Mar 202019
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am happy to welcome Cheryl F. Taylor back to Escape With Dollycas today!

The Brain of the Writer
by Cheryl Taylor

Writers have sponges in place of their brains. We absorb everything we’re around and then squeeze it out over the page. At least that’s the way it feels to me at times, and probably to many of the people who have wound up the target of my constant questioning.

It has been pointed out to me that I can ask more questions than the average 3-year-old… and just like a toddler, my questions usually start with “why.” In some areas of my life that habit has benefitted me. For many years I worked with students with severe emotional disabilities, autism or behavioral issues. My students always liked that I listened to their side of the story, even when I didn’t approve of their actions. My parapros, not so much, as they at times wanted me to see their sides and none other.

The long term effects of this habit, however, has been to fill my brain with all these snippets of human behavior and thinking. Not necessarily “normal” human behavior and thinking, but still human. I’m not really into trivia, although I know some writers who are. When it comes to the actions of people, however, I can’t seem to get enough, and it’s been that way as long as I can remember. I want to know why. Why did you choose to treat your friend that way? Why did you choose to shred your paper into a million pieces? Why did you react in a certain way? Why? Why? Why?

I unconsciously seek out random bits of information, like a sponge being wiped over a dirty counter, and once those gobbets of data fall into my brain, they never leave. They might be covered up, obscured or hidden for a period of time, but then I’m writing, and those bits and pieces float back out again to color my characters.

Just yesterday the ongoing presence of this strange habit was brought home. I was visiting a friend of mine, Suzanne Morrison, at a local rock show where she was a vendor. (She’s actually mentioned in the new book.) We were discussing the change in a nearby river due to a fire a few years ago. I’d finished explaining why I thought I’d seen the changes I had, then finished with, “Well, you were a firefighter, you know this.” She looked at me in shock and asked how I knew she’d been a firefighter, that almost no one these days knew that. All I could say was that at some point she’d mentioned she’d been a wildland firefighter, among other things. It stuck and has been floating in there for years. Who knows when it might get squeezed back out again.

The great thing about cozy mysteries is that I’ve got time to learn all the whys behind their actions. As the series develops, we all learn more about the characters, and what motivates them to make the choices they do. I learn about the characters in the same way that the readers do… in other words, the characters tell me about themselves. I’m not the type of writer who plots out a character beforehand. Instead, I put those characters into situations, and they then “tell” me who they are.

For example, in Murder on the Wind, the second in the Rock Shop Cozy Mystery series, we start to learn more about “why Jackson is as caring as he is of others.” The answer is because he has been taking care of his sister since their parents were killed. (I really admire that guy). In my “cozy apocalyptic” I had to learn the whys a bit faster. Still, I couldn’t stand to write something without knowing the whys.

I have no doubt that every writer who creates characters who live, breath and jump off the page has a similar raging curiosity to know the whys behind their characters. Other writers must have sponge brains, which absorb the spirits of people they know and then leak out into their characters. It’s part of our anatomy, but it sometimes gets crowded in here.

Thank you, Cheryl, for visiting today!

Keep reading for my thoughts of Murder on the Wind.


Murder on the Wind (Rock Shop Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Arizona
CT Communications (February 3, 2019)
Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-10: 0998212245
ISBN-13: 978-0998212241
Kindle ASIN: B07NCNZ688

Amy Stone has recently returned to Copper Springs, a small town on Historic Route 66 in Arizona, in order to run her family’s rock shop, Stone’s Gems and Minerals. In a horrific welcome home, however, she was faced with the murder of the shop’s employee, and forced to defend herself against the actual murder, with the help of the shop’s new assistant, Jackson Wolf.

Now that things have settled into a more peaceful way of life, Amy and Jackson are looking forward to things returning to normal.

Unfortunately, a fun field trip to a local mine, organized by the local rock club and the Copper Springs Historical Society, throws their new found peace into turmoil as one member of the field trip is assaulted and the body of a miner who disappeared over thirty years ago is discovered.

Amy and Jackson are determined to clear their friend Pete Martin’s name. That proves to be a difficult task, as Pete has been witnessed arguing violently with the assault victim not long before he was pushed into a mine shaft and left to die. Along the way, the duo find themselves faced with the older mystery… why was the miner killed, and who will he kill next?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It has been a while since we visited with Amy (Amethyst) Stone but the story picks up shortly after the end of the first book. Amy is managing the family’s rock shop while her father recovers from a broken leg. She and Jackson Wolf, the shop’s assistant, had recently solved a murder and are about to be tied up in another one.

Traveling with a group of people from the rock club and the local historical society they visit a nearby mine that is now run by two sisters. While searching for some prizes among the spoils a scream rings out. People rush to find one person has fallen down a shaft. His wife is claiming he was pushed by Amy and Jackson’s friend Pete Martin. Pete claims he was nowhere near the man. To get to the bottom of the story the first must get injured man out of the mine. While doing so they make an eerie discovery, a skeleton of a man thought to have left the area over 30 years ago. Now Amy and Jackson have two mysteries to solve.

What really drew me into the first mystery was the Stone family,  Nick, his wife Crystal, Amy, who also has a brother named Jasper Onyx Stone and a sister named Opal Jewel Stone Amethyst’s middle name is Gem. They along with Jackson Wolf were all characters I wanted to know better. This time Amy and Jackson take center stage as the family remains in the background. They again make an excellent team of amateur sleuths. I love their relaxed and easy dialogue.

I really enjoyed the way the author blended an old murder in with a new mystery. She surprised me with a twist that sent the story in a whole new direction. It was very well-plotted and there were plenty of clues to mine before the real jewel is revealed.

Ms. Taylor’s descriptions of the tunnels in the mine really took me there. So much that my slight case of claustrophobia reared its ugly head. Darkness, water, bullets, and more. I was worried for those characters so much it had my heart racing. Closed in places have always been a problem I tackle one issue at a time. I don’t think mines will ever be a place I will conquer.

Cleverly written with very engaging characters. I found this book to be very entertaining and hope to visit the characters again. I just hope we don’t have to wait as long.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Book #1 Stone’s Gems and Murder here.

About the Author

Cheryl Taylor was raised in northeastern Michigan and pursued a degree in agriculture communications from Michigan State University. In 1986, Taylor moved to Arizona where she worked in publishing and advertising in the livestock industry, then eventually moving into teaching in 1998 after receiving a masters in education from Northern Arizona University.

In addition to her publishing endeavors, Taylor also creates wire tree sculptures and sun catchers under the business name, Ugly Rock Beautification Project, and loves to create locker hooked projects.

Taylor currently resides in northern Arizona with her family of horses, cattle, dogs, and birds.

Visit her Amazon Author Page here.


Also by this Author


The author is giving away a signed copy of the book
and 3 Blank Greeting Cards as shown.

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End April 3, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  10 Responses to “Cozy Wednesday with Cheryl F. Taylor – Author of Murder on the Wind (Rock Shop Cozy Mystery) #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway”

  1. Looks like a great read!

  2. The setting sounds good.

  3. Thanks for the review on “Murder on the Wind” by Cheryl F. Taylor. Enjoyed hearing from Cheryl on how she tucks things away in the brain for later use. I’m glad I’m not the only one that hangs on to trivia things that others think unimportant. 🙂

    I would love the opportunity to read “Murder on the Wind”. Sounds like a wonderful book and right up my alley.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  4. I like how the author had fun with her character’s gemstone names, and love the premise of this book. Thanks so much for featuring Murder on the Wind on your blog — I look forward to reading it!

  5. Thank-you fOr introducing me to a new author.

  6. Thanks for this captivating and unique feature and giveaway which is a real treasure.

  7. Both my husband and I were rock and crystal collectors as kids.

  8. I remember having a rock collection as a kid, sounds like an interesting storyline. Looking forward to reading the book.

  9. Never a rock collector, but my dad used to take us out hiking in California mountains…taught us about geodes,, learned to identify fools gold,, quartz, look for arrowheads, and so on. Our older daughter also loved grandpa taking her hiking and rock hunting. Going to love his book

  10. love rock collecting and i think this sounds right up my alley

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