Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour: What have I learned from other story-telling genres?

Fair Ride

Fair Ride

I’m an eclectic writer. While I love SciFi and write in that genre often, I don’t limit myself to just that form. What that means is, I need to be consciously aware of the tropes, the expectations, if you will, of every genre I write in.

A good example is my latest book, Mystery at the Fair. I’ve been reading mysteries and thrillers since I was a teen, right along with my SciFi and Fantasy. But I was never conscious of what it was about those stories that made them a mystery, rather than a SciFi or a Fantasy.

Of course, there’s the mystery. That much is obvious. But what makes it a mystery? Readers expect one thing from a mystery and something else from a SciFi. In my case I’ve written a cozy mystery, so the person doing the sleuthing is not a police officer or detective. I had to work to tease those expectations from my memory. There needs to be danger for my main character, she needs to have a self-interest in finding out who committed the murder. The mystery has to hold all the way through the book and there has to be a twist. The murderer cannot be the first person the reader expects, or even the second or third. Who are the other suspects? Why are they suspects, what are they hiding?

I had a lot of help from my editor. He kept making me go back and ramp up the tension, the mystery, and make sure everything tied together at the end.

So my major take-away from this last book is to be more aware of the reader’s expectations for the genre I’m writing.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! You can also see all of my books on, Books tab. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.


The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion ( The tour is you, the reader, travelling the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. There are all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s always something new and different to enjoy. If you want to get to know the nearly twenty other writers check out the rest of the tour at!  Up next: Jean Schara

Flash Fiction Friday: Fall Hike

See Canyon Fall Hike by Randy Cockrell October 2014

See Canyon Fall Hike by Randy Cockrell October 2014

Jean Hays was doing what she came to Arizona for, hiking. The fall colors here were muted, for the most part. Yellow dominated the central mountains fall color scheme unless you hiked down into a canyon. Then, the hiker saw all the colors of an Eastern fall day. Fallen leaves rustled underfoot and the smell was pure autumn, dusty, leafy, and woodsy. The sky was cloudless and she didn’t have a name for the color, but only was seen in October.

Her hiking partner was her friend, Karen Carver. They’d first met when Jean joined the Hise County Fair board. Karen was a Superintendent at the fair in charge of Homemaking Arts. They’d hit it off right away. The Fair was over for the year. It was time to enjoy the countryside.

The stream bed they’d been following had a trickle of water in it. It caught the sky above and reflected that glorious blue. Red and yellow maple leaves floated along with the water. When they came to a small pool, Jean called a break. Karen slipped her pack from her back and pulled out a well used Girl Scout sit-upon.

“Looks like you’ve had that awhile,” Jean said when she saw Karen spread it on a fallen tree trunk.

“I have.” She sat down and pulled a granola bar from her pocket. “It was my daughter, Peggy’s. It’s still good, so I use it. I don’t know if she even remembers I still have it.” She looked at what Jean was pulling out of her pack. “What’s that?”

“I cut up a foam floating mat to fit in the back of my pack. It’s the perfect size, good protection from wet, cold,” she examined a snag on the trunk and moved down a few inches, “and sharp things.” She pulled a baggie of Sungold cherry tomatoes out of the pack. “The last of the garden cherrys, want some?” Jean held out the bag.

Karen took four and popped one in her mouth. “Oh my, those are so good.”

Jean pulled a water bottle from the pack outside pocket and drank. Her eyes focused on something on the opposite side of the pool. “That doesn’t look natural.”

She walked around the pool and scrambled part way up the canyon’s side to a tree. “It’s a duffle bag,” she called down to Karen. “It’s a big duffle.”

“Who’d carry a duffle bag on a hike?” Karen wondered.

Jean tugged at it. It came loose from where it had lodged against the tree and rolled down the slope. The rotten canvas, discolored and moldy, split open when it hit a rock. Jean slipped down the hill and looked inside. “Oh my, God.” She danced away from the bag, back around the pool and stood panting beside Karen, now standing.

“What’s wrong?”

Jean stared at the bag. “It’s a body.”


Two hours later Greyson Chief of Police Nick White was standing with the women while police officers, EMT’s and Search and Rescue people milled around the area. “Two bodies in two months, Ms. Hays. I think that’s a record.”

Jean shrugged, annoyed with him. She’d found a body at the fair in September and stirred the whole town up. What could she say? It wasn’t her fault.

“In fairness, Chief,” Karen interceded for her friend. “We were just enjoying the day.”

“Huh,” he grunted. He pointed up the side of the canyon were police officers were taking pictures and measurements. “So you just pulled on it, it rolled down hill, hit the rock and split open?”

“Yeah.” She looked up at the sky, still blue but now spoiled somehow. “I grabbed the left end of the bag, where it’s cleaner than the rest. My feet were slipping on the leaves so I didn’t have a lot of control over it.” Jean still wasn’t over how he’d treated her during the Fair murder. It was as though he thought she was a bubble head or something. His tone of voice irked her now.

The coroner called out. “We have ID in the bag, Chief.”

“What’s the name?”

“Anson Prentiss. License is from 2003, 42 years of age, 5 ft 11 inches. Address is in Greyson.”

Nick White sighed. “Not going to look good on our stats, two murders in one year.”

Jean’s right eyebrow raised. Karen whispered, “I’ll explain later.”

“OK, get him to the morgue. Give the address to Boles, he can go check it out.” He turned to Jean and Karen. “You’re free to go. We have your statements.”

The women pulled on their packs and hiked out the way they came in. “What do you think?” Jean asked her friend.

“Anson Prentiss doesn’t ring a bell. But you know Greyson has a lot of new people move in each year. Or he could have been a summer person. Who knows?”

“Do you know the address?” Jean asked.

Karen stopped in the middle of the trail and turned around to stare at her friend. “Seriously? After the last time? You want to get involved?”

“Sure, why not?” Jean’s eyes twinkled with mischief. “If only to annoy Chief White. The guy’s attitude bugs me.”

Karen rolled her eyes and turned to continue hiking. “Yeah, I know the address, well, sort of. It’s in the old part of town, on the northeast side. You really want to go there?”

“Why not? We can just drive by; we don’t have to knock on the door or anything.” She grinned even though Karen couldn’t see her. We solved the last murder, didn’t we? We’ll just look, I promise.”

That statement made Karen snort. Jean could see her shake her head. “OK, we’ll drive by. That’s it.”

“Hoo!” Jean whooped. “We can stop for ice cream afterward.”


The End

962 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here:

Racing through October

Red Rocks of Sedona by Randy Cockrell

Red Rocks of Sedona by Randy Cockrell

Is the month going by as fast for you as it is for me? Wow, it’s been a crazy month. Last week my hubby and I went to Sedona with several of our hiking friends and had a good time hiking that area. The picture at the top of the post is from there. Too beautiful for words. Of course the weekend before was the craft fair, that was exciting. The 4th was my visit to the Sedona book fair.  Then there are the meetings for the book festival we’re planning for Payson, dental appointments, HOA meeting, project management phone calls and a luncheon for the neighborhood ladies.

In between all of that, I’m prepping for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or NaNo). I want to have stories scheduled for every Friday in November so I don’t have to worry about that while I’m writing my newest draft. I have 2 scheduled, 1 written and ready to be scheduled and one still to be done. I still need one for the 31st of October, too. That should probably be kind of Halloweeny, don’t you think? Other NaNo planning is my outline. It’s going to be a cozy mystery, the first one I’ve tried to write. I have five plot lines and about 30 scene sentences completed. I think another 30 – 40 scenes will fill the story out nicely. If you don’t know, NaNo is a writing challenge. Every November thousands of authors, new and experienced, try to write 50,000 words or more in the month. It turns out to be 1667 words per day, minimum. You can go to the website and check it out. It’s free to join and there are forums to visit to talk with others about writing. I need to think about a cover for my cozy mystery, too. Hmmm.

The garden is still producing tomatoes and the sweet and hot pepper plants still have a couple peppers on them ripening. Otherwise the garden is looking a little worn and tired. Soon I’ll have to pull everything out and prep the beds for the winter.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

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First Encounter: a Brown Rain Story released September 18th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!