What does Canyons, Caravans, & Cadavers have to do with the ACT scandal?

Six months ago I'd started to think about the plot for Canyons. I knew I wanted Mae to get recognized for her contribution to the booming economy in Normal, but also have to put the continuing success in trouble...meaning a murder that makes tourists think twice about going there for vacation, which is what gives Mae the motivation to want to save the town...yet again!

I also knew that I wanted Mae to be asked to teach a class with an honorary degree because she didn't LOVE school when she was a child. I thought this would be great to bring in to tie her past to the present. 

That's when I decided she had to go to the high school. BUT....what would be a big scandal for a teacher to get murdered?

I had to dig back to 30 years ago when I was graduating high school and try to think what the teachers really put stake into...THE ACT! 

That's how I got the idea to use the ACT and cheating on the ACT. I clearly remember someone who paid a kid to take the ACT and they got away with it. I used that experience to plot the book. 

You can imagine my surprise and giddiness I had when the big ACT scandal broke a couple of weeks ago! I just couldn't believe it!!! It was crazy!! 

But I hope you take a chance and read A CAMPER AND CRIMINALS COZY MYSTERY SERIES. Each book can be read as a stand alone and I know you're going to LOVE Mae!!


  1. Can't wait to read this one. I already have it downloaded onto my Kindle to read when I finish the one I'm reading now. This whole thing wasn't a surprise to hear. I hate what they have done, but this kind of stuff, ACTs - paying to get into a good school, etc, has been going on for years and all of a sudden its a big deal.

    Thanks for the chance.

  2. Love your books! Haven't read this series yet,looking forward to reading it.

  3. When the news broke I thought, well Ms Tonya has been over to Whispering Falls and got the low down from the crystal ball. Haha. That was serendipitous. I am just dying because they stopped When Calls the Heart. I loved Lori’s character and I get the mayor is a big role but couldn’t they just have something happen to her? I need to know about Elizabeth. I feel like the entire cast and all of us fans of the show were punished for the actions of one. Why yes, I am throwing my hissy. I want my show back.

  4. I would love to listen to this! And I am missing When Calls the Heart, also, want to see what is going on with Elizabeth!

  5. That's funny that you wrote about a college cheating scandal before a big college cheating scandal hit the news. Wow and it involves the FBI. I have two daughters in college now and 3 middle schoolers thinking of college. Money shouldn't buy you a good school and those parents should have known better. Shame On Them!!!! Oh, but your books are awesome. Congrats on the new book.


Do you believe in curses?

By Mae West from A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery Series written by Tonya Kappes Seriously...curse? Meh, I'm not scared... ...