Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have A.J. Marcus here today to share some thoughts about adventures, writing, and the latest in the Mountain Spirit Mysteries series, Moose Fever. Welcome, A.J.!
Moose Fever by A.J. Marcus
What is every-day for one is a great adventure for someone else.
There is a fine line for many of us about what makes for an interesting book. I think that’s one of the really cool things about writing; trying to find that line for readers and pushing them over it. Since I tend to write a wide variety of genres, my beta readers are also fairly diverse and sometimes they don’t get certain genres. My mystery/thriller series Mountain Spirit Mysteries is one that confuses a couple of them since they don’t normally read thrillers. But even though the books are outside their comfortable genres, my betas enjoy the series and a couple of them actually get excited about another Brock and Landon book before they even read it.
I draw a lot of what I put into the books from life, either my adventures, exploits of my friends, stories I’ve had told to me by various people I meet, or the news. Often an entire book is a mix of things. That is very true for “Moose Fever”. I took a bit of the news, snippets of things a friend of mine, who happens to be a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Manager, told me without saying too much about the people involved. I asked my father-in-law a lot about gold prospecting in the local creeks. And I threw in some of my own animal encounters from back when I was helping out at a wildlife rehabilitation center. Now readers get to figure out which parts are what.
Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what part of a book is really from an author’s own life experiences, and what part is just things they’ve read online or in books. When we actually go out and interview people, we can get some of the excitement they feel about their subjects. That thrill, often comes through when we do our job right. I hope I convey things well and folks get a good feeling for our natural world as we follow Brock and Landon along on their adventure to discover who’s killing the moose of Teller County and why, all while they’re trying to get ready for their wedding. In “Moose Fever” we get a bit of family drama along with the excitement of bullets flying and Brock and Landon’s enduring love for each other that readers have come to expect from the Mountain Spirit Mysteries.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer Brock Summers and his fiancé, wildlife rehabber Landon Weir, are preparing for their wedding when someone starts killing moose along a creek in the northern part of Teller County. As the moose casualties rise, human bodies turn up, and the case is taken over by the sheriff’s office. When a Forestry Service Ranger is killed, the service joins the hunt.
All signs point to one of the many photographers who have been taking pictures of the moose. Then Landon discovers a small piece of gold in the creek and they believe they have a motive, but they’re still lacking solid suspects. Bullets fly as they seek to track down the perpetrator while trying to get everything wrapped up in time for their marriage.
Landon cuddled in tighter to him. “Something’s wrong. More than just finding a human body. What’s going on?”
A long, slow sigh escaped Brock. “I talked to Mom today.”
“Okay. When are they arriving for the wedding? I don’t know how much space we can make here for everyone, but I want your folks and my folks at least to stay with us.”
“About that. Mom’s not real sure they’re going to make it.”
Landon sat up and looked at Brock, not bothering to hide the shock that coursed through him. “What do you mean, they aren’t real sure they’re going to make it? Is someone sick? I thought you said they were fine.”
“They are.” Brock sounded miserable. “Mom’s worried about what my grandmother is going to say. I told you a while back that they’re fairly old-fashioned. She doesn’t want to upset them by saying the whole family’s coming. She was thinking it would just be better if they all stayed home in Tennessee.”
“Stay home in Tennessee?” Landon hugged Brock tightly. “How do you feel about it?”
“I don’t know. I don’t want to disappoint you. You’re all excited about our families meeting and having a nice, happy wedding. I’m not sure that’s going to happen.” He paused and paled. “Well, at least the families meeting. We’re going to have a nice, happy wedding. I’ve told you I’m not real close with my family. Most of it’s because they don’t believe in who I am.”
Landon didn’t let go of Brock. He wanted to show his love in the face of Brock’s family’s absence. “Well, I don’t care about that. Do you really want your folks here?”
A faraway look crossed Brock’s face. He nodded. “I do. I’ve had this hope ever since we moved in together that maybe, if they could meet you and see what an awesome guy you are, maybe they could set aside some of their prejudices and be happy with who I am and not just who they want me to be.”
“Then we’ll do what we can to convince them to come to the wedding. Maybe if your folks like me, they can get your grandparents to come around too.” Landon did his best to sound hopeful and upbeat. “The world’s changing. Who knows what will happen?”
“You’re not mad that they might not come?”
Landon shook his head and kissed the hollow of Brock’s neck. “I can’t be mad at you for something like that. I’m a bit frustrated with your folks for upsetting you, but not at you. You don’t have any control over it. You should know that.”
Brock combed his fingers through Landon’s hair. “I should, but sometimes folks get upset about things others have no control over. It’s nice to know you’re logical about this. I love you.”
“I love you too. Brock, we’re going to be married soon. I want everyone to be happy for us. If your family can’t be, we’ll understand and let my family and our friends spread the joy for us.”
About the Author
A.J. has been writing to pass the time since high school. The stories he wrote helped him deal with life. A few years ago, he started sharing those stories with friends who enjoyed them and he has started sending his works out into the world to share with other people. He lives in the mountains with his extremely supportive husband. They have a lot of critters, including dogs, cats, birds, horses, and rabbits. When not writing, A.J. spends a lot of time hiking, trail riding, or just driving in the mountains. Nature provides a lot of inspiration for his work and keeps him writing. He is also an avid photographer and falconer. Don’t get him started talking about his birds, because he won’t stop for a while.
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