Where’s the Hero?

Where's Hugh? April Hayman's missing hero ~ When the Pilot Falls

Are you ready for another Ever After Mystery? The Last Gasp and A Giant Murder were great reads, and Celebrate Lit has just released the third Ever After book: When the Pilot Falls by April Hayman. In celebration, the authors in the Ever After Mysteries series are doing another blog hop, complete with prizes. This time, we’re helping April track down her missing hero. If you haven’t yet read any of the stories, start HERE with Rebekah Jones, and after you’ve read my installment, hop on over to Marji Laine’s website to read hers! Prizes!

When the Pilot Falls

or… Where’s Hugh?

I was minding my own business, enjoying a little vacation with my oldest grandson, Ben. This was a special event for us. Ever since he was just a little tyke, we’ve read the adventures of Paul Bunyan together, and we finally had the opportunity to take a trip to Paul Bunyan Land in Brainerd. I wanted to watch him experience that magical moment when Paul Bunyan greets him by name – a treasured memory for generations of Minnesotans.

Instead, when we got to Brainerd, we found the entire town in an uproar and the amusement park locked down. The employee guarding the gate told us someone had phoned in a crime stoppers tip that a big blond guy was planning to steal Babe the Blue Ox. The vigilant eavesdropper… er, informant had overheard him talking to someone else about wanting to buy Babe. When the other man laughed and said Babe wasn’t for sale, the man acted desperate.

The would-be ox thief explained that a horse would be too small to carry him back to April in California. That’s when the informant got worried. This is August in Minnesota, folks, and while Babe was capable of traveling great distances, she wasn’t a time traveler. And… well, she’s a gigantic plaster statue. This man must be crazy, and crazy people might do anything. Within an hour, the police had cordoned off the park and were on the lookout for a big blond guy with blue eyes.

Now, that’s not a lot of information to go on. Minnesota is full of oversized Swedes, and so what?? With impressionable young Ben at my side, I couldn’t remind the employee that Babe isn’t actually a real ox, but what would the guy do with her if he did manage to get inside the park? The police could nab him as he stared disconsolately at the collapse of his travel plans.

At that moment, a huge hand fell on my shoulder. “Excuse me, Ma’am, but can you tell me where I can find Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox?”

The employee squawked and ran away. I shoved Ben behind me and stood up to the behemoth. He was big. Really big. I should have been scared, but mostly, I was annoyed. This was supposed to be a special trip for us. We’d come a long way for this grandmother-grandson bonding experience, and this guy had ruined it.

“Babe the Blue Ox is not real,” I said firmly. I ignored the gasp from my grandson. We would talk later. “Paul Bunyan and Babe are legends. Folk Tales. Not real. The only blue ox here is a sixty-year-old statue with flaking paint and a chipped foot. I suggest you skedaddle before the police come. We may not hang horse thieves anymore, but they might make an exception for Babe. That ox is a cultural treasure.”

“But I have to get back to California and find April Hayman,” the man pleaded, “and I haven’t been able to find a horse big enough to carry me. They’re all too small.”

Ah ha. Not a time traveling maniac. He was looking for April Hayman the author. She’d lost her hero again. Hugh something… I pulled out my phone and scrolled through the contacts. “I’ll call her,” I said. “She’ll come bail you out of jail.”

“Jail?” The man’s blue eyes widened. “I’m just looking for a big horse – or ox or anything that can carry me back to California. Your cars are too small, and I don’t fly…”

Ben jumped out from behind me. “You should go to Texas,” he said. “Everything is bigger in Texas! They have horses there, too.”

“Texas? Thank you, young man.” Hugh looked around, alarmed, at the sound of a police siren. “I’d better hurry.”

“No, wait!” I shouted. “I’ll call April!”

He didn’t stop but loped away westward. I decided I’d better call Marji Laine, too. She might be able to intercept him in Texas and send him April-ward. When the Pilot Falls is available now, and it needs its hero!


Ever After Mysteries from Celebrate Lit Publishing
⁠Get When the Pilot Falls and all the other Ever After Mysteries at Amazon! The ones that aren’t yet released are available for preorder at special discounted prices, so get them now. Are you a Kindle Unlimited subscriber? Good news! All the books will be available to read through your subscription!

I’m getting excited…

My own book, Murder at the Empire, is next! It releases on October 5th, and I can’t wait to share it with you. It’s the story of a girl who plays the organ to accompany films at the Empire movie palace. So much fun… except for all the murders, of course.

Now, be sure to enter the giveaway!