f anyone had told me I’d someday be co-writing a mystery with 21 others, I’m not sure I would have believed them. Writing a book with so many authors seems like it would be an impossible endeavor. But that’s just what happened when some of us who are affiliated with Cozy Cat Press agreed to take on the project. It wasn’t the first time Cozy Cat has done this. A couple years ago they published Chasing the Codex, but that was before my time.

Since this was a first experience for me, I requested to take a chapter in the middle of the book. I wanted to read what the others had written before it was my turn, so I chose an early October date. As it turned out, I was assigned to write Chapter 13. Good omen? Bad omen? Who knew. We had a week to write our chapters, and I must admit that my initial excitement turned to fear as I contemplated the task before me.

When I told some friends about the project, one of them asked if we, as a group, had met to discuss the plot and characters. We hadn’t, we live throughout the US and Canada, soeven a conference call would have been a challenge.

One of our most experienced authors volunteered to write the first chapter, and what a chapter it was! Glory Lockhart, the widow of a slain police chief, meets Tom Rankin on a blind date at a county fair and after winning her a large stuffed bear at the shooting gallery, he invites her to ride the Ferris wheel. At the end of the ride Tom is slumped over dead, shot in the back.  Thus, the beginning of Wheel of Death.

By the time it was my turn a lot had happened to Glory and with the investigation into Tom’s murder, and I was increasingly anxious about how I was going to follow in the footsteps of the 12 talented authors whose chapters preceded mine. Then, I took a deep breath and told myself that if they could do it so could I. One morning I awoke with an inspiration. As a teaser I’ll tell you it has something to do with Ludwig Bemelmans’ book, Madeline, you know, “In and old house in Paris…. In the middle of the night Miss Clavel turned on the light and said something is not right.” I wove that into my chapter and completed it in just a few days.

Despite differing styles, we managed to create an exciting full-length mystery. Our publisher, Patricia Rockwell, pulled it together by writing the last chapter and editing it, and the finished product is a charming Cozy with lots of plot twists, interesting characters and a great ending. As I look back, the project was a lot of fun, and, as it turns out, Chapter 13 was a good omen and just the right chapter for me.

 

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