Grace Koshida is the winner of the ebook of Open for Murder. Grace look for an email from Mary.
Mary Angela is a wonderful human. We met when we were on a panel together and I’ve been a fan of hers ever since. I’m so excited that the Wickeds get to help celebrate her first in a new series book, Open For a Murder, a Happy Camper Mystery. Mary will give an ebook away to someone who leaves a comment. Here’s a bit about the book:
Deep in the heart of touristy small-town Spirit Canyon, South Dakota, former journalist Zo Jones runs the Happy Camper gift shop, where she sells everything from locally made souvenirs to memorabilia. She even rents out mountain bikes, and dabbles in the adventure industry—and sleuthing . . .
It’s Memorial Day weekend in Spirit Canyon, and for Zo that means the return of summer shoppers. It also means the return of her good friend Beth, who’s moved back to the area to reopen her family’s premier hotel, Spirit Canyon Lodge. Beth and Zo spent many childhood summers there and Zo can’t wait to reconnect and celebrate the Grand Opening. But the festivities go from bad to worse when a power outage knocks out the lights—and morning reveals a competitor’s dead body found on the premises . . .
Soon enough, Beth is the prime suspect in the suspicious death. Fortunately, Zo isn’t afraid to put her investigative skills to work and prove her friend’s innocence. To start digging for information, she appeals to Max Harrington, a local Forest Ranger and unlikely ally. Though they’ve argued about Happy Camper’s tours, in this case they agree on one thing: Beth isn’t a murderer. Stranger things have happened than their collaboration. After all, this is Spirit Canyon. But as the list of suspects grows, Zo will have to keep her guard up if she doesn’t want to be the next lodge guest to check out . . .
Mary: When my daughter Madeline was five years old, she liked playing outside, so when she asked to plant her apple seeds one day after lunch, I agreed. My mother had told her all she needed to do was take the seeds from an apple, bury them in the dirt, water them, and viola! A tree would appear. Yes, that sounded like something my mother would say. She, like most grandmothers, has the most fantastic imagination.
So out we went with seeds, shovel, and watering can in hand. Her sister, Maisie, who was two at the time, eagerly followed. I let Maddie pick the location, and she chose a spot by the deck, too close to the lilac bush. But never mind that. We were outside, and the day was sunny. It was all I wanted out of the summer day.
Any mom with young children will tell you there are afternoons when you wrack your brain, trying to come up with an idea to kill a couple of hours. This afternoon, much care was taken with our project for this very reason. Maisie held the seeds like precious gold coins while Maddie worked the trowel with her chubby hands, digging a perfectly round hole. When Maddie was ready, she took the seeds from her sister, placed them carefully into the ground, and just as carefully, covered them up.
A fight ensued about who would water the seeds, and Maddie, being the older sister, naturally won. But she did let Maisie help her make a sign out of an old garage sale stake, a piece of printer paper, and a handful of crayons. On it, they wrote Maddie’s Apple Tree with a picture of a bright red apple.
Faithfully, they watered the seeds. They fertilized them. When we had guests, they showed them “the tree.” When it rained and the sign resembled a limp piece of tissue, I’d stop and scowl, but I couldn’t take it down. I’d remember their special afternoon, and something would stop me.
Eventually, a little brown twig appeared, like magic, and they were thrilled. My husband said it was a weed. My mother-in-law agreed. But I, like the kids, was convinced something was there. Year after year, it grew, and I pruned it so that it would at least look like a tree. But after so long, I started to wonder if my husband was right, if it was an overgrown root from our nearby Ash tree or something else.
I’m happy to report he was wrong. This year, ten years after planting the apple seeds, the tree blossomed and grew fruit. It was the highlight of an otherwise dark year. We laughed, we cried (okay, I cried), we celebrated. The seed we had taken care of for so long had finally blossomed.
For me, writing has been a lot like that seed. It’s something I’ve done for a long time without knowing the end result. Writing is claiming a spot and caring for it. It’s also knowing what to believe and what to ignore. It’s seeing blossoms where there are none, and knowing one day fruit may grow. But writing isn’t just about the fruit. At least not for me. It’s about coming back to the garden with the watering can, day after day, to see what will grow.
Readers: What have you grown from seed? Did it turn out like you planned?
Bio: Mary Angela is the author of the Professor Prather academic series, the Happy Camper cozy mystery series, and several short stories. When Mary isn’t penning heartwarming whodunits, she’s teaching, reading, traveling, or spending time with her family. She lives in South Dakota with her husband, daughters, and spoiled pets. You can find out more about her loves, including her writing, at MaryAngelaBooks.com.