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"THIS IS NOT A DOG PARK" by Rosemary Shomaker

  Barks and woofs overlaid snarls and growls coming from the shaded depths. Adam followed the noises, scanning the ground for a hefty stick. Each one he chose broke apart, raining particles of rot onto his shoes. He took the ball launcher out of his pocket. The sound of rattling chain link alarmed him, and he extended the handle as he ran to the park’s boundary. Not a sturdy weapon, but it served.
Mary approached and retreated from the fence repeatedly, barking furiously. On the other side a yipping and whining animal tracked between a mound of leaves and the fence. It snarled, lunging at the fence with teeth bared as if to attack Mary.
“GEE-Yah! GEE-Yah!” Adam screamed in the time-tested bellow his father taught him that never failed to scatter unfriendly—and friendly—dogs.
Adam dropped the flinger and used both hands to throw sticks at the animal. From his recent park kiosk lesson, Adam identified the threat as a coyote. Two runners drawn by the noise also hurled sticks and added to the melee with yells of “Scat!” and roars of “Go Away!”
The coyote retreated to the leaf pile. It scrabbled at the ground, and Adam sickened at the glimpse of dull red that suggested a gutted squirrel or rabbit. Facing those amassed at the fence opposite, the coyote displayed its teeth, contorted its mouth, and emitted varied menacing vocalizations. Adam witnessed what he surmised was caterwauling.
Adam regained the Ultra-Fling, loaded a fist-sized rock, and flung it over the fence. He followed with several more. He hit the coyote hard, resulting in a yelp. Another rock contacted with the coyote’s snout, and it released the small prey it tugged in the pile. A third hit ricocheted from a solid tree at the coyote’s back to a smaller hollow tree. The reverberations startled the coyote, and it sprinted into the woods.



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<<This is the story of how four mystery writers met, and how the friendships  that developed led to collaboration on To Fetch a Thief.>>
     Writers seek out writers. It’s what we do. We join writing groups, not just to give us someone to hang out with on a Saturday afternoon, but because other writers get the angst of writing, the frustration when the words won’t come, the disappointment with each rejection. Perhaps most importantly, these communities give like-minded mystery writers a chance to discuss the various ways to kill people . . . in the literary sense!      One national community that supports our passion is Sisters in Crime ( and offers chapters that meet locally. Mystery by the Sea serves southeastern Virginia, and Central Virginia chapter serves the Richmond area. The two chapters collaborated on three short-mystery collections; Virginia is for Mysteries, Virginia is for Mysteries Volume 2, and 50 Shades of Cabernet.
     We hit the road, li…