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Family Fun Turns Family Mystery – How We Worked Together to Create Mystery Rock

“Where do you get your ideas?” The question gets poised to me at least four times during every event I attend as an author. “I would run out of ideas.” They often add.

“I just look around.” I tell them. It is true. The idea for the stories can be everywhere. I once wrote a short story from a scam email that was going around. In my mind, the seed is planted and then takes off on its own.

"Digging Up Bones" inspired REMEMBER
“Digging Up Bones” inspired REMEMBER

The Story Behind Mystery Rock

Mystery Rock had two beginnings. It started with a short story contest held by SELTI. During an interview after my win, the reporter commented that tourism literature seemed like a perfect fit for me because of my degree in Leisure Services. “You’re right.”

Despite my ability to see things with a twist, I had not even made the connection between my degree and this new genre. Meeting with Patrick Brian Miller – founder of the SouthEastern Literary Tourism Initiative –drove that thought in a new direction. Patrick started SELTI to create a promotional connection between the tourism industry and the publishing industry. Talking with him led me back to the coast and ignited a fire in me for a story that would lead readers on a journey around Alabama.

2012 SELTI

I remembered a story I had read. It was about a ship being uncovered on the beach of Alabama following a hurricane. It left me wondering about the people from the ship. I took that idea and then launched it within the National Novel Writing Month.

For those of you unfamiliar with #NaNoWriMo, it is a full month of “write like crazy.” The goal is to start a new project of fiction and complete 50,000 words in just 30 days – less if you consider that Thanksgiving falls at the tail end of the challenge


I took the quips and banter of my family, threw them into a mystery uncovered by a hurricane, and Mystery Rock was born. I had the additional idea of adding in letterboxes and geocaches to bring a challenge to the story. Working with the Alabama Gulf State Park, Fort Morgan, and Dauphin Island Park and Beach, we focused in on the letterboxes.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with letterboxing or geocaching, think treasure hunt for stamps and trinkets. You visit websites that have clues listed and then you follow the clues to where the cache had been hidden.

We followed the path that the family follows in Mystery Rock and planted letterboxes along the way. A fellow letterboxer, John Ballou of JakeBear Stamps, hand carved a design that Stephen Dorning, of Heavy Metal Cowboy , created for us to match the theme and clues of the book.

It was not only a family endeavor, Mystery Rock was designed, created, and launched by a whole team. Team work makes the job much more enjoyable.

Mystery Rock introduces Cal, Pres, and Spencer – three home schooled brothers, active in scouts, and always up for solving a mystery. Spencer digs up a rock with interesting markings. Pres and Cal discover the secret behind the markings. The whole family sets out on a Gulf Coast adventure to unlock the box that holds the key to it all.

Mystery Rock launches on November 22, 2014. The date was chosen to honor my husband – because he has had to put up with a writing wife and those of you who have writers around you understand how much honor he deserves. You can join us on Facebook for an Online Book Launch Party – we will have stories, question and answer sessions, and even prizes. There will also be virtual snacks, but you can bring something with you, if you prefer.

The most important thing I have learned on this journey to blend my education, my passion, and my family is to have fun with it all. When you have fun then the people that you connect with during the project will have fun and the project will benefit.

Purchase your own copy of Mystery Rock by pre-ordering today.

Be blessed,


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