Sunday, February 22, 2009

Morgan's Escape from Breken

You may think it's fun to live in a small town, but I couldn't wait to escape. I'd grown up in Breken, long enough to know the community wasn't playing on a steady foundation of justice. The Sheriff had been a real loser when I was in high school. His escapades with a local teenager were well known, though never publicized. Somehow the community always overlooked his failures.

The Mayor at the same time had kleptomaniac tendencies and spent her days at the book store where I worked. The owner was a generous lady who figured since she was a good mayor in most respects, she'd just let it go --- at least those times she didn't catch her and ask for the merchandise back. She never took anything big, just twenty cent bookmarks and ribbons.

I'm Morgan Ruskin, the oldest of The Ruskin Family Sleuths. I started this gig on the fly and I still avoid the drama and just rush in at the last moment, barely in time to save the day. Although, I have been known to come home in the middle of an investigation and kick start the process. I'm a meddling kind of person, so I suppose that's why I get involved.

After four years of playing explorer cadet with the local police department, there wasn't much I didn't know about the community residents. And I didn't like many of them at all, including many of the officers on the force. I chanced the run and left home for college. Living in the dorms was bound to be better than my one-horse hometown with skeletons and secrets in every closet.

Little did I know, I'd have a lot of growing up to do over those next four years. Life would change and I would grow up, but seriously, Breken changed too. When my brothers happened on their first adventure, I thought it was going to be all fun and games, just show up, save the day, and rush back to the big city to brag to all my friends about my great weekend sleuthing adventure. Casualty number one was my trip back to Breken. I became embroiled in The Ruskin Adventures. A daring member of the crime fighting family, willing to risk it all for the cause of justice, at least until I knew enough about law to get myself and the rest of the family out of the neck of danger just in time and save the day.

My daring mother, the wanna be reporter turned author, captured the interest of the Nation with her crime fighting articles. My brothers sleuthed into any minor mystery they found, and Emily simply held them all together, being whisked away by the tide now and then. All together we formed a tight family unit, and I'll tell you, nothing gets past The Ruskin Sleuths in The Ruskin Adventures.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Neill talks about Weathers' Sand Castle

Growing up on the edge of Breken Ridge definitely has benefits. The rock ledge overlooking the river and the valley was our first home. Some called it the jagged mountain, but my brother and I preferred to call it "Home", at least until the house burned. Mom had replaced the rickety old two story craftsman with a double wide when I was three because the house wouldn't stay warm enough and I kept getting sick. About ten years later, Rouse, the Eco-Thief, set the double wide home on fire in an effort to get us to shut up and stop chasing him. We didn't, he got 20 years for setting the house on fire, and another twenty for burning the riverbottom. Then he got life for murdering the Mayor. We all figured Bob Keller put up a heck of a good fight, when ole Rouse set the river bottom on fire.

I suppose everyone in town thought we'd just up and leave town. We'd lived there on the Ridge for so many years. Mom still owns the property. She leased it to the Department of Wildlife for a Garage for their equipment, because they can see nearly forty miles down the river either direction from the ridge, and it's got easy access. We moved into town on High Street, in the old Crabil Mansion. I don't think it's very old, but it's got big wide porches, huge rooms and three stories of space. Mom loves writing in her new office. And... The manuscript she'd sent out just before the fire? Well, the publisher bought it and she sold a million copies of that book the first year after it was published.

Guess I should introduce myself. I'm Neill Ruskin, the youngest of the tribe. My brother Gavin considers himeself a sleuth and I tag along. I'm usually the one who solves the crimes. He chases the clues around, gathers them all up and I put them together. Of course, when we get into an investigation too deep, our sister, Morgan rushes in to save the day. Mom's been an investigative reporter for about a hundred years, so she often helps us gather information and keeps the press alerted to any criminal activities going on in the area. My other sister, Emily, keeps us all pulled together and organized. We all work together to make crime prevention work here in Breken.

Right now, we're working on a case Gavin calls, "Mystery of the Sand Castle." Over on Breken River there's a kind of sand castle built back in the cove. The old guy that lives there died several years ago, and the sand castle is vacant. At least, it's supposed to be vacant. Lately, there's been a light on in the back of the castle and at night it blinks upward into the sky. I told him it's probably haunted by old man Weathers, but Gavin says there's something going on...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Introducing Breken, Colorado

You've probably been through Colorado a time or two, may know every town in the state. But, I guarantee, you've missed this jewel of a town. Everyone does. Breken lies on the edge of the mountains, just a little too far east to be part of the Rockies, and just a little too far west to be part of the plains. Home to none other than the Ruskin family, a team of sleuths bent on stopping crime, or at the very least capturing every criminal in town. Add to that, any who come through Breken, and perhaps any who think they might come through Breken.

Nestled into a cove along the Breken River, Breken rests beneath a ledge of rock croppings that separate the town and the river, from the Interstate and the city that lies just beyond view. Breken houses more than a fair share of the state's criminal element, and for whatever reason, the rest of them tend to come through hoping to find a safe place to stay. However, they're not counting on the youngest sleuths in the state living just beyond the bridge, on High Street in a part of the community where homes have personality, charm and history.

Neighbors count themselves proud to be friends of the Ruskin family and everybody in town knows them, speaks their name, and recognizes them on sight.

Julia Ruskin works at the Breken Daily Trader as a reporter, when she isn't out chasing criminals and hovering over the sleuthing team on their latest adventure. Or, more importantly when she isn't writing another book more important than the town council or some other community project. A native to the area, Julia's interests have more to do with raising her family and being a good parent than they do with fighting crime, but for some unknown reason, she keeps finding the two go hand in hand.

Morgan is away at college most of the time, unless of course her siblings uncover a crime ring too big and complex for them to solve. In which case, she arrives home in the nick of time to save the day and rescue any missing persons from the long arm of the criminal and the lost focus of the law. The police department in Breken is more focused on bringing her home to fight crime than on protecting the small town she'd rather bury under rock than live in, but her brothers keep her coming back home.

Emily chases away crime with a broomstick. She'd really rather have an organized and peaceful home. Her job is to keep things running smoothly, but how can she when the sleuths of the community keep bringing her into the middle of their rough and tumble adventures. Her duty to protect little brothers and keep Mom organized fall into the same category as her relationship with the County Attorney, Ross Burmingham, whose attention often gets side swept by family adventures.

Gavin focuses his interest on crime the way a blood hound focuses on the fox. Once he's got a clue, he doesn't let up until the crime is solved. His interest in criminal justice and law keep him on the lookout for anything that smells of criminal activity and he recognizes a crime from a mile away. His interest in Charlotte Robbins keeps him side tracked just enough to spend time away from the crime scene.

Neill spends his time thinking about his projects, ambivolent to the tyrades around him until the peices come together. He solves the crime, non-chalantly, leaving the chase to everyone else. Although, he loves a good adventure, so he often tags along with big brother Gavin to rescue him, or more likely to stave off danger.

The story rests more in the process of a family living in small town, rural America with hopes dreams and visions of success and a future where love grows.