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Mystery Fest Key West: Murder and Mayhem in Paradise!


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Author Randy Rawls


Some have asked, "Who is Randy Rawls? What makes him tick?"  Others who know me say, "I see a lot of you in your hero, Ace Edwards."  Me? I say I'm a simple guy who enjoys writing and hopes that others will find pleasure in my words.  I was born and reared in Williamston, North Carolina, a small town in the northeastern part of the state.  From there, I inherited a sense of responsibility, a belief in fair play, and a love of country.  These traits have carried me through my adulthood.  Each day, as I see some of the horrific events in our society, I know I was fortunate to be born into the Southern way of life.

In many ways, I've lived an idyllic life.  As a career US Army officer, I had the opportunity to learn, travel, teach, and hone talents inherited from my parents.  Following retirement, I worked in other ventures for the US Government where my opportunities continued.  But most of all, I've had fun.  Every job has in some way been fun.  Even the dark days of Vietnam had their light moments, and I cherish the camaraderie that was an integral part of survival in that hostile world.

"So how did you get started in writing?" people ask.  It started with reading.  At an early age, I discovered the town library and the librarian.  She was a wonderful lady, who loved to introduce children to books.  And I was especially lucky because she took me under her wing, so to speak.  Every time I dropped my bike at the front door and rushed in, she had a new recommendation for me.  She not only never led me wrong, but engendered in me a love of the written word. Then, one day many years later, I sat at my computer and began to type.  A storyline developed, so I kept typing.  About a year later, I had a tome as long and heavy as WAR AND PEACE (or so it seemed). Unfortunately for me though, WAR AND PEACE and every other book ever published had no fear of my first effort.  Giving myself every benefit of the doubt, I will simply say, "It stunk."  But the seed was planted, and I continued to compose and continued to learn.  Today, I believe I turn out an acceptable story, one that I hope others will enjoy as much as I do.

The scene from my first published book, JAKE'S BURN, did not begin as a story line for me. A friend whose protagonist is a female insurance investigator was searching for a sequel.  I suggested the arson of an expensive home followed by the discovery of bodies in the ashes.  She rejected the idea, and it lay dormant.  Later, while living in Dallas, I did a 100 kilometers bicycle ride around Cisco, Texas.  During the day's huffing and puffing, I saw a beautiful home atop a distant hill and my memory returned to the story line I'd suggested.  When I also found myself fascinated with the countryside and Cisco itself, JAKE'S BURN was born.  Somewhere in all that, a Dallas PI became the hero--Arthur Conan Edwards, Ace.  His namesake was the greatest mystery writer of all, Arthur Conan Doyle, and how Ace got his name is told in the Ace Edwards series.  Cisco became the first in my small towns in Texas tales. I am fascinated by their history and offer anecdotes from their past in each of my stories.

JOSEPH'S KIDNAPPING, the second in the Ace Edwards series, takes place in Canton, Texas.  Have you heard of First Monday Trade Days or Hoss Monday?  You will.

Book three is JADE'S PHOTOS.  It takes place in Grand Saline, ten miles from Canton.  I stumbled into it while researching JOSEPH'S KIDNAPPING.  The first attraction was the underground salt dome from which it takes its name.  However, when you read the book, you'll quickly understand why I switched to Clark's Ferry.

Book four is JINGLE'S CHRISTMAS, a break from small towns.  What would you do if Santa's Chief Elf for North Texas operations came to you on December 15th and reported that the toys had been stolen?  Could you recover them by Christmas? That's Ace's dilemma.  This is my favorite simply because it was so danged much fun to write.

Book five (JASMINE'S FATE) took me back to Van Zandt County -- Grand Saline, Van, and Fruitvale.  More enjoyable research, more great historical anecdotes, and, of course, another Ace adventure.  This time though, Ace is in the clutches of two gorgeous redheads, mother and daughter.

Book six (JEB'S DECEPTION) took me home.  Back to Williamston.  Of course, I took Ace, Kit, and Ace's two cats
(Sweeper and Striker) with me.  This time, I did the teaching as I introduced Ace to some of the wonderful characters of the area and a bit of southern history. Oh yeah, there was a crime to solve -- embezzlement from a law firm. Heavy stuff for Ace.

Book seven (THORNS ON ROSES) is on my Home Page.  My first thriller and I'm very proud of it.  Hope you'll give it a peep.

I have short stories in several anthologies, three of which you can see on my short stories page.  I hope you'll support all the fine authors I'm honored to rub elbows with.

Today, I've switched my base to South Florida, my latest home.  Beth Bowman is a PI who runs into difficult situations in the land where there is no fiction.  No matter what you write, it happened yesterday, is happening today, or will happen tomorrow.  Such is life in paradise.  I invite you to keep a watchful eye out for Beth's adventures.  Someday, I'll find a publisher for her -- I hope.

So that's who I am and where I am. I love to read, I love to write. I've written young adult, historical fiction, thrillers, mysteries, and short stories in each of those genres. With each, I make you only one promise. I strive to entertain you. If you get more than that, I feel extremely gratified.
www.randyrawls.com

To Contact Mystery Writers Key West Fest

Please write to: Mystery Writers Key West Fest,
926 Truman Avenue,
Key West, Florida 33040
or Email Us info@mysterywriterskeywestfest.com