RAT RACE is the novella that not only shoots the starting pistol for the Marketplace series, it’s also a bridge story between the Mystery Writer’s mysteries and the Marketplace mysteries.
Charlee Russo is the main character in the Mystery Writer’s Mysteries. She’s a mystery writer who finds herself forced to sleuth her way out of problems that fall into her lap.
Dena Russo is her mother and the main character in the first three Sugar Mill Marketplace Mysteries.
RAT RACE is the story of how one fateful Thanksgiving with Charlee visiting her in Santa Fe leads to Dena moving to Sugar Springs, Colorado and deciding to open a used bookstore in the Sugar Mill Marketplace.
Definitely read RAT RACE first. It sets the stage for much of the early action in the series.
This series might be a bit different than you’re used to. There are fifteen books planned altogether. The Marketplace consists of five main businesses—
• Thrice Sold Tales, a used bookstore owned by Dena Russo (picture Sigourney Weaver)
• Sugar Springs Bakery, owned by Kober (picture Helena Bonham Carter with crazy hair piled on her head)
• Step Into History, a photography studio where you dress up in period costumes, owned by Evelyn and Max Milligan (picture Betty White and Danny DeVito)
• Really Grate Cheese, owned by Skyler Olsen (picture Meg Ryan back in the day)
• Zoet Chocolate, owned by Hugo Dekker (picture Ryan Gosling, but take him down a few notches into the “cute, like my little brother” category instead of the hummina hummina category)
There will be other shops in the Marketplace, but these are the main five. Each of them will get their own trilogy (three books x five shops = 15 books)
These first three—BOOKED, PLOTTED, and BOUND—are Dena’s bookstore stories. I’m pretty proud of the titles, btw. They’re all one word titles that relate to the business but also hint at a crime.
The bakery titles are BEATEN, FROSTED, and BURNED. The photo studio titles are EXPOSED, SNAPPED, and MANIPULATED. The cheese shop titles are CHEESED, GRILLED, and SMOKED. And the chocolate shop titles are FUDGED, SUGARCOATED, and DROPPED.
Each trilogy will have it’s own color scheme and building on the front cover, but will fit the same template. You’ll be able to tell at a glance that all fifteen belong in the same series, and which three belong together.
All the characters are in all the books. They’re interacting, helping and hindering the sleuth, and all have their own story threads where I’m able to set the stage and foreshadow upcoming plotlines throughout all fifteen books.
So if you ever find yourself wondering “why’s this in here?” you can probably bet you’ll hear about it again. Just like in your life, stuff that happens six months ago might work it’s way forward to become a problem for you. It’s no different for the gang in Sugar Springs.
Each book takes place about a month apart in real time. I’ll be able to hit all the seasons and many holidays. And who knows … maybe I’ll build out the Marketplace and add fifteen more stories from other vendors!
I hope you have as much fun reading them as I do writing them!
Expect the first three out April 2023!