A First Time – FRIDAY FICTION with RONOVAN WRITES Prompt #26

This is Chapter Two of another Sophie Marceau mystery story and this time I am bringing Sophie to a new venue, the weekly writing challenge from Ronovan Writes. For those of you just joining the fun I will include links to previous chapters after the end of this week’s offering. If you love to write fiction join in the fun!

Several white haired men and women milled around their vehicles just outside the yellow police tape used to cordon off the crime scene fronting the gate at Farley Downs. Most of the bystanders had no interest whatsoever in the collection of police vehicles cluttering the area. Their concern was the approaching eleven o’clock opening for a full day of horse racing.

Tom and Sophie drove up to an area on the right, following the lead of a uniformed officer directing them around the mob of gamblers. The day was starting bright and sunny, promising to be another steamy one. Sunglasses in place, the duo slid out of the car seat and approached the scene where several officers and others moved around with purpose.

Tom smiled when he saw Penelope Crenshaw stand and wave them over. She was the department medical examiner and the one they always wanted to talk to so they could get a good lay of the land. Sophie noticed a younger female working beside Penelope and wondered if this was the wunderkind they had heard rumors of for so long. The young woman was very animated and chatty, even though they were still too far away to make out her words.

“Sophie, Tom, welcome to Farley Downs!” Penelope said holding her arms out with the palms up as if she was presenting them with a prize.

“I’d rather be getting that as the owner of a horse in the winner’s circle,” Tom said smiling. Sophie knew there was an unspoken attraction between these two and shook her head at the high school like tension.

“What’s the word Penny?” Sophie asked.

“Well, we have . . .” Penelope started before the young woman broke in.

“We have a forty-three year old male, Banner Todd, married, employed with Kenner Investments as a stock broker. No record of any entrance to the racetrack ever, you know they track that kind of stuff, especially when you work with money. It looks like the victim was attacked without warning as there are no defensive wounds on his hands arms or body,” the girl said pointing to each area as she spoke.

“The wounds are from a knife, very sharp and very potent. Multiple stab wounds at least two dozen, any of which would have been fatal. From all indications it looks like the work of the Crimson Nights murderer. Although I realize it is very early to speculate such.”

Tom and Sophie stood speechless for a moment, simply staring at the young woman who beamed with pride at her first time giving a summary of a victim in her new job. She looked up from the body when she realized no one was speaking, first at Sophie, and then Tom before turning to Penelope, who smiled and nodded approvingly.

“Detective Sophie Marceau and Tom Richardson, let me introduced my young protégé, Casey Ritter. She just started today with us. Casey just finished a PhD. in Forensic Anthropology at L.S.U.”, Penelope told them.

“How old are you?” Tom asked, which drew a sharp elbow from Sophie.

“Twenty-four,” Casey said as she stared intently at something on the victim’s collar. She knelt and leaned down to get a closer look at what had caught her attention. She fished an evidence bag from her back pocket and snagged the item with a pair of tweezers before dropping it in the bag.

“What is it?” Penelope asked.

“A small piece of fiber, maybe from the killer’s clothing,” Casey replied, another broad smile following the words.

“Good job!” Sophie said.


As promised here is the link to the first chapter of Sophie’s latest mystery. If you come back each week you will find the other chapters in the section as well. I look forward to hearing what you think about the story. Be sure to comment, I always visit the blogs of people who comment. Also, if you would like to read more Sophie Marceau stories you can follow the Sophie link.

Chapter 1                             Sophie Stories










NaNoWriMo – Why Do It?

I agree I might be on the edge of doing something totally insane. Okay, maybe not insane, but some kind of crazy. What is it? I am going to commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in a month’s time.


National Novel Writing Month or #NaNoWriMo as you will se it on all the cool kid’s sites like Twitter Facebook, Instagram et all, is a concentrated effort to get some new book material out of writer’s heads and onto paper, in word processors or wherever people choose to write these days. Amazon, Good Reads and every other online site with any connection to books has to like the concept. I mean, what good is a storefront with nothing to sell?


I am doing it because over the years I have been writing novel length works I have never been published. Stay with me here, I am going to answer this question, it is just a long answer. There are many phases to writing a book. The preplanning is one, the writing a whole BIG other and then publishing perhaps the biggest of all. So really I am doing it first in hopes that this novel will be the one to kick in the door and get a publisher interested in what I write.

Secondly, again going back to the years I have been writing, I have learned to mentally develop a plot to see if it has the legs to be a full blown story. Sometimes you can have a really good story and well developed plot, but a good sized short story is all you can wring out of it. Have no illusion, writing a 75,000 word novel is no walk in the park. The #NaNoWriMo only asks 50,000, which will be tough enough in thirty days.


The plot I chose to develop has been rolling around in my head for nearly three years. Usually within that amount of time if the plot does not continue to develop you know it has to be trashed. This one has only continued to grow and become more interesting. I feel like I would be passing up on the best choice of my working ideas if I let it go.


Whoo! That is a good question. November is a busy month for everyone. I mean it is basically the start of the holiday season. Once you get to the last week, with Thanksgiving, you get into the Christmas slide and time seems to enter an accelerator of some type. AS a matter of fact, I will be departing the U.S.A. for an international mission trip on the 27thof November and with Thanksgiving the day before I am mentally giving myself 25 days to pull this off. I may have some time while away to finish things, but I want to plan as if I don’t.


I need a jump start in my writing and there is nothing like a new project to do that. The excitement of building out characters, setting, Plot and basically the whole ball of wax is invigorating. Pair that with a partner (my wife) that is willing to read and critique and you have a pretty good incentive.

I am also excited about the promised partnering of the folks at the #NaNoWriMo web site. They have developed there involvement so much that they have different regions of the country and groups for each along with coaches and liaisons to assist if you need. I would love to meet other writers/authors, especially those from my local area.



Well, there will be a couple fo ways to do this actually. NaNoWriMo.org has several links that will report your progress back to your website or blog. I have inserted these in the right margin of two of my blogs: (1) In the flagship blog, Joe’s Musings. (2) I included it on the Fiction Playground blog. This is where the majority of my blog traffic comes in. I have other blogs, but they just do not get the same amount of attention from me or visitors.

So, taking the time to make this little post has equaled around 750 words or 38% of what I will have to create each day to make the 50,000 word goal. I hope you will cheer me on, encourage and wait breathlessly (while breathing of course) to see if I can cross the line with the thousands of others taking this challenge.