It turns out my days aren’t much like I thought they’d be. Originally, the plan was to become an attorney, marry my high school sweetheart, and live some place with lots of people and tall buildings.

Instead, I dropped out of law school, moved back to my small hometown of Broken Rope, Missouri (no tall buildings, but lots of tourists in the summers), and now I teach with my gram at her Country Cooking School. Oh, and my high school sweetheart? Well, he’s come back to town too. The wedding band on his left ring finger makes me think we won’t be getting married any time soon, though.

However, things have worked out for the best. I love what I do and I adore my spunky gram. I spend my fall-through-spring days helping her teach her home-cooking methods, techniques, and recipes. I love working with her and though I’m a teacher in title, I’m her most eager student too.

Broken Rope is an Old West tourist town, so during the summer we’re inundated with visitors from all over the country. Some of my summer days are spent at the school, doing paperwork or cleaning. Many summer days, though, are spent assisting the town’s actors with their skits or helping in their stores. My best friend, Jake, is Broken Rope’s poetry reciting fake sheriff and the town’s archivist. I’ve always enjoyed watching his shows, but recently I’ve spent a lot of time in his archive room too – learning whatever I can about some new-to-me visitors. It seems that some of those Old West characters we portray can’t quit let go of Broken Rope’s old time boardwalks and historical setting. Though Gram and I are the only ones who can see them, the characters are able to return to Broken Rope in harmless but ghostly forms.

They’re a needy bunch, those ghosts, but interesting too. Don’t tell Gram I think they’re interesting. She’s been communicating with them much longer than I have and she thinks they’re . . . well, more needy than interesting.

So, every day’s a new adventure in Broken Rope; every day is full of lots of good country cooking, a mystery that needs solved, and ghosts who tend to make things both more complicated and lots more fun.


You can read more about Betts in IF FRIED CHICKEN COULD FLY, the first book in the new “Country Cooking School” mystery series.

Paige Shelton who as a kid moved around a bunch, but went to both high school and college in Des Moines, Iowa. She moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1988. After college, she spent many years working in advertising, mostly for the local Salt Lake City newspapers. Her attempts to become a published writer began in 1997, but it wasn’t until 2008 that the first contracts with her agent and Berkley Prime Crime were signed. Her pile of rejections is quite impressive. Visit Paige at www.paigeshelton.com

** Thanks to Paige, I have one (1) copy of IF FRIED CHICKEN COULD FLY to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends January 9. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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