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Mountain Spirit Mysteries #3
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.
Moving beyond just romance in LGBT fiction
When I started the Mountain Spirit Mysteries, the first book “Eagles’ Blood” was as much a romance as it was a mystery. The two main characters, Brock and Landon, were making their love connection while they tried to figure who was killing eagles. By the time they got it all sorted out, they were ready to cohabitate and start their life together. With each new book, we’re advancing their relationship, but at the same time, the other aspects of the stories come more and more into life. Their love story has moved from the A story, to the B story. I think that’s great.
In my mind when we stop focusing on the romance aspect of LGBT fiction, we start writing about characters who are just like everyone else, but they just happen to be gay, bi, lesbian, trans…whatever. They still have the same life concerns as a heteronomitive character would have. They still have to eat, sleep, shower, (the other s) go to work, deal with people, or in this case, animals. When we move away from stories that center around romance, I think we can attract a larger range of readers.
Unfortunately there is still a lot of prejudice when we try and step out of our narrow M/M romance genre. Sure there are folks out there that will read any mysteries they find, and revel in a good mystery where the main character just happens to be a big strapping man who loves another man. But by easing the amount of romance down, there will be more readers who dive into the book because it’s a mystery and once they’re locked into the adventure the guys are on, the fact they’re gay become irrelevant, they just want them to catch the bad guy before he can kill anyone, or anything else. I really appreciate that DSP Publishing is giving me the opportunity to bring these tales to life and explore what can be done as Brock and Landon try and save the natural world around them. And I really hope the readers enjoy the books too. It doesn’t matter why you pick up the books, if it’s for the mystery, or just Brock and Landon, settle in and join their adventure as they try and figure out why someone is killing moose, in “Moose Fever”!
Landon stared at Brock. “You brought home a cat? The dead guy’s cat?”
Brock shrugged. “It had been locked in the guy’s apartment since he was killed this weekend. If it hadn’t been for the cat, the cleaning lady might not have reported him missing and we wouldn’t know who he was.”
“And if Bear eats the cat?” Landon stared into the gray mesh carrier. The cat stared back at him with deep green eyes. You are a pretty cat. It had been years since he’d had a cat of his own. Cats and wildlife could be a very bad combination.
“I don’t think Bear’s going to eat the cat. We’ll give them a couple of days to get to know each other before we leave them alone together.”
Moving his gaze from the cat back to Brock, Landon sighed. “You just can’t help collecting strays, can you?”
“Nope.” Brock smiled at him. It was one of the cute, Boy Scout smiles that had won Landon’s heart. “We’re both good at collecting strays.”
“You realize we’ll have to keep her away from the wildlife. It might be harder than keeping Bear out of things. Cats are more unpredictable than dogs are.”
“I know.” Brock hugged Landon.
The warmth that spread through Landon brought a smile to his lips. After the long day, it felt so wonderful to have Brock home and in his arms.
“Anything else happen today, other than you finding the body?” Brock let go of Landon and settled onto the couch.
Landon snuggled in next to him. “Nope. That was it. Mom and Dad went to bed early. All the hiking up and down that valley about did them in. They weren’t showing it much until after dinner, but they were worn out.”
“Did your mom or Shelia give any indications what kind of things they got for the wedding?”
“Not a peep. I’m pretty sure they either dropped off the stuff they picked up at Shelia’s before they got back here, or she took everything home with her. They are being very closemouthed about it. This almost makes me wish we could just elope. I’m worried they may have something bigger than we want planned.”
Brock pursed his lips, then kissed the top of Landon’s head. “Maybe I need to prod Dara about this. She might let something slip that will be useful. You know, with us trying to find out who killed Mr. Laruen, and now them being all secretive about what they’re doing for our wedding, I’m getting tired of mysteries around here.”
“I agree.” Landon snuggled as close as he could under Brock’s powerful arm, enjoying the weight of it across his shoulders.
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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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