park here.”

Karen studied the map. “Maybe. We’ll check it out on the way out.” She folded the map. “I know I’d rather not have to hike down that narrow road with traffic coming up behind us.”

“Or hike back up it. Let’s check it out.”

They closed the cargo door and got in. Karen drove slowly so they could check out possible hiding places along the way. “Look here.” Jean pointed to her right. We could pull the Jeep in behind that stand of trees. The shrub oak would hide it, especially at night.”

Karen pulled off and drove the Jeep into the spot. “Let’s look.” They got out and walked back to the forest road and then back at the Jeep. “Not hidden well for daylight but at night, no one is going to be looking over there.”

“I think it will work and it’s only a third of a mile back to the ring.” Jean stuck her hands in her jean pockets. “We’ll want pictures. Of the people, of license plates.”

“The dogs?”

Jean sighed. “I don’t know if I want to see that. Or get too close. I’ll bring my camera. It will be better than our cell phones.”

Karen nodded. “Yeah. Makes sense.” She scrubbed her face with both hands. “We’re going to regret this.”

“No we won’t. We’ll be helping to shut down this horror.” Jean pulled her hands out of her pockets. Her voice grew hard. “And send these jackwipes to jail.”

“True.” She headed back to the Jeep. “Let’s get out of here.”

 

Thank You!

1254 Words

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Mystery at the Dog Park Part 4 of 7: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Bowen – Available for adoption now from:
Annie Bamber
Outreach Programs Coordinator
(928) 474-5590 ext. 100
annie@humanesocietycentralaz.org
www.humanesocietycentralaz.org
Like us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/humanesocietycentralaz/
“Because They Matter”

Part 4 of 7. You can find Part 1 here. Part 2 here. Part 3 here.

 

“See you then.” Jean hung up and got up to put the water on to boil. Karen would want a cup of tea when she came.

They took their tea out to the patio where Karen read what Jean had written. “Hmm.” She dunked the teabag in her cup. “A good list. But I had a different idea.”

“What’s that?”

“We ask Summer and the kids if they know about it.”

“About dog fighting?”

Karen nodded. “Summer still has those links to her old life. She may be able to find out.”

Jean chewed her lower lip. “It won’t get her in trouble, will it?”

“I don’t think so. If she thinks it will, we won’t let her do it.”

“Okay. When she gets home from school, we’ll ask.”

Karen grinned. “Good. Finish your tea and get your hiking boots on. We’re going to go out looking for Sandy again.”

“I’m good with that.” Jean fished her teabag out of her mug.

They spent the hot, sunny morning traipsing around every pond, pool of water and stream bed with water in it but no Sandy. “It’s not looking good, Karen.”

“True.” Karen wiped the sweat from her forehead. The car unlocked and she got inside. “Ahh. Feels good to get off my feet.”

“Yep.” Jean cranked the air conditioner. The car was stifling. “Ready for lunch?”

“I am. Dog hunting is hungry work.”

Jean laughed. “Okay. Where to?”

“Sammy’s? We were just at the Highway Diner.”

“Sounds good to me.”

At the diner, they discussed garden clean-up for the end of the year until their food arrived. As they ate, they could overhear four men in the back-corner booth.

“Yeah, it was a good take last week but we need better dogs.”

Jean froze, fork halfway to her mouth and she stared at a wide-eyed Karen. She started to turn to see the men when Jean put her hand on Karen’s arm and shook her head. Karen nodded. They listened, Jean’s eyes on the table.

“You gotta get bigger dogs. Those 30 pounders just don’t cut it. The people want to see big dogs fighting it out.”

“They’re the warm-up rounds. They get bets.”

“No, they don’t. No one bets till the big dogs come out.”

One of the men lowered his voice. Jean couldn’t make out the words. It must have been a joke because at the end they all laughed. She realized she had a death grip on her fork, her nails had dug cuts into the palm of her hand.

“I’ve got a guy comin’ Saturday. He’s got a Rottweiler that will take out Morgan’s German shepherd for sure.”

“No way.”

“Way. You wait and see.”

“I gotta get back to work. You boys keep it clean.”

They all laughed and got up from their booth. Jean and Karen pretended to eat as they passed. It wasn’t until the men paid and left the building that Jean dared to breathe. “Oh, my God!”

Karen nodded, face white as her napkin. “They just talked about it like it was no big deal.”

“We need to find out where the ring is. Saturday is in two days.” Jean dabbed at the cuts on her palm with her napkin dipped in her glass of water.

“Do we tell Paul?”

“What do you think?”

“I think we should. These are not nice guys.”

Jean nodded despite wanting to track it down. “When he gives us his missing dog report, we’ll tell him.”

She picked up the check the waitress had left on the table. “I’m not hungry. Are you?”

Karen shook her head. “Not anymore.”

“Good. Let’s go.”

When they got to Jean’s house, the phone was ringing. She dashed to pick it up. “Hello?”

“Jean, it’s Paul Oliver.”

“Hey Paul.” Jean waved Karen over. “I’m putting you on speaker so Karen can hear. Okay, go ahead.”

“Glad I caught you two together. Let me say, I didn’t realize there were so many missing dogs.”

“How many?” Jean asked as she nodded to Karen.

“Just this year, fifty-three. All kinds of dogs.”

“That’s more than one a week, Paul!” Karen said.

“It is. Here’s what gets me. Many of these reports say they don’t know how the dog got lost. They were in a secure back yard or in a kennel in the back yard or like your missing dog, at the dog park. I went over to the dog park and checked out the fence. No dog is getting through there.”

“Dog-napping. Margaret over at the Humane Society was telling us. The thieves dress like workers, walk right into the yard and take the dogs. No one pays any attention to those vans parked in the neighborhoods.”

“I’ll talk to Margaret. I thought you two were being over-dramatic.”

“Not this time,” Karen gave Jean a glance. “We have some more news for you.”

They could hear him sigh. “What is it?”

“We overheard four men at Sammy’s diner at lunch. They were talking about dog fighting.”

The line was silent for a moment. “In what way?”

“Like there was a fight last Saturday, with betting. One of the men said the betting could be heavier. He has a guy coming this Saturday with a Rottweiler that would take out the current reigning German Shepherd.” Karen looked to Jean, who nodded.

After a pause, “You don’t know the men?”

“No,” Jean said. “We did our best not to draw attention to ourselves.”

“Probably for the best. Don’t you two go sticking your noses into that. These guys are dangerous.”

Karen nodded.

“Do you hear me? I’m taking this to Nick. He will not like it if you two get involved.”

“Okay, Paul.” Jean rolled her eyes.

“I hear you,” Karen said.

“Good. I’ll email the report on the missing dogs to you. There’s nothing classified about it.”

“Thanks, Paul.”

They hung up.

“Well. Isn’t that a fine thing. We bring him this news and he shuts us out.”

“Don’t you think we’ve been attacked enough?”

“I suppose.” She put the phone back in the cradle. “But let’s see what Summer can find out, anyway.”

 

 

Thank You!

1023 Words

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Mystery at the Dog Park Part 2 of 7: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Azula: Available for adoption now from:
Annie Bamber
Outreach Programs Coordinator
(928) 474-5590 ext. 100
annie@humanesocietycentralaz.org
www.humanesocietycentralaz.org
Like us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/humanesocietycentralaz/
“Because They Matter”

If you’ll notice, the picture illustrating this week’s serial section is of a local dog, Azula, currently at the Humane Society awaiting her furever home. The next 5 sections will also feature one of the many dogs awaiting a home. If you’re looking for a new member of the family, please consider contacting the Humane Society.

 

Part 2 of 7  See Part 1 here.

 

After lunch, Jean and Karen drove over to the radio station instead of calling. In the office they talked to the secretary, Barbara.

“Dogs for sale?” Barbara asked.

“Yes.” Jean showed her the lost dog flyer. “We’re trying to find this dog. The Humane Society told us there’s a market for stolen dogs and that they get sold through the newspaper and radio, sometimes. So we thought we’d look.

Barbara’s eyebrows went up. “I had no idea.”

“Us either.”

“Let me look.” She pulled up a list on her computer. “No.” She shook her head. “No dogs for sale. Sorry.”

Jean saw the woman slump a little, then she brightened. “Let me make a copy of the flyer. I’ll keep my eyes open for an ad that resembles the dog.”

Jean handed her the flyer. “Thank you.”

When they left, Karen propped her arm on the window and tapped her fingers. “Why don’t we do the same thing at the paper. Go over and give them a copy of the flyer and have them keep an eye out for a dog sale?”

“Good idea.” Jean grinned. “We can get the whole town looking for the dog.”

After they finished at the paper, Jean drove Karen home. “Maybe the dog is really just lost. Keep your eyes open for Sandy on your walk, tonight.”

Karen got out and held the door open as she leaned in. “Sure. You too. If she did wander off she could be anywhere by now.”

“Talk to you tomorrow.”

Karen nodded and closed the door.

At home, Jean stood and looked out of her garage door. It was late summer and hot. If Sandy was lost, she was going to be thirsty. There were a few water sources, ponds and such, in town. If the dog was going to be anywhere, it should be around the water. She went inside and closed the door. Something to do with Karen tomorrow.

#

The next day they hiked around every pond and stream in town. After a long, hot morning, they stopped at the Highway Diner to eat. Jean bought a paper from the newspaper box despite the fact she knew one was lying in her driveway. She opened it to the want ads and skimmed the page. “Darn. No dog.”

Karen sipped her iced tea. “Well, Margaret did say thieves wouldn’t advertise to sell a dog in its own area.” She sighed. “The dog is probably gone.”

Jean nodded. “Probably down in Phoenix or even Tucson by now.”

“Maybe the police have a handle on this. We should check with Nick.”

“I like checking the police department but I don’t think the Chief of Police is going to be aware of every lost dog report in town.” Jean thought he’d laugh himself silly at them.

Karen shrugged. “Then we’ll ask Paul. He’s not so prickly as Nick is. Anyway, they owe us for helping them with the last murder.”

Jean laughed. “I don’t think getting beaten up by a crazy woman counts as helping.”

“You know what I mean.” Karen laughed too.

“Sure. We can stop by there after lunch and see if Paul can help us out.”

#

At the police department, Lieutenant Paul Oliver came to the window to talk to them. “You want what?”

“We want to see a report on the number of missing dog reports you have.” Karen told him.

He raised an eyebrow. “We don’t track that.”

“You should,” Jean said. “The Humane Society said it’s becoming a problem.”

“Lost dogs?”

“No, stolen dogs. The owners just don’t realize the dogs aren’t lost, they’re stolen.”

Paul rubbed a hand over his sandy-brown crew cut. “Sounds nuts but let me dig around. I’ll let you know.”

Jean and Karen both grinned at him. “Thanks, Paul,” Karen said.

“Talk to Margaret over at the Humane Society. She has the whole story.”

“I’ll do that.”

Jean and Karen left. Jean felt pretty good as they walked to the car. “That’s progress, don’t you think?”

“I do. Paul has always been a good guy. If there’s something, he’ll find it.”

“But what do we do now?” Jean got in the car and clicked the lock to unlock the door for Karen.

Karen got in and put on her seat belt. “How about animal control? We could call them and ask questions.”

“I like it. Your house or mine?”

“Mine. I’ve got a roast in the crockpot I want to check.”

“Fair enough. Let’s go.”

At Karen’s, it took only a second for her to check on her food. She brought the phone book over to the kitchen table with the phone handset and sat down. “Glad I made fresh iced tea this morning.”

Jean nodded. She’d already drank half of her glass. “Me too. I’ve started making fruit water.”

“Fruit water?”

“Yeah, a two-quart pitcher of water, some apple slices, or mint, or lemon, or orange or a mix. Let it set for a bit. Then drink whenever. I get tired of iced tea all the time.” Jean wiped condensation from the glass onto a napkin.

“That’s a great idea. I’ll have to try that.” Karen opened the phone book to the page with town listings. She ran her finger down the page. “Here they are, Animal Control.” She dialed the number and put it on speaker.

 

Thank You!

899 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

 

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Mystery at the Dog Park 1 of 7: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Little Dog by Randy Cockrell

Hi,

I had this idea for a Jean Hays story but it wasn’t enough of a story for even a novelette so I’ve decided to make it a serial short story. Not every section is 1000 words or less. Some run over to 1200 but I didn’t think you all would mind too much.

I hope you enjoy it.

Mystery at the Dog Park

Part 1 of 7

Jean pulled the leash around her body as the lab-pitbull mix lunged forward.

“She’s giving you a run today.” Karen laughed

“It’s not funny.” Jean puffed. The dog was wearing her out. “Can’t wait to get to the dog park and let her run.”

“I hear ya.” Karen stopped to untangle the two Chihuahuas and the Yorkie mix she was walking.

They arrived at the park and herded the dogs through the gate. Karen took her dogs to the small dog enclosure while Jean let her dog loose in the large dog area. They stood next to each other on opposite sides of the fence to talk as the dogs played.

A woman left the group of dog owners at the picnic table provided and came over to them. She handed them a flyer with a picture of her caramel colored cockapoo, Sandy. “Have you seen my dog?”

Jean took the flyer and held it so Karen could see. “No.” She shook her head. “I’m sorry. I haven’t.”

Karen shook her head, too. “No. How long has she been gone?”

“Since yesterday.” The woman sniffed, eyes red, as she scanned the area. “I was talking with the usual people yesterday,” she waved her hand at the group around the table, “while Sandy and the other dogs played. Then, she was just gone when I looked for her.” Her voice quavered. “I don’t know how she got out of the dog park.”

“We’re walking the humane society dogs,” Jean explained. “But we’ll keep an eye out for Sandy.”

Shoulders slumped, the woman nodded. “That’s my number on the bottom. Call anytime if you find her.”

“We will,” Karen said. “Good luck.” They watched her shuffle back to the table. “How awful. I wonder what happened?”

After hearing the woman’s story, Jean looked for her dog, Arthur. She spotted him chasing a squirrel on a tree trunk around and around the tree. It looked to her that the squirrel was teasing the dog on purpose. “It’s not a big dog, probably got through a hole in the fence.”

Karen turned around to watch the dogs she brought. The Chihuahua’s were chasing each other while the Yorkie dug a hole. “Poor woman. I hope the dog doesn’t get caught by a coyote or a hawk. One of my neighbors lost her little dog when an eagle swooped in and plucked it right out of the backyard.”

Jean’s eyes went wide. “That sucks.”

Karen nodded. “Yep.”

Back at the humane society, the women turned the dogs in. It broke Jean’s heart to make Arthur get back in the kennel. They stopped in the office. “Margaret,” Jean pulled the flyer from her pocket and unfolded it. “Have you seen this dog come in?” She handed the shelter manager the paper.

Margaret looked at the picture and shook her head. “Nope. Poor little thing. I had a call from this woman this morning.” She sighed. “I told her to do the flyers. And talk to the neighbors around the park. What I didn’t tell her was that the dog may have been stolen.”

“Stolen? Who would do that?” Jean asked.

Margaret handed the flyer back to Jean. “People who then sell the dog on Craig’s list or in a newspaper ad.”

“Oh no!” Karen looked horrified.

“Yep.” Margaret went back to her desk. “Happens all the time in the bigger cities but we’ve been seeing it more and more up here. There’s a market, especially for little dogs like that one. And the bad guys just scoop up the little ones when no one is looking.”

“They don’t take big dogs?” Jean leaned on the counter.

“Oh, they do. They’ll disguise themselves as handymen or maintenance people and take dogs right out of their backyards. No one pays any attention to those guys coming or going in the neighborhood. Purebred dogs are the target, German Shepherds, Labs of any sort, those kinds of dogs.”

“That happens here?” Jean couldn’t believe that people would just go into someone’s backyard and take another person’s pet.

“Not that one, so much. That’s more in the big cities, too. Also, they disguise themselves as animal control and knock on the door. They tell the owners that a complaint of abuse has been filed and they’re taking the dog under protective custody. They show the owner some sort of legal looking document. In confusion and fear, they hand the dog over planning to go to court and get it straightened out but it’s too late. The dog and the thieves are long gone.

“I would be so ticked!” Karen said.

“Me too. Isn’t there anything that can be done?” Jean asked.

“Not usually. They don’t advertise the dog in the area where it was stolen from so you can’t even check the paper or anything to try and find it.”

“How awful.”

Margaret nodded. “Yep. Unfortunately, little Sandy, there,” she nodded at the flyer in Jean’s hand, “wasn’t microchipped. If she had been, there would be some chance of finding her.”

Jean and Karen said their good-byes and left. “Who knew there was a market for stolen dogs?” Jean drove them both to lunch as was their habit after their turn at walking the humane society inmates.

“I had no idea. I mean, you see dogs up for sale in the paper and on the radio all the time. It never occurred to me they might be stolen.”

“Let’s grab a paper and see if there are any dogs for sale in there.”

Karen nodded. “Good idea. Though the current paper came out Friday and Sandy was stolen yesterday. Tomorrow’s paper would be a better bet.”

“You’re right. Tomorrow we’ll look. In the meantime, let’s call the radio station and see what they have on their ads.”

“Great idea. After lunch though. My tummy’s growling.”

 

Thank You!

974 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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