|Karen McCullough at the north rim of the Grand Canyon|
Award-winning author Karen McCullough’s wide-ranging imagination makes her incapable of sticking to one genre for her storytelling. As a result, she’s the author of more than a dozen published novels and novellas, which span the mystery, fantasy, paranormal, and romantic suspense genres. A former computer programmer who made a career change into being an editor with an international trade publishing company for many years, she now runs her own web design business to support her writing habit. Learn more about Karen and her books at her website and blog.
The Rim Less Traveled
A few years ago I went with my family to visit The Grand Canyon. It is an incredible place, truly one of the wonders of the natural world. Our first sight of the canyon was from the airplane, flying over it on our way to Las Vegas. It’s clearly visible as a huge hole in the ground, even from 30,000 feet, when the air is clear, as it was that day. We spent a day in Las Vegas, then hopped in our rented van and headed to the north rim. It’s a long but fascinating drive, through desert and mountains that seem to rise right up from the flat terrain, and then more desert.
Most tourists head for the south rim of the canyon. It’s a bit easier to get to, it’s open year-round, and there are a lot more places to stay, eat, and party. The crowds are also larger.
The north rim has views just as exquisite as on the other side, plenty of hiking trails for all levels, and far fewer amenities. Because it’s harder to get to and has few places to stay, it’s less crowded. That’s not to say there was no one there. We went in August and the lodge and several campgrounds were full. We stayed at an inn about forty miles north, one of only two within reasonable driving distance. The overlooks near the lodge and parking area were mobbed and the trails had plenty of people on them.
But we did get to see the gorgeous, grand views from the overlooks. There were plenty of people, but not so many you couldn’t even get near the overlook. A few minutes’ wait usually produced a prime place at the rail. The trails weren’t deserted, but they weren’t crowded either. We’d meet people along the way, but the prime stopping spots weren’t mobbed and there were plenty of places to take a break and listen to the amazing quiet, broken only by the sighing wind, smell the pines and watch the aspen trees shimmer in the breeze.
A side benefit of going to the north rim and staying in an inn some forty miles away was that we ate breakfast and dinner there, and bought picnic materials for lunch at their little lodge store. We had plenty of time to talk to some of the people who worked there and heard many stories about the history and little-known facts about the area. And in the quiet evenings after dark, we spent time together as a family, sitting around talking or playing games. That time together was as priceless for all of us as the beautiful views and amazing experience of nature.
A Question of Fire
When Cathy Bennett agrees to attend an important party as a favor for her boss, she knows she won't enjoy it. But she doesn't expect to end up holding a dying man in her arms and becoming the recipient of his last message. Bobby Stark has evidence that will prove his younger brother has been framed for arson and murder. He wants that evidence to get to his brother's lawyer, and he tries to tell Cathy where he's hidden it. But he dies before he can give her more than a cryptic piece of the location.
The man who killed Bobby saw him talking to her and assumes she knows where the evidence is hidden. He wants it back and he'll do whatever it takes to get it, including following her and trying to kidnap her.
Cathy enlists the aid of attorney Peter Lowell and Danny Stark, Bobby's prickly, difficult younger brother, as well as a handsome private detective to help her find the evidence before the killers do.